I love what you’ve done with this article. Personally, I am for sensible gun policies (I hate the word “Gun control” because it creates a knee-jerk negative reaction in some circles and gives the impression I want to ban guns from civilains, which is what I’m not interested in, at all).
I just got my MPH degree (Masters in Public Health) with a concentration in policy and management. We discussed gun violence extensively and how research companies and health organizations often struggle with doing research with it due to the Dickey Amendment (an amendment that effectively makes it near impossible to do research, even if it’s from an unbiased point of view/hypothesis/group). It wasn’t until around March 2018 where they could legally begin to do research (at least from what memory serves and what news articles I’m finding about it), but even then, there was no one willing to fund it (if there were, there were very few donors), so they’re a dead fish in the water in regards to research. You can have an amazing research idea but if no one is willing to fund you, it’s effectively dead.
I really like how you tried to give a basic explanation for the different types of guns because there’s so many misconceptions about “assault rifles” and similar. I’m not passionate about guns (in the sense that I study the history of guns or am interested in ever owning one), but I know there’s a lot of misconceptions out there about the different types of guns.
I could probably write a book on all the flaws our current system has with the current gun policies in place, but I’ll keep it as brief as I can: I’m really happy you mentioned the sensible background checks because there’s so many loopholes with how the guns are sold now (public and privately). Personally, I feel like if the background check finds anything remotely related to aggression (domestic violence, mood outbursts, etc.) then no gun (or at least a long waiting period). We also need to hugely improve our access and affordability to mental health care services (testing alone can cost anywhere from $200–600+, and that’s with insurance).
I’m super happy you wrote about the absurdity of “I’ll defend myself against the government with my gun!”. Honey, no. If the government is suddenly banging down your door, you’re probably going to be shot on sight or immediatly taken into custody. Liberals and those similar who want sensible gun policies aren’t interesting in taking away legally bought guns. Gun violence is an extremely multi-layered issue that requires government intervention on multiple levels to aid those who are more at risk for gun violence (mental health, domestic violence, socioeconomic circumstances, etc.).
One way I’ve seen the second amendment interpreted (specifically the “well regulated militia”) is that only the military (relating to the word “milita”) would have access to (legally, at least) guns. Since average overweight John (sorry, most men in the States statistically speaking are overweight, according to the CDC) is NOT a minuteman, nor has he likely been trained to the point of muscle memory.
One thing I like to point out with the second amendment, specifically, is the fact that this was made in a time when guns were extremely inefficient. It took anywhere from 1–2+ minutes to reload after a very small magazine (most guns only fired off around 1–3 bullets before needing to be reloaded from the late 1700s, around the “birth” of America, so around when the amendments were being written, that 1–2+ minutes was the average time for the experts who handled the guns!) Guns today? You can mow down people in the blink of an eye and reload within a matter of seconds, even with the larger guns and magazines.
Interestingly, recent court cases (such as the federal judge in a Massachusett’s court case around April 2018, and some others within recent years) have ruled that assault rifles are not protected by the second amendment. I’m very curious how this will influence future court cases involving guns, since judges typically take influence from each other with how to give ruling on different cases.
I am happy you discussed the dangers associated with handguns since the focus with the media tends to be the assault rifles since they seem to be the ones most often chosen for the massacres (school shootings, that terrible shooting that happened in Nevada, etc.). On a small-scale, hand guns are definetly more “terrifying” since like you said, they can be easily concealed (and can easily be carried, legally or otherwise, stolen or otherwise, because of how small they are). The fact that you mentioned the sheer fetishization that the media and often politicians/politics does to gun, hit the nail right on the head. Hell, the term hoplophilia specifically means “fetish/fascination for guns”. It describes the current political enviornment for those extremely against any kind of gun policy modification.
The reality is: the gun situation is super complicated in America and will take multiple addresses to get to the “root” of the problem and to help ultimately lower (and maybe in a hopeful world, completely stop or made them super rare) the rates of homicide and accidents by guns.
I have a lot of my own personal suggestions (given my history with my educational degree in policy and management, which specializes in policies in regards to preventative action with violence, medicine, etc.), but I’ve already written a lot here (and could write my own Medium article, if I haven’t already about sensible gun policies that need to be put into place).
Great article, once again!