Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gun Control

Inevitably, the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado, has rekindled the debate about gun control. I have my opinions on this, but they're not especially interesting or unique and I'm not going to detail them here.

What I do want to address is a particular argument that's been making the rounds on the Right: that no conceivable gun-control law would have stopped this shooting, and that putting in place gun sales bans now would do little good considering the 200 million guns already in private hands in the United States.

This logic is faulty, and the Right would see this if they applied similar arguments they have made in the past. Here's an argument from the other side: we shouldn't open up new areas for offshore drilling because it won't make a difference in the high price of oil now; it'll take ten years before that new production is online. The counter, of course, is that if we'd opened up those areas ten years ago, we'd have the production now. If something should be done, then actually doing it should not depend on whether it will have an immediate impact.

Or consider this one: there's no point to tighter immigration controls because we already have 10 million illegals (or whatever you favorite number). Again, the counter is that illegals move across the border both ways, so if we stopped the flow coming in, eventually their numbers would diminish.

The argument that gun control is pointless because of the large number of guns already extant has a similar counter. Suppose we banned all private gun sales tomorrow. This would still leave a huge number of guns in private hands. But those guns are already aging. Over time - it will be decades, because guns are durable - those guns will wear out, and their numbers will dwindle.

Whether this is the right thing to do is an entirely separate issue. But the argument itself is specious: if we want to control guns, the fact that it's going to take a long time shouldn't stand in our way.


  1. I think the basic problem is, there were two good gun control programs implemented and then taken away. The Brady Bill was designed really well to deal with "passion crimes". That wait period lets any sane person calm down. The Assault Weapons ban was pretty sound too. A finite amount of Pre-Ban receivers were OK, no clips more than 10 rounds after that. No more mail order 100 round drums to students. After revoking that ban, the market flooded with Post-Ban receivers and magazines. The line was scrubbed out of the sand.

  2. Both the Brady Bill and the so-called Assault Weapon ban were bad law infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens and doing little or nothing to prevent actual violent crime.
    "Waiting period"? So that when your wife or mother or daughter needs a gun because there's a maniac running around the neighborhood killing women, she can't get one until several days after she's been murdered? Nice law, Brady. People don't run out to buy a gun in order to do violence when they are angry -- they use their hands, or anything else around that they can use as a weapon. The Assault Weapon Ban was also stupid, and probably didn't stop any criminals. What is needed, number one, is not to restrict guns, but to actually have a speedy trial and actually PUNISH the criminals after they are convicted. Execute them.