Gun Control (Con)

Unlike in the movies, there is no foreshadowing moment to warn us of the danger to come or eerie music that precedes the crazed killer. A horrific moment like the shooting in Aurora, Colo., violently shakes us, then vanishes, leaving behind the crumpled pieces of a once ordinary day. Every year we are reminded of how abrupt violence can occur at any moment. And every year we panic, succumb to fear and desperately search for the culprits. But our empathy and fear disillusions our minds from remembering that such a tragic moment, like the mind that devised it, is too complex to reduce into a single perpetrator.

Gun control is the cry of millions each time there is a mass shooting like in the one Aurora, or a senseless death as was the case with Trayvon Martin. And yet, when a cult like Jim Jones’s People’s Temple or Heaven’s Gate commits mass suicide there is no inquiry into whether we should control the influences of religions … Islam being an occasional exception as of late. When a serial rapist is on the loose there is no one shouting against the male appendage, although perhaps we should.

I’m obviously joking. I would not advocate the suppression of religion or even consider that the male libido is responsible for rape.

In fact, it is this writer’s hope that most readers do not blame religion or man for such crimes. We understand that victims of cults like Heaven’s Gate are often displaced persons seeking kinship and rape is not linked to sexual desire but rather to a psychological need for control.  And yet contrary to our understanding, we are told to believe that guns are the main cause of gun violence and their abolishment will cure us of our gun-murdering disease.

I confess, I am not a gun owner and have serious doubts over the meaning of our “right to bear arms.” However, believing that gun control will inhibit gun violence is as tedious as believing that withdrawal is an effective form of birth control.

Gun control has not been proven to prevent crime. In May 2007, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy released a report titled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” The findings discovered that an ease of access does not facilitate suicide or murder, and that strict gun control doesn’t reduce gun violence. The study supported their findings by addressing a few popular ideas about gun control.

Europe is safer and has fewer guns. Prior to gun control laws, Europe already had significantly lower gun violence than the United States; hence, gun control was not the likely cause of Europe’s low murder rates. The study also compared each nation more closely discovering that countries like Belarus, which banned guns, had a murder rate of 10 percent; while Poland which allows guns had only 1.9 percent; meanwhile Russia (now banned) was at 20 percent.  

The U.S. is the most violent nation. According to the report, crime in the United States has been declining since the 1990s. The researchers believe the drop in crime could be due to the increase in prison populations and executions, which occurred during the 1990s.

The authors of the study, Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser never promote gun ownership or even suggest that gun control causes crime. They are merely suggesting that there are other factors which contribute to gun violence and that more studies should be conducted on the subject.

And yet still the most obvious truth remains hidden: guns don’t kill people, people kill people, which is the most popular phrase shouted by anti-gun control advocates and it is undoubtedly the most moronic statement; much like saying that alcohol doesn’t cause alcohol poisoning. And yet there is a truism that we are reluctant and afraid to accept.

A gun is not the motivator of violence but rather it is a means to a very particular end. I will not assume why the Aurora gunman barged into a theatre and murdered 12 people or why George Zimmerman shot a 17-year-old. But we shy away from their reasoning and logic as though understanding them would lead to justification and redemption.

But a person’s mind governs their actions and unfortunately, or rather fortunately, our minds reside beyond the reaches of legislation. We must reluctantly accept the truth that there is no law that can stop a desperate individual seeking to unleash their hateful wrath. If we truly want to stop senseless and unnecessary deaths, we should stop focusing on their method of pain and starting understanding their minds.

 

Nidia Sandoval is a 4th year History major and can be reached at nidias@uci.edu