A true solution to gun violence does NOT lie with regulating law-abiding citizens. It should be obvious – even to pea-brained politicians – that the causes of gun violence are criminals.
While it’s easy for the government to punish the innocent through legislation and feel as though they’re addressing the problem, increased legislation targeting law-abiding citizens will have absolutely no impact on crimes committed by criminals with guns.
“Why not?”, you may ask. It’s simple: criminals break the law so it’s impossible to enact a specific law that will stop criminals from perpetrating crimes. Laws that merely make it more difficult for someone to protect themselves or their families only work to benefit the criminal.
If I were a criminal, I know I’d target people who weren’t likely to, or couldn’t, fight back. It’s much safer for the criminal that way, and they don’t want to get hurt while committing crimes any more than the victim wants to get hurt during a crime. Doesn’t this make sense? So tell me: how does it make any sense to hand criminals MORE victims through legislation? It obviously doesn’t make sense, but it’s easier to feel as though you’re addressing the problem if you’re doing something – even if it’s the wrong thing.
There are two root causes of gun violence that need to be addressed, and are mainly ignored since addressing them is difficult. Those two issues are: 1. ILLEGAL guns, and 2. Criminals.
While screaming about “gun control,” it’s proponents seem to ignore a very real and true fact: that guns don’t, and have never, killed ANYONE. It’s the PERSON who does the killing. It’s the PERSON who made that choice and committed the act. The PERSON chose to put that gun in their hand and pull the trigger. The gun is simply an instrument.
And I can hear gun control proponents saying, “But guns make it easier to kill!” I freely admit that guns can make it more convenient to kill a larger number of victims. But truthfully, a criminal who wants to commit such an act will find a tool. Someone running around the mall with a samurai sword can kill just as many people before police arrive as can someone with a gun. Someone could drive a car through the mall and kill a bunch of people too. Or simply blow them up. There are many ways to accomplish such a thing, and it’s the person, not the instrument, who is responsible. We, as a society, need to remember that.
And let’s not forget that we accept other things into our lives that kill far more people than even illegal guns – legally prescribed medication, for example. On average, legally prescribed medicines kill over 100,000 people per year – second only to heart disease. But no one mentions that, and those deaths are accepted because medicines help millions of others. Well, not surprisingly, legally armed citizens, and the police, use guns to thwart or stop many thousands of crimes every year – crimes that could easily have ended in the victim’s death. Yet the media fails to mention that, too.
So what do we do about gun violence?
As previously mentioned, we need to focus on stopping illegal guns, and criminals who commit violent acts. Even though these are much harder than punishing the innocent, they’re the only things that will have a positive effect and help to reduce gun violence.
Stopping illegal guns is difficult, since there are varied sources for illegal guns. I suspect the main source of illegal guns used in most street crimes is theft from homes and businesses. If that’s true, then it may be wise to focus legislation on gun security, rather than gun control.
But even more important is to focus on criminals – the criminals who steal the guns, then use them to victimize the populace. The solution to this problem is more simple than it may seem on the surface. However, our legal system would need to be adapted to these solutions, and it may also be necessary to address housing a temporarily increased number of prisoners. However, by using these solutions, I firmly believe the number of criminals will ultimately decrease.
Here are the solutions I believe will help to drastically reduce violent crimes:
1) The punishment needs to EXCEED the crime. Prison could be a deterrent to crime if the price of getting caught – for even minor offenses – is much greater than the potential gain. I believe that any criminal convicted of any sort of assault should have a minimum 25 year sentence without parole. That may seem extreme, but that’s the only way to use incarceration as a deterrent.
2) No suspended sentences. If they do the crime, they do the time.
3) Have a nationalized death penalty for extreme cases.
4) Allow citizens to protect themselves and their families without fear of legal reprisal from criminals or their families. Someone who legally and correctly defends their life should NOT have to be subjected to any legal proceeding brought by the criminal or their family. If local law enforcement investigation finds the action justified, then the matter is dropped and everyone can happily accept that a criminal got what was due.
5) Consider implementing standards for gun storage in the home or business, to reduce the chances of criminals breaking in and acquiring guns.
6) Make a thorough background check necessary to purchase a gun. There’s no harm in having a permit system to purchase guns. This maintains the right to purchase, and may help weed out some people who have no business owning a firearm. It’s OK if this initial background check and getting the permit to purchase takes a little time. Chances are good that someone who wants a firearm in a hurry wants it for an illicit purpose.
7) Make tactical firearms training mandatory for anyone who wishes to carry a weapon. Make home defense training mandatory for anyone who wishes to have a firearm at home for defense. A system similar to getting a drivers license is reasonable. Get a permit to learn, take the training, then take a test to prove you can safely use the training. That may seem like an “infringement” of Second Amendment rights, but I believe it’s a necessary infringement since other people’s lives can be deeply affected by defensive actions a legally armed person may take. In addition, it’s foolish to have the gun without the training. It’s unsafe for everyone under those circumstances, and I find it reasonable to have some sort of minimum training standard that ensures proficiency and protects the safety of others.
Focusing on the things I’ve mentioned in this article can make a real difference in gun violence. More legislation to limit the actions of people who already follow the law is wasted time, energy, and money. Let’s spend our tax dollars wisely, and impress upon our sometimes misguided representatives the need to work on the real problems, rather than continuing to add more laws that only punish the innocent and have no affect on the guilty.