Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Look at Guns: Arguments for and against them.

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

The Constitution of the United States

Hate me if you must, but hear me if you can.

You know, every time I talk about guns with people, I always get the same answers. Now I've been wrong before when I thought I was right -- as when I thought I had the answers to life when I was a Christian. Boy was I wrong. But I'm pretty sure I'm right about this. I think I can shoot down (pardon the pun) every argument in favor of guns that I've heard. I don't favor banning every kind of gun, just to lay down a little guidance and perspective.

  1. It's our Constitutional right.
  2. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
  3. Lots of things kill people, should we ban everything?
  4. We need them for shooting for fun.
  5. We need them for hunting.
  6. We need them for self defense.
True, it is in the Constitution. Let's look at this 2nd amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Do you, dear reader, have any doubt as to what a militia is? It would be the equivalent of the National Guard in your state. I'm fully in favor of this. If you belong to the National Guard of your state, or similar government arm, you would of course be armed. The intent of this amendment is obviously clear. In those days a militia might be necessary and would arise from the populace of the state, so naturally they would need their own firearms.

So that's the Constitution. It's clear what it means. These days we have police forces and military in the states, so militias made of ordinary citizens are no longer needed. And if it became so bad in a war that ordinary citizens needed to fight, they would be armed by the military with military weapons. Of course some would argue that the idea is to keep a dictator from seizing absolute power. They often reference Nazi Germany taking firearms away from it's citizens. But the idea that Hitler could only assume power if the German people didn't have access to guns, assumes that the German people wanted to overthrow him, and that that would have deterred the Nazis. The Wehrmacht rolled through entire countries, I hardly think armed citizens would have stopped them.

Anyway, do you really think you would stop the US military with rifles and handguns if they were somehow controlled by an American despot? This isn't the 18th century where a group of citizens soldiers would essentially be equally armed with any standing army. Besides the government has already restricted your ability to make was against it. Try going to your gun shop and buying military grade weapons. You can get some nasty stuff to be sure, but you would always be outgunned.

These were smart men that made this law. Do you really think that the current reality is what they had in mind? Guns in those days were a tool, and the fastest you could hope to shoot one was what, twice a minute? Is there one honest gun advocate reading this that thinks that the founding fathers would look at the array of guns that we have today, with the awesome killing power that they have, and say this is what they had in mind? Really? Especially considering what the 2nd amendment is referring to, not to mention the murders done so easily with a handgun? Really?

You know the Constitution isn't sacred. It's been amended multiple times over the centuries.

Let me put it to you this way: Let's pretend nuclear energy was around to power homes when the 2nd amendment was written, and an amendment was written ensuring that every citizen was entitled to keep plutonium to power their own mini reactors. After all, handled properly, plutonium is no more dangerous than a handgun. In those days, plutonium was only used to power homes and such. Now 230 years later, plutonium has an entirely different meaning, with dire consequences for the entire world in the wrong hands.

If such a scenario were true, would you still insist on your Constitutional right to own plutonium? I mean, just like firearms, plutonium is absolutely harmless when handled by a conscientious law abiding citizen. Plutonium doesn't kill people, people kill people, right? Yes I know, that's crazy, a nuclear device could kill millions, of course we wouldn't want people to have plutonium if it could end up in a nuclear warhead. But is that argument any different than pro gun people arguing that guns are safe until a bad guy pulls the trigger?

Sure a single gun won't kill millions at once, but how many murders are okay with you? A million is bad, but you can live with 10,000? How many accidental gun deaths are okay?

Yes, other things can be used as weapons to be sure. People kill with knives, blunt objects, rope, poison, whatever. But here is the difference: Guns have one primary purpose, to kill. At most it can be argued that a handgun can be used for target shooting. Is target shooting worth a single handgun death? You couldn't find something else to do for fun, or something else to use for target practice? Other things that are used to kill have other legitimate uses. And when was the last time you heard of a drive-by knifing? But even at that, I would be in favor of restricting something that was used to kill like guns are.

As far as hunting and self defense, I wouldn't be against a hunter owning a hunting rifle. Hunting is needed to control animal populations, even though I don't get why it's called a sport. But that's another topic. And I would also support owning a shotgun for home defense; I'm not naive, I realize that murders and crime wouldn't suddenly stop if no one owned a handgun etc.

Look, I'm not calling for an outright ban on guns. In a perfect world we wouldn't need them, but I know we don't live in such a world. But I am asking why do we need handguns? Why can't we ban them? Of course we would have to be careful how we did it since the criminal element wouldn't voluntarily give up their stash; and I would be satisfied with only a ban on handguns and their close relatives, so to speak. Not all at once, but with reason and wisdom.

I ask you again, how many murders and accidental deaths (done mostly by handguns) are okay with you? Yes we would still have gun murders and accidental shootings, but shouldn't we try to make that as rare as possible if it's in our power to do so? Is the fear of not being able to get 100% positive results a reason to not try?

How many do you say?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You need to check your history. The National Guard didn't even exist when the Second Amendment was written, so clearly the framers weren't referring to that when they said "militia". In point of fact, the "militia" was any able-bodied person over 18. Moreover, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed this im their Heller decision, and refuted several of your arguments.

You ban handguns, and all you'll do is make sure that criminals are the only ones who have them. 'Cause you see, criminals don't care about gun laws. And in fact, those areas in the U.S. with the most restrictive gun laws, also tend to have the most gun-related crime. Gee, how could that be??? When we ban guns, doesn't that reduce gun crime and violence? (No.)

I'm not a right-winger. I'm a Democrat who proudly voted for Obama. And I'm disappointed that many of my fellow left-leaning peers just have it wrong when it comes to guns. Just like abortion is a sure losing issue for the right, gun control is a sure losing issue for the left. Fortunately, the right loses elections everytime they push the abortion issue, and the left loses elections everytime they push gun control issues. This is the way it should be.

I would encourage you to do some historical reading on the 2nd. Many of your assumptions about it are just factually incorrect.