San Bernardino, California: A Call for Gun Control Reform?

The 2nd Amendment, or the right to bear Arms, is not something that I have grown up with, or had deeply ingrained into my identity. I was not born here and the UK has a very different attitude to guns and their uses… so … this incident at San Bernardino has raised some stark questions.

I understand that for some, it is a very important part of who they are as an American. I also understand that the 80 million or so people who own guns legally here have the right to have them. I also understand that many people do think there needs to be some reform on gun control – and that some think it should not be changed.

I am curious to hear from anyone on this – so please share your thoughts, especially if you own a gun, what do you think about gun control reform?

map showing 2015 mass shootings geographically found on PBS News Hour (data from Shooting Tracker)

map showing 2015 mass shootings geographically found on PBS News Hour (data from Shooting Tracker)

I have lived and worked in some of the dodgiest areas of London, but never once felt fearful of going somewhere where I may get shot. Here, after the 353 mass shootings this year (that number as of December 3rd 2015) has me feeling really concerned. It is not going to stop me from going out and doing my normal everyday stuff, but how can you not be affected by that number? Let it sink in for a second … 353 mass shootings (meaning a single shooting incident that results in the deaths or injury of four or more people, including the attacker) in 337 days of the year so far … (numbers provided by Shooting Tracker).

That is just mass shootings, not numbers related to gun violence in general.

So I have a few questions that I am hoping to find some answers to, or at least a bit of information on it all to add to my reading around this subject:

Why has there been no gun control reform yet? Why not something like increased background checks or making assault rifles unobtainable?

What is a .223 calibre rifle, that can piece walls and body armour, like the ones used by the couple who did the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California used for? Should these types of guns be readily available with the current checks or outlawed? Are these guns best in the hands of the military that use them and not your everyday American?

I am not criticising the right to bear Arms, I am trying to understand it more as this is the third mass shooting I have watched unfold via the news and social media in October alone. Is it time for a change, or shall we just let a website keep track and do nothing about it?

The law that allows those on a terrorism ‘no fly list’ to still buy guns, and that President Obama, mentions in the above CBS News slot – does that need to be changed? Is the NRA’s blocking of a proposed law that would stop a person on the list from getting a firearm backed by all their members or is there something else at play?

Also, when the 2nd Amendment came into effect in 1791, it was a very different world then, and the need to fend off the British helped create the idea that citizens have the right to bear Arms and support the security of a free state. We do not live in those times anymore. The nature and usage of guns has changed immeasurably since then, so is it time to bring a law/amendment up-to-date to reflect todays issues? Does a law or amendment need to reflect the world we live in today? I know a law and an amendment are different, as an amendment is so ingrained as part of the freedoms of this nations people – but so are the laws. They are there to protect its people. Does it now need to change to do a better job and reflect what the people are facing?

What are your thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “San Bernardino, California: A Call for Gun Control Reform?

  1. Didi Paterno-Magpali (@didipaterno) says:

    I’ve heard the argument that having guns make some Americans feel safe. Does it really? Knowing that you can seriously harm or kill fellow human being or get yourself harmed or killed as well? It that how you protect one’s self by harming another?

    I’ve seen an open carry gun once in a BBQ joint in small town in Georgia. It sure did not make me comfortable knowing that there was a gun that could go off.

    What happened to good ol’ fist fights? Is that not a “better” way to settle any disputes or what not? Or debates or something?

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    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      It is certainly an odd situation, and one I wish to understand better, as I too, when seeing a concealed carry, do not feel particularly secure or safe. How do I know that that person is going to be responsible? However, if there is another gun person at large, at least you can defend yourself, but I am yet to be convinced of this.
      There was an incident recently where a man was shoplifting from a home store and when he left the store and was running to his car, a women who was near and had a gun (and license) and began firing at him. This is what I worry about … this shoplifter, although committing a crime, was not endangering anyone’s life, he had no weapons, he was leaving the premises without having hurt anyone. The woman who opened fire was endangering people and did not help the situation as he got away … she opened fire in a public area. A complete over reaction and not a responsible way to respond. Maybe there needs to be more training with what and how to react. What the law is on opening fire on an individual who is unarmed and not endangering anyone because they are leaving.
      The recent mass shooting is obviously a different issue than the one I just mentioned, but the ability to obtain a weapon is. I think something needs to change, just remains to be seen if or what that will be.

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  2. Didi Paterno-Magpali (@didipaterno) says:

    That’s crazy! And yes, I agree with you about why go shoot the shoplifter, is it really necessary, especially that you endanger lives of innocent people too?

    And yes, I also agree to the questions on the second amendment. Constitutions / laws are not cast in stone. They also should change with the times.

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  3. jlhilleary says:

    Molly-
    You and I are on a similar thought wave here. This particular incident touched me more closely that many others because I was born there and graduated from high School in Redlands.

    Here are a couple of links for you and your readers, a “soft” one from me:

    http://whattheworldtaughtme.com/2015/12/03/expat-living-where-is-the-safest-place-to-be-an-expat/ — reflecting as the San Bernardino/Redlands events affected me on a deeply personal level.

    And, a “serious” one from journalist Caitlin Kelly, in case anyone wants to try to understand this issue better: http://blownawaythebook.com/

    “Blown Away: American Women and Guns” by Caitlin Kelly offers the first national, neutral, nuanced examination of the intersection of American women and firearms: recreational, political, economic, professional, cultural, social and criminal. Critics praise it for its diversity, fairness and in-depth examination of a complex, divisive issue.

    A heavy read, but a real eye-opening viewpoint. (More from Caitlin, on more pleasant topics, https://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/2015/ ).

    Interested to hear more…

    Like

    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      Thank you – I am just trying to get my head around everything with regards to guns and gun control and what that may mean to certain people – I am keen to just learn more and continue to asking questions as I try to fin a place amongst it all. I appreciate your input!

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  4. ldr13 says:

    I understand the logic that “having a weapon makes me feel safe” however the reality is that the country is unsafe because people have such easy access to fatal weapons. The statistics don’t lie. Their way of life is not working and needs to change but unfortunately most Americans have been brought up to believe that owning a gun is “American” and something to be proud of. Their ideas about guns seem to be based on emotion (pride) rather than logic (what works best for the safety of all).

    They constantly use the tired argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people… what about knives, scissors… they’ll be banning baseball bats next etc,.” A gun has only one use: to injure/harm/kill. Unlike knives whose function is to chop food or baseball bats whose function is to hit a ball in a game. It’s one thing to misuse a tool, but it’s quite another to hand-out objects whose only actual function is to kill. What else is a gun good for? Just destruction.

    You can’t go around buying grenades and bombs, why? Because their only function is to kill. So I don’t see why you can just walk into a store and buy a gun. I feel sorry for Barrack Obama who is trying to bring some common sense to the States but gets stymied at every turn by gun lobbyists.

    It’s unfortunate that our neighbour, and such a forward-thinking country in some ways is so backwards in other ways (when it comes to issues such as gun control, health care, race and sexual orientation). It is a country that seems very divided (people in the North tend to be at odds with those in the South). I hope that in the future they will be able to get it together.

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