Gun violence is unpleasant. It's a blemish on our society. I feel uneasy around guns. Like trains, guns are powerful and potentially deadly, so one must always be alert when around them. Maintaining a constant state of mental alertness is tiring.
Furthermore, learning to properly handle guns requires training and practice. Training and practice require even more effort. Since we, being mammals, are basically lazy, it is tempting to simply avoid guns altogether because they require so much effort. It is tempting to ask others to handle them for us so that we don't have to.
Guns, when mis-handled, are dangerous. Since the handling ability of strangers is unknown to us, we may fear the worst of that unknown. Therefore, if one has decided to avoid guns, one may feel compelled to deny them to strangers, because guns in strangers' hands frighten us. Consequently, back when I was a teenager, I feared guns and strongly supported a ban on all handguns.
Gun Control is a Mirage
However, that's easier said than done. Making laws against guns is not the same thing as actually removing them from society. Gun control may deter people who want to stay on the good side of the law as a whole, but those who are already willing to violate robbery, rape and murder laws are not going to be affected by gun laws. To outlaws, gun control is a trivial inconvenience.
Therefore, gun control denies guns to those who would defend your life but does almost nothing to those who would threaten it. Taking away your gun would allow the psychopaths, the bullies and the bad-tempered to injure you more easily, especially if they ignore the gun law and get guns illegally. In short, gun control tilts the balance of power away from lawful citizens in favor of criminals.
Indiscriminate gun restriction is analogous to the conundrum, "Why do some women always find themselves stuck with jerks?" (or "why are most politicians jerks?"). The same social dynamic is at work in each case: When one sets up barriers that do not discriminate between good and bad people, the bad (lying, cheating, won't take no for an answer) people tend to get through, over, or under the barrier more often than gentle, respectful, and ethical people (and yes, I have already been told by several cynics that I am too honest and candid to ever get elected. However, I can try to make up for it with persistence).
The higher the barrier, the more toxic the distillate. Witness suicide terrorists: ground based "security" can never be perfect. Only armed passengers and/or crew in the air and willing to fight will defeat our implacable enemies. Unfortunately, the tighter the security is, the weaker we good guys will be when the next terrorists find a way through.
The meek may inherit the Earth someday, but only with divine intervention as promised. Our police and homeland "security" are far from divine. Therefore, while we're waiting for the second coming, we mortals need guns to deal with a few bad apples in this imperfect world.
Can't be Enforced Short of a Police State
Look at how many thousands of tons of illegal drugs cross the borders into the US each year. Translate that carrying capacity into guns and ammo, and that's what you could expect the black market to deliver under gun prohibition. For the US to ban guns, we will need to become a police state. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in such. Nor would I want to live in a country that outlaws guns and isn't a police state...
A disarmed and helpless populace ripe for plucking would be a paradise for criminals, fueling a black market in contraband guns. The only break in crime would be when the criminals paused to reload
Copyright 2003-2008 by Jeffry R. Fisher: Permission is granted to reproduce this article in whole, but only in combination with attribution, the original title, the original URL, and this copyright notice.