1 – We already have some pretty good laws on the books, if we enforced them.
We have gun control! There are already some pretty “common-sense” gun control laws in place. The problem is that they are not enforced very well. Adding more laws that we don’t enforce is not going to change anything. Here are five examples when existing gun control laws have failed due to poor enforcement:
1 Devin Kelley killed 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2017. Under federal law, he should not have been able to purchase a gun, but the Air Force failed to maintain the record that would have prevented it.
2 Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people with a gun at Virginia Tech, although his mental illness should have prevented the purchase. Once again, poor record keeping.
3 Dylan Roof killed 9 nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. Again, he should have failed the background check but the FBI examiner did not get his record in time.
4 19 states have provided fewer than 100 records of individuals disqualified from gun ownership on mental health grounds.
5 The U.S. government itself let more than 2,000 guns into the hands of criminals through Operation Fast and Furious, allowing guns to be distributed to Mexican cartels.
2 – Criminals don’t care about laws anyway.
Last time I checked, murder was already illegal. Laws are followed by law-abiding citizens, not those who are determined to defy them. Stricter gun control laws will not keep guns out of the hands of criminals, it will just make the rest of us more defenseless. Here are five times a civilian stopped a tragedy from happening with a lawfully-carried gun:
1 Hero Stephen Willeford used his assault rifle to stop the mass murder of 26 churchgoers in Texas in 2017.
2 In 2007, Jeanne Assam stopped assailant Matthew Murray, who had killed four people in a church in Colorado Springs.
3 In 2017, an usher at a Tennessee church used a firearm to stop a gunman who had already killed one and injured six others.
4 An Uber driver in Chicago shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people.
5 A man shot Warren Edwards, who had opened fire on customers and barbers in a barber shop in Philadelphia
3 – Our outrage over mass shootings is manipulated.
The reason why we are outraged about guns and mass shootings is because there is an agenda to disarm the American population, and our emotions are manipulated, which is easy because gun violence, and especially mass shootings, can be so horrific and tragic. We should be outraged about mass shootings, but we should also be outraged about drone violence, war, the healthcare crisis, the opioid crisis, and other unnecessary deaths. And we should be looking for actual solutions, not allowing ourselves to be manipulated and led down a path toward tyranny.
Mass shootings are a tiny percent of gun homicides, and an even tinier percent of overall gun violence (most of which is suicide), not to mention an even tinier percent of deaths overall. If we are going to generate outrage, let’s aim it thoughtfully. In 2017, 433 people were killed in mass shootings. Compare this with:
- Police killed 1,184 people in 2017, far more than in any other civilized country and the fourth year in a row that number was over 1,000.
- A 1990 Harvard medical study suggests 150,000 people die annually from doctors’ negligence.
- Drug overdoses killed more than 60,000 people in 2016.
- At least 165,000 civilians were killed by direct violence in the Iraq war through 2015 alone (the actual number is probably much higher).
- Estimates of civilians killed by U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East range widely, but Airwars estimates the civilian death toll to be between 2,300 and 3,400 over a period of just two years.
4 – By the way, the police won’t protect you.
The average police response time for alarm dispatches is about seven minutes, but that varies widely by geographic location, and in many places it may take over an hour. I applaud our emergency service teams – they do yeoman’s work – but they cannot be everywhere at once. Those few minutes may very well be the difference between life and death.
If the police do answer the call, there’s no guarantee they will help either. Here are five examples of police “help” going horribly, horribly wrong:
1 In 2017, Justine Damond was shot and killed by police in Minneapolis after she called 911 to report a disturbance.
2 In 2016, Eugene Craig tried to protect his wife from what he thought were armed intruders into his home. It turns out they were police, conducting a welfare check by kicking the door in.
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3 Mark Steven Parkinson, age 65, was gunned down in his home by deputies dispatched to conduct a welfare check on someone else.
4 A 28-year-old man was shot in his home in 2017 when a SWAT team was dispatched based on a false report.
5 This one is hard to watch. The police were called about reports of a “rifle” in a hotel room, which turned out to be a pellet gun used in a pest control business. That didn’t stop them from literally torturing an innocent, unarmed man and then shooting him in cold blood.
5 – All of the people calling for gun control seem to be surrounded by armed guards.
Politicians, Hollywood actors — somehow they feel unhypocritical calling for gun control when they travel with armed escorts and generally have very highly armed security details at their events. Tell them to get rid of their armed guards, and then maybe we’ll talk. You say they are more of a target than the average person? How about wives or girlfriends who are targets of abusive spouses? I am not even going to list them; the instances of an abusive husband or boyfriend stalking and killing his girlfriend/wife/ex-wife, in spite of police involvement, are too numerous to count. Not that I think they should all shoot their stalkers, but in those situations, maybe having a gun and being trained to use it wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
6 – Gun control does not equal safer.
This probably should have been #1 on the list, but I am following the lead of gun control advocates, who always bury it. The rational thing to do would be to examine the facts, looking at areas where strict gun control has been enacted versus areas with looser laws, and how their crime/murder rates are affected. The reason we don’t look at that is because the facts don’t support gun control. Here are ten gun control facts to open your eyes:
1 Washington, D.C. banned guns in 1976, and annual homicide rates skyrocketed. With some of the strictest gun laws in the country, it’s still one of the most dangerous places to live.
2 The vast majority (nearly 99 percent) of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. Of course; they are an easy target.
3 There is a clear correlation between higher firearm ownership and reduced police killings. A national Association of Chiefs of Police survey found that more than 86 percent of 20,000 police chiefs support concealed carry.
4 Ireland banned firearms in 1972 after having a fairly static homicide rate for years. After the ban, the murder rate shot up for a brief period of time, then dropped back to about its previous level. Since then, it has increased steadily despite the gun ban.
5 Australia: Australia’s gun ban in 1996 had virtually no long-term effect, but there was a small spike immediately following the ban. Same for the U.K.
7 – Law-abiding citizens should be able to have guns.
Never mind that the Bill of Rights says that this is an INHERENT right — not a privilege that can be taken away by the government. Never mind that most people who have guns would NEVER, EVER kill someone except in the direst of circumstances. Never mind that sometimes just having a gun is protection enough.
Gun control isn’t really about controlling guns, which it won’t. It’s about transferring power from the citizens to an elite class that controls the military and law enforcement. A country where only the government gets guns is a totalitarian country of slaves. The Second Amendment was designed to ensure a well-regulated militia; given the encroachment of the massive police state, this does not seem like a good time to give up our guns. The day the military and law enforcement don’t carry guns is the day that I will advocate for a citizenry without guns.
Free citizens are free citizens, and slaves are slaves.
8 – People will not abide by the law.
With laws that are just and clearly benefit the community, most people are happy to abide by the law. Most people don’t murder or steal. But unjust, unfair, burdensome laws tend to see resistance, as we saw with prohibition and as we are seeing with marijuana now. Laws may act as a deterrent, but good luck enforcing any laws that take away Americans’ guns. How far do you want to take it? Door-to-door confiscation, imprisonment, reeducation camps?
On a side note, we are millimeters away from building a blockchain black market in which people will be able to access anything they want, from weapons to drugs to awful things like child pornography. We’d better grow up and find a way to evolve rather than trying to control each other.
On another side note, everything you need to build a working firearm, you can find at Home Depot.
9 – You can’t ban everything that’s dangerous.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yes, that’s trite but it’s true. A person can make a flamethrower out of a lighter and some hairspray; are we going to ban hairspray? Murder can come in oh so many ways, many of them very efficient and extremely available, guns or no. The problem is NOT GUNS. We need to look deeper to solve the actual problem, not just ban stuff.
10 – The problem is deeper than guns.
Our society has become so pathological that people kill themselves daily by overdosing on opioids (an average of one death every ten minutes), and so painful to live in that there are people who would rather commit a massacre than continue to live. People are chronically sick, malnourished, miserable, overworked, over-stressed, addicted, and unhappy; our society is not a fit place to live. Focusing on guns is missing the point. We need to do the real work of building a civilization where people can be healthy, joyful, happy, and — yes — free.
Lastly, here are ten things WE CAN DO NOW that can make us much safer in the long run:
- Stop glorifying gun violence.
- Deal with mental illness, and look into the connection between SSRIs and violent/suicidal behavior.
- Work to close the wealth gap, so people are not so desperate.
- Eliminate poverty, so people don’t have reasons to kill or steal from one another.
- Value women as more than sexual objects or objects to be abused.
- Stop isolating people who are different or struggling; bring them into the fold and help them.
- Stop elevating psychopaths to positions of power.
- Start thinking for ourselves, rather than being manipulated by a massive media machine.
- Stop criminalizing things we don’t like, and look for better ways to deal with our issues.
- Treat each other with kindness, respect, and compassion. Start really listening to each other rather than allowing ourselves to be divided.
Airwars drone strike data:
Drone strike estimates:
Cate Schrödinger is a writer and independent researcher out of Portland, Oregon. She is a mother and a yogi, and with deep gratitude is tirelessly devoted to understanding why the world is so f***ed up. And figuring out how to fix it (even though really it doesn’t need any fixing.) You can contact Cate at [email protected] You can read more from Cate at her blog The I Am You Project, where this article first appeared.