Friday, October 06, 2006

Guns Don't Kill People

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people!" This is the oft quoted mantra of the gun lobby, and those who see guns as a good thing to have in society, that allows then to wring their hands in anguish over the deaths by shooting of children in a school, but still advocate that guns are a good thing.

I have spent some time, this week, thinking about this, and my conclusion is that I just can't agree.

To my mind, there is a major difference between killing sombady with a gun and any other method, and that difference is the degree and level of subjectivity in the killing.

Guns allow for a degree of distance between shooter and victim. The shooter only has to point a gun and pull a trigger. There is a degree of seperation between the method and the victim. The death, for the shooter, is less personal, easier and convenient. All that is required is to squeeze a trigger. Other forms of violent death, generally require the killer to get up close and personal with the victim. Requires a certain degree of physical activity, and the ever present danger that the victim could turn the tables on the killer. Stabbing, strangling and beating all provide dangers for the killer which means that the gun makes a much more tempting tool to use.

This is why, I believe, that countries that have strong levels of gun control and have less guns, legitimate or illegitimate, in circulation appear to have less gun crime and death per capita than America.

I am left with the thought that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people and those people are choosing guns because it is easier!"


Grog said...


jay said...

One overiding thing to keep in mind is that guns are designed to do one thing and one thing only....kill.

sandegaye said...


Bag said...

Me again. Surprising I don't agree with that statement. As I said previously I thought this way previously but having looked at some of the data available from other countries who have implemented a wide variety of rules on guns I now believe the opposite is true. It's a good idea but no society on earth, is ready for it. When they are it won't be required.

There is a site on the web, unsurprisingly, pro gun which says there is only one question that needs to be asked - That question is 'Can you demonstrate just one time, one place, throughout all of human history, where restricting the access of handheld weapons to the average person made them safer?'

Mark said...

Sorry Bag, but turn that question round. Can you demonstrate just one time, one place, thoughout human history, where not restricting the access of hand held weapons to the average person made them feel safer.

Guns have just one purpose as Jay says above - to kill. My arguement is, and I have yet to see it disproved anywhere in anything I've so far read, that a society that has more guns than another society, has more deaths per capita than other society. The most stark example of this - USA and Canada. Guns, because of the impersonal nature of the implement, make it so much more easy to kill, and a country that allows unrestricted ownership of guns, as America appears to allow, is going to have a much higher gun death rate than a country that has gun restriction.

To answer your question, I do feel that the likelihood of being shot in this country is so remote that I would say I do feel safer than I would in a society where possibly every person that passes may have a gun, and a psychotic desire to use it. I'm afraid, I have yet to see a single convincing argument for universal gun ownership that makes any rational sense to me. I believe that the more guns in society, the less safe that society becomes - and there is an awful lot of literature and reseach around to supprt that arguement.

Bag said...

Mark, Right off the top of my head in answer to your question.

Brazil. Now. The vote went for the ordinary citizen to retain guns to defend themselves against the many criminals using guns. previously they were disarmed by the government.

Can you give an answer to my question now?

Anonymous said...

Brazil has the highest crime rate in the world with kidnappings daily and murder so common it isn't even noticed any more. How are they safer?

Mark said...

Brazil was probably a bad choice for you, Bag. That country has as almost as big a gun crime problem as the US.

Bag said...

Mark, You are right. I plucked Brazil from the air in a quick response because I had read somewhere on my travels around the WWW about crime going down after the gun laws were repealed. Now of course I have no ideal where it was or even the details because all the data I can find is from 1997. So much for a quick response to save me looking.

So, yet again a quick response, which I is to default to one of the usual suspects which are the Swiss due to their gun laws being the reason they were not invaded in WW2. There is more info here,,, and I was also looking for the data on Israel and the US where some areas had relaxed gun laws while others had tightened it. That is also worth a look and there is lots of data there if you have some spare hours.

The bottom line is it appears to come down to the people. Where the people are violent and the area is high crime then with or without guns the violence is the same. With guns the weak have the capability of defending themselves and without guns the rely on the law. Some places have very little law so you need to bring your own.

Although after watching these types of discussions in the US I've come to the conclusion that when the guns are legal they are used by ordinary people to commit crimes and when they are illegal they are used by criminals to commit different crimes. The victims are different although in the scheme of things the ordinary people using guns would just run them over or stab them instead.

It all depends what you think will get you the most. I think a terrorist getting me is lower than being shot by a policeman I have little chance of being shot by citizens either way but by criminals I feel I have a higher chance while we are disarmed and this would be lowered by being armed.

If guns could be completely removed and not replaced then it would be a possibility but although we in the UK are surrounded by water with choke points for smugglers guns still come in by the crateload, remember the silenced Baikal autos, someone is buying them and it isn't just for decoration.

It's back to your choice of car. What is your favourite vehicle? Each person has a difference choice that is valid for them and no one will convince them otherwise.

Channy said...

My step mom came here from Australia, where they had gun control...and she said that the crime rate when up considerably, because everyone knew that no one had a gun to protect themselves with.

Also, I'd rather be shot than be stabbed to death, ran over, poisoned, or anything else for that matter.

Also, the news never covers these things, but one school shooting incident, a man had already killed a person or two. Two people managed to get away from the school, go to their vehicles, get their guns, find the killer, and point them at him. The man put down his gun and surrendered before he could kill anyone else.

I apologize if I have offended anyone. I'm glad that you used the word "seem" when you were talking about places that have gun control. Because in most places with cities and the like, actually are more dangerous.

Criminals don't care about what's legal and what's not. What's going to stop them from getting a gun when it's illegal?