Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The First Amendment says nothing about your getting paid for saying anything. It just says you can say it. I don't believe that if a corporation pulls all the money out of you or a network pulls their money away or you get fired, you're being censored.”     Penn Jillette

December 13, 2005

Nothing More, Nothing Less

by Chris

In a comment on another blog, someone said “I don’t see why people need submachine guns” and “I don’t see why anyone needs an arsenal”…

Heres the thing; you don’t need to see why someone could have “an arsenal” or a sub-machine gun, because limitations on rights aren’t about justifying why I should be able to do something, they are about you justifying why I shouldnt.

Oh and what exactly is “an arsenal” (no I dont want to get into the legal definition, I know it already, I’m talking about what the anti-gunners think an arsenal is)? One man can only shoot one gun at a time, how is it more dangerous that they have several? How is it more dangerous that someone has a lot of ammunition?

Disregarding that as the irrelevancy it is, why should a law abiding individual be treated like a criminal because his possesions could be used in an unlawful way?

The last time an automatic weapon (which is what a Sub-machine gun is) was generally avialable to the civilians outside of law enforcement was 1934. Since the passage of the National Firearms act of 1934 there have been extremely strict restrrictions as to who can buy or own an automatic weapon of any kind. ALL Firearms, from single shot to fully automatic, were restricted even further with the gun Control Act of 1968 (conventionally known as NFA and GCA’68 respectively).

Most new machine guns of any kind were banned in 1986, and the rest were banned by 1994 (actually back-banning items that were already here before ’86, but somehow missed being banned before), except for the most strictly limited purposes… or of course for the military and law enforcement.

You can still own the machine guns made before ’86, but you have to go throuh a 1 year FBI investigation and background check as well as a background check and approval from your local senior law enforcement official (police chief or sherrif generally).

Again, this is true unless you are in law enforcement. Ironically, since 1934 there has only been one murder commited with a legally owned machine gun, and it was a police officer who used a department owned weapon to kill his wife.

Stepping away from automatic weapons, the department of Justice estimates that approximately 70 million people legally own firearms in this country, out of a population of 295 million. Of those, one in 140,000 will commit a crime with that legally owned firearm.

1 in 140,000.

Almost all crimes commited with firearms are commited by prior felons who have been banned from owning firearms since 1968 federally, and in most states long before that.

Of all fatal shootings, at least 25%, and some estimate as much as 40% are one criminal killing another. Another notable statistic, 50% of all deaths from gunshot wounds are suicides (or more, considering some are reported as accidental). Further restriction of guns isn’t going to change the number of deaths here, it will jsut change the means; actually it probably wont even do that, because in many states it is FAR easier to purchase a gun illegally than legally. I can go jsut about anywhere in this country and get a gun for $100 in an hour.

Restricing legal gun ownership wont in any way change these problems; putting people who commit crimes with guns in jail will.

Justifying gun restrictions “for the greater good” is nothing but illogical rhetoric.

Thats just like saying that because 44.5% of all prisoners are black, and 28.5% of all black men in America will spend some time in prison, that black men are a menace and should be locked up.

Sure, not all black men are criminals, but given the percentage, isn’t it worth doing, for the greater good of society?

(statistics from human rights watch)

Please note again, the percentage of law abiding gun owners who commit crimes with those legally owned guns is ridiculously small. 1 in 140,000 is .0007%, and amounts to about 500 actual criminal acts performed per year with legally owned guns out of the 70 million owners of 200 million or so legally owned guns in this country.

Guns don’t make people into criminals, nor do they make them more likely to be criminals. A gun is a tool, a piece of metal, an inanimate object. Guns have no inherent danger; the danger is in the intent (or negligence) of the user.

Those who would restrict, or ban guns are simply saying that no-one but the state is responsible enough, or adult enough to own a gun. They are convinced that guns are the cause of crime, and that they must be controlled by the government. This is risible on it’s face. If you subscribe to this logic, let me point you to this:

Sensible Penis Control

What guns ARE to those who would misuse them, or who would ban them, is a symbol. To the immature and criminal, they are a symbol of power. To hoplophobes (people who are afraid of weapons), they are a symbol of hate, and fear, and evil.

But neither of these is a rational evaluation. Symbology is not reality.

Guns are tools which allow you to extend your reach and power. They allow the weak to defend themselves against the strong. They are a fine mechanical instrument, and skill in them is personally gratifying.

Used rationally, and responsibly, a gun is far less dangerous than common houshold chemicals, or your car (both of which kill far more people every year than guns do, especially if you factor out suicides, who will find a way to die whether they have a gun or not, and even more so criminals killing criminals).

People who want to ban, or restrict gun ownership are actually saying they dont believe that people are capable of being rational and responsible.

Of course they dont see it that way, they see themselves as “helping to reduce the danger”, but this is completely facetious. The danger exists in mens hearts, and minds, not in a piece of steel.

All they are doing is assuaging their emotions; fear, doubt, and irresponsibility.

Nothing more, nothing less.

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2 Comments

  1. You left out the very real and present danger of Government AS CRIMINAL.

    History teaches us that Governments never remain protective of their citizen’s rights for long. And when Government turns that corner, things go down hill rapidly.

    This ever growing reality may soon make that arsenal an absolute necessity to protect a group of citizens, (possibly Jews again, for example).

    Comment by FishOrMan — December 14, 2005 @ 1:53 am
  2. It amazes how people can be afraid of firearms. I still remember when a friend came over as I was cleaning my shotgun…she acted like I had a poisonous snake in my hands or something. And this was with a shotgun that was broken down for cleaning…all I had in my hands was the barrel.

    Comment by Mike — December 14, 2005 @ 12:05 pm

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