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Rationality on “Gun Control”

by Eric M. Blake January 7th, 2013 | Conservative Considerations
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field strippedIt’s always very easy to give in to base emotion, after a tragedy.  Then, it’s always easy to submit to those who seek to channel that emotion, via empty rhetoric, into a justification for an irrational expansion of their power over you.  Such is the case with the “gun control” issue.

Look, folks, tragedy is tragedy — there is nothing that can change the suffering that the kids at Sandy Hook, and their families, have endured.  (Note: language is important here — it’s not merely a “shooting”, as the press keeps labeling it.  One wonders why they’d use this generalization — unless to bring shooting in general under the banner of such atrocities….)

But we cannot allow our emotions to be manipulated by vague, meaningless phrases and talking points — or attempts to demonize the NRA or other gun-rights advocates as “extremists” without “decency”.

Here’s a common nonsense phrase: assault weapons.  Observe the talking point that everyone from Geraldo Rivera to Joe Biden makes — and was even brought up during the second Obama-Romney debate:

“What about bringing back the assault weapons ban?  Shouldn’t there be a reasonable ban on the kinds of guns they use in the military?”

Well… it sounds reasonable.  After all — what comes to mind when you hear the term “assault weapon”?  Probably something like an AK-47 (“The very best there is!”), or something similar — you know, automatics.  The so-called Brady Campaign (a leader of whom went on Geraldo’s show this weekend to spew meaningless generalizations and smug bandwagon “everybody-agrees-with-us/we-must-give-people-hope-that-not-everyone-believes-the-nonsense-of-the-gun-rights-extremists ” fallacies) seems to have this interpretation, too.

Except… according to the text of the thankfully-defunct Assault Weapons Ban, a rifle can be considered an “assault weapon” if… it has a bayonet holder (among other meaningless things).   Basically, there’s a bunch of stuff you can add on to a rifle to make it “look cool”, that do nothing to make it more dangerous.  Apparently, though, those things magically make it an “assault weapon”.

As for automatic weapons… news flash: they’re already illegal!  To say otherwise — and then point to criminal uses of such “machine guns” as “proof”… well, it speaks volumes about how hollow these anti-gun arguments actually are.

By the way— be very wary whenever someone proclaims the need for “reasonable” restrictions on anything— and then give no specifics except for more vague terminology (like “assault weapons”).  Either they haven’t thought it through, themselves… or they’re trying to cover up something.

“But what about those large magazines?  Shouldn’t there be a limit to the amount of bullets a gun can shoot?  Or what about forcing those evil gun shows to do background checks?”

Well… even if you imposed all that — good luck on them working.  These are actually specific examples of a much larger fallacy — the idea that banning guns prevents gun crime.

Comedian Brad Stine (no relation to Ben) says it best: “People think if you change the exterior — the external — suddenly everybody will be nice to each other!  Does it work that well?  Well then, I say, why stop there?  Let’s not ban guns — I know: Let’s ban crime‘Well, I was going to shoot that guy, but apparently it’s illegal,now…’”

It may be emotionally satisfying to pass laws that “take the guns away” — but a moment’s reflection reveals how self-defeating the policy would be.  The Law says, “You can’t go around killing people.”  Do you really think that someone willing to break that law would magically keep a law saying, “You can’t carry/own a gun”?

Look it up: with precious few exceptions (such as Fort Hood), the gun crimes the media talks about … involve gun-free zones.  Columbine and Virginia Tech — schools and universities are as a rule “gun-free” zones.  The Colorado theater massacre — the theater in question was the one theater in the madman’s general vicinity that did not allow concealed-carry.  Why?  Killers target areas of minimum resistance.  It’s pure common sense: the only people who obey gun laws … are the ones who wouldn’t use guns to kill people in the first place.  Chicago and Philadelphia, anyone?

Crack down on “gun shows”— criminals buy via the black market.

“But what about the UK’s gun laws?”

What about them?  You think they work?  The Wall Street Journal says otherwise.

Look… proponents of gun control, in the end, have nothing to stand on but hyper-emotional word-twisting.  We’d do well, fellow Americans, not to obey them.

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