The #GunControl debate has been raging on Twitter this past week. I've been getting involved in my own little way, angering some and being invited to live in America by others.
Being a gun owner for sporting purposes, and believing in the restoration of the right to armed self defence for UK citizens, I am firmly camped on the pro gun side.
As a UK citizen I believe my rights have been stripped from me by the government and find it very hard to understand why some US citizens want the same thing to happen to them.
In this post I'm going to take a look at some of their arguments. I'll start with one that cropped up during a Twitter engagement on Saturday night.
Gun control argument no. 1
The UK had 30 gun deaths last year. The USA had 11 thousand.
My previous point to Mary Bartula had been that gun control increases levels of violent crime. This has been evident throughout history and across the globe. The most recent examples being Australia and our very own UK.
The most obvious flaw in the comparison between gun deaths in the UK and USA is the vast population difference. There are sixty million people in the UK and a whopping three hundred and ten million in the US.
If you break that down and do the maths, the US has 35 more gun deaths per million population than the UK. In real terms, 2129 gun deaths to the UKs 30. Still high?
The trouble is, you can't just look at a reduction of gun deaths to decide if gun control works.
As a rule, most criminals do not hand their guns in to the authorities in the event of restrictions or a ban coming in to force. Gun control takes guns only from the law abiding.
One effect of this is that it does become harder for criminals who previously didn't own guns to get one, but not much more so. Over time the number of guns in criminals hands will go down.
Never the less, a murder is still a murder, if it's done with a gun, a knife or a cauliflower. A gun ban will not turn criminals into fluffy kittens, a person who wants to commit a violent crime will do so with whatever weapon is at their disposal.
Add to that a disarmed population and criminals who may have thought twice about committing that rape or mugging will now go ahead with the full knowledge that their target cannot fight back.
But you need to look at the bigger picture. As we saw in the video above, gun control leads to higher violent crime. Any lives saved by gun control will be more than offset by the lives lost as a result of gun control.
A disarmed population is an easy target for criminals, and they know it.
Let's look at another.
Gun control argument no. 2
Guns don't kill people. People kill people. With guns!
This is a response to the often said, "Guns don't kill people..." argument used by the pro gun lobby.
Both statements are true. It takes a particular person to pull a trigger and murder a person. That same person will kill with any weapon at his disposal. Gun, knife or cauliflower.
The target of legislation should be the murdering nut bag, not the law abiding citizen. This argument suggests that every gun is there to be used to kill someone and the only way to stop the deaths is to remove all the guns.
When a gun is used to kill then it's being misused. The military has guns to kill, that's what they do. Civilian guns are for defence and sport. When one of those is used to kill, punish the killer, not everyone else.
You could also engage in a grass roots policy of tackling the reasons why people want to kill, poverty, society, gang culture etc, but this would mean a long term plan. Politicians rarely think past the next election.
Gun control argument no. 3
If you need an assault weapon to kill a deer, you're in the wrong sport.
There are two fundamental flaws in the argument.
Machine guns have been banned in America since 1934. The current gun control debate surrounds semi auto rifles. With these guns you get one shot per pull of the trigger. They are perfectly suited for hunting and can also be customised to look more like a military weapon. Never the less, they are not.
I own one of these for clay pigeon shooting:
This is the same weapon with a different grip, stock and fore grip:
It may look scarier to those who are frightened of inanimate object but it is exactly the same gun.
The other point is, the 2nd amendment to the US constitution, the amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms, was not written with deer hunting in mind.
The 2nd amendment guarantees the right to bear arms so that the American people can defend themselves against the government. Funnily enough, the same people who are trying to take away that right.
The right to bear arms in the US is not for hunting, it's to prevent a government turning into a dictatorship.
Gun control argument no.4
The 2nd amendment was written in 1791 when the only guns were flintlocks and muskets. Times have changed, the constitution needs to change too.
Going back to the point above and the true meaning of the 2nd amendment, the US army of today does not use flintlocks and muskets. The US army has access to weapons the civilian population can only dream of.
The Department of Homeland Security has enough bullets to put five into every American citizen.
The Department of Homeland Security is rushing to finish the acquisition of 750 million rounds of high-power ammunition that has already raised many eyebrows. In one week, the DHS should start expecting an arsenal that will make some armies jealous.
Why is that? The DHS does not operate over seas, their only enemy are the American people themselves.
Flintlocks and muskets?
Gun control argument no 5.
We are not trying to ban guns, only to limit access to firearms that have no legitimate use on our streets.
No restriction is ever the last. We've seen that with gun control in the UK and Australia where we are all now effectively disarmed.
Once you allow the first control measure through, the next logical step is always around the corner.
Banning semi automatics will not stop crime. The ban won't be repealed when this becomes evident though, the next ban will be on the table.
Rifles, shotguns, handguns, knives bats and cauliflowers. You may be only looking for what you call 'sensible restrictions' now, but the endgame will be total disarmament of the populace.
Americans. Your right to bear arms is unique and very valuable. Please don't give it up. I live in the UK and I know where that road takes you.