Anorak News | People Kill People – Virginia Tech

People Kill People – Virginia Tech

by | 17th, April 2007

The debate on guns will go on well beyond the time when the Virginia Tech massacre has stopped making headlines. Do guns kill people? Or are people inherently violent?

“After last night’s news about a mass shooting in Virginia it was only a matter of time before people started talking about the right to bear arms being the reason for such things to happen, writes Dizzy.

Sky News is running a poll that suggest people think the gun laws are not strict enough in the US. However, in my knowledge and experience of gun laws in the US this view is jaded by misunderstanding of US gun control.

The vast majority of British people, I imagine, think that you can just walk into a shop in America, hand over some money, and walk out with a semi-automatic weapon or an assault rifle. That however is simply not the case. If you want a gun you face, quite rightly, background checks. If you want to carry a gun it is also the case in a vast majority of states that you must carry it on show and not concealed without a license to do so.

Knee-jerk gun control laws may seem like an appropriate measure, however, as we’ve seen in recent month in the UK, where we have strict gun laws, they are not holding back gun crime. The logic that strict gun laws will reduce gun crime is fundamentally flawed. I should say that I’m not advocating scrapping our gun laws here, more that the hand-wringing that will occur in the UK about these shootings in Virginia ought not be framed in the “stricter gun control would’ve stopped this” terms.

It’s a cliche of the pro-gun lobby to say “gun’s don’t kill people, people kill people”, but within that argument there is actually a subtle truth. For no matter what you ban, be it guns, knives, baseball bats or frying pans, if someone wants to kill people they will find a way to do it – by for example – purchasing acetone and some basic ingredients and putting them in a rucksack and getting on a train. In virtually every case of “mass shootings” the perpetrators turn the gun on themself, in that sense it makes them not much different to a suicide bomber only the bomb was bullets.

The next few day of British press comment will be interesting as I expect the usual suspects will roll out the column inches on how gun control is the only way to stop this. If the US chooses to take that route then that is of course their business, but if it does and then shootings happen again, you can guarantee that the answer will be “stricter gun laws” yet again. Knee-jerk banning is, after all, much easier than realising that human beings can be very nasty and will find ways to kill people if they really want to. The most interesting thing is that you never hear them calling for the ingredients of an acetone bomb to be banned.”

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Posted: 17th, April 2007 | In: Reviews Comments (6) | TrackBack | Permalink