On gun laws

This afternoon on CNN, the commentator said that the drive toward gun control was gathering steam, and this just may be what it takes to over-ride the National Rifle Association’s virtual hammerlock on it. This lunatic in Virginia bought a 9 mm handgun last month without so much as a by-your-leave. Just cruised in and picked it out. They found the receipt in his bag.

That should be a wake-up call if Columbine wasn’t. It should be painfully obvious that there are now a wide world of wackos out there perfectly capable of killing as many innocents as possible before offing themselves. Each and every one of them can just cruise in and buy handguns whenever they want.

My take and it is only my personal opinion for what you think it’s worth- the second amendment protects the right to bear arms, but not the right to get them cheaply or easily. It ought to be hard as Hell to get a gun. Months of waiting and background checking and a damned good excuse to have one. And they ought to be VERY costly. Enough so that anyone has to save for months to get one. There is NEVER a reason for an ordinary citizen to own a 9 mm handgun, a device specifically crafted for killing other humans and nothing else. That goes for the entire array of “Saturday Night Specials” too. There is NEVER a reason for any citizen to own ANY kind of assault rifle or anything that fires on full automatic, unless it is permanently disabled with cement in the barrel and no firing mechanism. And no one should EVER have a firearm unless it’s registered with the Federales, and they know exactly who has each and every one of them and where they are at any given moment.

I don’t care if the statistics brought forward by the NRA say that strictly regulating handguns has no effect on crime. As far as I’m concerned, those statistics are biased. They don’t pass the common sense test. Just like A.B.A.T.E,with straight faces, trot out their “earth is flat” statistics that death and disability decrease when riders don’t have to wear helmets. That bullshit doesn’t pass the common sense test either. Common sense dictates that when guns are harder to get, it will be harder to get them, and less can be used in violent crimes. And I also don’t buy the old chestnut that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. None of the lunatics in any of the recent mass killings were “outlaws”. They were average people with a couple of screws loose.

Gun nuts say the price we pay for having to protect ourselves is allowing the few wackos to also have the same access to guns. I see it the other way, there are an increasing supply of wackos, to the point where it’s better to have a few citizens get assaulted than allow any wacko that wants one to get a gun easily and cheaply. If the NRA has it’s way, we are headed to a The reality is that is we go to a wild West scenario where every time a car backfires every citizen on the sidewalk draws a weapon and shoots first, asking questions later. The increasing number of handguns in the pockets of John Q. Public has an infinitely bigger chance of shooting himself, his spouse or an innocent than actually protecting himself from an assault.

The NRA is very much like A.B.A.T.E as they continue to kick a dead horse but with decreasing evidence to support their position. I certainly hope this latest outrage stimulated the potential to simply raise the threshold for vetoing the NRA much like is going to happen to A.B.A.T.E as accumulating evidence occurs.

We have been down this road on Med-Events before. it is an emotionally volatile issue and continuing to argue about it isn’t going to change anyone’s mind on either side. So this is all I have to say about it. Take it for what you think it’s worth.

The argument that we can’t do anything about handguns in America because there are already too many of them is simply ridiculous. By that logic, why should we try to track down all the bags of tainted pet food? There are too many of them and we don’t know where all of them are. Let’s just suck it up and keep accurate statistics for the deaths.

Aggressive action is better than none. Collecting some of the guns we can find and tossing into the sea is better than just giving up. Tightening up the sale of guns now will pay dividends in time, if not right away. Something is better than nothing. The time has come to at least make an attempt to stop this madness.

I don’t know if this will be the wake up call that will finally squelch the hammerlock of the National Rifle Association but I can only hope. The time has come to clamp down and clamp down VERY hard on guns in this country. Sorry about the mistakes of the past. We can’t fix that, but we can get a start on making it better for the future.

The hard line of the gun lobby is out of date and lethal. Innocents are dying regularly now, and they are dying of gunshot wounds from handguns. The fact that wackos are killing innocents wholesale by other methods than handguns is IMMATERIAL. There is a limit of what we can do to control wackos killing innocents be other lethal methods. We CAN at least make an effort to stop the handgun scourge.

Another classic myth perpetrated by the NRA is“guns don’t kill people, people do”. A variation of the “there are already too many guns out there, so we can’t do anything about them” myth. It’s bullshit. You can’t necessarily stop people from doing dastardly things, but you can sure as Hell make it more difficult for them. Make it extremely difficult to purchase guns, and expensive. Absolutely no one should ever have a semi-automatic handgun and especially ones with a 33 round banana clip. Why does the NRA think anyone would want to fire 33 rounds in rapid succession with a quick change clip? Plinking at tin cans? The only weapons available for “self protection” should be five round revolvers, ponderous and time consuming to load. Time to subdue a shooter in the process.

Some lunatic actually came on CNN last night and vigorously advocated simply arming all citizens as a response to these infrequent disasters. So any suspicious activity in the mind of armed citizens would initiate a firefight that would expand to anyone in earshot. How would you like to live in a society where after dropping your clipboard on a wood floor you found twenty guns trained on you.


David Crippen, MD
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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