Clash of the Titans XXXI: Gun Control

June 19, 2007, 12:30 pm; posted by
Filed under David, Debate, MC-B  | No Comments

In this corner, opposing gun control, is MC-B!

And in this corner, supporting gun control, is David!

Hopefully, with every Clash I submit, it becomes increasingly obvious that I’m a staunch moderate on most issues. Gun control is no exception.

First of all, many who oppose gun control would cite the “liberty” argument: our Constitution is special tells the government things it may not do, then reserves further rights to the people. Among the rights protected by the Constitution is the right to bear arms, presumably with the goal of protecting our ability to rise up and throw off the chains of oppression if the government evolves into a second reign of King George III. This is certainly an important point, but I harbor no illusions about my ability to protect myself with any amount of personal firepower if the officers of the United States military decide they want to turn the country into their own private hunting grounds.

My primary disagreement with gun control stems from my practicality and my willingness to accept the assumption that criminals can get guns if they want them. As the world becomes more globalized (which is not redundant, if you think about it), I believe that this assumption becomes increasingly true. The short version of my line of thought goes a little something like this: we can’t stop criminals from getting guns and bringing them to a variety of places, but criminals don’t generally want to die (or be injured) in the process of committing a crime.

Therefore, we should increase risks to criminals to the point at which, even though guns can be obtained quickly and easily, there is not an incredible amount of benefit to obtaining them. We can do this by increasing the police force, which is ideal for certain types of people (generally the people who could wind up on either side of the criminal-victim equation), but carries inefficiently high costs for stable people who are very, very unlikely to become criminals. For these, guns are a low-cost protection solution.

Of course, tests are needed to determine who should carry guns; it is here that my moderate side shines through and forces me to concede that there should be standards about who can carry guns. If the requirements start getting too strict and Orwellian, I suspect an average citizen would be more likely to buy an illicit gun anyway, and a revolutionary scenario would play out.

However, once a person meets these standards, most types of non-military weapon should be available to him or her, and they should be able to carry guns virtually anywhere. Think about it: where do massacres happen? The ones that have captured media attention in recent years have happened mostly in schools, where students, teachers and faculty have no means by which to defend themselves, so one gun sneaking in can be deadly.

Young people shouldn’t be allowed to have guns until they prove themselves responsible, but imagine the number of school massacres that might have played out differently if just one principal or faculty member had carried a gun to school on the day of the massacre.

Are mutually assured destruction scenarios like this unnerving? You bet. Unfortunately, for the moment it appears that the “no guns” and “no guns of a certain type” options are not available to us, and in a world of limited choices, the next-best option is for many generally rational people to have guns wherever it could potentially save lives.

Past School Shootings

Feb. 2, 1996, Moses Lake, WA — 2 students and 1 teacher killed, 1 wounded.

Feb. 19, 1997, Bethel, AK — Principal and 1 student killed, 2 wounded

Oct. 1, 1997, Pearl, MS — 2 students killed, 7 wounded

Dec. 1, 1997, West Paducah, KY — 3 students killed, 5 wounded

Dec. 15, 1997, Stamps, AR — 2 students wounded.

March 24, 1998, Jonesboro, AR — 4 students and 1 teacher killed, 10 wounded

April 24, 1998, Edinboro, PA — 1 teacher killed, 2 students wounded

May 19, 1998, Fayetteville, TN — 1 student killed

May 21, 1998, Springfield, OR — 2 students killed, 22 wounded

June 15, 1998, Richmond, VA — 1 teacher and 1 guidance counselor wounded

April 20, 1999, Littleton, CO — 14 students and 1 teacher killed, 23 wounded

May 20, 1999, Conyers, GA — 6 students injured

Nov. 19, 1999, Deming, NM — 1 student killed

Dec. 6, 1999, Fort Gibson, Okla. — 4 students wounded

Feb. 29, 2000, Mount Morris Township, MI — 1 killed (shooter and victim both 6 years old)

March 10, 2000, Savannah, GA — 2 students killed

May 26, 2000, Lake Worth, FL — 1 teacher killed

Sept. 26, 2000, New Orleans, LA — 2 students wounded

Jan. 17, 2001, Baltimore, MD — 1 student killed

March 5, 2001, Santee, CA — 2 killed, 13 wounded

March 7, 2001, Williamsport, PA — 1 wounded

March 22, 2001, Granite Hills, CA — 1 teacher and 3 students wounded.

March 30, 2001, Gary, IN — 1 student killed

Nov. 12, 2001, Caro, MI — 1 student killed

Jan. 15, 2002, New York, NY — 2 students wounded

October 28, 2002, Tucson, AZ — 4 killed

April 14, 2003, New Orleans, LA — 1 killed, 3 wounded

April 24, 2003, Red Lion, PA — 2 killed

Sept. 24, 2003, Cold Spring, MN — 2 students killed

March 21, 2005, Red Lake, MN — 10 killed

Nov. 8, 2005, Jacksboro, TN — 1 killed, 2 wounded

Aug. 24, 2006, Essex, VT — 3 killed

Sept. 26, 2006, Bailey, CO — 2 killed

Sept. 29, 2006, Cazenovia, WI — 1 killed

Oct. 3, 2006, Nickel Mines, PA — 6 killed, 5 wounded

Jan. 3, 2007, Tacoma, WA — 1 killed

April 16, 2007, Blacksburg, VA — 33 killed, 15 wounded

This list came from here and was amended to eliminate all but the number of casualties, and to remove all incidents outside the United States.



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