Evidence shows gun control will work, if strong enough

Eric DeBraal /

Published Mar 7, 2013 at 04:00AM

In the matter of gun control, opinion after opinion from gun rights types used logic as twisted as a rifled barrel.

Some reasoned that since deaths due to car crashes or drownings may outnumber gun deaths, then swimming and driving are more dangerous than guns. Using this logic, if more people die from falls than from cobra handling, then walking is the more dangerous activity.

The “only criminals will have guns” folks and the “no new laws, just enforce existing ones” crowd evidently think that if outright prevention of guns falling into the wrong hands is undoable, then making it more difficult is a wasted effort. And if existing laws make it easy for criminals to purchase guns from unregulated shows or private owners, easy for “straw purchasers” to buy guns for others and hard to trace guns, then what good are they?

There was a deafening silence from local law enforcement. I kept waiting to read some local official saying what police officers know and FBI statistics reveal: that most homicides occur due to arguments which, with a gun handy, turn deadly; that a gun in the home is more likely to be used in a domestic shooting than against an intruder. Instead, what do we get? Sheriffs around the state joining to head off any gun control. Publicly using their offices in this way was a mixture of drama-queenage and fear ratcheting, and their initial failure to state which provisions in the new gun laws they specifically objected to and why — well, that was a cop-out.

Nowhere in this discussion did I hear the plain observation that almost every step one can take to keep firearms tamper-proof makes them less accessible as intruder repellent.

Some want God back in schools to ease shooters out. Nope. We gain nothing by persuading kids to believe in a being who could commit a thousand Newtown massacres and would still have to be called good. Those who say “God wouldn’t do that” simply ignore a Bible filled with God-wouldn’t-do-thats.

The NRA would have us just get more guns, ignoring the fact that more guns owned means more guns stolen. Hundreds of thousands are stolen every year. And if more legal gun ownership means more safety, shouldn’t we already have close to the lowest violent crime in the world?

Listen to the gun-rights refrain: “gun control doesn’t work.” These people couldn’t take just a minute and research the matter? I’m sorry, the inverse ratio between gun control laws and gun violence in countries all over the world is neither illusion nor coincidence. And don’t tell me the U.S. is different. Yes, we’ve tried temporary gun control in localized areas where prohibited guns were still available in the next town. Those measures often failed. Big surprise.

But when was the last U.S. mass shooting with a fully automatic machine gun? Trying to illegally purchase one won’t get you far. They’ve been strictly controlled nationally since 1936 in reaction to the many innocents Tommy-gunned down. Also, tens of thousands of sketchy people are denied gun permits every year. That’s bona fide effective American gun control.

But it’s not enough. To seriously fight gun violence I see two simple steps we could try. First, limit personal gun purchases to one per month. Congruently, require that every firearm sold in the U.S. has, in big family-heirloom letters or mini-script, the owner’s name and the purchase date routered or lasered right on the gun itself: thus, fewer stolen guns and maybe the relaxation or retirement of other gun control laws.

Let’s face it: There are those who dismiss innocent gunshot victims as collateral damage. They think “some must die so we all can live free,” and those who disagree they call un-American. But what’s really un-American is posse-patrolled schools attended by kids in bulletproof backpacks.