Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Many Contexts of Gun Control

How Leaving America Changes What People Think About Guns
When you live abroad, you start to see your home country differently. I speak from experience: After moving to Switzerland in 2006, I began to see American policies for what they were—one country's way of doing things, but not necessarily the best way of doing things.

There are few examples that ring truer than America's obsession with guns. While the US leads the world in mass shootings, with 372 in 2015 alone, there has only been one mass shooting in Switzerland in the last 15 years. The Swiss rank fourth in the world in guns per capita—behind the US, Yemen, and Syria—but the ownership is rooted in a sense of safety and responsibility.

The recent shooting in Orlando, Florida, is a reminder that the United States has some of the loosest gun control laws in the developed world and the highest rate of gun-related homicide—about 15 times higher than 23 other high-income nations combined. And while news of mass shootings has sadly become normal in the United States, moving abroad can show how differently Americans view guns. We asked several American expats about how moving to another country changed their perspective on gun control. [...]
This is an interesting, thought provoking article. It has many embedded links to back up what it says. The comparisons with various other countries were interesting, especially with Switzerland, Israel and Mexico.

I support the 2nd amendment, but I don't believe it has to pre-clude responsible gun ownership. We strictly regulate the ownership and use of automobiles, because they are dangerous if not used properly. Should we not do the same with guns? I for one don't want to see assault weapons in the hands of mentally ill and unstable people.

Yes, it's a slippery slope. So aren't many things in life, yet they still need to be pondered and dealt with. On a slippery slope you tread carefully and take precautions when you have to. It can be done.

In the US, gun control tends to be a push-me pull-me of two extremes, an all or nothing argument, allowing no compromise. Yet, this article shows how some other countries have approached this issue; as a right, that comes with a responsibility. We don't have to do exactly what other nations do, but we can learn from their experiences, and perhaps adapt some of their better ideas to our own unique circumstances. Can we not find a better way for US?