Gun Safety vs. Gun Control: Reframing the Conversation

Alison Grodzinski Blog Posts 56 Comments

By: Susan Morrel-Samuels, MA, MPH, MI-YVPC Managing Director

Most of us are familiar with some of the steps that have led to greater safety on our highways. Air bags, seat belts, strict penalties for drunk driving, graduated drivers’ licensing, and better road design are examples of successful highway safety strategies.  As a result, rates of death from automobile crashes in the United States have declined dramatically in the last decades, despite large increases in the numbers of cars and miles driven.

 

These measures work because they conform to key principles of injury prevention: they separate the person from the hazard (guard rails prevent drivers from crashing into oncoming traffic), they reduce the lethality of the hazard (air bags cushion passengers from impact), or they change social norms about hazardous behavior (drunken driving is seen as unacceptable).

I believe it will advance our discussion about the best ways to reduce firearm deaths and injuries, if we frame the issue as one of safety, rather than of “gun control” versus “gun rights”.  After all, we don’t think of the many policies that affect driving as “car control”.

Measures to prevent firearm deaths that are currently under consideration correspond to the same injury prevention principles as those that have served us well in highway safety.   For example, limiting the size of ammunition clips reduces the lethality of the weapon.  Safe storage of guns separates children in a household from hazardous objects.  Requiring universal background checks sends a clear social message that those with criminal histories or mental conditions that make them a danger to themselves or others should not possess firearms.  These are all common sense strategies for gun safety that are consistent with the science of injury prevention.

Rigorous research is necessary to help us determine the effectiveness of measures such as these.  We can reduce the terrible toll of firearm deaths and injuries by applying the injury prevention principles that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives on our highways.  Gun safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Comments 56

  1. I agree that there should be more regulations on safety than “control” because yes, they are weapons, but they’re only as “bad” as the people who use them; I think their sole purpose for the general population is protection, so as long as they are used properly and by good people, I endorse it (plus it’s people’s amendment right). Regarding the limited ammunition, I think it would just cause more hassle; like, people will just buy more clips. It would be a nuisance, if not dangerous, if someone was defending themselves from an attacker and had to keep changing clips. How limited are you suggesting? What if said person missed those few shots? For the safe storage, are the suppliers going to be providing storage space/providing information on what is considered safe or will the owners have discretion on what they consider as “safe”? Even now, I’m guessing people don’t just leave guns around (I hope they have more common sense than that) but then there are still accidental shootings, so how do you suggest this to be regulated? I agree with the background checks, but if someone really wants a gun, they’re going to get it. How can we prevent illegal distributions? Also, is there a limit or specific criteria for the criminal history? Like, is it just felonies or misdemeanors, too? And is there a time frame/limit? For example if someone was a car thief or was charged with petty theft a few years ago, would their specific crime or time committed have an effect on their qualifications for getting a gun? I like the term “safety” over “control” also. I feel like the word choices are what causes debates left and right. Who can really argue with “safety”, though, right?

    1. Mindy, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You make a good point that we will never be able to eliminate all illegal or unsafe use of guns. We haven’t eliminated car crashes either, but we have made them less frequent and far less deadly. I believe gun safety is so important because too often “good people”, in moments of despair or impulsive rage hurt themselves or others with firearms that they, or their family members, may have owned for self-protection or sport. Also, despite the best intentions, guns sometimes wind up in the hands of children or adolescents who do not have the maturity to use them. In such cases, safe storage of guns and ammunition (unloaded and locked separately) could make the difference between life and death.
      As you say, background checks won’t prevent all those who should not have guns from getting them. Currently, however, about 40% of sales have no background checks whatsoever. Requiring universal checks will make it that much harder to get a gun illegally and will drive up the price of illegal weapons. Even with our current weak system, 80,000 people who did not qualify because of criminal convictions (felonies or violent misdemeanors) were denied purchases in 2010.
      I agree with you that we can find middle ground on gun safety policies that will protect children and adults, make it harder for people who may harm others or themselves to obtain guns, and preserve the ability of citizens to own firearms for sport and protection. Now is the time to address this important public health problem.

  2. There is no doubt that gun control laws should be revised. Reframing the conversation from gun control to gun safety might change the way we view the problem, however the essential question remains the same, ” How does society get guns out the hands of criminals and those who want to use them to commit horrific crimes?” I think that Californian is on the right path. California has always lead in gun control with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. California already requires its gun buyers to undergo a background checks. And unlike other states with no limit on the clip size, it is illegal in California to have a clip that holds more than ten bullets. As far as how to store a gun properly, in California one needs to have a California Department of Justice Handgun Safety Certificate. To obtain that certificate it is required to take a short test followed by a short video that covers common sense rules on handling and storing guns. And lastly, what I think to be most important in Californian gun laws is the cool off period. However tough laws might get I agree with Mindy, in a moment of desperation any individual can bypass all the rules and regulations set by a state and cause havoc with a simple handgun. Guns are only as bad as the people who use them.

    1. Thanks for the information about firearm policies in California. It is interesting to note that the firearm death rate in California (8.3/100,00) is lower than the rate of the US as a whole (10.1/100,000) and lower than the rates in 37 other states.* It appears that the policies you describe may really be making a difference. While we can’t eliminate all deaths from the irresponsible or illegal use of guns, we can reduce the harm firearms do to individuals and communities through evidence-based strategies.

      *http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa/california-firearms-death-rate

  3. I agree that there is a need for more gun control. I agree with the commenter Mindy Duong and her argument that limiting the size of ammunition clips will not reduce the lethality of a weapon. If one wants, one can always buy more clips for a weapon. There is the argument that reducing the size of the clips will also reduce the amount of rounds, but it only takes one bullet to do tremendous harm. Also, I think that gun owners should be legally obligated to purchase a safe storage for guns before purchasing a firearm. This would prevent any children in the household from accessing these dangerous objects. The potential gun purchaser would be required to show proof that the individual has somewhere safe to put it regardless of having children or not. I agree that there should be a universal background check and a required psychological exam because it could potentially decrease the sale of guns to unfit individuals. I understand that the background check in place now checks for mental illness, but it only checks if there is anything medically preventing the purchaser from obtaining a gun. This means that if the individual has a history of mental illness, the gun supplier will be informed. However, the databases do not help with any recent situations in someone’s past or recent personal life. I think psychological exams may be a bit over the top, but would be effective. I also think that the background check should be extended to those looking to purchase crossbows.

    1. This issue of background checks for gun purchases and mental illness is a complicated one. Current law excludes those who have been committed to a mental institution from purchasing a gun, but many states do not provide these records to the national background check system: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/12/nation/la-na-background-checks-20130113

      Also, background checks are not required for private purchases.

      Of course, most individuals with mental illness are not dangerous. Protecting the rights and dignity of those with mental illnesses at the same time that we protect the public through firearm safety policies is an important topic for discussion.

  4. Let me start off by stating that I am NOT a gun enthusiast. I agree with the author’s framing of the topic from gun control to gun safety; control sounds too much like suppress. In one of my courses, my lawyer professor proposed the question “why are people still getting DUI’s if we have all the technology to prevent them from driving while intoxicated?… ie automobile breathalyzers. Well, he said quite simply because we do NOT want people to stop driving drunk. It 1) inhibits both corporate America and the legal system from benefitting from DUI’s ($$$$) and 2) it infringes on the personal liberty of American citizens.” Wow, this blew my mind. Yes, we protect people from sexual predators with safe-zones and electronic monitoring systems but we can not create laws that limit the usage and sale of guns and ammunition to the public as well as educate distributors of the repercussions of selling these weapons. In a way, I think that the DUI and gun laws relate because they both border the topic of personal liberties and violence. Gun SAFETY is necessary because I have seen the damage that it has caused in my city, state, and across the nation. I recently saw a gun collection drive by the LAPD on the news, they offered an exchange of guns for prepaid grocery cards. I thought that that was an awesome incentive to get residents to give up their guns for monetary rewards. Although we still have a long way to go, I can see initiative by police departments to limit gun availability at the local level. Now, we need to enact and enforce laws to educate citizens about gun safety. I will reiterate what someone said in a previous post, people kill people… so lets starting learning about how to educate our citizens about guns.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Another dimension of gun safety has to do with social norms. Drinking and driving has come to be seen as unacceptable behavior. Likewise, smoking, once viewed as glamorous, is now less desirable. Surprisingly to some, firearm ownership in our country has been steadily declining over the past few decades: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/us/rate-of-gun-ownership-is-down-survey-shows.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
      For those who choose to own guns, part of the education you propose could focus on the risks and responsibilities of firearm ownership, including counseling on storing weapons safely and situations in which a gun should be removed from the home.

  5. I agree with this blog. The word “control” in itself gives about a negative vibe or feeling to citizens. Everybody enjoys their freedom and do not like the government trying to have even more control over them. If the word is changed to safety that would inform the community that this action is only done for their safety, and not to control their rights. If you put a limit and regulations on guns it will drop the rate of violence.
    However, a criminal is going to commit crimes no matter what. It is not only about their availability to guns and access that makes them commit crimes. In my criminal justice crimes and delinquency class we learned that a crime has to have 3 main things: a criminal to commit the crime, someone or something to commit it against and lack of supervision. It is not the gun who commits the violence, it is the criminal. This is why regulations need to be made because some people are not capable of having the right to bare arms. Instead of showing all the negative affects for when there is no gun control, we should show the positive outcomes for having gun safety.
    Putting a limit on ammunition clips and all other possible regulations is and having law enforcement carry out these rules is doing what they are supposed to do in protecting the community. It is a right to bare arms and have our freedom but it is also our duty to protect our community and for the government to serve citizens by creating laws that could potentially save and benefit us.

    1. I think you make an excellent point about emphasizing the positive outcomes of practicing gun safety. Recently, there have been several articles about new technologies that personalize guns, so that only the legitimate owners can fire them: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/disruptions-smart-gun-technology-could-prevent-massacres-like-newtown/
      There are many strategies to reduce the toll of gun violence, and making weapons safer is one promising approach.

  6. I agree with this blog about the fact that there should be more gun safety regulations. Making the comparison of driving safety with gun safety made it easier to understand the blog because it compares gun safety with an everyday activity. I think that gun safety rules would help prevent gun related deaths and injuries. If instead there were gun control regulations set up then people would break them more often. After all, once something is made illegal it is more often done to go against the law. One of the gun safety rules that should definitely be passed is a universal background check for criminal history and mental conditions that can lead to personal injury or injury to others. Another regulation that should be passed is the legal age to obtain a gun permit should be raised. People should be made to fill out a request for a gun permit in which they state the reason why they need the gun. If the reason is a good one then they should be allowed to own a gun, otherwise they should not. Besides the few ideas I had for regulations, the rest of the blog I agree with completely.

  7. The issue of gun policy in the United States is one that has caught the eye of the media. For that reasoning alone it is key that policymakers provide proper perspective as they introduce new policy. I am in agreement that framing these policies as safety enhancements will receive the most positive feedback from the public. I believe that they will no longer see these policies as taking away from their rights, but as a protection for them and society.

    In regards, to selling smaller clips and ensuring that guns are locked away I could not agree more. However, I believe that the regulation of these policies will be much harder to control than traffic violators. People who want larger clips, will still find access to larger clips and more lethal weapons. There are way that people will obtain guns without the proper documentation and background check.

    I do not believe that there is a way to monitor and regulate guns in the United States. They have been an integrated part of our society for so long, that it is near impossible to rid the streets of the more lethal weapons or larger clips. Though, I do believe that these reforms are prosocial and that they should be made policies. I believe that it is a step in the right direction and that if framed well politically a large part of the population will come on board.

  8. I completely agree with the approach the author is presenting. Gun control and gun rights have always been topics of heated discussion with no clear solution presented to please both sides, however I think a different approach is appropriate. The one thing everyone can agree on is safety so that seems like the perfect starting point for a reasonable agreement. Gun control and gun rights do not need to be discussed because the central focus should be safety. I do not entirely agree with the limitations on magazine sizes, however I do believe ammunition should be a bit more difficult to attain than simply walking into Wal-Mart, showing an I.D. and paying $20. Safe storage of firearms is a great idea as I feel it would greatly reduce the number of accidental discharges. Background checks also seem reasonable because such potentially dangerous items should not be accessible to all, but there are many which may misuse them. Overall, I agree with the idea that instead of focusing on gun control and gun rights, we should be focusing on safety.

  9. I completely agree with the logic of focusing on gun safety then “gun rights” or “gun control.” Guns are already available to whomever, even though we have background checks. That focusing the majority of our efforts to help the public be aware of safety issues: gun availability, capacity of clips, or gun storage can help battle the problem of misused weapons like guns. Just the the example with vehicles, more educated drivers are the more likely they are to be safe can be applied to gun owners as well. More educated they are on safety and the use of the firearm the more likely the misuse of fire arms will occur.

  10. I agree with focusing gun safety rather than “gun rights” or “gun control.” People are taking advantage of the situation of owning a fire arm. I agree that there should be stricter requirements to whom the gun owners are selling their guns. Those people who want to own a fire arm should have to go to a seminar where the public could learn and be aware of safety issues that others learned the hard way. For example, like in the article compared car safety to gun safety. There should pass a law in which whomever wants to own a gun should go through a process like when taking a test for a driver license. This would increase the knowledge of people of gun safety, and would decrease the gun owners.

    1. I encourage all of the readers and contributors to these comments to stay engaged in discussions about improving firearm safety. Through open and thoughtful conversations, I believe we can move toward more effective policies to protect the health of the public.

  11. I recently wrote a paper on “Gun Control” and found that the issue has begun to open eyes around the nation since the rise of gun violence in schools and in the public. Throughout the nation, all states have their own unique laws pertaining to owning hand guns. I absolutely agree that all individuals must adhere to gun safety and take necessary courses when buying a weapon either privately or from a manufacturer. Also, background checks are currently being utilized in some states; however, I strongly believe that all states should run criminal backgrounds on individuals purchasing weapons and even further the background checks on possible mental conditions of all buyers. Prevention is key to accidental deaths, but it is the curiosity of those with no knowledge of weapon handling that must be enforced. Guns must always be kept in a safe with ammunition stored in a separate area and weapons should only be used for hunting and self defense.

  12. Backgrounds checks are a crucial point in who has the right to possess a fire arm. Gun control requirements seem to be easy for anyone to be able to possess a gun. All these shootings that have occurred in schools and that have taken innocent lives are just wrong and goes to show gun regulations are horrible. It may not be the same across the nation because each state regulates its own guidelines. The government should set rules and guidelines across the nation so that everyone has to follow them and potentially reduce the death rates. Most people take advantage of how easy it is to obtain a gun because they meet the minimum requirements. For example, I know that in Texas you can carry around a gun. You can’t do that in California. So each state varies and that’s how people have access to them.

  13. Can guns really be compared to cars? Guns were specifically invented to do harm(either hunting or war) and that’s the problem that people have with guns; because some people use them for what they were invented for. Cars weren’t made to run people over. I agree that gun safety is important but comparing it to automobile safety just sounds a little rediculous.

    1. I think the author used that as a loose example not as an exact scenario. I understood her point and the evolving thought around it. Weapons were made for people to hunt and for self defense, cars were made to get people around easier. I don’t think cars were ever intended on murdering people, which happens, but guns had a purpose of protection and just like cars things can get out of control. The founding fathers felt that a right to bear arms was important but it is also important to realize that weapons back then didn’t as much harm as they do now. The revolver wasn’t even invented until the mid 1800s. I feel that as time progresses laws regarding weapon use and safety should too.

  14. With all the incidents occurring recently, gun control and safety has become a highly debated issue. I believe a majority of the population will stand behind gun control policies as they will enhance their safety. I think an efficient way to ensure that guns are being placed into appropriate hands is to require a nation-wide mandatory 10 day wait period before a purchaser may be in possession of the firearm. Currently, California is one of the states to enact this policy while others such as Nevada allow individuals to purchase and possess their firearm in the same day. Such policies not only prevent spur of the moment irrational decisions but would also allow time to conduct thorough background investigations on the individuals including mental health checks, as necessary. It is not practical to conduct extensive mental health evaluations on each individual who wants to purchase a firearm but those who have a history of mental illness should be under further investigation. Those who possess firearms should be required to have a safe and secure storage location to avoid the firearm getting into the wrong hands, especially those of an adolescent. Some of the other proposed policies such as limiting magazine capacity would be very difficult as so many are already in circulation and high capacity magazines only limit mass shootings such as the Connecticut elementary school and Colorado movie theater. Firearms are dangerous weapons that have proved to be lethal with only single shots.

    In regards to California, gun control has become an increased priority for law enforcement. Programs have been instilled within the investigations division of police departments to regulate who is in possession of a firearm by conducting background investigations and searches. Of course, this does not protect against private or illegal transactions in which weapons would only get recovered in the event of a traffic stop or probation/parole check. Regardless, law enforcement is being proactive about the issue at hand and doing what they can to ensure the safety of the community.

  15. As far as gun prevention, I believe in order to own/ carry a gun, one must pass a gun training and safety class. This would reduce the number of guns I households, and make gun owners aware of the dangers and severity of guns. Guns would be harder to access if we only made them available to people who have passed a certain test in fire arms. Another option for gun prevention would be for all whom wish to purchase a gun to take a psychological test; this would also minimize the number of gun related crimes throughout the U.S. There will always be ways in which criminals can get their hands on guns, but if there was a rigorous process which featured training, safety rules, and even a psychological test to own one, I believe this would minimize gun related problems throughout the U.S.

  16. The gun control/safety has become very controversial. I agree with the previous commentators that reducing the clip of a gun will not reduce violence. In addition, a person who wants to commit crime with a firearm will buy extra clips if necessary. I believe that more strict measures should be taken towards gun control such as running background checks for persons purchasing firearms. As well as providing more protection near schools to prevent violence. Gun control is very difficult to enforce but like the author said; gun safety is everyone’s responsibility.

  17. As a student, I recently had to write a paper for a criminal justice class and chose not to write the paper on gun control because of how controversial it may be. A classmate of mine wrote his on gun control and he was pro gun control and he said that after doing the research, his view on the controversial topic did change at all. I believe that any person who wants to commit a crime using a firearm, will find a way to get the firearm wether or not a background check is needed. I think gun control just might be one of those issues that can not be controlled to the max. Some other options that can be brought up could be some type of training that comes along with buying a gun, as well as some other types of tests. As the author stated in his peice, gun safety is the responsibility of the people.

  18. Whenever the topic on guns comes up in discussions, the infamous question arises “do people kill people or do guns kill people?” Honestly, I think that they both go together and because of this I agree that there should be more regulations on gun safety. . Making the comparison of driving safety with gun safety made it easier to understand the blog because it compares gun safety with an everyday activity. Regarding the limited ammunition, I think it would just cause more tension to the whole situation on ”gun control” or even a hassle. For example, people will be buying more clips. It would be a bother, if not dangerous, if someone was defending themselves from an attacker and had to keep changing clips. It could defeat the purpose of protecting oneself. For the safe storage, I think that the suppliers should supply a little safe/case or something for the owners to store their gun. One of the gun safety rules that should definitely be passed is a universal background check for criminal history and mental conditions that can lead to personal injury or injury to others.

  19. This is the first time I am presented with the idea of comparing gun safety to automobile safety. Although the purpose of these two objects is completely different, they both require regulations to prevent harm to others, whether the harm is done accidentally or purposely. Changing the way we view the problem, that is viewing in terms of gun safety versus gun control, can have a positive effect on the arguments people bring forth regarding the issue. I believe the safe storage of gun guns and the required background checks are the most important steps in lessening the number of injuries and deaths caused by guns. In an article I read about gun safety and children it said that among homes with children and firearms 28% of home did not always keep guns locked in a safe place, and in 30% of homes the guns were stored in unlocked places and were loaded. These percentages are alarming because any child can run into the gun and cause a fatal accident. Seeing the issue as one of safety versus control can change the minds of many people regarding the issue and can save many lives.

  20. The right to bear arms was granted in the second amendment of the Bill of Rights. The current position of the United States Supreme Court is that individuals, even if not part of the military, have the right to own a gun. However, the recent use of guns as tools for death and violence can lead some to question this right being given. The idea of comparing the issue of gun ownership to that of car safety is very creative and can actually lead to a change, because it is a better way of viewing gun ownership. However, I do believe that those individuals who commit crimes using guns will find a way to get a gun either way. Imposing more regulations and restrictions on law abiding citizens can leave more good people unarmed when facing danger. The gun should be placed in a safe storage, but this can also prevent a law abiding citizen from taking out the gun in time for self defense. I do know that something needs to change in regard to gun ownership, but I am not sure as to what would be the best way to address this problem.

  21. I believe instead of “gun control” we as a nation should focus on gun safety. Guns are never going away, it’s pointless to attempt to control citizens in regard to the types of guns and ammo they are allowed to possess. The only logical thing to do is to educate gun owners about the dangers and how to properly handle their guns. No matter how hard the government attempts to ban guns or impose stricter laws on gun ownership, there will always be those few who will manage to get past the law. No matter how many background or criminal checks are imposed, guns will always find their way into the wrong hands. Law abiding citizens will surely follow laws implemented by government, but how will we stop criminals?

  22. Changing keywords from control to safety is a smart and could be a more effective way to stop firearm hazards. Many incidents involving gun machinery were in the hands of the wrong people. It is difficult to put a stop to citizens owning guns because they are allowed to. The change in gun control to gun safety is just to make people more aware of using a gun and all the responsibilities that come with it. To help the gun situation people that want to buy guns should have to go through a thorough background check. This is not a matter of the guns being bad, it is the people attaining them. Who are we to blame? There are too many factors that go into someone taking another life with a fire arm, and the best solution is to have the government make it difficult but possible to buy and own a gun. There should also be awareness, and not a strong direct stop to them because people will rebel against it. People will protest, but if it is just awareness and their is education it can help.

  23. I think that the issue on guns is taken lightly and should have more limitations and procedures in having a gun. Most of the time a gun can kill a person in one minute but even though car accidents are dangerous not always is the result death. In my opinion guns should only be used by security and police. If we eliminate guns we won’t have to worry about children bringing guns to school or needing a gun to protect ourselves. When it comes down to it there are many ways death can happen but having higher standards on gun use can help reduce death rates as well as criminal activity.

  24. I think that the issue on guns is taken lightly and should have more limitations and procedures in having a gun. Most of the time a gun can kill a person in one minute but even though car accidents are dangerous not always is the result death. In my opinion guns should only be used by security and police. If we eliminate guns we won’t have to worry about children bringing guns to school or needing a gun to protect ourselves. When it comes down to it there are many ways death can happen but having higher standards on gun use can help reduce death rates as well as criminal activity.

  25. I definitely agree that in regards to guns, safety should be the proper term used. As stated in the article, most of the things that are looking to be implemented are common sense when it comes to owning a firearm. It only took tragedies to make everyone realize that not everyone uses common sense and therefore there must now be changes made in order for people to still be able to own firearms. I believe that with these new safety regulations gun violence will decrease and the number of fire arm related deaths will as well. This does not mean that it will go away altogether because everyone knows that not everyone abides by the law or adheres to safety precautions, but others should not lose all privileges to ownership or use of a fire arm because of some irresponsible and irrational individuals.

  26. I agree with the message of this post, that the issue of deaths and injury resulting from mishandling of firearms, should be addressed in terms of safety, and not just “gun control.” I agree with the regulation that people need to have a safe to store the firearms, that they should be kept out of easy access from children and intruders, etc… These being methods of storing firearms. What I don’t agree with is banning things like “high capacity magazines,” or California banning AR-15’s and AK-47 clones because they resemble the military counterparts currently in use. My thoughts are that teaching firearm safety should be the priority here to reduce accidental deaths and injuries. The strict regulation of something won’t keep an uninformed parent from leaving the safe open with the weapon loaded for their child to find, but ingraining respect for the firearms and a safe mentality in generations just like with seat belts will go a lot further. On the universal background checks, I’ll agree that they are necessary, and that people with a history of violent crime, or an unstable mental state shouldn’t be allowed to buy and own firearms because of the greater liability. However, creating rosters of registered guns with addresses, and getting licensed to buy ammunition seems too far, because it’s so easy to acquire the guns and ammo otherwise. You’ve heard the argument that criminals will get guns despite what laws say. Well it’s true. Even if they can’t get it here (wherever it may be for you), they can go to another state, they can cross the border into Mexico and get unmarked or unregistered weapons there and smuggle them back. My point is that a system only works if everyone you’re targeting by it plays along. We don’t have enough police to go door to door and ask if you have any illegal or improperly stored guns, and adding restrictions to people who are already responsible is ludicrous. What I’d suggest as I alluded to earlier, is have firearm safety classes. Dealers already give you a run-down on what to do, and what you need, but it’s brief, and often people just nod their head to get past it.

  27. First and foremost, I believe that the contemporary political struggle to reduce firearm violence and fatalities is rather ineffective towards bettering the criminal justice system. This stands true because the sample of incidents of death and injuries from firearm related occurrences compose an extremely low percentage of the overall population of deviant violence. Instead, focus should be placed on more common criminal activities such as assault and battery, vandalism, and burglary. In regards to the recent weapon legislation, I also wholeheartedly disagree with the current “gun control” measures. Reducing the legal magazine size from 30 round capacity to 10 round capacity does not make the weapon less lethal in any way – the weapon still maintains the same fatal force and will only require the operator to possess more magazines to uphold the same round capacity. There are several more measures that attempt to make the weapon appear appear less dangerous, but they simply act as a facade to the seemingly ignorant public through vast media presentations. Start focusing on crime that occurs to a greater extent, and don’t fall into the media’s focal trap for ratings.

  28. I agree with this completely. This argument of “pro gun” vs ” anti gun” needs to stop. If people can take the steps to make sports equipment, vehicle regulations and even video games better for kids, then I think we can spend the time to make firearms deaths less frequent. Every week there is a story about someone shooting up a place, or a child accidentally killing their sibling, ext. Its obvious that these incidents are becoming news much too often, and precautions need to be taken to stop this. Whether its regulations on who can own a firearm or better ways of keeping firearms inaccessible to those who can do harm with them.

  29. The author does a very good job at distinguishing between “gun safety” and “gun control.” With the recent publicity of shootings, the media has made the public endorse strict gun control. Regulating gun control is not the answer, like the author clarifies, our focus should be on gun safety. Limiting gun control will do nothing to prevent killings or crime since criminals do not obey the law regardless and will always find a way to obtain a gun. One great example the author mentioned was limiting the size of ammunition clips to reduce the lethal power of the weapon. Obviously, no matter what policies are created or changed to control gun related issues, no method is 100 percent effective. If the size of ammunition clips are reduced, criminals can still get around this by possessing several ammunition clips to make up for the loss. Politicians and the public need to be aware of the fact that criminals do not obey the law. As obvious as that sounds, laws and policies are being passed that affect and restrict the typical everyday American more so than help reduce gun related crimes. A gun itself is not a dangerous weapon. It becomes deadly when placed in the hands of a reckless person. Once more people realize that gun control is not the key, maybe then better policies and laws can be implemented for the safety of the public.

  30. The author brings up an important point about gun safety. Just like we need to show our knowledge of laws and highway safety in order to receive a driver license, those that want to posses guns should do the same. I believe that in addition to these regulations they should go through an extensive background check and psychological exam. Those individuals with mental illnesses and violent criminal histories should not be allowed near any type of lethal weapon. This will help prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands and save the lives of many innocents. I mean our government has regulations for everything why can we do the same for guns.

  31. There is no other dilemma that raises this kind of arguments among citizens. But sadly this is reality for most of us. We have grown up in a time where everything is accessible to the public. We have to do something about this gun control because more and more innocent lives are lost by the tick of the trigger. Deep intensified backgrounds have to be done as well as some sort of test that challenges the person knowledge on guns and if he/she is really prepare to be a gun owner. Thinking about it some sort of probation period .

  32. I have a problem with this blog theory as well. I agree that you can’t compare guns to cars because these are used for two different purposes: cars are used for driving, and guns are used for killing or protection, not the other way around. When did you ever hear of someone using a car to kill people? I’m all for background checks and eligibility tests in order to purchase guns. Also I propose a yearly psycological examination in order to keep the guns because the people in the news that have gone on shooting sprees are the ones that are messed up in the head. I’m not being offensive nor do i expect many people to agree with me, but this is just my opinion.

  33. I agree with the article that referring to this topic should be changed to gun safety. Gun safety is exactly what this country needs. Gun control is a difficult topic to discuss, my personal belief is that if you try to control who can have a gun and what type of gun they are allowed to have, only those who abide by the law will be impacted. Criminals will continue to purchase whatever type of weapon they want illegally. The bigger picture is safety. Earlier this month a 5 year old child shot and killed his 2 year old sister with a rifle he got as a gift. Apparently the rifle was kept in a corner, but the family didn’t know that there was a shell in it. This is why “safety” should be the focus of this topic. It’s interesting how the article relates gun safety with car safety, I think people who own guns should take a “drivers test” to see if they can handle and operate a gun.

  34. I believe that this debate needs more than “feel good laws”. The fact of the matter is that criminals will always be able to get ahold of whatever guns they need or want, regardless of legislation in place. Written words on a paper do not necessarily any crime, otherwise murder wouldn’t happen right? To place firearm restrictions on the law abiding citizens who are by definition not prone to committing offenses simply makes things easier for the criminals. Here in California we face a 10 round magazine capacity limit. If someone were to have 11 rounds in an “illegally” owned magazine, then they are a felon. Instantly, a person with no capacity for committing crime has technically become a felon, even though absolutely no harm was done to anyone. Also, criminals do not care about magazine capacity etc, they by definition do not follow the laws. Reducing capacity for citizens to defend themselves for citizens puts all of the good innocent people at increased risk of harm or bodily injury. I wish common sense were more common than it is, but we cant violate the rights of innocent. I am all for storing firearms securely, however that is on a basis of children in the house etc. Storing all firearms securely with ammunition separate etc severely hinders the ability to defend ones self, especially with a night incident where persay a homeowner is sleeping. I agree with instant backgrounds, they can prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands. They need to be expanded to the point that they include more data, but do not inconvenience the average citizen who wants to pick up a hobby gun. Violence rates are down, and gun ownership rates are up. Where there are more good people with guns who are trained and responsible, bad guys will be less likely to operate. Let’s focus on raising the current generation right into responsible gun ownership, so we can all sleep a little bit better at night.

  35. I must agree whole heartedly with the term “gun safety”. I am %100 behind the right to own a gun, but I am also %100 behind safely owning a gun. I can appreciate the analogy of the car to the gun, both potentially deadly weapons, and both must be handled with caution and responsibility. If everyone adopted the idea of “gun safety” instead of “gun control” or “gun rights”, then we would be a whole lot safer. If guns were stored appropriately and with the proper safety locks on them, that would reduce the chance of them getting into the wrong hands and would also reduce accidents.

    1. I am very encouraged by the responses to this blog post because they demonstrate that we can discuss the difficult issue of gun violence prevention thoughtfully and with respect. You can continue to be part of the solution by staying informed, expressing your opinion, and practicing gun safety if you choose to own a firearm.

  36. Definitely need to push safety. Until the 80’s, the NRA offered safety courses in most of the school grades and accidents stayed low. We need to put those courses back in the schools. It was only as recently that the rifles teams were discontinued in the schools. We need to reinstate the school shooting teams to further promote firearm safety. It’ll be a good first step.

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