Here’s an interesting comment left on my “Why the Gun is Civilization” essay this morning:
“Although you make a good argument for why reasonable people should have guns, you say nothing about unreasonable people with guns.
These are the people that gun control laws are targeting. Unfortunately, reasonable gun owners get caught in the crossfire. “
Well, Anonymous, here’s where you’re wrong: gun control laws don’t just target the unreasonable people, they target everyone. The law doesn’t make exceptions for the reasonable folks.
There are over a hundred million functioning firearms in private hands in this country. The percentage of these guns used for robbery and murder every year is very, very low–less than one half of one percent. Gun control doesn’t just limit the people who would use their guns to rob and kill, but also the much larger percentage of gun owners who wouldn’t. It’s collective punishment, and not even a particularly effective one at that.
Gun control is like a principal ordering his teachers to put tape on the mouths of all the kids in the elementary school because one or two children out of a thousand can’t keep their mouths shut in class. When the two kids in question simply pull off the tape and continue talking, the principal reacts by having the other kids’ mouths double-taped.
Unreasonable people are, well, unreasonable. Anyone who ignores the laws against murder and robbery is not likely to obey the laws prohibiting them from owning guns, or magazines that hold more than ten rounds, and they’re not likely to give a damn about whether they’re allowed to own and carry their guns. Collective punishment for the actions of a very small subset of a group is immoral, unjust, and ineffective. It just causes resentment on the part of those unjustly punished. It also doesn’t have the intended effect–if you’re punishing everyone, you’re not punishing the offender, because he’s no worse off than those who didn’t offend.
And on the subject of “getting caught in the crossfire”:
Isn’t it funny how the same people who are in favor of gun control laws that punish the 99.9% of good people to get at the 0.1% of bad apples work themselves into a rabid froth every time the military accidentally detains or kills a civilian who was mistaken for a terrorist?