Bullet Points

Bullet Points August 27, 2019

I debated what to call this post. “No silver bullet when it comes to gun control” was one of the ideas. Either way, I had the thought occur to me that there might be an alternative to the current focus on gun control. My first thought was that the Constitution says nothing about a right to bullets, much less bullets of a particular type. And so it might be constitutional to allow relatively free access to guns but have strict regulation of access to bullets.

Then it occurred to me that it might also be possible to design bullets that tend to be non-lethal, and have those be the only kind available without strict background checks, permits, and an application process that requires one to justify why one needs them.

What do you think? Could a refocusing of the current debates about gun control onto bullet control have a positive impact?

When I saw a recent report on what international students in the United States say about American gun culture and gun violence, I found myself wondering how frequently North American students talk to their colleagues from elsewhere and hear their perspective on this. I know American students (and their parents) watch news about events elsewhere in the world and as a result worry about study abroad and even vacation travel. Yet they seem to have no sense of what America looks like from the perspective of cultures and societies in which guns are rare, and gun violence is thus correspondingly rare.

Science fiction as well as current cutting-edge technology also relate to this topic, as the articles below indicate. In addition to the possibility of weapons that are always non-lethal, one can think about the Star Trek phaser, which has setting ranging from stun to disintegrate. The latter setting should not be widely available, given that it potentially eliminates evidence of crimes and excessive force. But if weapons people owned could knock out an assailant, and you were legally required to approach a matter that way if at all possible, then shooting deaths would surely go down – although I can see people stunning one another left, right, and center over trivial debates, creating a new set of social and legal problems.

See further:

Gun that fires cord to entangle assailant

The technology of smart guns

Sheila Kennedy on decreasing gun violence in cities

Science fiction regularly features non-lethal weapons

Expecto Patronum: Magic Words Won’t End Gun Violence

Guns and More Guns

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