More Thoughts On Gun Control

Colt 1911


Do we want to solve gun violence, or do we just want to engage in useless bluster?

Whenever a terrible shooting takes place, in Toronto, or an American city, the gun control enthusiasts rush to the podium to bang their fist and display their anger.

Recently, US President, Barack Obama reacting to the mass shooting in Oregon that left nine people dead, said: “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.

He meant gun laws.

But another display of emotion won’t make gun control work.

The guns are not the problem, but they are an easy target, and politicians, like water, seek the easy course.

If gun control worked, Chicago would not experience the violence that it does. If gun control worked, the Toronto Sun would not have reported, in mid-July, that “The 227 shooting victims so far this year are 31 more than the total for all of 2014.””

Toronto and Chicago have gun control. Murder is also ‘controlled’.  It is illegal!  The problem is deeper and more complicated than the tool that is used.  But it is politically correct to blame the gun.  It is less so, and therefore fraught with political danger, to talk about family breakdown.

An article in The Federalist by Peter Hasson notes: “Violence?  There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence.  Suicide?  Fatherless children are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.  Dropping out of school?  71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless families.  Drug use?  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

How about guns? Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are, growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which is itself directly related to lack of an active or present father.

So what can we do to encourage young people to avoid single parenthood and to encourage responsible fatherhood? How do we keep young men from having to search for belonging and acceptance from other young men in a gang?

We should be as critical of the choices that lead to kids having babies as we are of guns, but politicians mostly recoil in horror when anyone suggests that they try this approach.

What about mental health? Are we willing to address that issue?  In theory the people are, but are politicians willing to make the necessary choices in priorities, and are we willing to stop putting money into parties like the Pan Am Games, and instead, adequately fund mental health programs?

Apparently not!

Too many things have already gone wrong before a young man picks up a gun and attacks his fellow human beings with the intent to kill. It’s a good thing to talk about fathers, mental health, conflict resolution, employment, mentoring, or whatever anyone can come up with towards achieving the common goal of ending gun violence.

The people whose first, and often only ‘solution’, is more gun control, when it clearly doesn’t work, are not to be taken seriously. Murder is illegal, and most guns used in shootings are illegally held under present gun laws.  We want young people to grow up, so let’s be grown-up about real solutions.


With many thanks to Gerry Agar, a Toronto Sun columnist and radio talk-show host, for some interesting and lucid thoughts about guns and social violence.

11 thoughts on “More Thoughts On Gun Control

  1. Ian Franks says:

    I am grateful to live in a country with real gun control laws and where guns have not been able to be spread widely and, guess what, the sad shootings which seem to take place several times a year in the USA rarely happen here. I don’t think that we deal any better with the contributing issues you mention; it is just that those who might become shooters just find it so hard to find a gun. By all means address all the causes but remove the weapons and no-one gets shot. The trouble is that in the USA there are already too many guns so any attempt to control them would seem to be futile.


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Hey, Ian. You make an important point. Rational gun-control laws do work in many nations other than the USA. (Where do you live, anyway?)

      I agree with just about all of Archon’s arguments but I think it is more than just too many guns. The problem is that places like Chicago are surrounded by counties and other states that do not have the same restrictions. It’s like trying to bail a boat with a sieve and the biggest hole is the lack of background checks for private and trade show sales.

      Number two on the problem list, which Archon mentions, is mental health, but that is much more expensive to fix than reasonable laws. Our culture is in runaway mode.


  2. Sightsnbytes says:

    this seen on a bumper sticker on a rusted out old Ford truck in front of me this morning…’If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns’


  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    @ Ian,

    Oops, now I see from your gravity that you reside in North Wales. I’m glad you spoke up on this.


  4. Jim Wheeler says:

    Dang spellchecker! Gravitar, dammit.


  5. Jim Wheeler says:

    Sorry, can’t help it, but one more point. Solving mental health and social issues takes decades, but more people are dying here than elsewhere every single day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ian Franks says:

    @ Jim, Yes, that’s North Wales, UK, not in the one in Pennsylvania. Except airport officers and Royal protection officers our regular police do not carry firearms. There are armed officers in rapid response vehicles but their weapons are locked in the boot (trunk to you) and only taken out when at an incident.


  7. Daniel Digby says:

    In the US, if you want a gun badly enough, you can get one. Controlling intentional gun violence is difficult at best, but estimates of non-intentional gun fatalities exceeds 50% for non-suicides. This is covered by gun safety, not gun control, which had little effect while the Brady laws were in effect.

    Unintentional shootings are not “accidents” (except in cases so rare that I only know of one). They are caused by people who either don’t know how to handle a gun or willfully refuse to practice gun safety. There are 3 basic principles.

    Lock up any guns you aren’t carrying. It prevents misuse of guns by other people (e.g. kids) who are in your home. When you carry a handgun, keep it in a holster unless you’re handling it. (Rifles and shotguns have slightly different rules.) This prevents accidental trigger access. Adhere strictly to the 4 rules for gun handling.

    Shootings are no accident and should be prosecuted the same as an intentional shooting. Unfortunately, they aren’t, because it would upset the person who mishandled the gun. Until people are forced to start taking responsibility for their guns, “boo-boos” will continue.

    My favorite case happened in 2014 in Memphis. An armed robber shot and killed a woman after she gave him all her money and valuables. But it was okay because the robber’s “finger slipped onto the trigger and the gun went off accidentally.” The story was carried on Dateline.

    It still irks me when our politicians don’t know the difference between gun safety and gun control.


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Shootings are no accident and should be prosecuted the same as an intentional shooting.

      I would like to see this enacted into law. I wonder how the N.R.A. would react to the idea?


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