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Obama’s Gun Laws

“Back up in yo ass with the resurrection”

There was a particularly ridiculous letter to the editor in last Wednesday’s Emerald, one in which the author of the letter, Curtis Taylor, made the claim that, “[Obama has] signed into law more repeals of good gun policies than President George W. Bush” whatever that means.

As November 2008 came near, many on the conservative side of things expressed great fear that Obama would pass some kind of sweeping legislation against guns, effectively changing gun ownership in America forever, and for the worst. Many on the left (as I assume Taylor is, given his opinion) felt this a compelling force behind myriad reasons why they voted for Obama. Yet not much has come in the way of mass gun control from Obama. Indeed, Taylor expressed his frustration that Obama has, “showed no signs of leadership on the issue.” Leadership, of course, being the backhanded term being used there for not “doing what I want.”

Taylor lodged even more concerns against Obama:

“He has a responsibility to speak about the serious problems facing our nation. Gun violence is a major problem. More than 110,000 people are killed and injured each year by guns

This fall, he signed legislation that allowed guns in checked luggage on Amtrak trains.
President Obama can still improve his record by taking action to make our families and communities safer, but he needs to hear from Americans across the country.”

To begin with, I’m not quite sure where the problem lies with having guns in checked luggage on Amtrak trains… I’m assuming Mr. Taylor doesn’t understand that you can already check guns into your luggage on other modes of mass transit–like airplanes.

Secondly, Mr. Taylor’s vast, sweeping generalization that “gun violence” causes those 110,000 killings/injuries is rather rash. The term “gun violence” at least in Mr. Taylor’s usage, obviously begs for the reader to understand it as meaning “criminal and/or malicious usage of firearms” (hence the usage gun violence and not just “guns”). Of course, that usage is rather misleading when considering Taylor’s statistic–110,000 people killed and injured every year–includes hunting accidents, negligent discharge (you being unsafe/an idiot/playing around with your gun) or other factors (unlocked gun safes, etc.)

Now, I’d like to be careful about making sweeping generalizations of my own, but it seems to me that–as is often the case with anti-gun advocates–Taylor is blaming the weapon in the crime and not the perpetrator of the crime. It certainly puzzles me when I see people talking about how, “We’d all be a lot safer if no one had guns.” The fact remains, however, that if a meth-addict wants to rob me, he’s just going to use a knife or a crowbar or something else to gain illicit funds. The same can be said about murderers or any other unlawful users of firearms.

Again, as it has been said many times before, the act of owning a gun should not in any way be illegal. However, criminal usage of that gun should be punished to the full extent of the law. I find people like Curtis Taylor to hold themselves willfully ignorant of the causes of gun crime–poverty, passion and hate among them–in order to further their cause against something they are afraid of and do not understand.

I shot a gun for the first time this Summer. Not because I wanted to own one, or wanted to hunt or for any other similar reason. I wanted to shoot a gun because I was incredibly, deathly afraid of them (in some ways I still am). But the only way to conquer your fear of something is to try to understand it. Taylor, and those like him, must have a great fear of firearms. Surely, that would explain why they do not understand the complex social and economic reasons behind the existence of gun crime in this country. The crazy thing out of all of this is, maybe Obama does.

Actually, probably not.

  1. AvgDude says:

    Gun laws stop violent crimes the way drug laws stop crack smoking.

    Good luck with that whole Utopia thing. I know you kids mean well & all.

  2. 42 says:

    Mr. Taylor,
    I applaud you efforts to eliminate the means by which violent deaths are caused.
    However, would it not be a better usage of your efforts to target the elimination of other causes violent deaths where greater gains in the reduction of violent deaths may be achieved?

    Some good candidates to consider would be automobiles and illegal drug usage.

    As I

  3. Darren says:

    Suicide is the most common cause of mortality from “gun violence” according to the CDC. Of gun related deaths in 2006 over 50% were suicides. What

  4. Curtis Taylor says:

    I wrote the letter to the editor of the Emerald because a major gun violence prevention group has just released a report on Obama

  5. Darren says:

    America has a strong gun culture. Since Obama wants to be re-elected he would wait to do anyting “sweeping” if he is going to. There are something like 270 million guns owned by US citizens. Thats almost a one to one ratio of guns to citizens. What would scare the shit out of people like Curtis Taylor is to know how many people he sees everyday (off campus) that are carrying one. Not that people carrying guns is supposed to be scary for a normal person, but to a hoplophobic like Taylor, knowing would be terrifying.

  6. Gsim says:

    Bump fire? Turning bullets into noise is no way to go through life.

  7. Michael G. says:

    Clearly I need to take to commentator staff out and teach you all how to bump-fire an AR-15. 🙂

  8. Alex L says:

    I can vouch for the dangers of negligent discharge. Luckily no person was injured, just property (I promise it wasn’t me, just a negligent roommate that you may know).
    I agree, although “causes of gun crime” could just as easily read “causes of violent crime”.
    Some people are more violent than others, and like you mentioned, the means don’t matter to them as much as the ends (illegal gains). I have shot many guns and am no longer afraid of them. However, I still remain afraid of the person HOLDING a gun pointed in my direction. I think that EVERYONE should take a gun safety course, even if they never plan on owning a gun. That way they won’t be tempted to “play with” a gun, or if they get the chance to shoot one, won’t have any negligent discharge or mishandling.

  9. Zach says:

    Solidly agree. It makes me absolutely “lose my shit” when people confuse the means of violence with the act of violence. People should watch more Happy Gilmore and pay attention to the shirt Gilmore’s Boss wears: Guns don’t kill people, I kill people.

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