If You Support Gun Rights, You Should Also Support Supervised Injection Sites
“Outlawing guns only takes them away from law-abiding citizens; it does nothing to remove them from the hands of criminals.”
This is a standard response to gun reform. The problem for gun reform advocates is that the sentiment is valid. You can’t stop what assholes are going to do, so if you think you’re a hardass and you can fight crime, you would want equal firepower to do so.
Obviously, this didn’t stop New Zealand from immediately enacting reforms on their gun laws after the recent mass shooting.
The majority of gun-related crime is perpetrated by illegal owners of guns. Sure, our laws can be pretty relaxed as far as gun sales, but those people statistically don’t commit crimes. The problem is that these guns get stolen or are sold illegally. And I know the government taking away guns is the ultimate step for a lot of people toward a totalitarian regime that will soon be sterilizing the youth and taking away your favorite snacks, but if the government buys these guns back from citizens, there will be less available guns for criminals to either steal or illegally purchase.
Strictly speaking as a numbers game, less legal guns means less illegal guns. Heroin dealers aren’t manufacturing their own weapons; they’re buying from an available stock. And yes, guns will still be out there. But if they’re less ubiquitous, they’ll be more difficult to get and more expensive to purchase which will leave your low-level purse-snatcher priced out in a seller’s market for firearms.
But this isn’t about gun reform. This is about supervised injection sites (which are essentially designated areas with trained medical staff in which addicts can use drugs in a safe, sterile environment). If you don’t think the government should crack down on weapons (even military-style assault rifles), you should have no problem whatsoever with supervised injection sites.
The logic between the two is exactly the same: Criminals are going to do what they are going to do. Rules obviously mean nothing to them so passing laws will actually end up hurting people. For gun owners, laws would leave them defenseless against criminals. For drug users, laws leave them defenseless against overdoses/dirty needles/mislabeled or fraudulent drugs.
Even though 130 people die in the US every day from the raging opioid epidemic, the right-leaning officials continue to block any movement toward legalizing supervised injection sites. Denver recently tried to open the nation’s first, but the bill was never introduced.
“Ultimately, I’m not willing to bring a bill that I don’t have a chance of passing,” said Democratic Senator Brittany Pettersen.
Proponents have tried to move this idea forward on both the state and city for the last two years, but it has been continually blocked. Not only that, but according to Colorado Public Radio, “House Minority Leader Patrick Neville floated the idea of recall elections to remove Democratic lawmakers from office if they voted to support the legislation.”
This drastic opposition isn’t unique to Colorado. Rod Rosenstein wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he attacked supervised injection sites saying they are “very dangerous,” and “destroy their surrounding community.”
But if criminals are going to do what they want to do regardless of the law, how could introducing an area where addicts have access to medical care change that? After all, if the only way to get rid of a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, wouldn’t the only way to get rid of a bad guy with drugs be a good guy with drugs?
I realize this is somewhat of a false equivalency because guns do harm outward and drugs do harm inward. No one does drugs at you, but the addiction can turn the addict’s behavior toward theft. This is an unavoidable side-effect of addiction. It doesn’t always happen, but it often does. So would supervised injection sites heighten this possibility?
According to The Star (Toronto):
“What little research exists on drug injection sites suggests they don’t cause an increase in serious crime. When Vancouver opened its first injection site, the community raised similar concerns. However, University of British Columbia researchers found there were no increases in drug trafficking, assaults or robberies, and a slight decline in vehicle thefts in the neighbourhood, according to a 2006 study.”
Even though supervised injection sites haven’t found space within our borders quite yet, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world hasn’t realized their efficacy. Here’s a map of sites available in Europe, courtesy of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Alcohol Addiction:
Sometimes it seems like the Libertarian Party would be the dominant political party if they only had better PR. People don’t seem to want the government to tell them what to do. But then I realize that people mostly don’t want the government to tell them what to do, but they’re okay with the government telling other people what to do. This double-standard leads to contradictions because we are unable to view anything from the perspective of another.
Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one, but don’t take that choice away from a teenager with no job and no parental assistance. Don’t like drugs? Don’t do them, but don’t take away the opportunity for an addict to have access to immediate medical care if they need it. Don’t like guns? Don’t buy one, but don’t fucking touch mine because guns are a god-given right and you can fuck right off if you come anywhere near the stockpile of AR-15s buried in my backyard.
All I ask for is consistency.