After every major shooting, the gun control advocates can be counted on to ask "NOW can't you see the need for gun control?" But does gun control really make sense?
Would gun control have prevented this slaughter? I doubt it. Guns will continue to be available for the person determined to get one, and the kind of person who does something like the Colorado movie theater shooting would be determined.
The problem isn't the weapon, it's the intent, and there are plenty of other ways to kill. There are even plenty of ways to kill en masse. A bomb brought into the theater could have killed more as could an incendiary device. In other contexts, there's poisoning food or water.
Is the cause of gun violence really the availability of guns or is it the nature of the people who use them? Other countries have similar or greater rates of gun possession (I believe both Israel and Switzerland have higher rates), but they don't have nearly the rate of gun violence.
The difference in gun violence between Switzerland and the United States comes down to the difference between the Swiss people and Americans, and I don't see Americans changing in any fundamental way anytime soon.
Many European countries such as my own (Ireland) do not allow procession of fire arms and we don't have all of these problems at least not to the same extent.
Unfortunately, Americans aren't (for the most part) Irish. I suspect there are cultural differences at play since, even in Ireland, if someone wanted a gun, they surely could get one. People get drugs, don't they? or have laws against drugs made you a society with no drug users?
@Unseen - speak for yourself, I don't know many Americans who aren't Irish, even O'Bama!
@Reasunach - was that ban in place while the IRA was still operational?
@ archaeopteryx - You are thinking of Northern Ireland.
As I'm not from U.S, this is none of my business but what is the problem if the culture is to blame? What is the difference between the U.S and any other first world country like, say, England? Is it an ingrained wild-west attitude of "we sort out our own problems around here?".
Yeah thats in Northern Ireland. I'm from the Republic of Ireland. So your question doesn't really apply to where I am from. Our original fire arms act was implemented in 1925.
But in saying that a large portion of our regulations do come from the EU. I suppose I should have been more specific in my original comment, we don't have a complete ban on firearms as such, but we have very strict restrictions on getting them and when and where you can carry them. Its very difficult to get them.
You can however get a hunting licence for three years on a limited variety of firearms. But you are not allowed to be in a public place with firearms or anything that imitates a realistic firearm. Anyone applying for a licence will be put through a background check, not just to check up on criminal records but also psychological state of mind. You also have to prove that you have a good reason to own the firearm and that the firearm you intend to use is the only one you can use for its intended purpose. After that it will take three months for your application to be reviewed, if you don't get a response after that time you have been denied.
It is however completely illegal for any person in the Republic of Ireland to manufacture firearms. You can however import them provided you are a register fire arms dealer. Its so difficult to get a gun and have the legal rights to carry one, its hardly worth the effort.
Statistics show that our more strict policies on gun control have helped lower gun violence
So, was there gun control in effect in Norther Ireland during the skirmishes of the 1960's-1970's, and if so, how effective was it?
That would be the responsible, trained reaction, yes.
Which is amusing since I've never fired a gun in my life.
I'd have kept it holstered until I could be certain no one else would be hurt by my intervention.
I would assume that you wouldn't shoot until you were reasonably certain you had identified your target to perhaps a 75% or 80% certainty. Remember, the longer you wait, the more people he could kill. Remember he was shooting at a rate of perhaps 5 seconds. If you hesitated to be 100% certain, he could shoot perhaps 5 or 10 more people. A high price to pay for the highly personal and self-centered goal of keeping blood off your hands. Even in war, "friendly fire" is regarded as a necessary and acceptable risk to reach the higher goal of victory.
But me killing an innocent person makes the whole thing a wash, doesn't it? If I shoot an innocent person or he does, it doesn't matter: that person is still dead. What if I shot the wrong person and then, before he could get another shot off, another member of the audience tackled him? That would put that last death on me without having done anything positive at all. I don't particularly have a problem with guns, I have a problem with people who use them irresponsibly.
I find it odd that you call that a self-centered impulse. Would the family of someone I accidentally shot without properly identifying the target first feel the same way? Shooting randomly into the general area the perpetrator is in isn't "friendly fire" it's completely irresponsible.