serina_ds: (Dark eye)
[personal profile] serina_ds
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/848080.html

"What do you think of gun control?"

This is a far more complex question than it seems on the surface. My own inclination is for all firearms to be illegal for anyone except the military (during a battlefield situation) and a few carefully selected and highly trained units of the police. However, that ignores huge issues relating to corruption, abuse of power, institutional racism, and potential police brutality. It is still more likely that non-ethnic-minorities will successfully enter the police force, and there is the potential for this to cause friction with ethnic minority communities, particularly when it's felt (often with some evidence to support it) that they are unfairly targetted due to their skin colour.

Now, add sexism, trans*phobia, rape apologism and all the other institutional prejudices that can impact on how the authorities treat individuals...and it's worrying handing over that sort of power, with no way to prevent injustice done by those who should be preventing it.

But in the UK, strong gun control still works. It makes it a lot more difficult for criminals to get hold of guns (although not impossible), but that's not really the main issue for me. Overwhelmingly, when people have guns lying around, the most likely person to get shot will tend to be a member of your own family. This happens again and again. Kids getting hold of guns and shooting themselves, or each other. Your teenage son getting drunk and thinking it would be hilarious to shoot some beer cans in the back garden, but hitting their best friend instead. A parent hearing a sound in the middle of the night, and getting out the gun to protect themselves, only for it to turn out that they just shot their 5 year old who got out of bed for some milk. It happens. Every single life that is lost for this stupid, unnecessary reason is a tragedy, and one that is preventable.

If you want to shoot for fun, you go to a shooting range, and hire your firearms there.

If you want to shoot game - you go to a shooting range first, to practice, and then once you have been given the ok, you hire your guns from the organisation that manages the woodland area (including wildlife culling). They would be required to do all the necesssary checks, and have all the necessary insurance.

If you want to protect your home, the one thing you don't do is keep something on hand that is not only likely to escalate the situation to potential murder/manslaughter/killing in self defense, but also is far more likely to be used against your own family. When everyone carries guns, dying of being shot just becomes more likely.

In the end, the big thing is trust in the institution of the police and the government. If that's lost, is it any surprise that people arm themselves for protection? So, first we work on the authorities, particularly the police. Make them decent, make them trustworthy, make corruption unthinkable, elevate and support whistleblowers. Make the policeman someone we can all look up to, and trust to protect us in a just and impartial but compassionate way. Their role should be to protect us from each other. Give them clear guidelines, give them the power to do their job, and then let them get on with it. Don't make them moral authorities over us, and don't let them make judgements on our behaviour except where it has a detrimental impact on other people. We can have moral guides, and guardians of our conscience - people we choose to remind us of our better selves.

Just don't make it the police, it fuzzies up the boundaries of their role.
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