As you can probably tell if you have read any of my recent posts, one of my personal bedrock issues is gun control. As such I want to be clear about a few things. I do not now, nor have I ever personally owned a gun. I have been advised by multiple law enforcement officers whom I have met through my line of work that I SHOULD own a gun, but it just hasn’t been practical so far. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the NRA or any other gun rights advocacy group. Might be something to bear in mind when you’re looking at the NRA’s numbers, just so you know.
I have given a long explanation of the Second Amendment before, what its plain and obvious purpose was, why it has nothing to do with muskets, hunting, or even self-defense, and why it has everything to do with the preservation of individual liberty against an ever-expanding government. I stated in the course of that explanation that none of that matters. It’s all true, it’s all important, it’s all foundational stuff, and yet none of it matters nearly as much as the simple inescapable fact that gun control does not work. It does not make anyone safer. It in fact does the opposite.
If we had reason to believe that gun control could actually work, then this entire argument would be different. We don’t. Look, I’m fine with background checks. I’m NOT fine with contrived “waiting periods” but I agree that looking into a person’s background to make sure they have not had their right to own a firearm revoked is a reasonable and sensible thing to do. I don’t think that actually infringes upon the right of any person to keep and bear arms. If you’re a convicted felon, technically that means at law that you are no longer a full citizen. You violated the social contract and forfeited some of your rights as a result. I don’t want felons voting and I don’t want them carrying guns. Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness to the point where there was probable cause to detain you in a hospital against your will to make sure you didn’t hurt yourself or anyone else, once again, you are legally incompetent. That means once again that you are not capable of exercising all of the rights of a free citizen. You ought not be voting, you probably shouldn’t be entering into any contracts without someone looking over your shoulder, and you ought not be carrying a gun.
But if you just felt depressed or anxious and went to see a doctor to help with that, there’s no reason why your right to own a gun ought to be restricted. If you were just accused of domestic violence and nothing came of it, likewise, there’s no reason why your right to own a gun ought to be restricted. But we’re getting off into the weeds here.
If “gun-free” zones actually kept guns out of schools and theaters and military bases, then they would make at least some sense. We have seen they do not.
If strict gun control up to and including gun bans actually kept guns out of the hands of criminals, then bans might be worth talking about. They don’t. They never have and they never will.
If restrictions on bump stocks and extended magazines actually kept them from being used to hurt innocent people, then there might be a conversation to be had. They don’t. Often the very existence of these items and accessories demonstrate the utter futility of banning things you think are scary, because they only exist as workarounds to bans and restrictions on other weapons.
We are talking about the equivalent of trying to cure cancer by injecting the patient with ebola. Not only will it not work, it makes the situation worse. We have seen time and again that this does not work. The one and only thing that DOES work, we have tied our hands against, and that is being prepared. That is allowing good guys with guns to be ready to stop monsters rather than hoping they will obey one law in among the dozens of others they brazenly violate.
To put it another way, the NRA and gun rights proponents are not for one second saying that our right to own a firearm is more important than the life of anyone else. To us it’s not a choice because we live in the real world. We know we cannot wish the bad things away, we can only prepare as best we can and be ready to respond when our preparations inevitably end up not being good enough. It infuriates me to see teachers whining about not wanting to be “forced” to carry a gun or others saying our schools “do enough” or idiots actually claiming that someone with a handgun has no chance against someone with an AR-15. “Don’t arm me.” You’re all too happy to disarm me, but if you don’t want a gun, no one has ever suggested you need to have one. Just don’t tell Coach Feis he can’t have his or Cadet Wang he can’t carry one. “They do enough!” If they want my kids in their classroom under their rules and they’re not doing everything they can to make them safe (not FEEL safe, actually BE safe) then no, they are in fact NOT doing enough. I’d rather these hardworking teachers have an option other than using their own bodies as bullet sponges. And really, an AR-15 is not some magical vibranium shield that grants its owner the power to throw lightning bolts around corners. It’s a simple semiautomatic rifle typically chambered in .223 rounds that shoots one bullet every time you pull the trigger. That’s it. In an indoor short-range situation, a handgun has many advantages over the AR-15. But you’d never know that listening to the gun grabbers who believe the AR-15 is more or less a minigun that grants superpowers.
Am I making myself clear? If gun control could work, we would have something to talk about. It can’t. It won’t. It never will. You could ban every gun in existence and they would not disappear. Seriously, they’re not magical, they’re not that complicated to make. The only people who would not have them would be the people who obey the law. And as long as you keep taking them away from more and more law-abiding folks in more and more places, then evil or crazy people who do not care about breaking one more law in among the dozens they break when they go on these rampages will continue to commit these horrific acts, and the victims like Coach Feis and Cadet Wang will have nothing to stop them with but their lives. Demanding that politicians “do something” won’t change that any more than wishing for a horse will let a beggar ride.
EDIT: Shortly after posting this I saw the news that President Trump is directing the DoJ to ban “bump stocks.” It won’t help, it won’t stop bad people from getting them, and it won’t take any of the heat off from the gun grabbers. I talked about how this would be a bad move months ago. As big of a Trump fan as I am, and remain, I am disappointed. Not so much because I give a good damn about bump stocks, but because I expected President Trump to be smarter than that.