One of the first items that crossed my mind on hearing of the stabbings at a Murrysville Pennsylvania high school was, thank goodness it was not a gun. Given that I am for strict gun control, my thoughts eventually did lead to the puzzling problems so many have with any sort of gun control; especially after I heard a conservative talk show host rhetorically asking if the gun control crowd was now going to outlaw knives. Given this, I thought it might be fun to blog about gun control and the various arguments given against it.
1) Guns do not kill people, people do.
That is true enough. However, humans are tool using animals, and the more effective and powerful the tool, the more effective and powerful the human using it. What this means is that a person with a gun can do a whole lot more killing and wounding than someone without a gun. Please note that no one in the Murrysville stabbings is going to die. In other words, they all survived. Had this teen had a gun or two, the odds greatly favor several people dying.
2) People kill using different items all the time – knives for instance.
This is closely related to number 1 above. In addition to noting the differences in the number of deaths and wounded between a knife attack and a gun attack, let me also point out that a person with a knife is much easier to stop than a person with a gun. With a baseball bat, I like my odds against a person with a knife. Give that person a gun though and I am probably a dead man.
3) We have a constitutional right to have guns.
And I am not advocating abolishing that right. However, all rights have limits and laws regulating them. With freedom of speech, there is the old standby of not being able to yell fire in a crowded theater. Also, you cannot just go anywhere and have your say – offices, schools, main street all have laws limiting a person’s absolute right to free speech. Then there are, of course, defamation, libel and slander laws.
Religion is also not an absolute right. Human sacrifice is prohibited. Most drugs are too. If you are a government employee you cannot proselytize while on the job. Churches have to follow zoning laws.
None of our rights are absolute. The reason for this is that we have many rights and because of this one person’s rights can conflict with another’s. In regards to gun control, people have a right to life and liberty too.
Yet those who argue against any sort of gun laws seem to believe that gun rights should be. Sorry guys, but our constitution does not work like that and I have yet to see a case made for why guns, out of all of our other rights, should be unlimited.
4) We need guns for protection against crime.
Personally, I have never needed one. I used to investigate child abuse for the great state of Texas, and have been in the bad parts of town. My wife and I, in our poverty days, lived in those bad parts of towns. Yet I never needed a gun. Further, there are some studies indicating that owning a gun actually puts you at greater risk of being shot.
However, my personal comfort level is not the same as yours. If you feel you need one for protection then by all means buy one. Just register both yourself and your gun and enjoy the psychological benefit of owning a gun. Keep in mind that gun control is not the same as abolishing all guns. The only caveat here is that I see no reason to have military grade guns for protection – or for hunting. Nor cop killer ammunition. Nor large ammo clips. Protection and the joys of hunting can be had without these weapons, and their potential for extreme violence to others too great to allow them to be purchased by civilians. Again, one of those conflicts with others rights that I mentioned above.
5) We need guns for protection against our government.
Sorry, if you think that owning guns, even military grade ones, is going to provide protection against a totally rogue government, then you have not kept up with the times. Or even with the times of our revolutionary war. Even with our forefathers all owning guns, we needed the professional army of France to win our freedom from Britain. It is a myth that a bunch of citizen soldiers on their own defeated the British. Without the professional help of the French in regards to arms, training and troops, we would still be British subjects today. Today this is even more true.
To think that a disparate bunch of people armed with guns is going to be able to take on an organized and well trained military that can coordinate its various units and groups and which are equipped with advance communication equipment, advance weapons that include various types of missiles, cannons, aircraft, and other things that cause other things to go boom, have a strong logistics structure, medical support and various and sundry other things that make for a modern, effective, and deadly military is delusional at best.
To summarize then – there is no reasonable and rational reason for being against gun control. I would much rather face and deal with an epidemic of knife attacks from effective gun control laws than our current epidemic of attacks by guns.
Let me just say that this is not a complete discussion of this issue and was not meant to be. It was instead just dealing with some of the more popular arguments for exempting gun rights from any sort of controls, controls that all of our other rights, for good reasons, have.