I've been holding off on writing this.... I didn't want to jump into the fray about gun control right after Sandy Hook because I didn't want to get caught up in the emotion of the event. I didn't want to write this right before Christmas because it would ruin the Holiday. So here it is, December 26 and I'm writing up my thoughts on Gun Control...
First off, a confession; although I lean libertarian if someone, anyone gave me compelling evidence that the world would be safer without private ownership of guns, I'd get on the side of amending the Constitution (sorry, we still can't pass gun laws without changing the Constitution). It's obvious to the least casual observer that I'm a bit of a Doctor Who fan and from a young age I was programmed to want to believe that "intellect and romance overcomes brute force and cynicism". But when I look at the world, I don't believe that anymore. Every time I look into the issue I go looking for evidence to support gun control and come away believing that an armed population is the best answer.
So to start with, although gun violence seems to be happening more and more it isn't, so the expiration of the "assault weapons" ban has nothing to do with it. Also the homicide rate is the lowest it's been in 40 years (roughly 5 per 100,000 now versus 10 per 100,000 at it's height in 1980). So that fear you feel about safety is more about feeding the 24 hour news cycle then it is based in reality.
I found references to a couple of potential mass shooting over the time right around Sandy Hook
- December 17, 2012 San Antonia, TX, An armed security guard (and off-duty sheriff's deputy) shot a gunman who began shooting up a mall restaurant in a mall and followed patrons into a movie theatre.
- December 11, 2012 Portland, OR, An armed man enters a mall and begins opening fire, A man with a concealed carry permit draws his weapon but doesn't take a shot because he couldn't know that he wouldn't hit innocent bystanders. The shooter sees this and decides to take his own life.
As I only heard about these incidents by looking for them I have to wonder, how often does a citizen with a legal gun stop this kind of violence. What's interesting to me as I think of the mass shootings in the last few years from Columbine to Sandy Hook, with the exception of Gabby Giffords, which was more an assassination attempt then a mass shooting, I can't think of one that wasn't in a place that didn't have rules about guns. Schools are gun free zones, the Aurora movie theatre didn't allow guns, etc, etc. It would only make sense that a person who intends to commit mass violence would go to a place that banned guns. He'd know he could commit maximum violence before the police could respond. A gun free zone is nothing but a hunting preserve filled with innocent people to these people.
Did you know that there was a mass stabbing in a China school the morning of the Sandy Hook shooting? 22 children were injured. There have been 10 such attacks in China over the last few years with attackers using knives, axes, hammers and cleavers. So, even if I believe that gun control will prevent these people from getting guns, I don't think it will prevent the violence.