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  • Writer's pictureMatt Johnston

US gun control - Time to take 10 paces back from the problem (turn and fire)

I would also like to offer my deepest condolences to those who have lost love ones, and while this blog is satirical in content, in the face of total Government inertia and endemic political cowardice, I raise this partial solution in absolute seriousness.

I propose that legislators give serious consideration to establishing the concept of pistol duelling. In that, where both parties are willing, a mechanism is in place to enable judicial killings.

Firstly, I would challenge the argument that this would constitute a radical policy. In fact, implementation would merely be a return to a cultural, if not legislative position that would have been familiar at the time the Amendment Rights were first established. I would also argue that continuing to do nothing during what is effectively continual mass murder across the United States represents a more extreme regulatory stance.

I recognise that this proposal would have little to no effect on the rates of suicides and firearm related accidents, and would possibly have only limited effect in curtailing random mass killings such as we recently witnessed in Las Vegas. However there are potential benefits in using duelling to curtail the number of homicides, offering a potential vehicle by which ongoing feuds and premeditated homicides might be mitigated, or at least executed without additional loss of life, and retaliatory killings.

Through the use of sanctioned and organised duels it would be possible to ensure that suitable medical provision was on scene at the time of the shooting, and that the significant cost to the state in policing, courts and penal institutions would be diverted into other areas (preferably education and mental health services). Furthermore, in limiting the ‘ground’ and choice of weapons to single shot duelling pistols, the fatality rate would be reduced.

As the purpose of the duel is ultimately to ‘ensure satisfaction’ and not necessarily murder an opponent, it is possible that a significant number of incidents which would end in a death or serious injury would be resolved with weapons being discharged ‘in honour’ (aimed away from the opponent). This is a key point, for enshrined within the code and concept of the duel is the concept of the participants’ honour which is integral, and not the need to kill. Also, the weapon is the embodiment of the threat to the individual, and not the tool through which that individual’s superiority is exercised.

More importantly, the delay required to organise the duel, and the use of seconds to support and mediate between parties would hopefully resolve many challenges without a shot being fired. The individual challenged would be under no obligation to participate, and the decision as to whether to sanction the duel would remain with the courts.

In short, if unwilling to modify or curtail the prominent position the firearm holds in the collective cultural identity, it is desirable to foster a holistic regulatory framework through which the firearm can be used. Clearly there are many aspects of the proposal which needs consideration, and ultimately, considering the national murder rate, a trialled pilot in a willing State or city is worth exploring.

I have very much enjoyed coming to the USA, and I look forward to continuing to do so. However, from the perspective of the genesis of the core need for the 2nd Amendment Right, rest assured, the Red Coats are not coming.

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