Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Gun Safety vs. Gun Control

 

shutterstock_258067133If you’re not for gun control, at least you should be for gun safety. That’s a line you hear a lot these days. Sometimes the distinction serves a tactical purpose of trying to reframe gun control in a politically less threatening way, as when Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group styles itself Everytown for Gun “Safety.” But many people do see the two words as meaning different things, with “safety” standing for a seemingly less controversial set of objectives such as preventing accidental misfirings, storing guns in such a way that unauthorized persons can’t get at them, making it easier to trace stolen weapons, and so forth.

But one trouble is that it’s extremely difficult it is to reliably improve these latter kinds of gun safety except in ways that gun owners might themselves be persuaded to adopt. And if goals are obtainable by persuasion, why should legislation come in?

For example, of the steps announced by President Obama last week, probably the most significant is one that will tighten legal pressure on persons who sell guns in small or incidental quantities but who do not currently register as gun “dealers” with the associated license fees and regulatory requirements. One example given of this in-between class are persons who liquidate estates. While some of these persons will (as intended) register as dealers, others will simply offer to handle the sale of the rest of Uncle Harry’s estate but not his small gun collection, which, the family not being sure what to do with it otherwise, may accordingly languish in an attic or the back of a closet. Is anyone actually confident that the risks of theft or misuse from leaving guns in the hands of family members unfamiliar with them is lower than the risk of allowing them to be resold through an intermediary to persons who have consciously chosen to own guns?

Most gun owners already give thought to security, which means there is an active market for gun safes, lockable cases, internal locks and so forth — but these all depend on the user’s choice. Requiring that a lock be sold with each firearm is futile, and even perceived as mere harassment, when everyone knows the lock can be left off. Some “safety” devices make it harder to use guns in emergencies, which is exactly when they are most needed. “Gun safety” advocates have repeatedly pressed for mandates of supposed safety features on self-protection handguns that police and military users definitely are *not* interested in having on their similar weapons.

Back in the Clinton years, 30 cities sued gunmakers and distributors demanding they pay the costs of gun-related crime. One of the theories was that it was negligent for sellers not to have installed integral locks and other safety modifications before selling guns. Yet Detroit, New Orleans, Boston and many of the other cities had themselves periodically flooded the market with resold police weaponry, and had almost never modified those guns in the ways they now began to claim were essential for safety. Courts, including New York’s, rejected most of these suits and Congress called a halt to the rest in the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law backed by Bernie Sanders and more than 60 other Democrats.

Theorists play around with ideas of insurance mandates intended to calibrate exactly the right dose of risk incentive in the form of premium surcharges and discounts; it is hypothesized, for example, that insurers will offer discounts to homeowners who adopt best practices in gun storage. Sorry, but as far as government meddling in this market goes, trust has broken down: many gun owners believe insurance mandates would be tinkered with in time so as suppress gun ownership generally, and they can point to writings by some advocates who hope that such mandates will in time accomplish exactly that goal.

Ironically it is the much-demonized gun community that itself accounts for what is probably the single biggest contribution to safety, in the form of the availability of voluntary instruction in safe gun practice. And — you guessed it — many gun control advocates have worked to stigmatize training classes for gun novices, exclude them from public school after-hour settings or the rental of public spaces, and generally push them to respectability’s fringe.

Is safety really the issue? You have to wonder at some point.

There are 20 comments.

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  1. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Walter Olson: Is anyone actually confident that the risks of theft or misuse from leaving guns in the hands of family members unfamiliar with them is lower than the risk of allowing them to be resold through an intermediary to persons who have consciously chosen to own guns?

    Great question that illuminates the political divide on this issue. The anti-gun side views all “persons who have consciously chosen to own guns” with suspicion. So while the rational answer is obviously that we’d like guns to be owned by people who want them rather than don’t want them, I’d wager that’s not the most popular answer.

    • #1
    • January 11, 2016, at 11:44 AM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Hammer, The Member

    There is a fine line. For instance, it might be “safer” for the government to know where each gun in the country is and who owns it. But I don’t want the government to know how many guns I own, where I got them, how I store them, etc… Part of that “loophole” business exists for the sole purpose of monitoring, which is something I vehemently oppose.

    • #2
    • January 11, 2016, at 11:55 AM PST
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  3. jmelvin Member

    If groups like Everytown for Gun Safety were serious about actual gun safety, including safe gun handling, they would be working hand in hand with the NRA to ensure every public elementary school in the USA had a yearly Eddie Eagle presentation ( https://eddieeagle.nra.org/ ) and ensured that pediatrician’s offices were voluntarily stocked with the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project Child Safe ( http://www.projectchildsafe.org/ ) brochures and packages. Beyond this they would take seriously the “well regulated” aspect of the militia discussed in the US Constitution Amendment 2 and ensure that every young man and young woman who receives a high school diploma has been trained in safe gun handling, maintenance, and marksmanship.

    If gun safety were truly what they desired, their actions would be far different from their actions to bar people from learning about or possessing firearms. Sadly, when civil rights advocates have worked to ensure that people are well trained to responsibly enjoy their rights to self protection, the anti-civil rights crowd steps in to block the efforts. (See http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14/guns-saves-lives-ads-phoenix/14044165/ )

    • #3
    • January 11, 2016, at 12:10 PM PST
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  4. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Here’s a novel idea. How about the government just LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE?

    Focus on keeping violent criminals behind bars and quit meddling with law abiding people.

    • #4
    • January 11, 2016, at 12:11 PM PST
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  5. Profile Photo Member

    Well said, Mr. Olson.

    And if one breaks down the stats, one quickly finds that third party injuries/deaths from gun discharges involve the usual suspects by and large: people who are criminal or negligent in other ways already. Average citizens, and certainly not average married mothers and fathers, are typically not among the culprits.

    • #5
    • January 11, 2016, at 12:28 PM PST
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  6. Concretevol Thatcher

    jmelvin: If groups like Everytown for Gun Safety were serious about actual gun safety

    Well there is the essence of the thing. There can be no “honest debate” about any of this because the left, starting with Obama, is completely disingenuous about their true intent. It’s why Obama uses “mass shootings” to come up with gun control steps that would not prevent any of the “mass shootings” he was crying about. It’s the same as passing Obamacare to lower healthcare costs when it obviously raised costs. Their true intent was not, as they insisted, insuring the uninsured but to take over the health care system and hopefully bring in a European style single payer system. The veil fell from the NYT recently when they openly supported confiscation but the truth is all of these groups don’t want anyone to own guns period. They just are going at it incrementally like the Progs are so good at doing.

    • #6
    • January 11, 2016, at 12:39 PM PST
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  7. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Another example along these lines:

    Massachusetts law and culture being what it is, there’s no easy entry point to firearms without spending a lot of time or money. Simply going to a range to seek instruction and/or try a variety of weapons is very nearly impossible unless you already know someone who’s a member.

    And if you want to purchase a new weapon, good luck finding a gun shop with a range. Want to test a weapon via rental to see if it’s good for you? Good luck doing it anywhere I know of in the Greater Boston Area.

    Contrast this with (very nearly) the rest of the country where an adult can walk in, show some ID, and be given/offered instruction without forking over hundreds of dollars.

    • #7
    • January 11, 2016, at 1:09 PM PST
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  8. EHerring Coolidge
    1.  If you are for gun safety, then you would not hate the NRA. There is only one reason to hate the NRA…you are for gun bans and oppressive forms of gun control.
    2. Insurance warfare already exists because concealed carry permit holders are faced with the burden of buying insurance to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits brought by the anti-gun lobby. They don’t have to punish you by winning….just forcing you to go broke defending yourself to win and by making gun ownership more expensive (insurance costs), they punish you.
    • #8
    • January 11, 2016, at 1:51 PM PST
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  9. jmelvin Member

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Another example along these lines:

    Massachusetts law and culture being what it is, there’s no easy entry point to firearms without spending a lot of time or money. Simply going to a range to seek instruction and/or try a variety of weapons is very nearly impossible unless you already know someone who’s a member.

    And if you want to purchase a new weapon, good luck finding a gun shop with a range. Want to test a weapon via rental to see if it’s good for you? Good luck doing it anywhere I know of in the Greater Boston Area.

    Contrast this with (very nearly) the rest of the country where an adult can walk in, show some ID, and be given/offered instruction without forking over hundreds of dollars.

    I can imagine if you know an entry point to Boston’s black market you could easily avail yourself of nearly anything you’d like without all of the hassles!

    • #9
    • January 11, 2016, at 1:51 PM PST
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  10. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    jmelvin: I can imagine if you know an entry point to Boston’s black market you could easily avail yourself of nearly anything you’d like without all of the hassles!

    True dat.

    • #10
    • January 11, 2016, at 2:09 PM PST
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  11. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gun safety begins with you calling ahead before arriving at the door, be polite. The rest is quite simple.

    • #11
    • January 11, 2016, at 2:25 PM PST
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  12. Funeral Guy Inactive
    Funeral Guy Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Here in California a semi-automatic handgun has the loaded chamber indicator printed with LOADED WHEN UP. I suppose next year they’ll mandate a little flag to pop up saying DO NOT STICK LOADED GUN IN MOUTH. It’s clearly an attempt to discourage manufacturers from staying in the California market.

    • #12
    • January 11, 2016, at 8:12 PM PST
    • Like
  13. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Funeral Guy:Here in California a semi-automatic handgun has the loaded chamber indicator printed with LOADED WHEN UP. I suppose next year they’ll mandate a little flag to pop up saying DO NOT STICK LOADED GUN IN MOUTH. It’s clearly an attempt to discourage manufacturers from staying in the California market.

    Indeed. Ruger has said they will not attempt to get any more pistols approved by California. Many of the complaints over the LC9 stem from Ruger attempting to adhere to CA idiocies (chamber flag, internal trigger lock, mag drop safety).

    • #13
    • January 11, 2016, at 8:44 PM PST
    • Like
  14. Raw Prawn Inactive

    Ryan M:There is a fine line. For instance, it might be “safer” for the government to know where each gun in the country is and who owns it. But I don’t want the government to know how many guns I own, where I got them, how I store them, etc… Part of that “loophole” business exists for the sole purpose of monitoring, which is something I vehemently oppose.

    The sole value of a firearms registry is as a treasure map showing any thief, be he a criminal or a minion of the state, who has what and where they keep it. I can’t emphasize too much: sole; the only one of its kind; unique.

    • #14
    • January 12, 2016, at 12:40 AM PST
    • Like
  15. Carey J. Inactive

    skipsul:

    Funeral Guy:Here in California a semi-automatic handgun has the loaded chamber indicator printed with LOADED WHEN UP. I suppose next year they’ll mandate a little flag to pop up saying DO NOT STICK LOADED GUN IN MOUTH. It’s clearly an attempt to discourage manufacturers from staying in the California market.

    Indeed. Ruger has said they will not attempt to get any more pistols approved by California. Many of the complaints over the LC9 stem from Ruger attempting to adhere to CA idiocies (chamber flag, internal trigger lock, mag drop safety).

    Gun manufacturers should refuse to sell to law enforcement agencies in states which attempt to make gun ownership onerous.

    • #15
    • January 12, 2016, at 4:25 AM PST
    • Like
  16. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Carey J.:

    skipsul:

    Funeral Guy:Here in California a semi-automatic handgun has the loaded chamber indicator printed with LOADED WHEN UP. I suppose next year they’ll mandate a little flag to pop up saying DO NOT STICK LOADED GUN IN MOUTH. It’s clearly an attempt to discourage manufacturers from staying in the California market.

    Indeed. Ruger has said they will not attempt to get any more pistols approved by California. Many of the complaints over the LC9 stem from Ruger attempting to adhere to CA idiocies (chamber flag, internal trigger lock, mag drop safety).

    Gun manufacturers should refuse to sell to law enforcement agencies in states which attempt to make gun ownership onerous.

    Well, probably not a problem for Ruger as they don’t have a lot of market penetration in law enforcement. Big dogs there are Sig, Glock, and S&W, and for them that is Yuge business.

    • #16
    • January 12, 2016, at 5:22 AM PST
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  17. Concretevol Thatcher

    skipsul: Big dogs there are Sig, Glock, and S&W, and for them that is Yuge business.

    Glocks are the robocops of firearms. Big, ugly and super functional. I have a TN State Trooper Glock 31/ 357 sig and it’s an ugly thing of beauty.

    • #17
    • January 12, 2016, at 5:30 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Concretevol:

    skipsul: Big dogs there are Sig, Glock, and S&W, and for them that is Yuge business.

    Glocks are the robocops of firearms. Big, ugly and super functional. I have a TN State Trooper Glock 31/ 357 sig and it’s an ugly thing of beauty.

    I do not like the way Glocks feel in my hand. Feels like they are fighting me. I am very happy with my XD9 Compact.

    • #18
    • January 12, 2016, at 6:36 AM PST
    • Like
  19. Concretevol Thatcher

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Concretevol:

    skipsul: Big dogs there are Sig, Glock, and S&W, and for them that is Yuge business.

    Glocks are the robocops of firearms. Big, ugly and super functional. I have a TN State Trooper Glock 31/ 357 sig and it’s an ugly thing of beauty.

    I do not like the way Glocks feel in my hand. Feels like they are fighting me. I am very happy with my XD9 Compact.

    I’m not that big a fan of them either really but couldn’t pass up a trooper gun :)

    To me the top of the class is Kimber, so nice.

    • #19
    • January 12, 2016, at 6:46 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Concretevol:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Concretevol:

    skipsul: Big dogs there are Sig, Glock, and S&W, and for them that is Yuge business.

    Glocks are the robocops of firearms. Big, ugly and super functional. I have a TN State Trooper Glock 31/ 357 sig and it’s an ugly thing of beauty.

    I do not like the way Glocks feel in my hand. Feels like they are fighting me. I am very happy with my XD9 Compact.

    I’m not that big a fan of them either really but couldn’t pass up a trooper gun :)

    To me the top of the class is Kimber, so nice.

    I actually like the feel of the Glocks, and shoot them well. For some reason I could never get comfortable with the XD. Loved the feel of the M&P, but didn’t care for its trigger.

    • #20
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:17 AM PST
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