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From the Left: You don’t need handguns

Columnist

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

I’m reasonable. You can keep your shotguns and rifles, but not automatic rifles of course. Anyone who believes they need a Kalashnikov lives on a completely different planet from me. But isn’t it great that we live in a country where you can have one? We have so much more to learn from Somalia. Rifles and shotguns have traditional uses. People have hunted for as long as humans have existed. I’ve dabbled in it myself and can say without shame that I’ve reverse-drowned many a fish. I’m not interested in stopping hunters, nor in getting sidetracked by complicated animal rights issues, as much as I love distractions.

What I am interested in is telling you that you don’t need handguns. The Constitution is a little vague.  It doesn’t say what types of arms you get to bear, which allowed us to enforce the now expired assault weapons ban. But more importantly, if the Constitution told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?  I didn’t think so. We could bend the rule without breaking it. We could pick a type of weapon to ban.  

Handguns don’t serve a recreational purpose. Anyone could understand that target practice might be fun. But you can do that with shotguns and rifles, and that’s all that handguns are good for, that and shooting people. People are injured or killed by a firearm over 100,000 times per year in the United States, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention data, and every time it happens that is a big “F U” from the second amendment.

But if people are going around shooting each other, don’t we need guns to defend ourselves? Not really; people are killed by their own guns more than by those of others. Over 18,000 people were accidentally shot in 2009, and in 2007 over 600 died of accidental shootings, according to CDC data. However, what is really striking is how rarely guns are used successfully in self defense as opposed to murder. 

There were an average of 213 fatal justified shootings per year between 2005 and 2010, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In a pure, but probably fairly accurate, extrapolation of the data on my part, you can assume that 15 percent of self-defense shootings are fatal and thus there were only around 1,400 injurious self-defense shootings. For transparency, I get 15 percent from CDC statistics which show that of around 86,000 non-suicidal shootings, there are over 12,000 gunshot fatalities. Excluding suicide, there are around 54 gun murders for every one self-defense fatality, according to CDC and FBI data. About one in 225,000 (approximate – USA population divided by 1,400) Americans will fire a gun in self-defense each year, though about 1 in 2 has one (47 percent according to a Gallup poll from 2011). Many gun owners are convinced that there is a strong possibility that they’ll need their gun for self defense, but that would be like winning the lottery. 

Gun-lovers love to think they are responsible. No matter how responsible they are, or think they are, there is a strong possibility that kids will find their guns. My grandfather (to be honest, I question his responsibility) left his gun in the trunk of his car. My cousins and I touched it as kids, and may have picked it up. I don’t know if it was loaded. Around five kids are injured or killed by handguns each day in the United States, according to the The Survivors Club. The children of parents you’d probably consider responsible, in one recent case of a police officer, find guns and hurt or kill themselves.

This column has become dark and depressing. It is depressing because we live in the world’s most gun obsessed wealthy country. Our culture is too accepting of devices that have no use other than killing people. Having a rifle or shotgun for hunting is understandable, but handguns don’t serve this purpose.  Just because they are occasionally used in self defense doesn’t make up for all the lives lost. 

The Constitution was designed to do what’s best for us (at least us white men). What was best for us over 220 years ago is not what’s best for us now (not just white men). We need to continue to adapt, for the betterment of the people. Another amendment clarifying the second amendment would be good but, as the (unfortunately) expired assault weapons ban shows, we don’t even need to change the constitution to improve things. We could ban handguns outright. We could also prevent purchases from gun owners, instead of dealers, as this allows convicts and the mentally ill to bypass background checks.  But unless you are in law enforcement or the military, you don’t need handguns.  

  

Miles Brady is a junior English major. He is a running enthusiast, a sports fan and very liberal on most issues. He also likes to think that he is very rational. 

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43 comments

Jimminy
Wed Nov 28 2012 23:11
Aw,come on,guys.Slagging Miles personally is straight out of Saul Alinsky and is flatly non-persuasive.He's one of millions who really believe that government is here to help you.Other millions of Americans recognize government's assertions of its committment to the citizen as so much flatulence.Those millions have been buying weapons in record amounts since the 2008 election.
AndrewA
Tue Nov 20 2012 10:38
Wow, talk about flawed reasoning and bad statistics! All of the facts you need were done by statistician John Lott and summed up in his book "More Guns, Less Crime".

And you focus only on 'gun crime'. Why? This is only a valid argument if the goal is to make handguns illegal. But aren't you concerned about ALL unjustified homicides and violent attacks? If your goal is to reduce violent crime, then banning handguns will not do it. All that will do is guarantee a large supply of victims who are guaranteed to be unarmed and defenseless.

Criminals WILL get weapons. Making firearms is not rocket science. Zip guns are a problem in our maximum security prisons. If we cannot keep guns out of that environment, why do you believe that gun control is viable in the general populace?

As far as the 2nd amendment goes, in US v Miller, the Supreme Court decided that ONLY military-type firearms were protected by the Bill of Rights. So, arguments in favor of firearms just for hunting and recreation are specious at best.

Your own state motto, penned by Gen. Stark, makes your arguments absurd. Without firearms, it is not possible to 'Live Free', but just to 'Die'.

Finally, I ask you why a young woman lying raped and dead in a gutter is morally superior to the same woman explaining to police why she shot her attacker?

'gun totin' UNH redneck
Mon Nov 19 2012 10:09
well, I don't even know where to start with this article. First off how could you consider yourself 'reasonable' Miles. I am almost ashamed to call my self a UNH student based on this english majors persuasive writing skills. So Miles, with all your wisdom and knowledge how do you plan on enforcing this ban. If you think people will just turn in their guns you need a reality check, which is obvious from this article. There are far to many firearms in circulation for a ban of any sort to have a positive effect. Looking at one example of Chicago and the effect of the handgun ban is enough evidence to completely discredit your argument. As a matter of fact, based upon your logic, lets ban cars that can exceed the speed limit and cigarettes as they kill far more people than those handguns that 'serve no purpose'. I am a strong believer in the philosophy that 'an armed society is a polite society ' and the mere presence of firearms in the home and hands of law abiding citizens is more of a deterrent of crime than the laws in place by the government or the police hired to enforce them. For me, I would rather have and not need, then need and not have. You can regulate and ban all you want, but you will still have to come pry the handgun from my cold dead hand.
Anonymous
Sun Nov 18 2012 15:07
Second Amendment vague as to type of weapons? It's very clear, Guns. Up to the 1930s that meant you could buy a pistol, rifle, shotgun, machinegun, cannon, mortar, aerial bomb, anything you wanted if you could afford it.
As to police/military can have or need pistols, a pistol is designed for close defense and hunting in recent years. If you're at home and need to defend yourself and/or others, do you really want to fire a rifle? Is it going to be easy to move around in your house with one?
Hopefully in time you'll realize that your "reasonable" thought is flawed.
Anonymous
Sun Nov 18 2012 09:05
You're not "reasonable." You're stupid. http://www.justicearticles.com/gun-carrying-man-ends-stabbing-spree-at-salt-lake-grocery-store/
American
Sun Nov 18 2012 07:27
liberal drivel - we dont need free condoms and EBT cards either..... Author is clearly biased democrap and needs to get out and see the world
The Dude
Sun Nov 18 2012 03:47
Ok, there's several points that need to be addressed here. First, you said that cops and soldiers need handguns. So, what's good for them is not good for us? This makes no sense. Second, a handgun is and always will be, an implement to fight your way to a long gun. My rifles and shotguns are hunting tools, true, but that purpose is secondary to self-defense from thugs and tyrants alike. However, liberal crybabies would likely soil themselves if I were to be seen carrying a 12-gauge or AR-15 on the street, so my implementation of a concealable handgun in public is for your benefit as much as mine. You're welcome. Third, the fact that this country is armed to the teeth has saved our collective rears from invasion on at least 2 occasions: The Revolutionary War and WW2. The former for the obvious reason (be sure to thank your local chapter of Minute Men), and the latter can be explained by a famous quote in the gun community: "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, of the Japanese Empire. That's the same military that shot the bajeezus outta Pearl Harbor, but absolutely refused to bring the war any closer to us because he was scared poopless by all us gun-totin' rednecks. Finally, the 2nd Amendment is the only one that protects your 1st Amendment, as well as all the others. You seem to be fond of facts, statistics and research (no matter how warped, its still nothing but spin), so why not put a little effort into learning how many dictators rose to power in a well-armed country? (Hint: It's not this one) No tyrant ever usurped of a country by banning and seizing all firearms overnight; they did it in baby steps, like trying to take away handguns. You should ask Saddam Hussein how he did it to his country. Oh wait, you can't--cuz that's what happens to those that crap where they eat.
Anonymous
Sun Nov 18 2012 01:24
Today in fact I enjoyed a day out at the range recreationally shooting a few handuns. And until you find yourself the subject of someone's bad intent, you really can't claim to know what you think you'll need. Just because you don't see a need for something doesn't mean I need to care nor be subject to your whims.

This is an opinion piece, and you have a Constitutionally protected right to speak it under our Bill of Rights, due in no small part to the individual right to keep and bear arms that shall not be infringed, as well as other rights recognized and in constant need of vigilance to ensure they remain intact, in the same Bill of Rights.

You fail to recognize that this is true for one just as it is for all of our recognized rights, and thus you put your rights in jeopardy, when seeking to curtail mine.

Ficticur Conquered
Sun Nov 18 2012 01:20
Not even commenting on the topic, just interested in where are you commenters are coming from. Did this go viral on some gun-rights site? Google alerts for "handguns"? Is this a Union Leader thing?

From the Left/From the Right is not a useful feature for this newspaper. I think the columnists in both cases lack the experience, maturity and charisma to lead compelling conversations on any political topic.

Anonymous
Sun Nov 18 2012 00:30
Miles, I respect your right to have an opinion about firearms, yet you seem to believe you can disrespect my opinion about firearm ownership. As a matter of fact, a good many people just like me went and defended our country to allow you the right to express your opinion.

If you bothered to research the 2nd amendment, and why it was included in the Bill of Rights, you'd find it was thought unnecessary, as our founders could never have imagined people like you, who would advocate disarming law abiding citizens, of any type of firearm that they owned. But delegates from Virginia demanded it be listed in the Bill of Rights before they would ratify the Constitution. Had they not ratified it, no George Washington as our first President.

See, all those rights listed in the Bill of Rights were considered to be rights given any free man by his creator. I see you proudly call yourself "The Anti-Christ", so rights conferred onto free people by their creator likely isn't too important in your book. You consider yourself to be a liberal? Gee, color me suprised!

Wayne, Concord NH
Sat Nov 17 2012 17:32
Miles BRADY. Go figure.

If he is for limits on the 2nd Amendment, can we limit his use of the 1st Amendment? After all, the 1st Amendment is a little vague on what people should and shouldn't say....

devilslayer
Sat Nov 17 2012 14:08
what alot of people seem to think is that if handguns were outlawed then these deaths would not happen,im sorry but thats a fantasy, even if all guns were banned in the U.S there would be a line at every archery store the next day. and while we are on the topic of deaths,on the lists of ways to die guns are not on the top of the list
according to the CDC assult(homicide) is number 15 . more people die of diabettes,parkinsons diesese kills more people,it would also appear most people die from things associated with smokeing and drinking. HIV kills more people in the U.S then by guns..
and to clarify one other point to milles and some other posters,it is legal to own full automatic weapons,silencers ,and short barrelled shotguns,all you need is to pass a BC with the ATF and pay a $200 tax on each item..they are expensive but not a small market, there are several full auto shooting competiions and thousands compete....i can buy these full auto guns at several sites online,all i have to do is fax them my paperwork and the rest is just the same if buying a pair of shoes online.

your last comment is that only soldiers and cops should have handguns..why is it training? i shoot around twice a month for around a hour and usually shoot around one to two hundred rounds...i shoot at staitonary targets,moveing targets,i have shot from a moveing car,while seated at a table,and have been to 3 firearms training classes with prob around 80 hrs of instruction in all....most police9not all0 but MOST are not shooters and only shoot around 50 rds once a year to qualify..something you have to do to keep your job.

as for soldiers,yes they have alot of training...but also have a large criminal element did you know the FBI had ID'd over 130 gang members at fort lewis alone..over 30 diff gangs and extrimest groups in the army as a whole...the aryan brotherhood,bloods,ms-13,the folk,latin kings....so the soldier you think is better then me to own a handgun might be the one that sticks it in your face before demanding your wallet.

but again i dont belive milles is an uneducated person or just has ill will towards guns for some political reason,i just believe in his world and around his peers, he is neever been in a situation that involved violence.id bet he has never even known anyone that was raped or brutaly beaten..im wondering if he has ever seen a fight...this is not a bad thing though,i wish i could have been raised in a world like this,,,i live in a farming town in N.C,but yet when i was 12 i saw a man stabbed and killed less then 20 feet from me at a gas station.

and FYI..you would think liveing in the red state of NC..with its massive hunting/shooting culture it would be easy to get a handgun here....in fact its more easy to get one in NH then here...you guys just go buy one at a gun store...i have to go to the sherrifs ffice,have a background check, and a CCW here is over $100 its 10 where you live lol...and you seem to have twice as many people with CCW then we do.

lizrd skyzrd fb
Sat Nov 17 2012 12:59
Mine stay locked up most of the time. You have to be 21 to get in here anyway. But the statistic I keep getting is that handguns are used to PREVENT crimes 80% of the time, not COMMIT crimes. See, for some reason, criminals don't like the idea of being shot. That goes right back to the prevailing thought process in 1789. Find some of those ideas that led us to become different and better than any other country in the world.

One time I met this old guy at the grocery store and he was all bruised up because his home had been invaded by some criminal types. They beat the crap out of him and tried to subdue his wife but she kept screaming so they left. At the time there had been SIX reported home invasion robberies in the area. He's ready now. These people are not nice when they break into your home. If you're not ready to take them, they'll take you, and your dog, and your honey in the back room if you have one. All the police are good for is documenting the crime after the fact.

As a rule, criminals don't care what's illegal, so those 20,000 gun laws don't bother them at all.

Anonymous
Sat Nov 17 2012 10:55
To a previous post, so I guess I am selfish for owning handguns...I would venture to guess that you own a car for your convenience. Would you care to investigate deaths by vehicle vs deaths by guns?

Mr. Brady (appropriate name), in your next column, perhaps you could explain the meaning of "shall not be infringed." I do not know how the constitution could be any clearer in this regard. Your proposition to "bend the rule without breaking it" implies that you are aware that any such action would be an infringement. You should also consider the context in which the constitution was constucted. Was it constructed after our founding fathers fought a war against doves, deer, and paper tagets? No, it was was constructed after they were forced to shed the blood of their oppressive government to gain freedom for us all. The 2nd ammendment was put in place to ensure that the citizens would be able to have protection from another oppressive government. It basically has nothing to do with self defense from criminals, for hunting, or for recreation. Its sole purpose is to ensure that the freedom of this country and her citizens would not be infringed.

If you cannot understand that, I have little hope for you. I pray that we never live to see the day that my guns will serve the purpse for which the second ammendment was written. "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

Anonymous
Sat Nov 17 2012 10:40
All I can say is... well your an idiot! The Second Amendment was put there to protect us from government. They had the same weapons or better than the military back then and the people should have the same option now. Guns save 2.5 million lives a year and 6850 times a day. Compared to how many die, I like the odds of having a gun.
Anonymous
Sat Nov 17 2012 10:29
I just love it when some college boy who doesn't know his derriere from a hole in the ground tries to apply some idiotic meaning to one of the most important and basic elements of our Constitution - the right to keep and bear arms. I wonder - is this guy representative of what our universities are cranking out? If so, God help us.

And, Miles, your mindless drivel is anything but reasonable. Have a nice day.

Anonymous
Sat Nov 17 2012 09:35
I'm reading a lot of comments about the use of handguns for recreational use. Are we supposed to ignore all the deaths from guns just so you can enjoy some recreation time with your handgun? Shame on you! Oh, you say you need a handgun to protect yourself? Ask yourself how many times you have had to pull out your handgun and shoot it to protect yourself. Your selfish reasons for owning a handgun don't measure up against the need to get guns out of the hands of angry, dangerous people, who shoot and kill other people.

Recent posts have claimed that we can't stop guns from getting into the wrong hands. So, I guess this means the American people should just give up, and let everyone have their guns. Again, shame on you.
Kudos on your article Miles Brady

Stranger
Fri Nov 16 2012 22:29
First, few Americans care to pay the many thousands of dollars for a fully automatic rifle, or undergo the rigorous background check required for a permit to purchase. So "automatic rifles" are another red herring. As a practical matter they do not exist.

Next, more than two out of three homicides are "between partners or rivals in some criminal enterprise." For 2011, the FBI reported about 8,500 gun related murders, and 6,200 of those were of the "thieves falling out" variety. And while a substantial percentage of the remaining gun related homicides did involve handguns, far more handguns were used for self defense than were used to commit crimes.

And finally, there are more than 22,420 restrictive gun laws currently in force. Of those, not even one has ever resulted in lower violent crime rates. The gun laws that do cut homicide and crime rates are the permissive laws. The laws that require, encourage, allow, or permit law abiding citizens to keep and carry guns. Those laws have cut the United States violent crime and murder rates by half since 1991. The remaining restrictive laws have kept the violent crime rates as high as they are.

Stranger

Miles Brady (the Anti-Christ)
Fri Nov 16 2012 22:11
You know it's a column when people have bad stuff to say about it.
Anonymous
Fri Nov 16 2012 21:40
It seems Miles hit a nerve with the "pro-gun right-wing rednecks at UNH!" The facts support that people who own guns are much more likely to kill a family member or themselves than an intruder with criminal intent. Most recently, this past September, a father from Connecticut shot and killed his son with a hand gun. Last January, a man in Plymouth New Hampshire attempted to kill himself and his fifteen year old son with his constitutionally protected hand gun. In July 2012, a father from Oxford Massachusetts shot and killed his seven year old daughter and himself, his nine year old son was also shot but survived the blood bath. This past January 2012, a woman from Haverhill, Massachusetts, with ties to New Hampshire (Martha McDermit), shot and killed her husband and then herself, leaving their nine month old without parents. In August 2012, Jeffrey Kaznecki, from Salem New Hampshire, shot and killed his wife, her mother, their Westie dog and then himself. Locally, we witnessed Cullen Mutrie murder his girlfriend, Chief Malony and then himself. The right to possess a firearm does not consider mental stability or steroid rages. There are countless instances that are equally disturbing in the media and it is ignorant to think that our society has not created this "mess;" this sense of entitlement to have at our hands the control to pull a trigger and instantly take someones life when we feel threatened.




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