We’ve seen it again, and again, and again. “Tonight’s main story, tragedy in Oregon as another mass shooting…”
“Another mass shooting in Colorado shakes the community, more at 10”
“A school in Virgina was placed on lockdown today when an armed man…”
“We are now gathering information that an armed man has entered an elementary school. It has been confirmed that shots were been fired. More as the situation unfolds.”
We’ve heard things like this over 200 times this year alone. So, what happens during the fallout. Well, there tends to be two separate parties in this. One calling for more regulation, and one calling for less. There are outliers both calling for a complete ban of guns and a complete lack of regulations.
Things I think would help violence:
– Better general education
– Educating about personal autonomy
– Teaching critical thinking
– Improving economic situations
– Better access to mental health programs
– Voluntary gun buyback programs
Where do we look for evidence?
Australia and Switzerland is who we are going to look at. Australia is used by those for strict gun regulation. Switzerland is used by those against strict gun regulation.
Things to contend with:
– There is zero functional correlative data, much less conclusive causative data that the fewer guns there are, the less deaths there are, or for the opposite, that more guns = less violence.
– Raw data is not going to allow us to draw conclusive results. Period. For anyone.
– Australia’s homicide rate has stayed pretty much steady since 1996, and there have been other mass shootings since then.
– Switzerland is a bastion of guns, but the gun laws there are strict, not the free-for-all the NRA makes it sound like.
– Looking only at the death statistics vs. gun laws is a crock of shit way to do it, and it doesn’t help either side, so stop it.
That said, I do want to get the truth of the gun laws within Switzerland and Australia straight, so let’s get started.
So what are Switzerland’s gun laws actually like?
– Mandatory military service for all men between the ages of 20 to 30 (or 34 for officers).
– All enlisted military members are issued a 5.56x45mm Sig 550 rifle, which is a fully automatic rifle.
– Enlisted officers are issued a 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol.
– All enlisted members are required to take their military weapons home with them, though they are not allowed to keep military ammunition at home. (That law does not exist for other ammunition).
– While in the military, there is mandatory target practice requirements.
– When discharged from the military, members are required to give up their military weapon, unless they apply for a permit. If permit is approved (it generally is), then they must return the weapon temporarily for it to be modified so it is no longer a fully automatic weapon.
– Permits are required for handguns.
– Rifles and long arms generally associated with hunting are exempt from permit requirements.
– Automatic guns are banned.
– A license is only required if purchased from a dealer. There is no license requirement for private transactions, but seller must verify the identity and age of the buyer by checking an official identification document and have no reason to believe that the buyer has been or should be disqualified from gun ownership. The seller may verify this by requesting information from the cantonal authorities, but only if the buyer consents in writing.
– Ammunition bought anywhere other than a shooting range is required to be registered with the government.
– Background checks are mandatory, if you have a history of mental illness or criminal activity (any violent or multiple non-violent convictions), you’re shit out of luck.
– Periodic training courses are mandatory.
– All guns from public sales and military service are registered with the government.
– You must have a permit to carry weapons outdoors.
– the applicant is qualified to acquire guns; demonstrates a need for the weapon to protect himself, others, or property against existing dangers; and has passed an exam to test his required theoretical knowledge and practical skill
– The military is technically a well regulated militia. (That sounds incredibly familiar)
– Switzerland does not require citizens to carry guns.
– To carry a gun for defense, a carrying license is required. This is granted only under certain conditions. The applicant must demonstrate a need for the weapon to protect himself, others, or property against existing dangers, and they must pass an exam to test required theoretical knowledge and practical skill.
– Theoretical knowledge testing includes:
– Criminal provisions on violent crimes and self-defense, and necessity as a justification or excuse.
– Federal and cantonal weapons law provisions
– The different types of weapons and ammunition.
– Security measures and proper conduct when carrying weapons.
– Practical skill testing includes:
– Weapon handling skills such as loading, unloading, operating the safety device, and shooting.
– A carrying license does allow for concealed carry of a handgun.
– A carry license is not required to carry an unloaded weapon, who’s ammunition is stored separately away from the weapon, for practical purposes such as transporting it to a shooting range or going out hunting.
– Weapons training and understanding starts pretty early with many pre-teens and teenagers in sharp shooting clubs.
The main source for the majority of this information can be found here.
What are Australia’s gun laws?*
– Federal ban on imports, sale, resale, transfer, ownership, manufacture of, and use of all semi-automatic, self-loading and pump action long arms, include all parts for such weapons.
– Standardized categorization of firearms.
– Restricted categorization for handguns.
– Required permits for each weapon acquired.
– 28 day waiting period for the issuance of said permit
– National firearms registration system.
– Firearm sales required to be conducted by or through licensed firearms dealers.
– Quantity restriction on ammunition that may be purchased in a given period.
– Dealers are only allowed to sell ammunition for weapons that the purchaser is licensed for.
– Personal protection is not regarded as a genuine reason for owning, possessing or using a firearm under the laws of both states and territories.
– Reasons allowable for firearm possession include: sport shooting, recreational shooting and hunting, collecting and occupational requirements, which also require showing genuine need for the particular type of firearm.
– Purchaser must be 18 or older, be able to prove their identity and undertake adequate safety training (which is subject to accreditation)
– Firearm licenses are required to have a photo of the licensee, to be endorsed with a firearm category, include the holder’s address and can be issued no earlier than 28 days, lasts no longer than 5 years, and contain safe storage responsibility reminders.
– Licenses are only issued after an inspection by licensing authorities of the licensee’s storage facilities and complying with storage requirements.
– Violent offense convictions in the past 5 years, unsafe storage, failure to notify change of address and reliable evidence of a mental or physical condition that would render the individual unsuitable for ownership, possession or use of a firearm. All these are a part of the minimum standards for refusing or cancelling a firearms license.
– Establishment of uniform standards of firearm security and storage. This includes a requirement that ammo is stored in a locked container separate from any firearms. Some categories of firearms are also required to be stored in a locked steel safe thick enough to ensure it’s not easily penetrable. It also must be bolted to the structure of a building.
* This is only on a national level, there are differences in regulation at state and territory levels.
Further information and sources found here.
Has Australia gun regulations actually made homicides drop dramatically, with no correlative rise in weapons violence of other types?
– No. This is a false statement. Homicides have stayed fairly steady for the last 20 years, though they are lower now, it is not by much.
What about other violent crimes?
– Sexual assault sky-rocketed between 2000 – 2010. It decreased dramatically from 2010 -2014*, but only back to the levels that they were in 2006.
– Robberies had a huge spike from 1996-2000, and have seen a relatively steady decline since then.
– Kidnapping/abduction has stayed more or less steady from 1996-2014.
* Last available data.
Are any of these due to gun regulations?
This is a nearly impossible question to answer without a very detailed study into all socio-economic factors within the country.
Have homicides by firearms decreased in general?
Well, yes, but honestly that doesn’t mean much, as the statement that there wasn’t a rise in other weapon use is wrong.
So what have we learned from this?
Well, we have a better understanding of the regulations that Switzerland and Australia have for firearms and we also see that the right regulations can likely help keep firearm based homicides down… we haven’t learned much.
What we can learn more from is that there is a strongly correlative tie to socio-economic and educational standards and levels, and crime as a whole, not just homicides.
See, Switzerland’s education system is excellent, and rates of high school and college graduation are high, and their rates of homelessness are low. The amount of poor and disadvantaged people they have are pretty low too, though the general populace believes there needs to be better emphasis on mental health.
While it is difficult to ascertain exactly what to do as far as guns go within the U.S. one thing is certain, what we’re doing now isn’t working.
NRA favoring gun activists, you’ve got to up your game on your statistics, research and study. You use Switzerland as a prime example. The shining star of gun rights, so how about this? We adopt the regulations that Switzerland has in place. If Switzerland is such a shining star for you, would there really be any reason to not go with the type of regulation they have?
Gun regulations activists, we’ve got to up our game on our statistics, research and study as much as our counterparts do. Australia can’t be used as any sort of example for gun laws, which I’m sad to find out as well. Oddly enough, we should be touting Switzerland as a great example.
Both sides: Knock the obnoxious shit off. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them horrible people. Mistaken? Possibly. Different world view? Definitely, but sop it with this demonizing of other people for daring to disagree.
We should look at other regulations in our life, like vehicle regulation. If we can heavily regulate a 2000+ lb high speed murder box on wheels that is used to get from point A to point B, then why can’t we have decent regulations on guns?
Both the rallying cry of “Banning guns doesn’t work. We need more guns.” and, “Gun regulation will solve a big portion of gun violence.” are both missing the point.
That’s not to say that the debate isn’t important. Debate, especially on things that do not have clearly defined answers are incredibly important. No one person has all the answers, and if they tell you they do, then they are probably delusional, self righteous or just plain full of s***.
What we need to go off of is data, and the reality of the data is that regulation works when paired with laws to help insure higher socio-economic success for as many people as possible, but doesn’t do much just by itself.
So ultimately, that means that both sides have some very valid points. Can we not stop, collaborate and listen to be able to make a better life for all our fellow countryman? Can’t we stop in the name of love to take a second and work out ways to get homicides of all kinds down?
Can’t we stop for hammer time… just because?
Have a beautiful day.