Imagine an America where the violent crime rate is dropping, dropping so fast that there are about half as many incidents compared to 1990 (from around 750 incidents to 350 per year). Imagine an America where violent crime is shrinking as a form of death faster than any cause other than HIV.

Well, I’ve got news for you – you’re living in that America.

Believe it or not, violent crime is shrinking extremely quickly as a cause of death.

Yet in the aftermath of the recent San Bernardino shooting, (in which two suspects shot and killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center), President Obama wasted no time in leveraging the tragedy for political gain, linking the disaster to his gun control platform.

As you could probably tell from the previous paragraph, I disagree with him wholeheartedly, but not for the reason the NRA typically cites (Second Amendment rights).

Guns are rampant in America. In fact, there are 101.5 firearms per 100 people in this country. Despite what Obama may tell you, guns aren’t necessarily linked to violence. After all, Switzerland has a similarly high rate of firearms per capita, 45.7 firearms per 100 people. In fact, Switzerland has the third highest ratio of any country behind the U.S. and Yemen. But you never hear of atrocities there due to the connection between patriotism, national protection and gun ownership.

I guess the old adage, “Guns don’t kill people,” is true then.

Manson Tung2

Senior Manson Tung

But my defense of gun ownership goes beyond idealism. If I thought there were a reasonable way to get back every gun in this country, I would be all for it. However, this is about as unlikely as China deciding one morning to forgive the trillion dollars of our debt they own.

I’m a pragmatist, as my former posts have shown. Since there is no feasible way for guns to be taken off the streets, gun control is pointless. A person motivated to turn over their guns, a peaceful citizen, doesn’t pose a danger to the country. The people who do need their guns confiscated, gang members and the like, would never hand over their guns in the first place. As long as there is a need, someone will find a way to get their hands on a gun.

So what should we do?

I propose that we ratchet up nationwide background checks (a new government agency would be in charge of the process) for gun ownership. A slightly slower delay would deter any impetuous psycho from getting their hands on an arsenal in minutes.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do beyond that. The cat, or rather the caliber, is out of the bag. Guns are interwoven with American culture. We aren’t Japan, and we never will be in this respect.

Like it or not, we will have to make our peace with the fact that there will be mass shootings so long as there are crazed people.

At least we can look on the bright side. Violent crime as a whole is falling precipitously. Maybe we need to look at how far we’ve come, not just where we need to go.

—By Manson Tung

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