Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gun Control

So I turn on the computer, and the first thing I see on my news ticker is “US Gun Laws draw heat after massacre”.

Unfortunately, the prevailing viewpoint in the USA appears to be “Less guns = Less gun crime.” According to the news Virginia Tech recently disarmed their security officers to make VT a ‘gun-free’ campus. Ask yourself this. If armed security were on the VT campus…would the outcome have been the same?

It sounds like common sense. The less guns there are, the less shootings there will be. However, this assumption is based on false logic. The real situation can be summed up accurately in a single sentence:

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Now, before I come across as a Charlton Heston-esque “You’ll take my gun from my cold dead hands.” Let me explain my point of view.

You can make ownership of guns illegal, but the problem is criminals don’t obey the law. If the US government started a confiscatory ban on guns, I’d be one of the first in line at the police station, handing in my rifle. Why? Because I don’t want to break the law, and I don’t want to go to jail. Every decent, law-abiding citizen would do the same.

However, you can’t say the same of all the psychos, drug-dealers and other criminals out there. The truth is, criminals love gun control…because it means the only weapon involved in a given situation is theirs.

Statistics show that states with more ‘permissive’ gun laws tend to have a consistently lower crime rate than states with more restrictive gun laws. For example, New York City and Washington DC have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the USA, but also have some of the highest rates of shootings and violent crimes.

South Carolina has a ‘concealed carry’ law. This means I can take a class, and get trained and certified to carry a concealed weapon. This means that, even if I never do this, any potential mugger or attacker knows that I may be carrying a handgun. This gives everyone in SC a level of protection whether they carry a weapon or not.

In places like NY or DC, an attacker knows the only gun in that situation is theirs.

The biggest problem with gun control in the USA is that guns have been completely and totally demonized. The idea that “Guns are Evil” and everyone would be better off if they where completely removed from society. However, what you need to understand is guns are not evil. They’re a tool. They’re no more intrinsically evil than a hammer or a chainsaw.

If the 9/11 pilots where armed, 9/11 would be remembered as the day a group of terrorists attempted to hijack a couple of planes and fly them into buildings. On a plane, three or four terrorists with box cutters are in total control. When a pilot or air-marshal has a handgun, they’re a minor threat.

It’s the same with the VT shootings. If the security officers where armed, chances are the news reports would be about a single killing, or one or two before the gunman was taken down, and not the worst mass shooting in US history.

However, because guns have been demonized, it’s lead to the faulty assumption that we’re somehow safer by not arming and defending ourselves. It’s lead to the idea that a gun in the hands of a criminal or terrorist is some kind of insurmountable doomsday weapon…yet a gun in our hands is nothing but a liability, and will easily be taken from us and used against us.

To close today, I’ll attempt to answer the usual criticisms and questions about gun control:

Why do you need a gun? If you’re in danger, just call a cop!

Fair enough, except for the fact that it’s going to take at least 5 minutes for the cops to get here. If someone tried to break into my house right now, they’d be inside and on me long before the police arrived. On the other hand, I could easily run to where I keep my rifle and hold them here until police arrive.

‘Weapons for protection’, isn’t that a little paranoid? Do you expect to get attacked?

Do you expect to crash your car every time you drive? Doubtful, but you still fasten your seatbelt and sit behind an air-bag. We put alarms on our homes and cars, take self defense classes…we’re not likely to need any of those…but we do anyway. It’s not paranoid to be prepared for something that might happen.

Guns are dangerous and accidents can be fatal!

True, but the same can be said for automobiles and any power tool. Car accidents kill more people per year than guns accidents will in a lifetime or more. The solution isn’t to ban guns any more than the solution to car accidents is to ban cars. The solution is education and proper safety training.

What about the children? What if little Timmy finds your gun and shoots himself?

Well, little Timmy would then also have to find the clip for my gun, and then go find my ammunition. Then he’d also have to find the key to the safety-catch lock. If he somehow managed to find all four things, then he’d have to know how to unlock the safety, fill the clip, put it in the rifle and cock it. In the meantime, you store the bleach under the sink, and the garage is filled with all kinds of power tools as well as your car…the key to which is hardly ‘hidden’.

But if we ban guns all together, criminals won’t be able to get guns in the first place! Problem Solved!

Yep, just like no-one in the USA smokes weed or does meth or crack. They’re banned too. People with criminal records aren’t allowed to buy weapons, and the background check they run in the store shows they’re not eligible to buy a gun instantly. However, career criminals always manage to get their hands on another weapon. Banning weapons takes weapons out of the hands of honest, law abiding people…not the psychos and criminals.


Saffyre said...

This is going to be the subject of blog later. Hope you don't mind me linking you since you worded it far better than I ever could.

Saffyre said...

Arrghhh!! Please come to my office and make this arguement. They wont listen to me and i'm pulling my hair out!