As the real life news edges steadily closer towards parody with every day that passes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to decipher what is real and what is a headline from The Onion.
Really leading the way on this is America, with Trump recently announcing plans for a ‘Space Force’ and suggesting we combat school shootings by arming teachers with guns. Something which, so far, hasn’t proved a massively good idea.
On that note, we must inform you that a candidate running for US Senate in November (maybe just mute all US news in the few months leading up to the mid-terms) has suggested arming homeless people with guns.
Now look, we’re not saying this is a bad idea because homeless people are less qualified than anyone else to own a gun, we’re simply saying STOP MAKING YOUR POLICIES ABOUT GIVING MORE PEOPLE GUNS. Also, arguably, NOBODY IS QUALIFIED TO OWN A GUN. Stop owning guns. The answer to a gun isn’t a gun. Sorry to get so philosophical about it.
It might surprise you to know that it’s not even a Republican who suggested this new measure. Brian Ellison, a Libertarian who is tipped as favourite to be the party candidate for the mid-terms, has propositioned the idea, in order that the homeless can protect themselves against the increased level of violent crime they face.
Speaking to the Guardian, Ellison said: “Frankly I think the ideal weapon would be a pistol, but due to the licensing requirements in the state we’re going to have a hard enough time getting homeless people shotguns as it is.
“Getting them pistols is probably next to impossible. The pistols need to be registered, people have to have addresses.”
This is both worrying and relatively reassuring at the same time, at least there’s some sort of registration process, albeit, that process, is Having An Address. It’s also apparently fine due to a technicality, as carrying a concealed pistol is illegal without a proper permit, ‘whereas open-carrying a long gun is completely legal’. So rest easy folks.
Ellison went on to add that he would canvass opinion on this measure, and that he’s ‘certainly not trying to force anything on anybody’. Which ironically is very much the opposite feeling you have when someone is pointing a gun at you. He added that ammunition would not be handed to the homeless gun owners again if they had used the weapons for matters other than self-defence, such as ‘shooting cans in somebody’s private property’. Yes, or perhaps, you know, harming themselves or others, or… killing people?
The Libertarians are a classically liberal party who believe in granting more autonomy to the individual. They are described as being culturally liberal, but fiscally conservative. Among their more liberal qualities are the desire to legalise gay marriage, end capital punishment, and legalise drugs, but this is counteracted by views on abolishing the welfare state and supporting gun ownership. Ellison perhaps means well here with granting the homeless a means with which to defend themselves, but perhaps he could look at the correlation between gun ownership in America and the rate of gun related homicides.
At present America is the top civilian owning gun country in the world, with an estimated 89 guns per 100 people. With their rate of mass shootings being the highest in high-income countries by quite some way, we’re not sure that more people owning guns is the answer.
On 14 March, students all over America walked out of school in protest to the gun ownership laws, the NRA, and the lack of prevention of school shootings such as the Parkland shooting. Let’s hope their logic wins in the end.