Joe Biden on gun control

A bit of background on the gun issue in America

from Only Sky: Americans think it is a fair deal to have

twenty children killed at a school-shooting incident ...

as long as their right to bear arms is not impinged.

Joe Biden addresses the nation on gun control. This prompted me to write an open letter to the POTUS

Dear Mr. President … 

30,000 deaths p/year can’t be ignored; the National Rifle Association is culpable. Their primary weapon - The Second Amendment - does not serve America well; in fact, it is the NRA and The Second that ensure the 30,000 deaths every year. The NRA convinces Americans The Second gives them a right to self-defense; a chief justice has called this: “One of the greatest frauds on the American public.” Americans are conditioned to say they need their guns to ‘protect themselves and their families’. Yet, Harvard research found victims use guns in self-defense in less than 1% of contact crimes. Mr. President … you said you are being asked “to do something”. Well, ‘something’ will only count if it saves those 30,000 lives. For that The Second has to go … however, Americans shall keep their guns. While they must be taken out of the community, shooters shall be able to use their guns safely in gated gun clubs. Mr. President … America will thank you, and future generations will look up to you. I sent my suggestions for a path to relief from gun-terror -  as outlined in this 'open letter to the POTUS' - to the Washington Post.

Sincerely, C. Burmeister                                                                 


Dear Mr. President …                                          open letter to the POTUS


30,000 deaths p/year can’t be ignored; the National Rifle Association is culpable. Their primary weapon - The Second Amendment - does not serve America well; in fact, it is the NRA and The Second Amendment that ensure the 30,000 deaths every year. All this talk about how owning and using a gun makes people feel safe (a road rage incident led two drivers - both concealed carry permit holders - to get out of their cars, take out their guns and kill each other) boggles the mind. (Note: 30,000 people are killed by guns every year in America. Combine the populations of much of Europe, you get a size similar to the USA … they have a little over 100 gun deaths every year.) 


The response in the US? Thoughts & prayers; excuses; justifications; white-washing; lies … and talk, talk, talk and more talk (Sam Harris, I find your talk with Graeme Wood highly unsatisfying). I am from a European background (Germany and now Australia) where guns don’t exist in public. I’ve never touched, held or pointed a gun … let alone fired one. So, allow me to make this point: The solution to the US gun problem is obvious to Europeans. The Second Amendment (of 1791) was for a different time in history. It is unsuited to our times. The way it is distorted now to say …


“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, 

 so that Americans have the freedom to continue killing one another.”


… means it unequivocally must be retired. (Note: Research out of Harvard found victims use guns in self-defence in less than 1% of crimes; retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger deemed the issue of self-defense linked to The Second, “one of the greatest frauds on the American public by special interest groups”.) What about Americans' right to own and use guns? That right cannot, shall not be removed; it is a fool’s errand to try and remove the guns in the USA.


However, all guns shall be restricted to sequestered, gated gun-clubs, with shooting ranges that shall feature ‘realistic’ shooting sets, like Western or video-game-type environments … a lot of creativity will go into designing them. Indeed, every town shall have one. It is here people are able to enjoy their guns; to use any gun their heart desires, anytime, as long, as much as they want:  pistols, shotguns, sniper-rifles, AR-15s, machine guns … whatever. But, importantly, the guns at all times remain on the premise of the gun-club / shooting range; if not in use, under lock and key.


In the community individuals shall not be able to store, carry or use guns, unless they can provide good cause, like shotguns for farmers (for pest control) or hunters who have undergone rigorous background checks, training and licensing for their hunting rifles; also for police as well as security personnel. Yet, there would be stringent conditions for anyone to own a handgun. Keeping a gun anywhere but on the premise of a gun-club, unregistered, without a license, will be a felony … you’ll go to jail.


Nevertheless, Americans cannot countenance this suggestion (hence it comes from overseas). Republicans, who are in thrall to the gun lobby, would not have a bar of it … with The Second in place, anti-gun laws just won’t fly and any genuine effort to reduce gun deaths is stymied. 


Incidentally, with this plan gun industry interests are not impinged upon, guns will still be bought; they just will be kept in gun clubs, for recreation … instead of being used for killings and murder. In fact, it will be a boon for gun manufacturers; with advertising geared toward the recreational markets, they’ll gain acceptance, even support from anti-gun groups who just want to see guns taken out of the community and will be satisfied with them put into a benign, non-violent context.


So, here’s the thing: There is a powerful, well-financed gun lobby in America … where is the powerful, well-financed anti-gun lobby in America? A call must go out to philanthropists like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg et al. They must be rallied to form a lobby financed well enough to exceed the largesse of the gun lobby, to exert influence on Republicans and turn them against the reactionary stance of ‘Don’t Touch The Second’; even to support anti-gun Democrats’ election campaigns and get them elected to the Senate.

This is probably the only way to sway enough politicians to cross the line, to not just amend The Second Amendment … but to throw it out altogether; to get a resolution for this God-awful dilemma of gun violence. Indeed, everything else but throwing The Second out once and for all - and making serious changes to how guns are kept - is window dressing.


Hard work? Yes. Impossible? No (what did it take to put a man on the moon? The will to do it). Worthwhile? Well … just ask  one  of the parents of Sandy Hook, Columbine or Uvalde. (Note: It is incomprehensible that the most powerful, most advanced society on Earth throws their collective hands up in the air and again and again says: “It can’t be done … we are helpless.”)


Anyway, how shall this work? How can the idea of a gun club in every town be put into practice? First of all, how much will this cost? A lot of money. But let’s ask another, more pertinent question: 


What is the cost of gun deaths to the American people? A quick Google search reveals: In any year gun violence costs America $280 billion (this includes costs for survivors, communities, employers and taxpayers). Every year! Obviously even spending a couple of hundred billion dollars on gun clubs is money well spent. Google: Number of US cities, towns, villages - 19,502 incorporated places registered in the United States; 16,410 had a population under 10,000 … 


… $200,000,000,000 divided by 20,000 = $10,000,000 for a gun club in every town and village; large cities will have more than one club, but there are less than 100 towns with 250,000 people and only 10 cities with 1,000,000 or more … and small hamlets would pool with their neighbors.


Once established, the gun clubs will pay for themselves, they will develop their own economy. This means the savings to the US financial system will amount to tens of billions of dollars, each and every year … while - of course - Americans can still practice ‘their right to arms’. There are approximately 60,000 gun dealerships in the US, maybe 40,000 is enough? So, with 20,000 gun clubs, that’s two gun dealers in every gun club … but none in the community.


Without The Second Amendment the whole American gun paradigm will shift; without guns in the streets, shopping malls, schools, playgrounds and homes, there will be less gun violence. If any. As soon as guns are treated like any other object of desire, i.e. vintage cars, custom motor bikes, leisure boats, gaming consoles, audio-, video-, camera-, computer systems, camping and myriad other recreational gear - instead of murder weapons - the impact on society will be profound.


But the point is that Americans can still indulge their passion for guns to their hearts’ content; of importance is to retire The Second (in this context, the issue of ‘Self-defense’ must be revisited and looked at realistically … see below) and to keep guns out of the community. Once gun clubs are established, they will be a destination not only for gun enthusiasts and recreational shooters, but also for anyone angry or dejected … when they need to let off steam by firing their guns.


Gun clubs will have two sections: The main area - a passive shooters’ area - will have a bar / club / resort atmosphere (not unlike golf clubs) with gun shops incorporated, where gun enthusiasts congregate. It is here they carry their guns, talk to other enthusiasts, inspect, compare and appraise weapons; the gun dealers will have all kinds of firearms on display (just like a gun show, and indeed sponsored by the gun industry). But the passive shooters’ area is without ammunition.


Adjacent - with glass walls, so shooters can observe their buddies - is the soundproofed active shooters’ area, with the shooting ranges; members will have another locker here, for their ammo. Ammunition sales will be conducted here and it is here - and only here - where guns are fired. After practicing ‘their right to arms’, they will lock away surplus ammunition, take their gun(s) back to the passive shooters’ area, dissemble, clean, lubricate, re-assemble and care for them, discuss ins and outs of their specific weapon with others and generally love their guns.


One may ask, what do shooters want? Do they  really  want the freedom to go out and kill people? To be very clear … the NRA premise of ‘Self-defense’ is a self-serving furphy (= Australian for an erroneous or improbable story claimed to be factual; furphies are heard from supposedly reputable sources, sometimes second- or third-hand and widely believed, until discredited). 

And it is naïve to say that only ‘bad guys’ kill people. Many good people snap, and with a gun at hand, they may kill (their children, wife, themselves). There’s the call for more mental health support; ok, that’ll help. But not in the short term, and not for everyone … only no-guns-in-the-community will stop killings.


Exactly how many crimes are prevented by citizens who interfere using, i.e. firing their own guns?

(Note: in Uvalde Cody Briseno was prevented by law-enforcement officers from doing just that.) Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense. Most purported self-defense gun uses are escalating disputes (like the two drivers executing a double murder on each other).

The ‘false positive’ problem leads to large overestimates of the incidence of self-defense gun use; it was found that the claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens is invalid (Harvard Injury Control Center); guns are mostly used in black-on-black gang violence, domestic violence, home-grown terrorism … where ‘good guys with guns’ are unable to interfere.


Mr. President, is it not shocking that apparently Americans deem dozens of children massacred a fair price for their ‘right to bear arms’? The deaths are a direct result of the existence of The Second Amendment and its exploitation by the NRA. The situation demands the implementation of truly effective, indeed drastic steps to save lives; 30,000 deaths p/year can’t be ignored. 

Sincerely, C. Burmeister