In the last day, I've seen numerous calls for gun control.
Okay. I agree gun ownership is a major problem. So, right now, I will become America's fairy godmother and grant your wish: gun ownership is now illegal.
Don't worry about Constitutional guarantees, political opposition, or whether hunters can still own guns, what weapons will be allowed to farmers defending their livestock, and whether cops can still carry weapons when they're off duty. I, your fairy godmother, will take care of all that.
All you have to do is take the guns away from the people who own them.
Go on. I'm waiting.
Don't you have a plan for that? I mean, you can go door-to-door and search every home (although I think the Constitution may have something to say about that). Or you can just wait for all the law abiding citizens to voluntarily surrender the expensive guns they've bought or inherited from grandpa or whatever.
Yeah. Good luck with that.
Then you have the not-law-abiding folks to deal with. Those usually are the ones who launch large-scale attacks on their fellow citizens—breaking the law—and they're not likely to be too concerned about the legality of their weapons. Or the legality of your efforts to take their weapons from them.
I suspect that serious gun control legislation has about as much chance of controlling guns in this country as Prohibition had of controlling alcohol consumption 94 years ago.
I know. There's nothing wrong with alcohol consumption. There's nothing wrong with gun ownership, either. But alcohol abuse contributes to 100,000 deaths a year in this country: more than 25,000 by drinking and driving, the rest by disease [http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_alcohol_related_deaths_occur_each_year]. Gun use (2006 numbers; more recent weren't available here) produces about 31,000 deaths per year: 642 accidental, 17,000 suicide, 13,000 homicide, 220 undetermined, and 360 by legal intervention [http://wiki.answers.com/Q/In_America_how_many_deaths_are_caused_by_guns_annually].
I'm not going to say that one of those things is worse than the other. I am going to believe that your chance of successfully legislating one is about as good as your chance of legislating the other. (Actually, legislating is only the beginning of the problem: after you legislate gun control, you have to enforce it.)
This is why I don't jump on the gun-control bandwagon. Calling for gun control following a shooting disaster makes some people feel better. It doesn't help me, perhaps because I foresee what would happen if gun-control fans got their wish.
Easier to control than guns, I think—I hope—is influencing people's perception of gun users. Hollywood could help. How about movies where only the losers carry guns, while the winners use their heads? And make sure the gun-carrying guys are portrayed as stupid. Oh, and ugly. (No more movies with Brad Pitt playing a hitman.)
And how about if the news outlets never, never name gunmen. Naming the gunman only humiliates the killer's family (always assuming he hasn't already killed them); people who use guns to commit a crime shouldn't be discussed except in obscure psychological journals, and even then they're just "Subject A." And no more shoot-'em-up computer games. Concentrate on sports games, and if you want a computerized shooting game, have the players competing for medals against other marksmen at the Olympics. Or maybe you could tax gun ownership, and tax the ammunition. Make ammunition massively expensive—too expensive for wannabe killers to buy enough ammo for a big killing spree—and use that tax revenue to help finance mental health programs.
I'll bet other people can come up with ideas, too. I'd much rather see people work to develop ideas that could work, rather than just shouting incoherently for gun control now!, with no suggestion of how to enforce it.