A couple of years ago now I was taking an Abnormal Psychology class, and the instructor asked us to do a paragraph on why legislating that all firearms be pink would reduce crime. I responded at greater length than required, and with citations, which I don’t think he was expecting… I don’t recall putting this out in public before, and as I’d promised someone a link, here it is.
Pink rifles certainly exist. My daughter envies a friend’s daughter’s pink AR 15… the girls are both 14 and marksmen in their own right, and neither would ever shoot a person except in self-defense. This young lady is the daughter of Michael Z. Williamson, a gunsmith and author, and a personal friend. I asked him this morning if I could use it in my paper, as it was what came immediately to mind when I read your question. That being said, gun violence is far more prevalent with handguns than rifles, no matter what their color. The Sandy Hook killings were carried out with two handguns, not an assault rifle as was originally reported. The killer there left his rifle in the car.
Mass murders aren’t about the weapon, they are about the minds of those who carry them out. A recent mass stabbing in China, suicide bombers, flying airplanes into buildings, there are so many ways to kill people in our world. Out of the over 6 million members of the NRA, possibly a third of them own an “assault” weapon. There may be as many as 100 million gun-owning households in the US. That is a lot of guns… and vanishingly few of them are used in crimes. According to the FBI, only 323 rifles were used in crimes in 2011 (FBI, Homicide Data Table 8, 2011). There is no distinction made here for “assault” rifles. The media perception of what makes an assault rifle is so often erroneous that it cannot be relied on for data.
Would criminals really be deterred from using a pink gun? Why wouldn’t they just repaint or strip it back to black, wood, and metal? After all, they are going to be breaking the law. Even if a ridiculous regulation existed to enforce gun color, lawbreakers are going to ignore that. An intent to kill or injure is not going to change based on a color. Again, the FBI homicide data table indicates that you are twice as likely to be killed with hand or feet as you are to be shot with a rifle (FBI, Homicide Data Table 8, 2011).
Unless you predicate that a black rifle is an assertion of masculinity, by men who actually care about pink/blue, then changing the color in ineffective. The colors of modern weapons are dictated primarily by their primary manufacturers for the military and police. Men and women who served and handled these weapons understand the dark, matte finishes make the weapons more unobtrusive. They aren’t designed to look bad-ass, they are simply functional.
“With just a single exception, the attack in Tucson last year, every public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has occurred in a place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms. Had some citizens been armed, they might have been able to stop the killings before the police got to the scene. In the Newtown attack, it took police 20 minutes to arrive at the school after the first calls for help.” (Wall Street Journal, John Lott, Jan. 2013)
Mass shootings have happened 32 times in the last 30 years (Citizen’s Crime Commission, N.D.). Gun violence is peaking in the cities and nations that have banned certain types of firearms. Gun control is not the answer. Coloring the weapons available is silly, and unnecessary. What is needed is better treatment for the mentally ill, and less repercussions for those who do reveal that they are having mental problems, so they feel safer seeking treatment.
As for why people own weapons, even and especially assault rifles, you need only understand the need for self-defense by reading Warren v. District of Columbia (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-dc-circuit/1061352.html) where the conclusion drawn by the court is that the police have no duty to protect the public. Even in rural areas, where the police feel more obligation to citizens, they may be unable to respond in a timely fashion. As a mother, I’d be pleased as punch to own a pink assault rifle and never need it to defend my family.
I have a number of friends who offered their expertise in pulling together this information, including Mike Williamson, and a dear friend who was in the Army CID for 20 years before becoming a crime scene tech for the last ten years. I can also highly recommend this article, written by an acquaintance and one of my favorite authors, Larry Correia, if you want to truly understand the stance on gun control taken by a professional in the industry http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/.