Guns Cats and the Constitution

The Sandy Hook School massacre of 20 young and innocent children makes it impossible not to address the gun laws in the United States, no only for the sake of people of all ages but the wildlife and we mustn’t forget the cats.

There is a connection between the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the welfare of cats which is why I am justified in writing about guns here.

Cat with gun

The English Bill of Rights of 1689 is the forerunner of the 2nd Amendment, which was adopted in 1791 as I understand it. The exact date does matter that much. That fact that it is about 220 years old does. And the English law goes back 100 years more.

“That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.” – extract from English Bill of Rights of 1689.

The right to bear arms in the US is a very old, almost ancient tradition. It is outdated. In the modern world it is more sensible to say that less guns means less gun homicides rather than saying we need more guns to defend ourselves from the guys with guns. The latter cranks up gun crime. The former subdues it. The figures support that (see below). No disrespect to Venezuela, but do Americans want to have a similar standing to Venezuelans on the matter of the number of homicides by firearms?

Number of homicides by firearm 2007-2012; average per year (source: Law center to prevent gun violence).

Country Number of homicides by firearm 2007-2012
Brazil 34,678
Colombia 12,539
Mexico 11,309
Venezuela 11,115
United States 9,146
South Africa 8,319
Philippines 7,349
Honduras 5,201
Guatemala 5,009
India 3,093

 
Gun homicides rate per 100,000 citizens:

Country Rate per 100,000 citizens
Colombia 28.1
Mexico 10.0
USA 2.98
Switzerland 0.52
Finland 0.41
Italy 0.41
Germany 0.20
Norway 0.19
Australia 0.10
UK 0.03

 
The gun lobbyist quote the same sort of clichéd arguments that the veterinarians do when supporting the declawing and devocalisation of pets. They wheel out the old one about “it isn’t the gun but the person”, which more or less means that in the right hands guns are good as they provide a form or defence.

However, this argument fails to address the fact that a lot of people are emotionally unsuited to having a gun. Nothing new is happening to reduce the emotional problems of people in the USA. If something was being done about that you might be able to justify selling a lethal product such as a gun over the counter to just about anyone in some states of the USA. I realise, by the way, that the laws vary from state to state – the ten states with the highest gun death rates are (by abbreviations): AK, MT, WY, NV, Az, NM, LA, MS, AL and TN.

The only way forward is to control gun ownership more tightly. I have never had a need to own a gun. I would bet that if you asked the English people whether they needed a gun 99% would say No. Yet in the USA 47% of people have at least one gun at home. They obviously think they need a gun. They need a gun because the neighbour needs a gun and his neighbor and so on. They all know it only takes one of them to be bad for a potential life threatening situation to occur because they possess guns.

Finally, in England when a person takes pleasure from shooting a cat, he does it with an air rifle. In the USA he has a .22 rifle (a bullet with a calibre of .22 inches). It does not take much imagination to realise that a lot more vulnerable stray cats are killed in the USA than in England.

Then there is sport hunting. The widespread sale and possession of guns in the USA promotes sport hunting – taking pleasure from killing beautiful animals. I can do no better than re-quote Sir Patrick Moore, a great and kind Englishman who said that he had

“a deep contempt for people who go out to kill merely to amuse themselves.”

Likewise me. It is uncivilized and cruel. The time is far overdue for us to start learning to live with our fellow animals rather than eradicating them from the face of the earth. In the name of 20 innocent and beautiful children, please change the law.

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Guns Cats and the Constitution — 7 Comments

  1. All those lives lost at that school is just unbearable to think about, those little children, their lives scarcely begun.
    I absolutely hate guns and see no reason for people to have them, some say they only use them for target practice, well surely they could do that with something not lethal.
    I hate the hunting and shooting of animals and birds for ‘sport’
    How can anyone enjoy taking any other living being’s life? Why not live and let live?
    Humans are too unstable to own a dangerous weapon, too short tempered or too impulsive or some just too cold hearted.
    I’m with the ‘ban guns’ lobby all the way!

  2. Thanks for this succinct, non-hysterical, educational piece on this problem. The tables above are eye opening. I don’t know how many of these incidences it will take before something is done. I just don’t get it. It is as if we are still the wild west. So many guns, so many uniformed people. It really has to change.

    • There are 250 million guns in the USA. They export them to Mexico! There is no need for citizens to have military rifles. Madness. The NRA say that the problem is that not enough is done to cure people with mental health problems in the USA. That is their standard response. The thing is you can never cure anywhere near all the people with mental health problems. So you’ll always have a danger if you sell guns over the counter to anyone. The USA is unique in the industrialised world for having so many guns available to anyone – and for declawing cats.

      Republican supporters of the current gun laws should be ashamed of themselves. How can they support free access to semi-automatic military rifles? They are dead from the neck up.

  3. There are too many people in the US who want to have guns. Its a serious problem. Hand guns and assault guns should just be completely illegal full stop. Hunting sucks but they have usually different guns. I don’t think anything is going to change over there. I was reading some of the comments on some fo the news sites below the story. So many commenters were saying that there should have been a teacher with a gun or some such ssetup to defend situations like this. Crazy comments. Perhaps the amendment was necessary 200 years ago, but now it’s not. It’s just that alot of people in the US seem to like guns. The kid who did this got them from his mum who ‘collected’ guns and recently got a new one even. Such bad taste – to collect guns. Really reptilian in mentality and style. And those hunter ‘folk’ who like to kill animals for fun. They probably like their guns and chat about them to each other and save up for new latest and greatest more accurate and deadly guns. Of all the most absurd and ridiculous things. I’m so very sorry to hear about what happened.If any of you know Robin Olson from Covered in Cat Hair, she lives in Newtown, just up the road from the guy and his mum and from what I understand – it’s very hard to remain living in a small town that is known worldwide for something like this. Likely many people will move from there because of being unable to erase it from their lives. It’s awful, truly awful. A country that allows everybody to get whatever gun they want quite easily in most places, will always have problems of of people dying because of it, although usually in much smaller numbers – not like this. But the US has always had this as part of its nature that every year ‘x’ amount of people are involved in gun shootings and killings so this is shocking for the numbers and ages but the fact that people and animals are regularly shot is not in itself suprising. However the US seems to want to carry on like this, guns, shootings and all. With any luck somthing as extreme as this might have some effect on the laws but it never has in the past. Why? Why…. is it because the lawmakers themselves like and want to keep arsenals of weapons? It is disastrous beyond words for the lives of the innocent people and animals. To be fair animals probably get it much much worse in general – on average, since they are systematically murdered. A little of that goes on in other countries too, hunting and so on. I personally have seen a real gun a handful of times in my life and shot one twice. I didn’t see what the big deal was because it is so dangerous you cant go around shooting targets for fun. An air rifle would be alot more fun because you could actually use it, as a kid.
    Innocent people and animals are dying constantly – so then let’s hope that with a modern sort of person at the top, who probably doesnt’ go hunting and have a bunch of buddies who are all into drinking, god and guns – maybe he will force the issue after something as awful and incredibly sad as this – and make, somehow, the whole probably right wing mentality of guns, back down a whole lot. As Michael says, the constitution was written hundreds of years ago. In what tiny miniscule way does it even remotely make any sense to maintain laws that old into modern times? My answer to that question is simple – stupid boys want to keep their stupid toys and somehow those stupid boys have power over there to make sure it is so.

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