Gun Control Gives False Comfort


I'm not a member of the NRA. I've fired a gun only once in my life, and that was just a few months ago. The closest thing to a weapon I own is a steak knife, and I use it to cut steak (sometimes vegetables too, I don't have a separate vegetable knife). So gun ownership and carry laws aren't much of an issue for me.

The recent events at Virginia Tech are really unfortunate. I feel sorry for everyone who had to be involved in that--the grief must be overwhelming. I don't know how many people choose to deal with grief, but the most popular American way seems to be to assign blame, and assign it widely and loudly. Of course the shooter is ultimately at fault, but why stop there ?

It took only hours for Jack Thompson to get up on his soap box to blame violent video games for the incident.

It took less time than that for others to blame the Second Amendment.

A Virginia Tech spokesman was quick to point out the university does not allow handguns on campus, even for those who have a license to carry them. His statement reads that "this will help parents, students, faculty, and visitors feel safe on our campus."

The reasoning here entirely escapes me. It must just be a feel-good thing to say.

The effect is that the lawful people will not have protection when it may be needed. Does he believe for a second that an assailant is going to plan a murdering spree, but stop short at the last second and say, "golly gee, my plan to kill all of these people would have worked perfectly, except they don't allow me to take a gun on campus! Oh well!" Yeah I know the expression is old and trite, but I'll say it anyway: When guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns.

I'm not saying everyone should be allowed to carry firearms around with them at all times. As I understand it, getting a concealed carry permit is no walk in the park as it stands, and it maybe could be a bit more difficult, just to make sure the people carrying weapons are really qualified to be doing so. If a person proves him or herself worthy through testing, background checks, registration of weapons, and whatever else to get the license, then I don't have a problem with it.

Here's what happens in a similar situation when there is someone with a gun nearby.


I'm not really a fan of gun control. We've kind of reached the point where that is no longer possible. There are probably billions of guns in the United States and they aren't going away.

I also have no problems with states having conceal and carry laws. Especially when they make you take classes on marksmanship and gun safety. It obviously needs to be more difficult than filling out a form, but I don't think it is inherently dangerous.

I also have no problems with places like college campuses, stadiums, amusement parks, and bars forbidding weapons on their grounds. Sure it may be possible that someone with a gun stops the madman before he does as much damage, but I would wager there are certain places where the number of 'false positives' cause more harm than good. I can't imagine a bunch of drunk college kids at a football game is a great place to introduce deadly weapons.

The other thing that people don't seem to realize, is that this really isn't such a big deal. There are something like 80 gun shot fatalities a day in the United States, over 30 of them are homicides. The only difference here is that they all happened in one place. Tragic yes, but not very surprising. I'd really hate to base my policy on a one in a million occurrence. That's when we get stupid things like high rise employees with parachutes and 3oz max of liquids on a plane. This one event should have no affect on gun control policy either for or against. The other daily incidents that happen should be the ones we use to determine policy.

If there is an answer to gun control policy, it has nothing to do with guns, it has to do with bullets. You can walk into a store today and buy 500 rounds of 9mm ammo for under $100. What exactly does one need 500 bullets for? There are only two answers that make sense. One is that I am going to be firing target practice at the range all day. The other is that I am going to shoot lots of people. If you limit the sales of massive quantities of bullets to ranges, and require the bullets to be consumed there you've just made it a lot harder to do something stupid with a gun.

I'm not saying you outlaw all the other bullet sales. But, if I have to fill out a form and show my drivers license just to buy Sudafed, and am limited to one package of 24 pills even then; I think we can come to a similar arrangement with bullets. Simply limit people to 20 bullets at a time. We'll even throw up an exception to 20 bullets/shotgun shells per hunting license for the groups of family hunters. You have all your information taken down at the time of sale. If some nutty person starts going store to store buying 20 at a time, they'd catch him the same way they catch people doing that with Sudafed. If there is a legitimate need to purchase more ammo than this, we don't make it impossible just an extra form or two, a waiting period, and the same background check you need for a handgun.

That's what she said.... but she said it better.

The problem is that Ann, as usual, used bad data to come up with her conclusion. The states that enacted conceal and carry laws did see their crime rates drop. However, every state saw the same drop over the period. Crime was just going down at the time. Probably due to the abortion lowering crime theory that was put forth in Freakanomics.

That doesn't account for the reduction in the amount of injuries/deaths when gun crimes did happen.

Trust me on this one. Concealed weapons have no affect one way or the other on crime and deaths. No reputable statistical analysis has shown any link. There is a chapter on that in Freakonomics as well.

Like I said before, more guns or less guns can't solve the problem when there are already a billion guns out there. What we need are less bullets!

No guns would make a difference if they were as hard to find as plutonium.

Every single person carrying a gun would make a difference as well. Pull a gun, and you've got another 10 pointing right down your throat.

Less bullets would be the same as limiting firearms. You only take into account the point of gun ownership as a means of hunting or protecting yourself against a single perpetrator. Both cases don't require significant rounds, but the very reason we have the right to bear arms is for protection from our own government. I know, I know. It seems very silly, but that's the argument gun owners would certainly use against the rationing of ammunition.

The problem is neither the no gun situation nor the everyone with a gun situation is possible. There are too many gun out there to ever get rid of them. And there is just no way you are going to get everyone to carry a gun. Even in the most gun happy places, I would guess less than 1 in 50 people is normally carrying.

Protecting one's self from the government sounds good and all, but I could make the argument that I need a suitcase nuke to adequately protect myself. I doubt I'll find much support for letting me have one.

People who use the argument that they need their guns to defend themselves from the government really only want to defend themselves from the government taking away their guns. You never hear them worry about using their guns against the government for any other reason. And if they are that passionate about it, they can join a well regulated militia, which can purchase as many bullets as they want.

There is just no rational argument for ever needing more than 20 bullets. If you have a problem that you can't solve with 20 shots, a gun probably isn't the right way to solve it.

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Recent Comments

  • Andy: The problem is neither the no gun situation nor the read more
  • Terry: No guns would make a difference if they were as read more
  • Andy: Trust me on this one. Concealed weapons have no affect read more
  • Terry: That doesn't account for the reduction in the amount of read more
  • Andy: The problem is that Ann, as usual, used bad data read more
  • Terry: That's what she said.... but she said it better. read more
  • Andy: I'm not really a fan of gun control. We've kind read more