About Me

Find out more about me here.

03 December 2015

What Happens When We Really Do Come for Their Guns?

The notion that "They're coming for our guns!" seems sadly destined to end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let me explain. It is inevitable that at some point in the foreseeable future the disproportionate reality of gun violence in the United States will move voters to force our lawmakers to restrict gun ownership. The tides have long been in that direction (see here and here). There have been decades worth of chances for the NRA, other lobbying groups, and individual gun owners themselves to engage in meaningful debate and compromise; instead, there has been entrenchment, absolutist grandstanding, and polarization. In addition, the US has lots of guns out there. In fact, we have nearly twice as many guns per capita as the closest ranking Western industrialized country (i.e. Switzerland, though there are peculiar restrictions there). (Oh, and the US has nearly 17 times the gun homicide rate as Germany, the closest ranking Western industrialized country.) (Oh, so even though there are almost nine guns in the US for every ten people, those guns are owned by only one in every three people in the US; in other words, a shit ton of guns are owned by a minority of Americans.) Given the state of discourse and the fact that there are so many guns already out there in the US, any meaningful reform will almost certainly mean recalling guns; otherwise, "many" guns will circulate, both legally and illegally, for decades. Of course, even the thought of the government recalling firearms will inevitably be met with hyperbolic diatribes. Just compare to the status quo, under which no reasonably powerful person has ever actually called for anything more than hypothetical restrictions on future gun sales. Even that has sparked battle-cries along the lines of "from my cold, dead hands!" Imagine the reaction when people do actually come for their guns. There will most certainly be a temporary and reactionary increase in violence, which will be used by the pro-gun lobby to argue that the recall had been counterproductive and that we need to return to when there were many "good guys with guns" and even to increase beyond the historic high of guns in circulation. Both the short and long term are fraught, and it didn't have to be that way.

See here additionally for a good breakdown of the stats.

UPDATE (12/4/2015): To clarify, by "recall," I did not mean a wholesale recall of all firearms, only a recall of excess firearms.

No comments:

Post a Comment