We once again find ourselves mired in the gun debate. This is a well trodden path, and familiar themes are once again emerging. It is a thorny issue, a very controversial issue, and an issue that is far from black and white.

I have some strong thoughts, but I also realize that it is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. Guns are here, guns are part of our culture, like them or hate them they are here to stay.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people is the start of the discussion. It is a flawed argument, but a good one. Indeed guns left alone rarely kill anyone, they are however quite dangerous when put in the hands of ‘people’.

It is our right to bear arms. Yes it is. But did the founders give thought to Automatic Weapons? Probably not.

The Gun Control lobby, and rightly so say, that amassing 4 guns and 6000 rounds of ammo in a short period of time (a few months) should have raised some red flags. This is a valid question. Yet everything that I have read to date explains that the purchases were all legal.

I have never owned a gun, and think it unlikely that I ever will. I have had fun with shooting clay pigeons, but that is about the limit of my interest. I know lots of people that have guns. I have no problem with them having guns as long as they are not going to use them for bad purposes.

The question I have is where do you draw the line between what should be permitted and what should be banned. I doubt that many people are in disagreement that the possession of shoulder held Surface To Air missile launchers should be banned. They are hardly weapons that even the most avid hunter might need. Blasting a Duck with a SAM would not leave much meat to cook.

Likewise, I can think of no practical application for a fully automatic rifle with a 100 round cartridge.

The Gun Lobby disagrees. Gun aficionados just like guns, they like to fire them under safe conditions, and represent no danger.  When pushed on the subject of gun control, the ‘tried and tested’ response is that gun control will not work. The ‘good guys’ will comply, but the ‘bad guys’ will still find ways to get their hands on them.

The Aurora atrocity also revealed that the ‘alleged’ killer had purchased more than 6000 rounds of ammo. Most of which seems to have been purchased online. Should there be limits and checks on who is buying ammo? Again this leads to an interesting situation.

The anti gun lobby point out that Pseudoephedrine (a component found in many OTC allergy drugs) requires some form of identification to obtain at your local pharmacy (well it is a component in the manufacturing or Meth), so while the pharmacist will sell you one or two products, he likely would call a halt to the purchase of a 100. No such controls exist on ammo, in fact it is often cheaper by the 1000!

The Pro Gun lobby counters with the argument that ‘professional’ shooters can rattle through a 1000 rounds in a day. Any limit imposed on the amount of ammo that can be purchased is bad and unconstitutional. They also love to point out that it only takes one bullet to kill. So if someone has just one bullet or 6000 it makes no difference.

As I mentioned earlier, you cannot  put the genie back in the bottle. Guns are here to stay. I do however wonder if there is a constructive way forward? A way forward that strikes a balance that everyone can live with?

Aurora was a subject that Barling & Barrett tackled at the the beginning of the program.

Simon Barrett

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