One of the comments I read in the wake of the tragedy in Paris can be essentially boiled down to this: “France has strict gun control, and this STILL happened. Gun control doesn’t work.” Another is “If regular citizens had guns, they would have stopped these attacks.”
On the gun control topic:
There is one aspect of the viewpoint expressed above that I can agree with: Criminals and determined individuals will always find a way to obtain guns. Making them illegal will not stop this from happening.
Tragedies like what happened in Paris today are extremely common in the US. They are NOT common in France. I do not have access to any statistics, but I would imagine that the time between incidents for them is usually years, while in this country, the time between incidents is measured in weeks, sometimes days.
I am not proposing that we repeal the second amendment. I do not think that would be possible at the moment, and may not EVER be possible. Guns are a significant part of American culture, and they probably always will be.
Although we will never prevent guns from being acquired illegally, I think that more should be done to ensure that only responsible and sane people are allowed to obtain them legally, and that legal acquisition should involve just enough red tape so that it’s not possible for otherwise law-abiding people to buy a gun on a whim and go on a shooting spree. I do not know what these laws should look like, but I think we need them.
In some American locales, the laws which govern alcohol and tobacco are far more restrictive than those which govern firearms. This seems backwards to me.
Let me restate something I already said above: I know without a doubt that if somebody is willing to break the law, nothing will prevent them from getting a gun … but if obtaining one legally involves more than an hour-long visit to a Walmart, some of our mass shootings might not have happened.
On the topic of armed citizens stopping an armed attacker:
This is the promise that American gun enthusiasts make: If I’m around when the fit hits the shan, I’m going to take down that bad guy and everyone will be safe.
I don’t know how many mass shooters (or potential mass shooters) have been stopped by an armed citizen, but I doubt it’s a significant percentage.
Some of our armed citizens have military or police expericence, but I would imagine that most of them have had no real training on how to deal with an armed attacker. Do we really want to have an already volatile situation with a lot of innocent people to be complicated by *more* bullets?