Friday, May 25, 2007

300 posts!

This is my three hundredth post! I've had this thing since last August, so that averages out to about a post a day...if I hadn't done all the posting in the first three months.

Anyway, I'm going to talk a little bit about gun control! The Virginia Tech massacre has spawned a lot of debate and seemingly polarized people. However, when I've actually engaged in debate over this stuff with liberals it inevitably diminishes to "Guns are stupid and bad". To get this started, I'm going to list some classical anti-gun ownership arguments:

  • Accidental gun deaths would drop dramatically and things where kids take their parents guns and shoot someone wouldn't happen if guns were banned.
  • Armed robbery would happen less if finding a gun is harder.
  • People can't control themselves; if everyone had guns, people would shoot each other all the time.
  • More gun laws will lead to less gun crime.
Guns are a tool, first and foremost. If anyone has ever used any tool, they'll understand that there is a learning curve associated with use. The more powerful and useful a tool, the steeper that curve is. Now, guns are not incredibly complex. Shooting a gun takes much less practice than, say, welding. But in either case if you don't know what you're doing you can hurt or kill yourself or someone around you without too much difficulty.

The more you handle guns the less likely you are to unintentionally hurt yourself or someone else with them.

Guns aren't dangerous when handled properly. Rule #1 for gun safety is never, ever, ever point the gun in an unsafe direction. Rule #2 is always treat a gun as if its loaded. I had these drilled into my head from the time I was a little kid. If you follow these rules, even in the event of an accidental discharge the worst outcome is a hole in the wall (or ceiling).

Columbine and similar crimes aren't failings of the system, they're failings of the parents. Those kids had access to these tools but had not been sufficiently trained on the use of those tools. I learned to handle and shoot every single one of my father's firearms before I was 7 years old. I was then told if I ever got anywhere near the closet where he kept them I'd get the whipping of a lifetime. This took the mystery out of the whole thing for me. I was less likely to play with his guns than I was to play with his tools in the garage -- at least I could go grab a hatchet and cut down bushes and things in the back yard. If you teach a kid properly about gun use and gun safety, the idea of using a gun to murder someone goes completely against the grain.

In actuality people with experience handling guns are much less likely to commit a violent crime. A person who has a concealed carry license is (by the numbers) MUCH less likely to commit any crime, period. Law abiding people generally stay law abiding.

Many times gun laws have been applied to curb their use by criminals. Unfortunately, criminals by definition don't follow the law.
For example, take a look at England. Their gun crime rate is way higher than ours and their gun laws are way more strict. In fact, its been illegal for citizens to own guns there for over 80 years now. Making laws isn't the way around it, because bad people are breaking laws already.

Contrast that with Switzerland, where there are 600,000 rifles and 500,000 handguns for a population of only 6 million -- thats 1 gun per six people (about one per home). And yet their gun crime rate is so low they don't even track it as a significant statistic. Would you want to rob a home where you're guaranteed to find an M-57 automatic rifle with 24 rounds of ammunition and a person who has been trained to use it? Because every male there has one.

I don't know why gun law supporters think that laws are equivalence deterrence. By all anecdotal evidence, laws really don't deter anyone but "good" people. Is speeding illegal? Do people still speed? Are drugs illegal? Do people still use drugs? Is immigrating over the Rio Grande illegal? Do people still swim it?

Why would anyone think that making guns illegal would end gun crime?