Thursday, April 18, 2013

This will upset some of my friends ...

With the Congress having just rejected the notion of universal background checks before gun sales, I just have to write this.  I know I have friends who are very adamant about opposing any enhancements to gun control in the USA.  Some may be offended.  So be it.

I'm a gun owner.  If someone wants to confiscate my gun, however, they won't have to kill me.  Frankly, I find rather scarey those who claim to be willing to die before having their gun(s) confiscated.  One wonders if that might qualify as grounds for denying them the right to own a gun!  Anyway, a law enforcement officer can confiscate my gun if there is reasonable cause to do so.  At the moment, there is no such reasonable cause, so I would protest such a confiscation through the courts, should it happen.  This is how a society under the rule of law is supposed to operate.  Sane people don't barricade themselves in their homes and shoot it out with law enforcement officers just to keep their guns.  Does it make sense to resist law officers to the point of shooting at them?  Is this something we want to embrace?  I think we know where that leads, and it's not good for anyone.

The "logic" used by many gun owners (evidently, a majority of them) is that any enhancement to gun control legislation is another step down a slippery slope to an inevitable confiscation of all privately-owed firearms.  Yes, this is a wildly speculative, even absurdly exaggerated argument.  Background checks already are required for many retail gun purchases.  The new law would've extended that to gun shows and online sales.  The basic idea is that we don't want to allow legal gun sales to the criminally insane, convicted felons, terrorists, etc.  I don't know of anyone who would admit to favoring such sales, but nevertheless, many gun owners oppose universal background checks!  The phrase "cognitive dissonance" comes to mind.  How can anyone be opposed to universal background checks for any reason other than the "creeping confiscation" argument - which is such a paranoid delusion, it amazes me that anyone thinking this through could arrive at such a position.

Some gun owners see their guns as protection against a government gone wild - this has come into vogue among some conservatives who are apoplectic over the election (and re-election) of a Democrat President.  Good luck with that war against the government (i.e., treason), folks.  If the government goes insane and starts confiscating legally-owned guns for no good reason, you might be able to find enough public support to sustain a guerilla war against the government, but with the weapons at their disposal, the government will seriously outgun you!  You're living in a Red Dawn movie fantasy - it would be a slaughter and your piddly AK-47 or AR-15 with your favorite 30-round banana magazines won't be worth much against government firepower.

Yes, I know guns don't kill people - people kill people.  I get that.  Many gun owners advocate the solution to the gun violence problem is more guns in the hands of more people!  Tell you what - people with guns are much more likely to kill than people without guns.  To say nothing of suicides and accidental shootings - guns are primarily tools for killing and they're effective.  It's what guns enable humans to do.  Some people use guns responsibly and without any intent to kill other humans whatsoever.  But the more people that have guns, the more likely those guns will wind up in the hands of someone quite willing to kill someone else.  And the gun in those hands will do what it always does so efficiently - enable that killing.

I'm not in favor of outlawing guns, and no reasonable person wants that.  So why is it that the 'logic' against any enhancements to gun control is that any new restrictions will inevitably lead to gun confiscation?  That line of 'reasoning' just paralyzes a rational discussion of what to do about gun crimes in this country.  If any enhancement of gun control is going to be opposed on the "slippery slope" argument, then there can be no meaningful discourse on the subject.  Ever hear of the word "compromise"?  Isn't that how our republic is supposed to operate?

At one time in USA history, we had no gun control whatsoever.  The romantic image of the "Wild West" where everyone carried guns is pretty much a sanitized fantasy.  Lots of people were killed by guns, including those who weren't even being targeted by the shooter(s) - that was a violent society.  Does anyone really want to go back to a society with no gun control whatsoever?  Is that the power of that fantasy - that it deludes people into being nostalgic about those times? 

Most of the civilized people in the Old West didn't want that sort of killing in their towns, and law enforcement often implemented a gun ban in towns to cut down on the gun violence.  Laws against uncontrolled ownership of automatic weapons were instituted in part because of Mafia violence using fully automatic guns, even though most of that violence stayed within the Mafia.  Who wants gunfights raging in their town, especially at that level of firepower, even if they're only targeting other gangsters?  Does anyone really want to go back to that sort of society?  In urban ghettos, that "Old West" or "Gangland" society is being played out today.  Is that really what we want?

Perhaps extremists opposed to any gun control should consider moving to the "freedom" of Afghanistan.  There, you'll find a society completely unencumbered with the onerous burden of gun control.  Pretty much anything goes.  Enjoy!  Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

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