Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Laws Banning Firearms Don't Benefit Society

I have always believed and probably will always be of like mind that laws, banning certain types of firearms (or other weapons) or banning magazines with a certain capacity to hold ammunition, are pointless unless it is that the government wishes to attempt a takeover of the populace. Even then, there is little chance of keeping weapons out of the hands of people whom the government does not want to see armed. A perfect example has just come to light in a terrible tragedy that has taken place in the southern hemisphere. Over the past couple of days there has been an uproar from the citizenry in Venezuela over the massive gun battle that took place in that country between federal troops and armed convicts. That gun battle took place in what should have been one of the most secure facilities in the country or in any country - a federal prison - a place in which gun control should be practiced to its full extent regarding keeping guns from the inmates. That system failed miserably.

Now, you may wonder how prisoners got the guns with which to battle federal troops that had entered the prison to check for weapons and other contraband and to check on prison conditions. You might even hypothesize that somehow, the families of prisoners smuggled weapons into the prison over a period of times and those weapons were used against the troops. Yet, authorities and politicians in Venezuela would probably tell you otherwise, at least it is being reported that they are seeing it differently right now. For now, it is believed that the great majority of the weapons used by prisoners in the gun battle, that claimed 61 lives and wounded over a hundred others, were smuggled into the jail by corrupt jailers, see:
In fact, the people of Venezuela are allowed to possess certain firearms but only under strict conditions and only firearms of a very limited variety. 
- Only the state may possess 'weapons of war', including: cannon, rifles, mortars, machine guns, sub-machine guns, carbines, pistols, and revolvers, be they automatic or semi-automatic. Civilians are only authorized to hold .22 rifles and shotguns (repeating and hunting).
- Penalty for Possessing Prohibited Firearm: 5-8 years for firearms; 6-10 years for 'weapons of war'
- Registration: details of the firearm must be recorded"
Sources: http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/venezuela and: Parker, Sarah. 2011. ‘Balancing Act: Regulation of Civilian Firearm Possession.’ Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security; Chapter 9 (Table 9.2), p. 273. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 6 July.
So imagine that. If, in Venezuela, you possessed the weapons that were almost certainly used in the prison gun battle, you face a 6-10 year sentence at the least just for having them, let alone the additional sentence for using them to injure or kill someone. I imagine that since Venezuela also requires civilians to register firearms that there would also be an additional penalty for having unregistered firearms. Are you beginning to see how firearms registration laws and laws banning certain types of weapons are totally ineffective. All the legal restrictions above did little to nothing to keep firearms out of what should have been a gun free area, and thus little to nothing to keep them from the hands of those who would commit crimes with them even when those people were incarcerated! As a matter of fact, as I noted above, corrupt government officials were implicated as being the likely culprits to have smuggled the firearms into the prison and that is based upon past cases of such having happened.
So, unless you get rid of every gun that there is on the planet, gun control is not going to work. It probably would not even work then because it is just too easy to produce firearms in a workshop, even in a backyard or basement workshop. That is exactly how tens of thousands of firearms were smuggled into Afghanistan, to supply the Afghans, when the Soviet Union occupied that country. The guns were manufactured in home shops by people in Pakistan. 
What we need in the USA is not a gun ban or gun restrictions, what we need is stiffer sentencing when guns or any weapons are used in the commission of a crime - maybe a mandatory 25 year add on sentence. This may not prevent the criminal from committing more violent crime once his sentence has expired and he gets out of jail but will assure that he will not commit violent crime on the streets for at least the time he is in jail.
We need swift and sure justice that results in the death penalty for the offender when someone is found guilty of manslaughter or murder, or of a felony in which violence resulting in injury was used to commit the crime, resulting in the death penalty. The death penalty may not work as a deterrent however it works without fail as to preventing recidivism once the sentence has actually been carried out. 
We need to assure that our mental health system institutionalizes those who are a high potential threat to public safety. We did that many years ago and the incidence of violent crimes committed by the mentally ill was lower than currently.
We need to allow our children to properly adjust to aggression and violence. Thus we need to accept, as we used to, that violence and aggression are normal, in children and teens, to a certain degree. Instead of coddling our children and teens and even our young adults, we need allow for an adjustment period in which they learn how to naturally react to things like bullying and other highly stressful situations, maybe by way of them fighting back by using an appropriate level of self-defense. Thus they would gain an understanding that extremely violent overreactions, like what they see in video games and on television, are not the proper ways to react to the great majority of situations although sometimes a situation can be dealt with best by application of the appropriate level of violence and aggression. 
None of that should not be difficult to accomplish; not once we realize we need to get rid of some things our society has turned to such as: the Nanny State and the proliferation of nannies instead of educators in our schools, police state in which the police see themselves as above the law yet needing to enforce the law as more important than them living up to their oaths by being the defenders of the Constitution, the soft tyranny that exists and may soon turn to hard tyranny as opposed to having politicians that realize they are public servants who are supposed to serve us instead of us serving them. 
It was like that once upon a time, not all that long ago - within my lifetime. It can be that way again and when it is, just as when I was a youngster - mass shootings and mass murders of any sort, within this nation, will be rare occurrences indeed.
All the best,
Glenn B

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