Gary Fouse

Las Vegas and the Gun Control Debate

By now everyone knows about what happened in Las Vegas. The US has suffered its worst gun attack in our history. As yet, we don’t even know the killer’s motive. Yet the political blame game is well underway. Once again, we are talking about gun control, which the liberals in our country have favored for decades. From politicians like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to comedian Jimmy Kimmel, the left is screaming for gun legislation. On the surface (especially if you are not American), their arguments seem reasonable. Our national gun violence is a disgrace. It is also a fact that we have arguably the world’s laxest gun laws. In a nation of over 320 million people, we have almost that many guns in our country. Many are for sport, many are for collections, many are for self protection, and many are for committing crimes. The latter tend to be illegally owned. However, my question to the gun control advocates is this: What precisely do you want to do? Should we declare guns illegal? Should we confiscate guns? Tell me your solution because it probably won’t work.

Here is our dilemma. Due to a host of social problems, we have a large crime problem. Much of it is violent, and much of it involves guns. Therefore, we have a lot of people killed by guns every year. On a typical weekend in Chicago (which has very tough gun laws), the toll runs in the hundreds. If we declare guns illegal and set out to confiscate them, only the law-abiding people will turn them in. The criminals will not. Those have to be seized virtually one at a time when a crime is committed and the perpetrator apprehended. In a high crime country as we have, it is wrong to take away a person’s right to protect him/herself and their home and family. Keep in mind that by the time the police arrive, it is usually all over and the victim is dead.

In Europe, where the average citizen cannot even hope to buy a gun (Switzerland excepted), they are now seeing what happens when Muslim terrorists strike. The victims are unarmed and unable to stop the mass carnage. It is at least heartening to see in Israel that when a terrorist strikes, he is usually cut down quickly by bystanders who are armed. In all the talk about guns causing deaths, it must be remembered that guns also save innocent lives-and not always by police.

Mind you, I don’t have the answer. I am open to more background checks, but that is not a cure all either. Guns have been with us so long that we have long passed the point of no return. Many want to blame the National Rifle Association, which for decades has been a strong lobby against gun laws. They may not always be right, but it is not their members who are committing the atrocities that give rise to calls for more gun laws. They are the ones calling for tougher sentencing for those who commit crimes with guns. They don’t get support from liberals on that one. They are too busy calling for sentencing reform (lesser sentences).

Do we need to have a debate about guns? Absolutely. But when you talk about gun control, don’t speak in generalities. Be specific. What specifically do you want to do?

About the Author
Gary Fouse worked from 1998-2016 as adjunct teacher at University of California at Irvine Ext. teaching English as a second language. Served three years in US Army Military Police at Erlangen, Germany 1966-68. 1970-1973- Criminal Investigator with US Customs 1973-1995 Criminal investigator with Drug Enforcement Administration. Stationed in Los Angeles, Bangkok, Milan, Italy, Pittsburgh and Office of Training, FBI Academy, Quantico, Va. until retirement. Author of Erlangen-An American's History of a German Town-University Press of America 2005. The Story of Papiamentu- A Study in Slavery and Language, University Press of America, 2002. The Languages of the Former Soviet Republics-Their History and Development, University Press of America, 2000.