jordan179 (jordan179) wrote,

The Folly of "Gun Control."

I posted this in response to someone who argued that we need to ban "assault weapons."

What you're talking about banning is a semi-automatic or automatic action coupled with a large magazine capacity on a weapon.  Except that one can use small-magazine capacity firearms to accomplish the same feat assuming that one carries several of them or has the time to reload.  And if one's victims are unarmed and start at distance because they are trying to get away from the armed evil maniac, then one does have the time to draw a new pistol or reload one's existing pistol.

This of course ignores the main question, which is how you intend to enforce this law in such a way as to keep guns out of the hands of people willing to commit mass murder.  Murder is already illegal -- why if one just kills one piddly human being, one will go to prison for several years to life, depending on the circumstances.  People who go on shooting sprees are unlikely to ever breathe free air again.  So they usually kill themselves at the end of said shooting sprees anyway.

So I'm a bit curious as to just what sentence you intend to impose which will deter someone willing to suffer almost-certain death or life without parole in order to commit the main crime.  Death by slow torture?  Death of beloved relatives by slow torture?  (Oh wait, that wouldn't have stopped this killer, his first victim was his own mother).

Perhaps you believe that draconian sentences will deter not the evil maniacs, but the dealers?  How well does that work for drugs?  I'm not plugged into the local drug culture here in Oakland, but I could buy pretty much any drug I wanted within a matter of a week just by asking the right questions of people I already know, and following the chain of connections.  So I'm wondering just how draconian would be the sentences you mean to impose, if you expect them to prevent the formation of a black market?

The reason of course that the market forms is to cater not to "evil maniacs" but to ordinary criminals -- violent men who need guns to intimidate their rivals and victims, but don't really want to shoot people for no reason and hence don't use their guns to commit mass murder.  Note that this includes some quite petty criminals, such as armed robbers who knock over liquor stores, and people who act as bodyguards for drug dealers.

What happens when honest citizens who refused to surrender their guns use them in self-defense against armed petty criminals?  Will they be arrested and then tossed in prison for years for the crime of unlicensed ownership?  (Precisely this happens a lot in cities with strict gun bans, though often the police and/or prosecutors go easy on them because they don't want to be a party to anything so monstrous, thus corrupting the system).

Now, this is of course a hard subject on which to collect statistics, but have you ever heard of "shoot and shovel?"  As applied to animals, this refers to the common rural practice, when shooting a varmint of some endangered species, of simply burying the carcass so as to avoid having to pay a fine for the killing.

Can you imagine how this might apply to human victims?  Suppose that you're a farmer in a state with strict gun control, and you've kept your guns because you know that you face a threat from occasional criminals in lonely country.  Say that you surprise such a criminal breaking onto your premises, and he pulls a gun, and you shoot him.

He's wounded.  Do you call a hospital and go to prison for years for the "crime" of having had the gun?  Or do you shrug sadly, finish the criminal off, and then get your shovel?

Have you ever lived in a city with strict gun control?  I have -- New York City, from 1964 through 1998 -- and I remember a city in which honest citizens lived in constant fear of criminals, because said honest citizens did not have guns, but the criminals most certainly did.   Sometimes, armed robberies ended in massacres of clerks and patrons alike, because a criminal who shot one victim then shot all the other ones in order to dispose of witnesses.  The criminal did so in confidence that no one would stop him, because there were no cops around, and honest citizens didn't have guns.

More often, New Yorkers just accepted that at any moment an armed criminal could rob them, beat them, rape them and there was nothing they could do, and if they tried to do something, and managed to overcome the criminal, there was a very good chance that the forces of the Law would then toss them into prison for the temerity of self-defense.  Have you considered how many people lost their self-respect, their sanity, their health, even their lives living under such a regime of fear?

What I'm saying is that gun control has its victims too, and though their fates aren't always as public and dramatic as those killed by gun-toting mass-murderers, they're every bit as real.

Oh, and we also had our share of gun-toting mass murderers.  David Berkowitz, Colin Ferguson, and others.  Because, you see, those inclined to mass murder don't obey the law.

In other words, some problems can't be solved simply by passing laws.  Your quarrel is with human nature, and all you'll accomplish by passing laws aganist gun ownership is make matters worse, by ensuring that only outlaws will have the guns.

Tags: criminal, gun control, legal, psychology
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