Education or prohibition: How do we solve our perceived gun problem?

With the recent massacre in Newtown Connecticut advocates on both sides of the gun control issue are vying for a seat at the public discussion.  Almost immediately, proponents of stricter gun control were poised to “exploit” this tragedy to push their agenda.  If there were less access to guns, they say, this could have been prevented.  Perhaps, perhaps not.  When someone is intent on wreaking havoc, less access to their tool of choice only delays the event until they have time to acquire their arsenal.  Gun advocates, on the other hand, argue that if the teachers had access to guns, the body count would have stopped long before 29 (20 children, 9 adults including the gunman’s mother).  I think this is most likely correct.  I’m not going to argue for or against either position here.  I would like simply to offer an observation about the proposed solution offered by those calling for more stringency or altogether bans.

gun banWhen the numbers of unplanned pregnancies and abortions rise, liberals are quick to call for more education and more funding of access to birth control.  The claim is that the more educated about sex teens are, and the more access they have to birth control, the less likely they are to find themselves pregnant and possibly seeking an abortion.  OK, I can understand how they think that makes sense.  However, in reality that hasn’t really done much to reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortion.

But, if they believe education and funding prevention is a viable option for reducing an undesired state of affairs, like unplanned pregnancy, why not apply that same principle to the perceived gun problem?  Let’s fund firearm safety and handling classes as early as grade school (same with sex education is some areas).  Let’s educate these kids on the dos and don’ts of gun safety and laws.  If the kids who eventually grew up to go on rampages only knew the dangers of misusing guns and were adequately educated, none of these mass murders would have taken place.  Just like with sex education, the more the children know about sex, the less likely they are to get pregnant, right?

sex edWe should also push for more funding to equip gun owners with gun safes and trigger locks.  Just like access to birth control at the earliest ages prevents pregnancy, more access to gun locks and safes will prevent murderous rampages — if the logic is sound.  So in the same way teaching abstinence doesn’t work because teens will have sex anyway, telling people to just not touch guns until they’re legally allowed to do so doesn’t work either.  They need to be as comfortable around guns and sex as possible to ensure both are handled safely.

Teens are going to have sex, and teens are going to use guns.  We need to teach them to be safe when doing either, right?  Safe sex, safe guns.

Comments

  1. Wow. Interesting. The one missing piece of publically funded sex education is “abstinence prevents all sexual problems”. They can’t teach morality, they say.

    Would publically funded gun safety classes be permitted to say “don’t shoot people”?

    I’d be fine with most sex education if they would only say that abstinence works. I’d be very happy with gun safety classes in school IF they were allowed to say that not shooting people was the only way to prevent gun murders.

    • C2C

      I had thought of that but wanted to focus on their line of thinking. Of course telling someone that not having sex will prevent pregnancy, and telling people that not shooting others will prevent murders doesn’t work. We have to make sex and shootings more safe by getting kids more involved and educated as asap as possible.

  2. I’m stealing your graphic for FB!

  3. “Let’s fund firearm safety and handling classes as early as grade school (same with sex education is some areas). Let’s educate these kids on the dos and don’ts of gun safety and laws.”

    That education can prevent accidents but not intentional killing use.
    In my country, it’s not necessary that education because we don’t have firearms as a basis. The one’s who have them must have it.

    • Isu

      2 questions, where are you from?

      And we’ll just tell kids to abstain from shooting people. Through education we can inform the kids that shooting people is against the law.

  4. What if we just pass out gun condoms?

  5. John.

    “2 questions, where are you from?”
    That’s one, I’m from Spain.

    “And we’ll just tell kids to abstain from shooting people. Through education we can inform the kids that shooting people is against the law.”

    Once again, that won’t prevent intentional killing use such as Lanza’s one.

    • Very well. “they’re going to do it any way”, I suppose. So, what is needed is more education! Kids need to know how guns work. How to load and discharge firearms. They need to know EVERYTHING about guns and gun use! THEN, we’ll see a decrease in gun violence, right?

      Banning guns and turning a blind eye to the fact that “they’ll do it anyway” is just silly. More gun education!

      Brilliant!

  6. I think sex education should teach abstinence. At the same time, knowledge about birth control should be made available. If sometimes the teaching works, it’s a big win for society. Each unwanted pregnancy avoided is a big win, even though not all unwanted pregnancies are avoided.

    The education that would have helped here is educating the mother that guns should not be easily accessible to mentally ill people. Before people can drive a car, they need to be educated. That’s the law. Why not educate people that if you own guns, please restrict access so that mentally ill people have more trouble accessing them. It’s not 100% foolproof of course, but if it works 10% of the time, lives are saved. I think the cost of this is not too high.

    What about requiring that, if you own a gun and have children in the house, or mentally ill people have access to your residence, the guns should be locked up? I realize this would not work 100% of the time, but if it works sometimes it might be worth it. What about requiring that if you buy a semi-automatic military style rifle you must attend a class that makes you aware of how these guns have been misused in the past? That might alert some people to the dangers and maybe prevent a future Newtown. Even if one future Newtown is prevented, it just may well be worth it. Unfortunately, whatever we do, we can expect more Newtowns.

    It seems that we ought to be thinking about solutions. The idea that we do nothing is hard to swallow, even if what we do is not 100% effective. We owe our children at least an attempt to reduce the chances that a mentally ill person will attack them. Nothing we do will be 100% effective. To do nothing seems to be letting our children down.

  7. ” educating the mother that guns should not be easily accessible to mentally ill people.”

    Considering he had to kill her to get at her guns, I think maybe she already had that one as much as she could.

    ” if you buy a semi-automatic military style rifle …”

    First, most guns are semi-automatic. Hardly anyone still uses bolt actions anymore. The focus on “semi-automatic” is a distraction, since it makes it sound like they are somehow unusual or deadlier. They’re standard. Second, what the heck is “military style?” Because it sounds like a matter of appearance. The type of rifle he used is common among hunters as well as military and police because it is well made and reliable. It doesn’t even have a very powerful caliber – though it can be used to hunt deer, personally, I’d go with something more powerful.

    When I was a kid, we always had at least 3 rifles; an old .22 bolt action, a shotgun and what was probably a .308 (I don’t remember exactly) hunting rifle. The .22 was used the most to protect our animals from small predators, the shotgun for hunting birds and the hunting rifle for deer. I still remember when one of my brothers picked up our first semi-automatic .22 What an improvement! Talk about saving time and making things easier. Granted, there’s more satisfaction in shooting a WWII Polish sniper rifle, but I would consider a .22 rifle the most practical one to have. Every farmer I knew growing up had at least one.

    “…you must attend a class that makes you aware of how these guns have been misused in the past? ”

    Seriously? Look, you have to take a class to get a gun license (I think that applies to all of the US; someone correct me if I’m wrong). Part of knowing learning how to use a gun is learning how to respect its dangers. The idea that “these guns” (what? .22? Basic semi-automatic?) somehow need extra classes on that fact that they’ve been misused is just plain silly. Do we get special classes to teach us how car have been misused? Knives? Bicycles? Hammers? Toasters?

    “We owe our children at least an attempt to reduce the chances that a mentally ill person will attack them.”

    Here’s something. How ’bout we take mental illness more seriously? Provide more resources to help people like his mother, who was struggling to provide him the care he needed? Get over any politically correct ideas that it’s somehow wrong to treat mentally ill people who have shown themselves to be violent or dangerous any differently then mentally ill people who don’t. Ever heard of Vince Li? This is the guy that murdered, beheaded, then cannibalized the guy sleeping next to him on the bus. Li is now being allowed off hospital grounds because he’s under treatment, and that somehow makes it okay (never mind that he’d stopped previous treatments, leading to his horrific crime). Parents who have been trying to get help for the mentally ill offspring (including adults) are often told nothing can be done until their child commits a crime. That needs to change.

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