Let’s Talk About Guns…Again

So, my local paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer, has a new editorial piece about guns, in which they state:

The false narrative of gun rights versus gun control is playing out across the country as mass shootings kill multiple innocent civilians with alarming regularity.

It is time for a realistic discussion about reasonable ways to reduce gun violence, on campus and elsewhere – a discussion that in no way will trample on the Second Amendment rights of Ohio’s law-abiding gun owners.

Consider universal background checks, so felons and the severely mentally ill can’t buy weapons, at gun shows or anywhere else.

“mass shootings” and “alarming regularity” don’t belong in the same sentence. While it’s undoubtedly true that mass shootings for some reason (and I have a theory or two as to why) have certainly ticked upward the last half decade or so, they are still extremely rare events relative to total gun crime.

Moreover, I have no interest in a universal background check system. That’s de facto registration. No thanks. Further, I’m terribly troubled by the advancements we are making in seemingly further stigmatizing and trampling on the rights of the mentally ill. We need to pull on the reins before we go too far with that. Check out this:

“These proposals . . . convey a pretty damaging message” to those with mental disorders, said Jennifer Mathis, deputy legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Also, the argument against carry on college campuses or in a daycare or in police stations isn’t very compelling, i.e., that someone can make a rash decision in a heated argument and kill someone else. Because that’s an argument against carry at all. And yet, I’m assuming at least some people don’t believe in banning all carry. So why is the line drawn around college campuses, a daycare and police stations?

Obama and this editorial keep saying things like “common sense” and “reasonable” when applied to gun policy measures and stopping gun violence, but none of the proposals intersect in that way, i.e., none of the proposed measures from Obama or in this editorial would have stopped mass shootings and it’s not clear what effect they would have on overall gun crime, which again, it can’t be stressed enough that gun crime has been trending downward for 20 years.

One of the few things I’m certain about when it comes to this gun debate is that anyone who claims sufficient data to back up their side of the gun debate is full of shit. There just isn’t adequate or comprehensive data and there’s so many variables to account for and how to apply the methodology and on and on. Hell, I keep citing that crime has been going down for 20 years and there’s still not a consensus as to why that is, although it’s worth mentioning that crime went down at the same time as more people, more guns and laxer gun laws occurred. But again, pointing out two things and putting them next to each other doesn’t tell us much.

It’s frustrating. But what’s especially frustrating is that folks like Obama and the pro-gun control side want to stake out the higher moral ground. If you opposed any new gun control measures, you must be heartless and not care that 20 children died at Sandy Hook. That’s just absolute hogwash and furthers an “us vs. them” and a fear of the “other” when it comes to our political and social discourse, i.e., assuming that the other side is evil.


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