Thoughts on Gun Control

Singapore is a small island with very, very stringent gun control, where guns are banned except for certain professions such as the police, security forces and the military.

A person found in unlawful possession of any arm or ammunition gets 5-10 years and at least 6 strokes of the infamous Singapore cane. A person who has on his person any arm while comitting a crime/being arrested for a crime gets life imprisonment and at least 6 strokes.

A person who uses or attempts to use any arm at the time of his committing or atetempting to commit any scheduled offence (regardless of whether he intended to cause physical damage to person or property) gets the death sentence.

Anybody who trafficks arms (being found in unlawful possession of more than 2 arms unless proven otherwise) gets either death or life imprisonment with at least 6 strokes of the cane. It’s tough, but it’s also a small island country with a low crime rate, stable political climate and effective police force and its situation can hardly be extrapolated to the world.

For more information, check Singapore Statutes Online.

There are a few points that J. thinks bout.

1. Misused Statement – “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people!”
The intention of this statement is evidently to demonstrate that guns are an implement just like any other which, in the wrong hands, can be used for evil. The responsibility therefore rests solely on the murderer and not the instrument of death.

It is difficult for a mentally disturbed man to take a 5-inch long switchblade and kill 22 people without being overpowered and probably lynched by an angry mob. It is hard for an untrained man to kill another man in the heat of the moment without any weapons. It takes more effort to swing a basebal bat with lethal force than it does to pull the trigger on a semi-automatic pistol.

Of course guns don’t kill people, they lack free will. However, they facilitate ease of killing or maiming somebody.

Why not allow every nation to own nuclear weapons except ones noted to have a history of aggression. After all, nuclear warheads don’t kill millions of people, create swathes of radioactive wasteland and stricken unfortunate inhabitants with thyroid cancers and lymphomas… crazed megalomaniac tyrannical nations do!

2. Gun Control is not the cure-all for violent crime
And to think so is simplistic, wishful thinking. As pointed out, countries like Switzerland have relaxed gun control rules but low incidences of firearm-related deaths. There are contradictory cases all over the world listed most often by pro-gun supporters. What it demonstrates, however, is that gun control is the not the single most important factor in determining the incidence rate of firearms-related crimes.

It proves nothing else, really, since every nation is different in terms of culture, people, land, politics, civil service and of course, implementation of gun control policies. It is foolish to compare vastly different nations to prove or disprove a point on gun control. Any or all of the above-listed factors should be tackled in order to have effective, permanent resolution. Hardly an easy task, which brings us to the next point…

3. Practicality is a big problem
In a dense urban environment with more limited borders such as Singapore, where there has not been a history of owning and shooting firearms, gun control is easy (easier). The high probability of being caught (an effective deterrent) combined with the severe consequences (less effective, but damned if it ain’t scary) makes gun control easy (easier). When J. bought a couple of folding knives for interests’ sake, he had to bring photo identification and register. Singapore has super low incidence rates of gun-related violence.

Now think about America, which has the Second Amendment, multiple states, a proliferation of gun ownership, places when owning a gun is part of the culture (yet these same places often do have lower firearm-related crimes), a huge population, massive lengths of border. How easy is it going to be to implement gun control? How effective is it going to be? How expensive will it be? Will it be worth it? Is it a practical solution, or are there alternative, cheaper, more effective methods?

Gun control is not something that affects J. personally, so he feels he is not able to really take a viewpoint one way or another. What he does know is that he prefers knives to guns because knives have daily usefulness value. A gun’ll never be used to de-thorn a rose, for instance. Nonetheless, he is very interested to know how the new debate in the US brought about by the Virginia Tech massacre pans out althought he doubts that for practicality reasons any changes will be implemented.

For those interested in more than just rehashed clichés, this is a study that might be worth checking. Be warned, it might take a bit of time.
The effectiveness of gun control laws: multivariate statistical analysis


One response to this post.

  1. dude, well said… i couldn’t agree more on your first point and love the analogy… why can’t we just hug? less guns and less shootings and more love and hugs? i could go for a good hug right now, actually…

    on an unrelated note, i think it’s interesting that u refer to yourself in the third person… cool…

    now, to find someone to give me a hug…



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