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From the Left: You don’t need handguns


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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Fri Nov 16 2012 21:35
...the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. (Emphasis added) Please, Mr. jr. English major, how exactly is this VAGUE? It sounds pretty clear to me.

Fully automatic firearms have been regulated since around 1928, and sales of new ones to civilians have been banned since 1986. The AKs you're railing against are semi-autos, NOT automatics. Vastly different in function despite their similar appearance.

You state: "Handguns don't serve a recreational purpose."

Then the very next lines are: "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."

Where you contradict yourself by saying that all handguns are good for is target practice (a recreational purpose).

Let's 'bend' the first amendment a bit too - you ok with that?

Fri Nov 16 2012 20:03
I guess basic history is not a required course for English major, nor is basic research methodology. You have basically taken all the flawed talking points from left-wing politicians and regurgitated them.
Fri Nov 16 2012 19:23
Miles Brady should stick to studying English.
Fri Nov 16 2012 18:36
I am now officially frightened. Not at any threat to the 2nd amendment, or how it is interpreted, but at the rage expressed towards this article by those who would defend, to their, (or others, apparently) death, the right to own a handgun. I feel much better knowing these folks operate with such a short fuse. I look forward to eventually being able to breakfast or conduct banking or do research in a library on constitutional law knowing I'm surrounded by folks possessing an extremely diverse range of intelligence, common sense, and emotional stability...while packing heat. Who wouldn't want that?
Fri Nov 16 2012 16:17
YOU might not need a handgun. . .
But I do think you would benefit from getting a brain. . .

Next time you see one on sale at Walmart, you should buy one. .

Fri Nov 16 2012 14:39
Just another Liberal that thinks they are smarter than anyone born before them. People 220 years ago were just as smart and we owe them for the leagacy of America. Privately owned firearm continue to be the first defence against certain tyranny and lawlessness. Your statistics are flawed or incorrect. Guns are can be dangerous and rely on personal responsibility to minimize accidents. They are allways dangerous in my hands to anyone that dosen't respect my right to life, liberty and the prusuit of happiness.
Fri Nov 16 2012 13:41
Another liberal college student with such a shallow knowledge of history that not only is his interpretation of the constitution hopelessly flawed but there is no awareness that he is using the same argument numerous other countries fell for as their rights were gradually relinquished in their steady march into dictatorship. The really sad part is that as the greatest generation passes away this kind of naive foolishness is gradually becoming the dominant perspective. History repeats itself because of people like this.
Fri Nov 16 2012 13:03
No reasonable person should be able to dictate what another reasonble person needs or doesn't need. Does that sound reasonable?
Fri Nov 16 2012 12:51
Apparently you didn't do well in history. Many of the founding settlers had more than just guns, they had full artillery pieces in the personal private possession. Oh my! So the term of arms covers the gamut that was and is available then and today. There is no negotiations, no compromise, no terms of definition. It is quite clear that we the people shall not have our right to bear arms infringed upon. And since arms covers all forms or chemical projectile weapons that would include hand guns as well.

Knowledge is power... you need to gain some.

Fri Nov 16 2012 12:30
The Constitution is a little vague when it comes to the 2nd Amendment? You could say the same about the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment doesn't mention the internet, radio, or TV. I guess that means the government has the right to ban them. See how your logic fails?

Sorry Miles, your logic and reasoning (or more to the point, lack there of) comes off as a childs attempt at morality.

Fri Nov 16 2012 11:47
What planet is Miles Brady living on?
Fri Nov 16 2012 11:36
So if a man walks into a coffee shop with a 'legal rifle or shotgun' and opens fire, we all just stand there and get shot? We dont even get a chance to defend ourselves? Or are we to sacrifice our meaningless lives for the greater good? I wont stand aside and let someone shoot my family, myself or other innocent people.
Fri Nov 16 2012 11:35
The United States Supreme Court's Ruling in Heller specifically included handguns as a weapon protected by the second amendment. If you want to talk Constitutional law, know constitutional law. If you don't like the 2nd amendment, do something about it like take a statistics class so one can better speak about the studies and samples involved in the reports discussing or debunking gun violence, or try and get the 2nd amendment repealed, but take legitimate actions instead of spreading misinformation and
Fri Nov 16 2012 11:02
The 2nd amendment isn't about hunting.
It was written specifically to allow the populace to possess the same armament as the government to ensure that said government couldn't trample the rights of the people.
I don't hunt. I don't target practice for fun.
I carry a handgun because there are criminal elements that carry weapons, and I will exercise my right to defend myself against anyone who deems to do me harm.
Yes, sir, I NEED a handgun.
Fri Nov 16 2012 10:57
Let's forget for a moment that it's not even possible to write a law that can disarm a criminal. Handguns exist and always will and laws only affect those who follow them. So, take away handguns, and criminals will shoot people with shotguns and rifles. Take away shotguns and rifles and criminals will stab people with knives. Take away knives and criminals will bludgeon people with sticks and stones. The point is that where there's a will, there's a way. Criminals will cause harm with or without guns, as they did long before guns existed. You'd be far more justified fighting the criminal and his actions, rather than the tools he chooses to use because there will always be some sort of tool (see prision life for example). Automobiles killed more people than handguns did yesterday. Shall we ban those too?
Fri Nov 16 2012 10:36
When the first sentence of an article reads "I'm reasonable", one can be fairly certain the author is not, in fact, reasonable. The rest of the article served as confirmation.
Fri Nov 16 2012 09:22
All I ever have used handguns for is recreational use. Let us rule by what the constitution doesn't say makes total sence. The first amendment doesn't say you can spread your dribble so you better stop.
Fri Nov 16 2012 09:08
Use your same types of restrictions on the other Amendments listed in the Bill of Rights and maybe you will have a valid argument. I'm sure you've heard the FF never dreamed of the Internet, or the way we communicate today, therefore the 1st Amendment shouldn't apply there. I could go on and on, but I won't. You won't see it. You only want to put limitations on the 2nd because you are scared and don't understand.
Fri Nov 16 2012 08:47
If handguns are outlawed, only outlaws will have handguns. Instead of worrying about the law abiding public and what they may or may not have you should be worried about the criminals. If handguns are banned you'll only be taking them out of the hands of the law abiding citizenry. Criminals won't turn them in.
Fri Nov 16 2012 08:46
How about you give up the things you love? Let's take away your smartphone, because all you need to communicate is a regular phone. You don't need to browse the web wherever you are standing in line, because there is a possibility that you might look at child porn. Since there is nothing in the Constitution that says you may own a smartphone, you better turn it in.

I use my pistol for target recreational shooting all the time. I have a rifle and shotgun, but my pistol is more cost effective to shoot, so I use it more.

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