Dianne Feinstein is on a crusade to ban guns. She doesn't want to take yours away, she just wants to make them sufficiently hard to get that no one can have yours after you're dead. I confess that the difference between an outright ban and the legislation she proposes is too subtle for me. The end result is the same: a restriction on your right to own firearms.
For some people this is completely unacceptable; any infringement on their rights to keep and bear arms is beyond the pale. Others argue that these types of guns are not 'necessary' and don't belong in the hands of civilians. I will leave that argument for a separate post, but: Feinstein's proposed plan for background checks, registration and limits on magazine capacity is old news here in CA but it would be a huge change for most of the rest of the country.
My beef with the legislation is that it solves a problem that doesn't exist with a solution that doesn't work. Feinstein and her hypocritical ilk are so emotionally wrapped up in GUNZ ARE BAD that the data is being completely ignored. Also, they have somehow convinced the voting public that they and (especially) their kids are in grave danger from these modern sporting rifles (AR-15's, AK47's, and similar semi-auto, magazine fed rifles). Handguns represent the greater danger to the average citizen, but I'll leave those for a separate post.
The practical truth is that, statistically speaking, modern sporting rifles present you no danger at all.
This from the Guardian.co.uk:
Since the previous assault rifle ban expired under a "sunset clause" in 2004, Feinstein said, "more than 350 people have been killed with assault weapons and more than 450 people have been injured. We should be outraged by how easy it is for the perpetrators of these horrific crimes to obtain these lethal weapons."
Let's unpack that statement, because I think it nicely encapsulates why this legislation is complete nonsense.
Since the original gun control legislation expired in 2004:
- 800 people have been killed or wounded with modern sporting rifles
- Between 2004-2009, around 19,400 children were killed by drowning, most commonly in swimming pools*
- In 2010 alone, 436 children from 1-4 were killed by drowning. An additional 343 were killed in moving traffic accidents.
- Again in 2010: 7,024 people aged 15-24 were killed in traffic accidents. 656 drowned.
- From 2004-2010 (the latest year data is available) 249,009 people were killed in traffic 'incidents'. HOLY SHITBALLS. Conservatively, we can add another 30,000 for 2011 and 2012 and bring that number to 310,000 people. There's 320 million people in the US, so that's about 0.01% of the population. Hey, what percentage of the population is 800? Uh, that's 0.00025% of the population.
- Since 2002, there have been around 121,000 documented civilian deaths in the Iraq war.
You can dig into the data for yourself. The short version is, why are we even having a conversation about this?
The long version is that your most likely cause of death is highly age and race dependent, but if you're a child between the ages of 1-4 it's far more likely that you will drown in your swimming pool than you will be shot with a gun. In fact it is true for most people. The glaring exception is with young non-white men, for whom dying of a gunshot wound is a legitimate concern.
The counter-argument is: well, even though the numbers are small, they are preventable. So we should pass this legislation. To which I respond, if the numbers are important, why aren't you doing more to save people from the stuff that actually kills them in great numbers? Because it's too hard? Oh. That's a
So this new legislation is not about the children, and it's not about your safety. It's about an irrational, emotional fear, leveraged to control you. If you're going to be afraid of something, make sure it's legitimate, not invented. And start banning swimming pools. Those things are DANGEROUS.
* To update information on the incidence and characteristics of fatal and nonfatal unintentional drowning in the United States, CDC analyzed death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System and injury data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for 2005–2009. The results indicated that each year an average of 3,880 persons were victims of fatal drowning and an estimated 5,789 persons were treated in U.S. hospital EDs for nonfatal drowning. Death rates and nonfatal injury rates were highest among children aged ≤4 years; these children most commonly drowned in swimming pools.