Gun Control: Gun Ownership and Gun Deaths

13 Feb 2013

On the afternoon of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, December 14, 2012, and after a spate of public mass shootings, President Obama said: “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” He did not say “gun control,” but there was little doubt that is what he meant. Five days later, Obama announced that he had asked Vice President Biden to lead a team to “come up with a set of concrete proposals” to “reduce the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country.” Obama talked about the need to make it easier to access mental health care as well as the need to “look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.” Obama also talked about polls that show majority support for “banning the sale of military-style assault weapons,” “banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips” and “laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases.” In response gun rights advocates have begun to push back. Both sides offer statistics that appear to back their arguments. Statistics are inseparable from the gun control debate. Many are collected…

Gun Control Pros and Cons - Some history

08 Feb 2013

For my second post I’ve chosen to review some of the history of gun use in America, since the US unfortunately has the reputation of being the most violent of all developed countries. As a historian I believe that mapping how we got here is vital to charting our future, not least because history shows how the values and viewpoints people hold today have arisen. Like millions in America and worldwide, I was shocked and distressed by the Newtown, CT school shooting. I wept inwardly with the bereaved parents. Two of my cousins teach school. Will they be safe, I asked myself? America is the greatest country in the world, so why do we have this problem of gun violence? Why does nobody seem to notice the disturbed teens and young adults who mostly perpetrate these crimes and act to correct their violent tendencies before they get catastrophically out of hand? Or is it really not a problem but isolated violent outbursts by deranged individuals? What, if anything, can we do about it? Indeed, should we do anything? Don’t Americans have the right to bear arms? Aren’t the overwhelming majority of Americans decent law-abiding citizens? Won’t more gun control infringe…