Bertrand Russell said, “The whole problem with any issue is that fools and fanatics are always certain of their position, while wise people are full of doubt and questions.” As the death of 20 six- and seven-year-old children, who were shot numerous times with an assault rifle, begins to fade from the news, the gun crowd is holding tightly to the simplistic statement, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” The NRA’s unquestioned idea to stop gun violence in America is crystallized in their statement, “To stop a bad guy with a gun, you need a good guy with a gun.”
In the NRA’s mind, Americans are in two clearly identifiable groups. The first is a criminal class that is armed to the teeth with guns and bent on hurting, raping, or stealing from good people.
The second group is good citizens who are nothing more then potential victims unless they are armed with a gun to defend themselves.
This “John Wayne mentality” is simply not true. Most gun deaths occur in the home. Readily available guns in the homes of America are used to kill family members and family friends 12 times more often compared to homes that do not have a gun in them.
The NRA is suggesting that America is a dangerous place. By suggesting that America is crime ridden and fearful, the NRA not only deflects debate on real gun issues, it continues to promote more gun sales.
Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve major problems with the same thinking that created them.” It is unreasonable to ask, “What is the solution to the gun problems in America? We need to ask, “What can we do to make things better to prevent gun deaths in America?”
What I suggest to make things better is to limit the size of gun magazines to no more than 10 rounds. In the state of Utah it is unlawful to have a magazine loaded with more than two rounds while hunting waterfowl or upland birds. As a hunter, I can have one round in the chamber and two in the magazine while hunting birds. There are limits on magazine size for Utah Big Game hunting as well.
If a shooter cannot hit what they are shooting at with 10 shots, they should target practice to improve their skill.
When a shopping mall or school shooter doesn’t need to stop and reload, they can kill substantially more people than if they had to stop and reload. With this in mind, limiting the possession of gun magazines, that hold more than 10 rounds, seems like a reasonable limitation.
It would not solve the problem, but it could make things better. We give ducks and deer a sporting chance by limiting the rounds in a magazine. Don’t you think we should give mall shoppers, moviegoers and school children a sporting chance?
Robert C. Wadman is professor, emeritus, Criminal Justice Department, at Weber State University.