I don’t agree with a couple of sentiments written by Jeremy. But he “gets” it.
Going after responsible gun ownership doesn’t solve our social ills.
I’m not much of a gun fan. It’s a fairly common sentiment amongst Canadian urbanites, but it bears repeating: many of us don’t think handguns serve any real purpose aside from policing and target shooting.
You want to be paranoid about your home protection? Fine. Just don’t ask me over a for a barbecue, because I’m more likely to be shot accidentally by you than by someone breaking in.
Having said that, North Americans are big on the concept of liberty, of being left alone to do your own thing, as long as it isn’t hurting others. A quick look south of the border demonstrates conclusively that the more poverty a community has, the higher its gun homicide rate will be, and gun licensing has essentially nothing to do with it.
Gun control advocates are wrong, gun owners are right. It’s not the proliferation of weapons that causes gun homicides, it’s the social circumstance of the people buying them, and that frequently includes criminals. Gun registries and licensing systems don’t lower gun crime, and neither do concealment laws. They have no correlation, statistically.
Relatively affluent Vermont , for example, has liberal gun laws, including allowing fully concealed weapons on your person and purchases without background checks. It also has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the U.S., several points lower than Canada’s.
Sure, gun proliferation in states already up to their necks in poverty doesn’t help. But it’s not the root cause of gun homicides. In states where incomes are lower, crime is higher. And in those states, homicide rates are up to 450% higher than states with higher family incomes — usually the north and northeast.
In those states that have fared better at dealing with the deeper problems — family unrest, the racial divide, addictions and increased petty crime — people simply aren’t inclined to shoot one another.
In other words, if you’re raised in a bad household in a poor neighbourhood you, a) are more likely to have a politician who wants to sell you on self-protection via firearms; b) be more inclined to agree with him, based on your feeling of insecurity, or; c) be one of the criminals victimizing people in depressed neighbourhoods.
What it means is that the social circumstances that push someone over the edge are tough to fight when life doesn’t allow you to buy your way out of trouble. Common sense, then, dictates the answer to gun violence comes in educating people and combatting the poverty-based roots of crime and social dysfunction.
Fight poverty, and you lower crime. Lower crime, and you decrease gun violence. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t come from banning guns and it doesn’t come from forcing people through licensing procedures.
Problematically, many of the places that most need to reform anti-poverty efforts reject it out of course, because they’re dogmatically taught that all people are created equally. So that idea that someone might be helped out of poverty, instead of simply helping themselves — a proposal that really isn’t very simple at all — is repugnant to them. Then they ask for more guns, to protect themselves from the root problem.
In Canada, we’ve had the best and worst of both worlds, governments willing to spend the money needed to combat the root causes of poverty, thereby exponentially lower future judicial and health costs, while also willing to enact a multi-billion-dollar gun control failure. Just think how much more good could have been done with that money had it been used to attack the root cause of why so many people shoot each other in the first place.