I want to start this out as an open informed dialog about what has been forced to the front page of every major news outlet. Gun control in America has been a hot button issue for decades. Every time an event makes the front page people rush to pass laws or form opinions on what needs to be done. Just as I do not believe there is any simple one answer, I do not believe any one person can be non-bias. For that reason I am asking you to think for yourself from an analytical perspective and hopefully learn something.
As many of you know, I am pro-firearms in many ways. That said, if there was a magic button that we could push that would make all firearms go away for ever I would vote to push it. Not a popular opinion with many, but I am not so blind that I cannot understand that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Knowing there is no magic button, what is the answer? I am not going to pretend there is one, but the closest we will ever get in my opinion is understanding. Understanding what makes violent people carry out violent acts. Understanding why the pro-firearms people think the way they do. Understanding why the firm anti-firearm groups feel the way they do.
Having already admitted that I am incapable of total non-bias, I will do my best to highlight well established facts or statistics in red and my straight opinion in blue. So the begin, how would I summarize my stance. First off, I am not an NRA member. I never have been because a good deal of the time I do not agree with how they conduct themselves. The NRA is a very old organization, that I feel a lot of people view as the archetype for firearm owners. From a socioeconomic standpoint, I do not feel like I fit the traditional mold of the NRA. Even if I am an outlier, does the NRA represent the average firearm owner? Statistically they do not. There are an estimates 5-7 million active NRA members. With an estimated 120 million plus firearm owners in the US, you quickly see the NRA is a very small sample. Having said all that, I do think the NRA is a good organization that is constantly trying to improve and adapt to a constantly changing landscape.
On the other side, its harder to assign a single face of voice. There are lots of anti-firearms groups out there. Much like the pro-firearm group their opinions and demands span a large spectrum. Everything from tighter background checks to a total ban. I have no idea what percentage want a total ban, but I will assume most do not. The middle ground probably champions something more like the 1994 assault weapons ban. While passed with good intent, the 1994 AWB was executed poorly at best. A lot of people believe that under the 1994 AWB assault weapons were ban for sale. This is not true for two reasons. First, any weapons with a serial number before 1994 fell under a grandfather clause. Second, AR15s (insert any AW style rifle here) was still fully legal to manufacture and sell as long as it only had 2 of the 5 qualifiers. EX. you could have a AR15 built new as long as you gave up a bayonet mount and say a flash suppressor. Would the ban have actually been effective had they done a total ban on certain weapons? No one can answer that.
Now I want to address two points that always seem to be lost in all the noise.
School shootings are becoming more common. (Sorry pro-firearm people)
Violent gun crime is at a 50 year low according to DOJ and FBI. (Sorry anti-firearm people)
To the first the data is a scatter plot with low confidence. To further complicate it you have the data salted with suicides and gang related violence. Overall though, I feel it can be common ground between both groups. School shootings are on the rise.
Now the second point. This one is more established and even with suicides gun deaths are declining. Could it decline faster? Maybe, and that would be great. What seems to be lost though, is that it is declining not rising. This should be another point both groups can agree on.
Along the same lines is the often echoed statement that the US has one of the highest gun homicide rates in the world. This is 100% true. What is often lost though, is we are right on par with the rest of the world on homicide rates. The take away… We are not really any more violent of a society than the rest of the world. We just have guns available to us.
So could be do more to prevent gun crime? Of course we can. Will it have any measurable effect? Personally I do not think so, but that does not mean we should not try. As one more aside I will add this. Someone will inevitably ask why I own firearms. Aside from the ones I own for work, I own them for one of two reasons. My family has a farm and there are animals that are dangerous to the horses out there. Second, I enjoy them. Some of my best memories in life are shooting with my father or grandfathers. I did it as a boy, and most recently over the winter holiday. Personally I feel blesses to be able to share that memory with three generations.
As always chime in. Keep it civil and factual, but lets have a talk. We all know nothing will be solved here, but hopefully we can achieve some understanding.