A few posts ago I tried to get a discussion going about guns and gun control, which started but then sputtered to a stop after a few desultory comments. It was suggested by one devil’s advocate (*cough* Philly *cough*) that perhaps guns in the hands of responsible citizens protecting their homes from invasion was a counter-argument to my implied disdain for guns (my implication most obvious in the graphic of Rick Santorum holding a gun. I just don’t think frothy fecal matter and guns mix well). I tend to agree, to a point, but I don’t necessarily feel that ends the discussion.
I see today a story about a young mother who shot and killed a home invader, protecting her child, with a shotgun, who seems to be ruled in the clear for doing so. To add sympathy to the story, her husband conveniently died of cancer on Christmas Day. And, to make it even better, she called the police and asked for permission before she shot the guy. Permission was not granted explicitly, but it was granted implicitly. (No responsible police authority would say “Sure, go ahead and shoot the bastard”. At least not when the 911 call is being recorded.)
However, while I sympathize with that woman (really a teenager, scared and certainly within her rights) the last line of the article bothers me.
According to the latest FBI data, firearms were used in 215 cases of “justifiable homicide” in 2009 in the United States, where every year guns figure in around 30,000 deaths ranging from murder to suicide and accidents.
My calculator says that of all the deaths caused by guns in 2009, less that 1% of them were justifiable. The other 99.3% are from murder, suicide or accidents and the like.
To me, home protection may be a good reason to oppose gun bans, but it certainly has no place in a discussion about gun control. Gun control contemplates some supervisory and regulatory process meant soley to lower the statistics of gun deaths and violence as a result of murders, suicides and accidents, while leaving protection of one’s home intact. Law abiding home owners, one would think, would a) have no problems securing guns to protect themselves, and b) have no problem with minimally intrusive controls placed on their acquisitions.
But the NRA thinks otherwise, and the NRA is a powerful lobby. And we all know how well the Republicans and Democrats love that lobby money.
And while I’m at it, I hate, hate, hate the analogy that gun control opponents use concerning the licensing of automobiles. Yes, automobiles do result in many deaths, and yes, we don’t ban them. But automobiles are not designed nor manufactured for one purpose and one purpose only, as guns are, to kill. Death from automobiles is incidental to their use; it is not their primary purpose.
So I frankly don’t understand the complacency in the country about doing something about guns. It makes no rational sense to me.