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Basic argument against gun control

Posted by Chance on January 19, 2007

With increasing gun violence in neighborhoods and schools, at first, the obvious answer is to simply outlaw guns, at least, private possession of them. I wanted to give just a simple explanation of why the legality of gun ownership is important. Now, I don’t want to get into the issues of what types of guns should be legal (semi-automatic, guns with safety locks, etc…) or the registration process, but more on if, on the whole, gun ownership should be legal.

Prohibition of guns, as with illicit drugs, would have debatable effects. It could curb gun ownership or have little effect at all.

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that prohibition of guns would, in fact, curb gun ownership effectively. The fact remains, however, that gun ownership would not be completely eliminated. Such a step would create a dangerous differential between criminals and citizens who would use the guns lawfully, such as defending their homes. Although criminal ownership of guns would be curbed, it would not be altogether eliminated. There would be fewer criminals with guns, but there would be NO law-abiding citizens with guns. In effect, guns are an even larger threat.

Of course, this assumes that everyone disobeying the law and still owning a gun remains a threat. But say that some people who keep their guns have honest, good intentions. However, do we want the success of gun prohibition to rest on the idea that the right type of people will disobey the law?

There have been numerous studies concerning crime rates with respect to gun laws. However, there is another factor, and that is gun ownership. Not everyone exercises their right to own a gun, just like not everyone exercises their right to vote. Keep gun ownership rights in tact, but create harsher punishments for those who abuse that right.

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10 Responses to “Basic argument against gun control”

  1. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    There are no “gun rights” in the USA.This is a myth. The controlling clause of the 2nd Amendment is “a well ordered militia,” i.e., the right to bear arms was for the purpose of what we today call the National Guard. No absolute individual right to own guns is given. That is why no gun control laws have ever been reversed by the courts.

    I’m not anti-gun, but pro-knife. Can a knife kill me? Yes, but I have a MUCH better chance of outrunning a maniac with a knife than of outrunning a bullet.

    In 1984, I was mugged and stabbed. I came close to dying. If it had been a bullet–my chances of living would have been much lower.

    Police stats gathered by the FBI are clear: gun ownership increases the chances of the OWNER being killed. Strict gun laws correlate with fewer homicides, fewer successful suicides, every time.

    If I had my way, handguns would be strictly licensed and most would have to be used at gun clubs for targets–but could not be kept in private homes. Hunting rifles could be kept in private homes, but would be MUCH more strictly licensed. Automatic weapons, cop killer bullets, etc. would be strictly banned. Manufacturers who increased the power of weapons, thereby putting police in greater jeapardy, would be closed down and face criminal charges.

    But my views have little chance of passing thanks to the enormous lobbying power of the evil NRA.

  2. Chance said

    Michael,
    I am very sorry to hear about your experience. I couldn’t imagine going through that.

    I disagree with your interpretation of the 2nd amendment though. Yes, the 2nd does mention the militia, but it also refers to “the people” as opposed to the state. Personally, I don’t think “the people” has a different meaning here than the other times it is mentioned in the Constitution.

  3. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    It’s not just about my experience. Your post talks about guns for personal protection, but FBI stats show that people with guns in their home have a greater chance of having them used against them than successfully defending their home. Here are your options: 1) Have the gun where you can get to it easily–but then so can your 2 year old with disastrous results. 2) Have the gun locked up properly, with trigger guard, unloaded, etc.–but then the burglar will have the jump on you and is likely to shoot first.

    One has a much better chance of surviving any encounter without a gun than with one.

    The Centers for Disease Control rightly treat guns as a public health risk. I have lived in countries without a gun culture–where cop killings were rare, where crime was seldom violent. And I have lived most my live in the U.S.–and can see the difference.

    If I am wrong on the Constitutional issue, it should be argued in court. But the NRA doesn’t risk this–instead it intimidates legislators so that no law is ever formulated to be tested in the courts!

  4. Chance said

    Hey Michael, where can I get those studies? Are they at the FBI site? Thanks.

  5. Neil said

    Chance, I really liked your last line: “Keep gun ownership rights in tact, but create harsher punishments for those who abuse that right.”

    I’m a Republican, but I think the Democracts (either wisely or by accident) have backed off the gun control topic. All it does is raise money for the NRA.

    A friend of ours who cuts hair out of her home turned in someone who was molesting an 18 month old (it was even on video – very sickening). Before the culprit was sent to prison he left a voice mail threatening to kill the lady and he stood out in her street in a menacing way to threaten her. I can’t imagine telling someone like her that she can’t have a gun.

    I agree with your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Seems like if people really disagree with your interpretation then they are free to craft a new amendment of their own and try to get it passed.

  6. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    The stats should be at the FBI site. They were 2 years ago when I wrote an article citing them. But maybe they only post them every few years or whenever a new report comes out. You should also be able to find lots of good gun-related stats on the website of the Centers for Disease Control.

  7. Gabbatha said

    Didn’t that right to bear arms mean that people were allowed to own guns only that they be kept in a safe “storage house” in one location in the city? I think this was the case when the law was written. Of course things have changed since then.

    If I’m not mistaken, I also think that Australia has outlawed guns. Have they? If so, I wonder if it has made a big difference in armed crime within the city.

    Good post, Chance.

  8. Chance said

    Josh,
    I’m not sure. I know that with the First Amendment, typically we hold free speech paramount and typically favor free speech, whereas the 2nd amendment we view with much suspicion. Then the argument goes, “well, free speech doesn’t kill, guns do” but I can think of a couple of examples where free speech can kill. For example, the New York Times leaking national secrets, many of the liberal persuasion not dare suggest that their speech be limited. Somehow, we are much more questioning of the gun rights.

    In other words, I typically like to stick to the Constitution concerning the specific freedoms, although we can sometimes gather intent from other sources.

  9. Gabbatha said

    The phrase, Guns kill people drives me crazy. People with guns kill people.

    Kind of like me saying that pencils fail tests, not students.

  10. Chance said

    Hehe, that’s pretty funny.

    Actually, guns don’t kill people, Chuck Norris kills people.

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