Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gun Control

In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, the debate is once again raging about handgun control. Here's what I think on that topic:

The framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure that no government, at any level, could enslave the people. Exactly what kind of weaponry the people need at any given time to achieve that protection can be debated. Back in the 18th century, the King's soldiers were equipped with pretty much the same weapons available to any citizen: rifles, pistols, swords and horses.

Not so today. If the Governor orders the National Guard to roll into my town with tanks so he can force us to work in the license plate factory, then I'd like to have some RPGs, or at least a little C4 to rig an IED... all the stuff we gave Osama bin Laden to fight the Soviets.

I suppose the next best thing is a deer rifle with a good scope. I'd much rather pick off the oppressors from a distance.

Some of our troops are issued handguns, but rarely as a primary weapon (e.g. tank crewmen are issued pistols, but their primary weapons is, well, a tank). A handgun is useful only for close proximity fighting, with the primary objective being to put the other guy down before it comes to hand-to-hand combat.

Does the limited utility of a handgun in warfare mean that we can ban handguns and satisfy the protections intended by the 2nd Amendment? I'm not ready to go concede that point. I think that if I wanted to be prepared to go to war with a government that intends to enslave me, I'd like to have that handgun. After all, they get to use tanks, helicopters, mortars, assault rifles, heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and all kinds of stuff that are already banned from private ownership.

I can have a semi-automatic rifle, a semi-automatic shotgun and a handgun. Oh, and a crossbow. Doesn't seem like a fair fight. I'm going to have to fight dirty (like the Minutemen hiding in the trees vs the Redcoats), and so I'd like to keep the handgun.

And yes, the consequence is that bad things can happen when handguns are broadly available.

But lots of people are killed by cars, maybe more than are killed by guns. In fact, I was almost wiped out on my motorcycle last night when a girl talking on her cell phone made a left turn right into me, stopping only a few feet away from the collision. My personal experience is that a driver talking on a cell phone while driving is way more dangerous to me than someone with a handgun.

Yes, 33 people died in this one incident, and that's a tragedy. How many were killed yesterday by impaired drivers?

We don't even care anymore. It's not newsworthy.

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