The 1994 Assault Weapon Ban made me cynical of gun control in the United States, which banned a series of (mostly aesthetic) weapon features on the basis of what guns could do (backed by recent rampage incidents) while not considering the actual statistics. It did not curb the mass production of saturday-night specials that were fueling the gang wars, nor did it curb police practice of selling confiscated firearms back to gangs at discounted back-alley rates. As a note, gun violence did not go down.
This was before we were aware of abuse by law-enforcement agents, and the lack of accountability we have for police shootings, many of which continue to go unreported.
We really suck when it comes to passing laws to curb things that are bad for us, or even enforcing said laws (see the ubiquitous War on Drugs). I think education programs are in order. I think people will be safer if gun owners actually care for their weapons, shoot straight and know the risks of owning them. But when it comes to the violence committed with guns, we are way better off trying to prevent it by addressing their roots (e.g. the war on drugs.)
The United States doesn't (quite) have the history of colonial invasion and occupation that Mexico has (which is the cultural reason it retains a deep-seated right to bear arms), but only because we've yet to clearly recognize that the US behaves as an occupied state, where corporations control and dictate law, which only applies to us unaffiliated civilians. We may soon miss the guns that have been confiscated from us, even though -- I sorely hope -- the conflict will not be fought primarily with firearms.
A cursory peek at Google reveals that the UK has a general violent crime problem, one that rivals the United States. As GRR Martin notes, taking away all the guns frees all the Gregor Clegaines to rape and rampage their way across the countryside. The handgun (specifically the Colt Single-Action Army) was known in the US as the great equalizer for a reason.
Our government currently imprisions, tortures and massacres human beings, all in secret or without oversight. (As I've noted elsewhere, our drone-strike program in the Afghanistan theater alone -- not including the Pakistan theater -- slaughters more innocent civilians than all the gun deaths in the US, and it is still going on.)
Of its own people, including its voters and taxpayers, it monitors, robs, imprisons and sometimes murders them with total impunity.
You're right, of course, a worse regime could come into power, or occupy a territory, but they'd have to strive really hard to be as heinous and despicable as the regime we currently have in power. No moral high-ground has it.
And all the gun control in the nation is going to do nothing to affect those entirely beyond the reach of law.
...is also there as part of a greater intention to prevent the government from regulating what the people can or cannot do or say.
The first amendment outlined specific rights to media and communications not to be encroached within the United States, specifically noting ones that had been before in other nations.
The second amendment (and possibly the third) outlines material rights not to be encroached within the united states, again specifically noting ones that had been encroached before elsewhere.
The risk with any regulation is that it can be distorted in order to create overreaches that are advantageous to tyranny. Our restriction against hate speech, for example, may soon be extended to include criticism of police officers, which can be interpreted to mean criticism of the current administration, any agent, any officer or representative. (And it will.)
Similarly, our right to bear arms sets a precedent that we also have the right to acquire and use many, many other dangerous items, whether for our own gratification or for commercial use. And our government sucks at deciding what is too dangerous for the public or what isn't, whether influenced by religious groups (e.g. porn, rock-&-roll, tabletop games) or corporations (e.g. the internet with respect to entertainment).
And that's before we get to situations in which someone needs neutralizing, such as malicious intruders, corrupt government agents, or outright tyranny.
...is something the United State does not have, for drugs or terror, wars against which we invest hundreds of billions for no real additional safety. So I don't expect one to work with guns either.
As I noted before, those nations without guns are going to have to face the imminent reality in which home-brew guns and bullets become easy to produce, while not (necessarily) as good a quality as factory-produced weapons, they'll be sufficient enough for committing crimes, and those nations will have to come to terms with a new age in which criminals can access guns a lot more easily than they could before. (It's actually a good thing in African regions in which non-criminals with guns happily oppress criminals without guns.)
Gun control through law and even collection is soon going to be an obsolete measure.
I will assure you that the last two official productions turned this fan off from the multi-million dollar franchise.
I'd say It's been deteriorating since Voyager in which the the themes of Socratic speculations and social challenges was diluted with a hefty dose of Lost In Space whimsy.
But Abrams contributions reduced the series down to basic space opera. We're no longer exploring strange new worlds and civilizations and raising questions that challenge our social presumptions, but just shooting space-banditos this time, and space-in'juns last time.
I'd rather see for Star Trek what we have for Robin Hood, a dozen or so different interpretations where the quality is considered a reflection not on the quality of the franchise, but the choices of the developer.
The only thing keeping people out of your home while you are home is their fear that you are armed.
That sounds made up.
The thing that keeps people out of your home while you are home is a sense of mutuality and community. Other apes, even simians and dogs have it.
What drives people into your home is typically desperation. It can be real, such as famine, or artificial such as a drug addiction.
Guns for protection are more useful in rural areas when there are vermin, and lower-income areas in which there are more incidents of desperation crime. But that is to say a large and increasing swath of the United States.
While it's a good idea to bank on things getting more desperate, I'd rather see other solutions than us shooting each other.
I also don't think this should be cause to disarm the people, rather it should be cause to create more safety nets to keep people from getting desperate.
When Newmindspace got their massive (non-profit) lightsaber duel poo-pooed by Disney (an event Lucas let them do for seven years without a blink), they found a solution by adding in face-painted whiskers and calling them catblades for their Cats In Space tour.
I'm reminded of Chimamanda Adichie's concept that the cure for prejudice and stereotyping is more and diverse tales. A handful of stories showing (say) stereotypical angry Muslim terrorists will present as less bigoted when there are twenty more stories showing other kinds of Muslims (or other kinds of terrorists, or even other kinds of anger).
When franchises inform popular culture, strict legal control of them becomes a chilling effect on what narratives we can exchange with each other, which presents a perverse effect contrary to the Constitutional intent of copyright. Talking about Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise are useful devices for communication much the way that Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Bear were useful in tribal Africa. And Paramount's control, in tying up these narrative devices, chills the stories that people want to tell with them.
This raises a question for which there is no agency, no voice of advocacy: How does allowing Paramount and CBS to continue to lock down the Star Trek franchise serve the people of the United states? No one is asking this question.
My fear is that IP maximalism will continue to push us towards a world with less culture. Possibly to an extreme where a few rich moguls are the only ones allowed to make media or tell stories. (And there will be a fierce black market since no-one else can legally publish.) Considering that Paramount claimed ownership of space action-adventure as a genre, it might actually attempt to litigate against any other small project in that genre that might see some success just because they can.
Maybe we need to start making creative commons franchises, to allow anyone who's not a big Hollywood mogul to be able to tell a myth using figures and tropes that other people can relate to. Other than modernizing mostly-public-domain franchises, a la House.
Every time someone copyrights a story or a character or an idea, that is one less story that the rest of us cannot tell without paid permission. Who speaks for the trees? Who speaks for the trees?
Actually it doesn't. Russia, for instance, still has a higher homicide rate per capita than the US even though guns are illegal throughout.
Gun control will reduce suicides. That is the one factor that was noted changed with Australia gun ownership regulation. A handgun in your house will increase your suicide risk. Also like any other dangerous device or amenity, you have to soberly consider the risks of it getting misused, or accidentally injuring someone.
(Here in California, you can't shoot if you're intoxicated enough that you can't fly a plane. In many other states, there are no such restrictions against drunken shooting. It causes problems, but not usually rampage killings.)
However, violence in the US has been down to 1960s levels, including rampage shootings, and that is in contrast to an era in which gun regulations were more strict. Generally the discontinued use of leaded gasoline is credited with the drop.
Most other countries haven't seen a period in which guns are unregulated, so it's difficult to say how open access to guns is going to affect them (which they'll face once gun prototypes can be printed and easily turned into smithed components.) Then, like Australia we'll have a chance to see how their culture responds.
But here in the US, we have something of a populist culture in which it is believed that the common person commands their own destiny with the tools they have to work the land and protect themselves. This includes the equalizing factor of the handgun. Without one, you are at the mercy of someone twice your size who intends you harm. With it, the match is more even. In the 20th century we relied on law enforcement when we chose to go unarmed.
Since Ferguson, though, it has become evident that the police are not interested in enforcing the law but serving the survival of their agencies and their brethren. In fact, policy often suggests they regard civilians as the enemy. Hence officers and agents will seize whatever civilian riches suit them, and gun down anyone they don't like, knowing that they will not be punished severely for murder.
While I am not a gun owner, I would not want the civilian population excluded from carrying arms without also excluding law enforcement. But I am sure they would refuse to cooperate with such an initiative.
I never said that the US was perfect - but really these imperfections are nowhere near to being on the same scale - or as uniform - or as strongly endorsed by such an all-pervasive ideology.
You actually can't say that, given the FBI willfully and against law withholds the number of police-on-civillian murders, most of which don't even go reported. (We now have non-profits that track coroner reports to news articles, and they still don't trace all the john does.)
Considering the degree of willful opacity that exists in our nation's agencies, and the Snowden revelations which came in years after the fact, it's putting a fuckton of faith into the integrity of our nation to suggest that nothing worth consideration is going on clandestine, and shielded from view by classification or a lack of records. We even make a point not to count drone strike bugsplats very thoroughly.
We don't have statistics of attacks per capita to compare. We can't say the US is better, but US agencies are working really hard to prevent anyone from looking at those numbers so to make a comparison. They're willfully hiding something, and it doesn't make sense they'd be concealing good or even mediocre implications.
And we are still a nation that kidnaps, that holds people indefinitely without due process and tortures. And moreover, common civilians have come to thinking this is acceptable policy for a nation of allegedly free peoples with allegedly guaranteed rights.
Yes - but as in the article it is enforced by self appointed vigilantes.
You think hate crimes in the US are perpetuated by other than self appointed vigilantes? Think about how many Churches of the US, and Representatives in state and national congress push not only to deprive gays of equal rights, but also to push for rights of those who attack gays violently to do so in the name of religious expression? (No, I'm not kidding.)
Gay hate is epidemic in the United States, even after SCOTUS ruled their right to marry. Mostly from our religious extremists, who, regardless of whether they believe they're following your interpretation of scripture, absolutely believe they're following theirs.
Non-white oppression is systemic. Counties are commonly patrolled by white police forces that harass and bleed minority communities, as we've seen time and again since Ferguson. No, not all of the United States is this way, but much of it is.
So, no, I am skeptical that the US might compare well to the middle east when it comes to human rights concerns. We pretend we're better. We may aspire to liberty and equality. But we don't have the records to demonstrate it.