A journal post by Rowan Blair Colver
We hear of it a lot; tragic, avoidable and traumatic death and injury because of guns and the people that fire them. It happens all too often. I make my position very clear on the matter of guns. Guns are deadly tools of violence which are a shameful invention and one which I wish would just disappear. I know this won't happen. They exist, the cat is out of the bag with guns. We cannot afford to aim for a world where all guns are a thing of the past, it is impossible to control the entire world and everyone in it. There are those who will turn to these powerful tools of harm in order to improve their strength, persuasion ability and confidence. Putting a weapon with only one purpose, to provide the exaggerated power to kill or cause significant damage, into the hands of anyone must have a very good reason.
In Britain, our gun control laws are strict. It is very hard to acquire the firepower to do significant harm with guns. If guns are used in crime, the facilities are there to find the culprit and the penalties in place are severe. Using guns in daily life in the UK is a very risky business and with a general consensus to avoid them, those who do use them often find themselves shunned into the underworld. In this part of society, where the criminals do their business, violence is more prevalent. However, one must be involved in it in order to be exposed to it to any major degree. If a person wishes to remain outside of criminal circles, it is very easy to do so. On the contrary, in order to become a trusted and openly criminal member of the underground world, one must undertake great personal risks in order to do so, cutting it fine – it's very hard to become part of that world. The closer you get to it, the more exposed you will become to violence. Compared to a society where guns are in every day usage, this makes the harm done by these weapons appear very low indeed.
In a country like America, where the gun culture has prevailed long enough to still be around today, it is not simply a matter of putting down the gun. We all know that the everyday American often feels that they rely on their gun to feel safe in their own home. Because of the high likelihood a criminal will be armed in the States, this may be an accurate truth. Let's be honest, we all need to feel safe in our homes and if good doors, locks and so on are not enough, then as a last resort, when faced with an armed criminal a gun may be advisable. Saying that, a life is far more valuable that any material goods, a TV, laptop, stereo etc. are all replaceable. A life, a human being cannot be replaced, each one is unique. Killing a person in order to save something which has no free will, no memories and no potential to grow is crazy and in my opinion, morally wrong. If it is your life, or the life of one of your children that is being threatened, then force would be reasonable, for me. Having seen the statistics and the continual wave of gun crimes that occur each day in the States, I feel that gun reform has to occur. A slow stranglehold on the ability of unbalanced people to acquire, carry and use weapons has to start. We know that a culture such as the American one cannot be asked to change overnight, like any strong and self assured personality, a change to meet current difficulties, taking responsibility for the issues of the day, must take time.
A gun is a powerful tool, much in the way that a car is one. Although a car has another primary purpose, other than killing, it is still capable of doing so. Everyone has the right to own and drive a car, if they so choose, but they first must comply with the regulated test. Once passed and proven, only then may they go out and legitimately purchase a car. Then, it must be insured, checked regularly and the fuel is taxed. This keeps all cars in the system and allows the drivers to each be held responsible for their driving. Why not do this with guns? It would mean that they would only end up in the hands of those who could afford them and can demonstrate proper use. It means that anyone found to be misusing their gun can have their license removed or suspended. Tax the ammunition, make it expensive to use one. Just like a car, it's still possible to drive but because of the price of fuel we tend to limit it to necessity and because of the license rules in place all drivers can be expected to be of a suitable standard and proficiency. It makes sense, to me. Some American people feel that a gun law is going against the second amendment of their constitution. To me, this seems a little absurd as when we are defending ourselves from an oppressor, we do not need written permission from anyone. It turns out that self defence laws work well enough for when we are forced to cause harm in order to protect ourselves. A written permission slip handed over to the bad guy like a school child to a teacher isn't going to matter, just do what you can to get rid of them like an adult.
Open carrying of guns for me is the one thing that is the route to the ease of gun crime. If it is not legal to carry a loaded weapon around with you then it will be much harder to take a loaded gun to somewhere and use it. I know that women often feel the need for a pistol in their bag and so on, and I accept this and would suggest that weapons designed for short range one on one protection are a class of their own but the same regulations need to be applied. To allow a person to carry a weapon around with them, I suggest a strict test, and registered weapons, some form of legal process which grants people the freedom to carry their weapon once they have demonstrated that they are prepared to use it responsibly. For weapons that are more powerful than a small pistol, automatics and long range weapons, the necessity for these deadly machines of killing is beyond me outside of a warzone. Maybe you want to be prepared and just incase the armys decend on you, feel that you can handle yourself. That's a very paranoid place to be in, mentally. Trust your neighbours, trust your friends, your country, a little bit more. Don't be the bad guy.
The main reason for using guns for crooks and for the good people is fear. Fear of guns. Everyone has to calm down, if you fear a gun you will feel more desire to own one. If you own one then others will fear it and feel more desire to own a better one, and so the cycle continues. Somewhere we have to stop and place our trust one someone. And I'm looking at those police officers now, those men and women who wear the uniform of the people. When I say calm down I am talking to you especially. Don't be the mirror to the society you're trying to serve and protect. Be braver than that.
Rowan Blair Colver