Saturday, December 14, 2013

Axe the Gun Slingers

The line used by the National Rifle Association to justify the easy availability of guns in USA: it is not guns that kill, it's people who kill.

From one perspective, that fact is self-evident. For example, in Iceland there are two guns in every household, yet only one murder last year. The Swiss are armed to the teeth with very few murders, and Canadians have more guns per household than Americans, with a very low murder-by-gun rate.

The above facts don't bode well for the American mindset; it means that a lot of whacko people obtain access to guns that don't hold life in the same esteem as other heavily armed countries.

On the flip side of the coin, very few deaths by gun occur in Japan because almost no one can get a permit to possess one. The red tape and bureaucracy to obtain a weapon may boggle the mind, but in fact make perfect sense. The individual wishing to purchase a firearm is subjected to intensive psychiatric evaluation, community surveillance, hefty licensing fees and other measures to insure the stability and civic mindedness of the gun owner. And, all the above permissions expire after one year, forcing the gun owner to go through above said regulations in a groundhog day ritual.

All things considered, one can only conclude that the policy for gun control in America should follow the Japanese model. Just as one wouldn't put a gun in a child's hands, apparently one shouldn't put a gun in the hands of most gun owners in the good ol' America of Wild West fame.

The right to bear arms was granted by the Constitution shortly after the American Revolution, when it was a good thing for the population to be armed. After all, the British tried once more to gain control of their former American colony, getting as far as Washington D.C. and burning down the White House and other government facilities in the War of 1812.

But in 2013, the invader comes not from the outside but from within. With an unseen pressure causing our citizens to axe each other at alarming rates, let's go Japanese -- not just in our sushi addictions but in their policies of gun ownership as well.

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