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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Driving a Knife Into the Heart of Gun Control

Many on the Left feel if you get rid of guns, you get rid of violent crime. They seem to believe if you just pass a law against guns, that the criminally-inclined will be summarily cowed into unquestioning compliance and good behavior.

We've seen the utter fallacy of such nonsense in many places, with perhaps the most illustrious being our nation's capital, Washington D.C.--which has had the distinction of frequently being our nation's "murder capital." This despite one of the most egregious gun bans in the nation.

Now we also see fresh evidence from England that banning guns doesn't really make you more safe.
From the Mirror:

And police figures to be released this morning are expected to show 25,000 stabbings were committed in England and Wales in the last 12 months.

It is the first time the Government has given the go-ahead for such statistics - which will add to the public's fears.

The year's crime figures are also expected to show a total of around one million violent offences including murder, rape and robbery.

When I arrived in 1987 in England at the beginning of a three-year stay in that country, I bought a radio. After listening for several weeks, I noticed a shocking trend.

No, it wasn't just the fact that 98% of music on British radio was rap and hip-hop (as shocking and terrifying as that was). It was that every time the top-of-the-hour news report came on, it was filled with multiple reports of stabbings, slashings and stranglings.

The first news report I heard with all this non-gun violence struck me as noteworth. At first I thought there had been some anomalous breakout of violence. But such reports continued day after day, week after week. Finally I realized: there's a whole lot of violence going on here in Gun Control Land.

What was the solution? Ban kitchen knives? Ban rope, string and even hands? Hardly.

Since guns were outlawed in Britain, I quickly realized that even if you take people's guns away from them, they'll still find a way to kill one another if they have evil in their hearts.

Any benign object can be turned into a killing instrument if the user is determined to do harm.

The human tendency is look for quick and easy solutions; these too often involve banning items that have legitimate and useful purpose. But they don't solve the real problem: evil in the human heart.

If Britain and the United States really want to solve our crime and violence problem, we should start teaching objective moral values at a young age and continue doing so uniformly to and through adulthood. This should include moral training in school which reinforces the moral training that should be going on at home.

We made a conscious decision some 50 years ago to begin removing objective moral training from our education system, and we are reaping the product of that decision: young people caught up in all sorts of crime including violent crime, and a generation of adults all too willing to put their own priorities ahead of the person and property of another.

If we maintain our dogged secularism and rejection of moral truth, we can only expect the problem to get larger with each successive generation.

HT to The Land of the Free.


15 comments:

Braden said...

"Since guns were outlawed in Britain, I quickly realized that even if you take people's guns away from them, they'll still find a way to kill one another if they have evil in their hearts."

So Mr. Ellis, are you saying that because people will ultimately find a way to kill someone if they really want to, be it with a knife or rope or whatever, that we should give them the most effective method of doing so?

Braden said...

Also, one more quick question.

Do you believe that drug control reduces drug related crimes? Why does this not apply to gun control?

Since people who want to do drugs will do them whether they are illegal or not, does that mean that we should not have drug control?

Bob Ellis said...

I think I addressed what we should do, and it doesn't involve restricting law-abiding people's access to legitimate tools.

Bob Ellis said...

On your second comment, Braden: good point, but one critical difference.

Guns have legitimate uses and hurt no one--including the user--when used lawfully, while illegal drugs do not meet this same description.

Dr. Theo said...

Braden, there is also this little issue of the Constitution. We have a right to defend ourselves and the one thing that does seem to put restraints on crime in a community is armed citizens.

Drug abuse and legal gun ownership are apples and oranges. Now if you restrict the discussion to drug abuse and criminal misuse of weapons, then you've got a point.

Braden said...

"Guns have legitimate uses and hurt no one--including the user--when used lawfully, while illegal drugs do not meet this same description."

I couldn't agree more. You must agree then that arms which have no legitimate, lawful, purpose should be outlawed: grenades, RPG's, nukes. So everyone agrees we need arms control. The question is where you draw the line.

I personally don't see why you would need to own an AK-47, or any other automatic weapon for that matter, other than if you plan on shooting large numbers of people.

I am a gun owner, and I have never bought more than 1 gun in a month. I can't imagine why you would need to buy 10.

I've never gone to a gun show to buy a gun that I needed THAT day. Go ahead, check my background. I have nothing to hide. I can wait a few weeks.

Why then do Republicans argue that assault weapons are for 'defense,' and that acquiring a small arsenal and hiding your background from gun retailers are somehow within your 2nd Amendment rights? Go ahead, call me an 'America-hater,' but these seem like pretty common sense rules to me.

Braden said...

"Drug abuse and legal gun ownership are apples and oranges."

I would say they are more like California oranges and Florida oranges.

Tylenol is a legal drug. Crack cocaine is not. Because one is infinately more powerful.

A 12-gauge shotgun is legal. A 50-cal mounted on your F-150 should not be.

Just like we limit what drugs you can use, we limit what arms you can use. The question is where to draw the line.

Libel and slander are not within your 1st Amendment rights, blowing up a buidling is not protected by your freedom of religion, and owning whatever kind of gun you want to with no government control is not within your 2nd Amendment rights.

Bob Ellis said...

Maybe I missed it, but I don't know of anyone who's advocating civilians should be able to own grenades and nukes.

As for how many guns you can buy...what business is it of the government's if you are a law-abiding citizen? Answer: it is no business of the governments. We were created a FREE country, not a country where the citizens are accountable to government.

And while self defense is a perfectly legitimate and very important reason to own weapons, do a little more reading of the Founders and that period. They recognized that gun ownership was, as the Second Amendment puts it, "necessary to the security of a free state." This includes tyranny from without, and tyranny from within.

Oh yes, part of the reason the American people have the protected right of gun ownership is to overthrow their own government if it becomes oppressive, just as we overthrew our government in the American Revolution.

How far do you think the American Revolution would have gotten if the Brits had banned guns back then? It wouldn't have made it an inch off the ground.

Consider these words of James Madison from Federalist No. 46:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments,to which the people are attached, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.

As I said, guns serve a legitimate and important purpose.

Bob Ellis said...

And as for your Tylenol and crack analogy, Braden, I'm sure Dr. Theo can speak for himself, but use a little common sense. That's what God gave you a brain for.

Braden said...

"Oh yes, part of the reason the American people have the protected right of gun ownership is to overthrow their own government if it becomes oppressive."

"Maybe I missed it, but I don't know of anyone who's advocating civilians should be able to own grenades and nukes."

You are. Or do you think you will be able to battle the Federal Government's M1A1 Abrams and F-117 Stealth Fighters with guns you can buy at Wal-mart?

Bob Ellis said...

Never underestimate what an armed and determined people can do.

When we won our independence, we were a collection of bickering, primitive colonies going up against the most powerful empire on earth.

But with no guns at all, even a determined people has no chance at all.

Dr. Theo said...

To argue your point from an extreme position, e.g., .50 cal machine guns, and then extrapolate to a less extreme position, e.g., assault weapons, is a time-honored liberal tactic. Tylenol and crack cocaine, however, goes a bit far.

The problem with such arguments is that it leaves the decision about what is "reasonable" to capricious authorities who can then define reasonable however they wish. That's why we have it codified in our founding documents. I may own guns. I am a law-abiding citizen. You and the government have no need to know more about me or my personal decisions about what and how much.

Personally, I think a good constitutional case could be made for citizens having the right to own automatic weapons, but that is a battle that has already been lost and I'll be content to not give up any additional ground.

Anonymous said...

Quoting Branden,

"I personally don't see why you would need to own an AK-47, or any other automatic weapon for that matter, other than if you plan on shooting large numbers of people."

AK-47 rifles come in two versions. The first is the semi-automatic version. (As a gun-owner I assume you know what that means.) The second is as an automatic version.

So would you have a problem with people owning a semi-auto version of the world's most famous rifle?

The automatic version as all automatic weapons are regulated under the NFA... which to own legally you need to jump through a lot of hoops. Lots of people own automatic weapons, but you rarely, rarely, hear about crimes committed by lawfully owned guns.

"I am a gun owner, and I have never bought more than 1 gun in a month. I can't imagine why you would need to buy 10."

I personally do a lot of research before any purchase including a firearm. It doesn't bother me if someone wants to buy a bunch at a gun show, maybe they found a great deal or, they collect them or do competitive shooting or something.

"Why then do Republicans argue that assault weapons are for 'defense,' and that acquiring a small arsenal and hiding your background from gun retailers are somehow within your 2nd Amendment rights?"

The term assault weapons is a misnomer, the military characteristic is that assault rifles are capable of automatic fire and are lightweight. Btw. have you heard how DC defines machine guns? Any semi-auto that can fire more than 10 rounds without reloading is an machine gun, currently in DC. So politicians stretch definitions to fit their purpose. Ah we don't like knives, let's call them assault knives, ah we don't like hammers, let's call them assault hammers, etc. etc.

There's nothing wrong owning multiple weapons. Remember you can only shoot one of them at a time.

Our soldiers in Iraq carry two guns at most, their sidearm and their rifle.

I personally don't mind the NICs check, makes sure violent criminals and mentally deficient people don't own them legally. My biggest issue is the fingerprinting that many states do for getting a handgun license. It's very degrading for law-abiding individuals, it makes you feel like a criminal and hopefully your prints are not mistakenly used in the future.

Anonymous said...

Braden:

Fully automatic weapons such as AK-47s have been, and continue to be relevant to defnese of self, community, and nation around the world. Now, thankfully the daily NEED for such weapons in the US has been low to non existant, and providence willing, it will continue to be low to non existant. But this does not in any way provide a rationale why lawful and responsible persons can not own them for lawful purposes.

Only when guilt is automatically presumed of all citizens instead of innocence is there rationale to blanket forbid such weapons (even Iraqi citizens may keep an auto AK in their home).

Today, private citizens DO in fact lawfully own automatic rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and cannons. Crime with these lawfully registered weapons is almost unheardof. Thus we have clear PROOF that the mere presence of these weapons do not neccessarily lead to crime, nor harm society in any way, rather it is an issue of character, responsibility and accountability.

The problem is that only the very wealthy can afford these weapons since the 1986 NFA list closure. Why should ownership of such arms be restricted to only the rich?

Do you support such inequity? Or do you support treating all Americans as criminals?

If you oppose fully automatic rifles to trustworthy owners, you do.

Anonymous said...

Braden said: "Do you believe that drug control reduces drug related crimes? Why does this not apply to gun control?"

Actually, a recent study found that drug control has had no measurable effect on dangerous drug usage. More notably, those places with the most drug control laws have the most dangerous drug usage.

And, it does apply to gun control. Making something illegal doesn't stop it from happening. It just makes it illegal. People who are willing to do illegal things will do illegal things. This doesn't mean we should repeal our laws against virtually everything nasty, because they still serve as a means to remove the criminal element from society. But, and this is the important part, the law can only punish those who have committed - past tense - a crime. Meaning, a law against the acquisition of guns only punishes those who have already done so. It doesn't stop them from doing it.

Another point to consider: If we, somehow, were to make all guns disappear in the US, and seal the borders so tight that no guns can be brought in, the criminals would just MAKE guns. It's happened before. And, it is a simple fact that a fully-automatic gun is easier to make than a semi-automatic gun.

 
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