Gun Control and Vehicle Terrorism

Gun Control and Vehicle Terrorism August 20, 2017

Australian Prime Minister has said in the last day:

“After the Nice truck attack last year I asked the counter terrorism co-ordinator… to get together with all of the state and territory police agencies, with business, with local government and make sure that we had a comprehensive strategy for protecting crowded places…. What we’ve done with this Crowded Places strategy is we have set out a series of tools by which owners and operators of venues… are able to assess the vulnerability of their site, see how they can make it safer and know where to seek advice from police.”

As RT report:

The Australian government has prepared guidelines for businesses and communities to help minimize the risks of vehicular terrorist attacks, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced days after the latest attack left 13 dead in Barcelona.

‘Australia’s Strategy For Protecting Crowded Places From Terrorism’ proposes measures like placing statues, bollards, and other roadblocks to protect crowded places and separating roads and pedestrian walkways on bridges. The plan has been in the making for a year since the terrorist attack in Nice, France, Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

This is sensible stuff as cars are the new low-skill requirement, easy weapon of choice for terrorists. They need little to no preparation and can kill a large number of people with minimal organisation and online chatter. In order to minimise the potential impact that such activities can bring about, there needs to be control – safety measurements put in place.

This is uncontroversial.

The rights of drivers will be affected. They might not be able to drive in certain places. Safety measures will constrain the ability of drivers to do certain things.

This is uncontroversial.

Indeed, this is something many of us are asking for, for our own safety.

Guns are similar. They, in America (not the UK where we can’t get them), are used to cause a lot of damage. New research suggests suicide rates are increased in places in the US with easier access to guns. As the Independent reported recently:

The number of suicides in the US is being inflated by the easy access to guns, a new study comparing rates in Maryland suggests.

Researchers found suicide rates in the most rural areas of the state were 35 per cent higher than in the most urban areas and said a “big reason why” was the greater number of guns in the former. The rate of suicides using firearms was 66 per cent higher.

Suicide is the second most common cause of death in the US for adults under the age of 45, after accidental injury.

The suicide rate hit 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, the highest level in 30 years.

In the new study, researchers examined nearly 6,200 suicides in Maryland between 2003 and 2015.

Men carried out 80 per cent of all suicides and 89 per cent of those involving guns. By contrast, women were 37 per cent more likely to kill themselves in urban areas.

The was little difference in rural and urban rates of suicide that did not involve guns.

And yet there is still untold amounts of pushback to gun control from the gun fanatical defenders of the Second Amendment. Well, it’s my right to drive [carry guns] where I want… Surely?

When things are causally connected to higher violence and threat to the individual, we expect the state to help us. I am a pedestrian. As such, my rights are potentially being constrained by drivers who threaten me with terrorist car use. I am also a driver. My rights are being constrained by the government who seeks to limit vehicle use in certain contexts. But I am happy that the government steps in to control vehicle use for the safety of society at large.

To accept one and not the other is potentially cherry picking.

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