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Obama’s Gun Plan: Are We Over-Legislating?

Obama's new gun plan brings a tangible debate to the table, but is emotion getting in the way of progress?

Twice in the past two weeks, I've almost hit joggers who elect to use the street rather than sidewalks or the plethora of park tracks that we have. What if they get hit? What if I get into an accident with my kids in the car because I’m avoiding them? Do we need a law to prevent this and keep them safe?

No. We really don’t.

Some might even adopt a callous opinion, such as, “good riddance, serves ‘em right if they get hit.” Survival of the fittest may be a component of evolution, but, that’s really not how we should approach life, let alone govern ourselves. And yet, the legislative decision making principle here should be permissive of adults making their own decisions. Blockbuster author Stephen King nearly lost his life walking on the side of a road, but we can’t just start telling people they can’t walk on the side of the road anymore.

Significant mortality numbers and clear dangers to others, however, is good reason to legislate. Real data needs to be on the forefront of the decision making process. For too long we’ve seen legislating based on emotion and a lack of data.

Tangible Arguments

The national gun control debate has been swimming in emotion coming from both sides. The result, by and large, has been a war of extreme (mis)perception: America is comprised strictly of the tyrannical gun-grabbing verklempt, and the private militia crazies. Neither is accurately representative of the majority of US citizens.

Today, the gun debate was given flesh with President Obama’s gun plan. The most extreme fears of a universal gun ban can be assuaged: there will only be a “military style assault weapon” ban. There will be universal background checks, 10 round clip limits, emergency preparedness plans, CDC investigations into video game violence impact, and more. Whether or not you agree with the measures, there is now something tangible to discuss rather than loose angry arguments that something or nothing should be done.

The Value of Personal Choice

In one Colorado town, the residents voted to keep street lights lit on a private a la carte basis. It cost the citizens 3x more to do it this way, rather than via property taxes. Residents who were asked about the irrationality of this claimed there was nothing irrational; it was about freedom of choice.

Our choices matter. Right or wrong, we want to be in charge of our decisions. We would rather drive our own cars with a far higher accidental death probability than take a bus that is slower. But at least we’re in charge. Murder victims are never in charge.

Murder, Murder, Everywhere... No Effective Law to Spare?

More murder happens by blunt objects than by rifles. But then again, blunt objects and kitchen knives don’t create mass tragedies like we saw in Aurora, Colorado or Newtown, Connecticut. Gun free zones reduce the possibility of Wild West behavior, but people who want to kill many people will find it safest to do so in a gun-free zone. There seems to be a correlation between gun proliferation and a drop in crime, but then again, the only stories you hear about “military style assault weapons” are stories of people getting slaughtered… and then again, mass murders seems to have peaked in the late 1920s when such weapons were not publicly available.

Would Adam Lanza have not killed anyone with Obama’s plans in place? We can’t be sure. Will it prevent future atrocities? Will it hurt us to try to prevent future atrocities? Listen to both sides before taking the dive. In fact, avoid taking a dive and continue to be open.

Bringing Meaningful Conversation to the Table...

Constitutional arguments aside, the killing efficiency of legal weapons is a reasonable discussion to have. What isn’t reasonable is the venom that people infuse, turning a discussion into a perceived persecution on either side of this fence. Remember to look at real data – to understand that data – and to look at alternate interpretations of data. Try to drop emotion from the debate, without holding empathy in disdain.

We’ve got big discussions and important ones ahead of us as a nation. If we want a common ground or resolution of any type, it’s incumbent upon all of us to not be a jerk. Hitler comparisons and blaming art for atrocities gets us nowhere. Data does.

Unfortunately, today, our leadership in the White House spent more time making an emotional case than one based on data. Unfortunately, the hypocrisy is piquant when this is coming from a president who continues to kill children overseas with drones and call it collateral damage. But we must compartmentalize and not cloud the immediate issue. We as a people need to take part in the conversation, contribute useful data, respect and understand the emotions of others, and distinguish our own emotion from fact.

The question isn’t whether or not we’re over-legislating. The question is whether or not we are conducting ourselves rationally enough to have productive conversation. We’re not… yet… but we can. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS January 25, 2013 at 06:07 PM
How did you come up with "I have no problem killing innocent children? Its 2013 and its called Google. Find out about Cathrynn Brown yourself.
BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS January 25, 2013 at 06:17 PM
I'm an avid hunter and belong to a hunting club. Haven't found any game yet I couldn't take down with my shotgun. Ive had this same argument with the people of my club and have yet to get a response that directly answers the question. Now I'm not going to waste time with your request for definitions. I'm still waiting for your response to my applicable questions!
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Really? Thats what i said.... many did survive... many fought, especially in Poland. The point is that, if armed they would have still been demolished. You act as if the berstien's had some tanks and machine guns out bac before tje nazis got there. entire militaries were destroyed in days... how would Jew's, who were unorganized, and just simple familis stand a chance? The very claim you are making is ignorant.
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Tbs.... im not sure if you truly understand the meaning of the second amendment... no amendment is free if change... and unless its author was jesus, no one could of predicted how it should apply to the world of the futire... There is no attack on the 2r nd amendment...
Tired of the B.S. January 25, 2013 at 06:39 PM
You are a hunter? What do you hunt? What kind of shotgun do you own? Where is your hunting/gun club? What is it called? Basically, I'm calling B.S. on your claims. I don't believe that you have ever fired a gun as a hunter or at a range. I will answer your question about "assault rifles". The problem rests with the currant definition that is being used to describe "assault rifles". A true assault rifle is like the ones our military uses. It can fire fully automatic. Ask any soldier if he would rather have his assault rifle or if he would rather take an AR-15 into combat. 100% would keep the real assault rifle that they have and not take a semi-automatic "assault rifle" like an AR-15. So if we are going to talk about "assault rifles" lets do it. Assault rifles are already legislated to the point that most people will never own one. The cost of getting a license to own an assault rifle is ridiculous and the time that it takes to get that license is in the neighborhood of a year, to give time to various law enforcement agencies for back round checks. The semi-automatic rifles that you call "assault rifles" are nothing more than dressed up guns that look nasty to those that don't know any better. Just because they look like a true assault rifle does not make them an assault rifle.
BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS January 25, 2013 at 07:09 PM
It will come to no surprise to you, but I could give a shit what you believe. I'd answer ever question you ask and you'll still doubt me. Now that you explained concepts and definitions I already knew, please answer my question on why civilians need them! I know its a tough question, but considering you're the smartest guy on this blog you should no problem doing so. I never seen you avoid a direct question this long.....I must admit the anticipation of your answer will no doubt be better than you're answer.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 07:33 PM
GlockG22Shoots40s, pretty sure you just a better argument for taking AWAY YOUR gun than letting others keep theirs...
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 07:34 PM
You do realize far more of our rights were taken away under the "Patriot Act" than anything to do with the Second Amendment, right?
BUTCH January 25, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Excellent point on the Warsaw ghetto uprising, that's why REP YAHOO wants neutron bombs and URANIUM DEPLETED squirrel gun ammo for the dismal swamp Militia!
BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS January 25, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Oh you mean the black guy???
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Okay, only to belabor this exact point, not to take a side, except logic's...how many NEIGHBORS kill each other with...well, anything? Meaning, is there a statistic stating this, or just the base numbers about the various weapons? How many people, especially on this board are really worried about their ACTUAL neighbors? NOT people from other places, the ACTUAL people on their block? Thought so...can we now get back to things that might happen in reality more than a handful of times a year...and are also not the instances being targeted by any governing body anywhere in the country.
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Now that's funny...
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 07:48 PM
I think he really wants to see your gun... I think he wants to see the length of the shaft and feel the power of the explosion... Wait, what are we talking about?
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Ah, but you are mistaken...it is still lobbyists and money...just that in this case there is/was competition for/with it. The insurance companies that pay out on those sick/injured or dead people, especially the young ones (who have paid very little in premiums) are huge contributors to Congress...and they hate pay-outs...so, sorry Metabolife of other various entities affected. This is America, so the first thing you should ever do is look ever deeper for who can make money off a situation, usually BOTH sides of a situation.
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 07:54 PM
DJP Fact...."Sidwell School (where Chelsea Clinton, Al Gore III and Biden's grandchildren attend) was "armed" before Obama's children enrolled." Not a fact... They had no armed guards... Only secret service carry weapons... Thats by law, and national secruity... And stop accusing me of attcaking people and calling you names...
BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS January 25, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Butch your posts are as useful as facts are to half the contributors (you know who you are) of this blog!!!
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Easy Lady Eagle... Butch is a friendly... Don't let TBS get ya'all excited!
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Stones...they took your asking for a 'dumber' analogy personally...not for the factual question you intended it as.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 08:12 PM
OH Colin C...how dare you make sense...you will now be ignored by people who are defeated by logic in lieu of fear and uniformed opinion...sorry to break this to you...though you probably have encountered this before, especially if you have posted either on this topic or on this forum.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Rudy...little tip for you...NEVER...EVER...use wikipedia as a credible 'source'...EVER! Totally undermines your point, no matter how correct...
Tired of the B.S. January 25, 2013 at 08:45 PM
TSK TSK Lady Eagle #1 Fan. No swearing on the Patch! You have not answered any of the questions that I asked, but I will answer the last question you asked. People do not NEED many things, including these guns. Many people WANT them, just as people don't NEED a car that can go 200mph, but WANT them. I like these guns because they are fun to shoot just like I like fast cars because they are fun to drive. Just because a few idiots use things in an illegal way, why do I have to be punished for that? Now, calm down, take a deep breath and try not to get too upset because I don't agree with you or your stance on gun control, or because I question your experience and knowledge about guns.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Rudy...if you think Democrats are too powerful (which in Illinois, they certainly are), I hope you vote, and if really concerned, have worked for candidates to change that. Keep in mind that places like Texas have overwhelming majorities of Republicans, and not every Democrat can just move out, as I'm sure is the case with many Illinois Republicans. Whole swathes of the South, in fact, are quite 'red'...and, thanks to the glory of gerrymandering, will remain so despite the GOP being outvoted in many congressional districts. (You want a constitutional rights convsersation, try reading up on THAT topic...) Mostly, keep in mind that for the majority of our history, we have had gun laws supported by a majority, despite the 2nd Amendment. Also, keep in mind that as a mostly minority party in the US (slimly, mostly, but still a minority at this point), the GOP is either putting itself further out of the mainstream or content to be the future Whig Party...
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Oh, just re-read your post, sorry...a bit more... As a centrist, I have to say that while you might be offended by individuals looking for a handout, I am with you...but when you, or others say they are Republican, I wonder what company they own and which handout from the government they get. If they do not own a company or run one, at least, I REALLY wonder why because the majority of the uber-wealthy in this country are the most conservative people and THEY are the ones that enjoy all the tax-breaks that allow themn to pay less in taxes than you or I, and THEY are the ones reducing your wages and cutting your and my benefits, and THEY are the ones telling you to it is Tv's fault. (Guess who runs the networks...old white guys who are the most conservative of them all...Jack Welch ran NBC for years, Les Moonves-Sumner Redstone...Rupert Murdoch pays Seth MacFarlane!) So for the average middle class American that is being run into extinction, keep in mind who is doing it to you, and it isn't unions (lowest membership by percentage of population in decades), it isn't Tv, it isn't anything or anyone but the people you think are your friends. They do not CARE about you...they care about themselves, their families (probably), their friends (maybe) and their money (for certain). All of the rest of us are just little disposable cogs in their machine. We mean nothing, regardless of what we look like or who we vote in. They just want the power and money to live how they want.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 09:05 PM
As a centrist, I have to say that any who might be offended by individuals looking for a handout, I am with you...but when somebody tells me they are Republican, I wonder what company they own and which handout from the government THEY get. If they do not own a company or run one, at least, I REALLY wonder why because the majority of the uber-wealthy in this country are the most conservative people and THEY are the ones that enjoy all the tax-breaks that allow themn to pay less in taxes than you or I, and THEY are the ones reducing your wages and cutting your and my benefits, and THEY are the ones telling you to it is Tv's fault. (Guess who runs the networks...old white guys who are the most conservative of them all...Jack Welch ran NBC for years, Les Moonves-Sumner Redstone...Rupert Murdoch pays Seth MacFarlane!) So for the average middle class American that is being run into extinction, keep in mind who is doing it to you, and it isn't unions (lowest membership by percentage of population in decades), it isn't Tv, it isn't anything or anyone but the people you think are your friends. They do not CARE about you...they care about themselves, their families (probably), their friends (maybe) and their money (for certain). All of the rest of us are just little disposable cogs in their machine. We mean nothing, regardless of what we look like or who we vote in. They just want the power and money to live how they want. Even Congress really just works for the 1%, don't be fooled.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 09:16 PM
The Polish Army once had the world's best cavalry...until they faced tanks. Assault weapons used by even decently trained citizens will NOT win out over a military bent on suppresion of that citizenry. If the military does NOT side with the government, the government will not be able to do whatever it is that extremist on the right fear. If the military stages a coup, it will still not matter, except that the 'people' and 'their government' will be on the same underweaponized side. The basic fact is that no elected US government is ever really going to allow average citizens to own arms that could outpower the US military. This is not something that helps me sleep better at night, necessarily, but it is a hard truth. So, in the end, high end weapons are just too pacify those that want to FEEL like they could make a difference. In anything near an armed revolt, the 'rebels' of today would be wiped out as soon as the military put on their boots. Lastly, comparisons to Nazi Germany are laughable because the majority of the people were FOR the slaughter of the Jews...so the government was easily able to do a lot of crazy things. Our culture is so far away from that...in fact, it is often the racist, small-minded, xenophobes that are much closer to the Nazis, not the 'bleeding heart liberals'...
BUTCH January 25, 2013 at 09:26 PM
@ Eagle Sorry if facts get in the way of yer hunting lodge buddy's versions or to the wannabe's of the lodge for that matter too, it's just the facts mam at least most of them or most of the time
Tired of the B.S. January 25, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Now that's funny, I don't care who you are! I guess you have to be some kind of special stupid to understand what Butch writes. I'm glad Butch is one of your "friendlies" and somehow his facts make sense to you, because they sure don't to most others.
Chronicles of Bob January 25, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Wow tbs.... i didnt know republicans were so wound up all of the time...
BUTCH January 25, 2013 at 09:56 PM
@ tired and cob THAT'S why tired wants to know where the eagle hunts and the names-SSA and addresses of the gun bearers!
boozer mcgee January 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM
this entire Obama administration is on a Mission To Destroy America! America needs to see what is happening in Europe, but no, lets give the entitlement pigs more to get the VOTE at election time...

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