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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Greg on Politics(5): Gun Control Comment
    Gregory Morris, 5/21/07 8:41:38 pm
    You probably know my views on the subject ("...from my cold, dead hands", etc.) but allow me to summarize. The Second Amendment describes a natural, individual right to possess and lawfully use all manner of arms. This means knives, rifles, handguns, nunchucks, tasers, mace, fully automatic weapons and antique muskets. The term "arms" refers to weapons that can be used for collecting, hunting, sporting, self defense, or the defense of the nation. This doesn't mean nukes. This doesn't mean F-16s. An "arm" is generally something you can carry. However, this right also implies the responsibility to defend the constitution, as a member of the popular militia. Given an invasion, coup d'etat, or declaration of war, it is a citizens responsibility to heed a call by the government to assist in the defense of the country. That any right "shall not be infringed" means that I, as a law abiding citizen, retain this right regardless of local, state or federal legislation. A law-abiding citizen is anyone who has not proven themselves to be a danger to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of those around them.

    Gun control schemes are never what they appear to be...

  • Gun registration is an invasion of privacy, and a dangerous precedent that tends to lead to the future deprivation of rights. Every country that has enacted a ban, and subsequent confiscation of all privately possessed firearms began with a registration. It is clear that if the government knows who has guns, then they can simply go door-to-door and take them away. The problem here isn't that I think there will ever be a widespread confiscation. I know there are too many gun owners who wouldn't let that happen. However, registration is a handy tool for enforcing stricter controls, such as how many guns or what kind of guns an individual may possess.

  • Gun-per-month limits are nothing but feel-good legislation designed to slightly, but certainly, erode our rights as consumers. I'll never have enough money to regularly buy more than one gun a month (I'm lucky to have the cash for one gun a year.) However, what if I am a collector, and I want a matched pair of vintage dueling pistols? Gun purchasing limitations are clearly in direct violation of the Second Amendment, but they also go against the spirit of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

  • Waiting periods are often pushed the hardest by anti-rights groups. Their reasoning is that if you have to wait a few days to purchase a gun, then you will be less likely to use that gun in a "heat of the moment" crime. Of course, this is complete balderdash. A crime of passion, temporary insanity, whatever you may call it, will happen regardless of the law. Crimes happen regardless of the law... kinda makes sense, right? It is never hard to find a gun to buy illegally. It is never hard to find another implement as deadly as a gun. So it may make these type of crime a little more difficult, it may also unintentionally disarm a woman who needs protection from an abusive boyfriend. If she places a restraining order on him, the best that the police can do is come draw a chalk outline and arrest the boyfriend for murder. Restraining orders, just like any other restriction placed on a person, are only effective if that person chooses to abide by it. The police can't protect you, and if the government denies you the means to protect yourself, then basically you are screwed.

  • Magazine limitations are similarly worthless, and do nothing to stop crime, but do in fact erode out right to self defense. First of all, anything you ban will still be available to criminals. Even if you rounded up all the high capacity magazines in the country and destroyed them, they will still come across the borders, and they aren't hard to manufacture for that matter. All you do when you ban something is to create an new underground market for it, which supplies the people you intended to deprive in the first place! Those of us who abide by the law, however, will lose the benefit of having proper means to defend ourselves against those who do not. I hate to sound paranoid, so I'll put it this way: How does it help to deprive good people of something that bad people will get regardless of the laws that are passed?

  • "Assault Weapon" bans only ban guns that look scary, with the aim of harming the firearm manufacturing industry, and (you guessed it) eroding our rights. I feel the same way about weapon bans as I do about the Chicago foie gras ban. Any time the government tells us there is something else we can't do, or something else we must do, they are eroding our rights. Any law passed that bans a possible instrument of crime is a severe form of prior restraint. It is exactly the same as saying "you own a camera, and you might use it to produce child pornography, so we'll just ban cameras." There is no "epidemic" of crime being perpetrated with so-called "assault weapons." Murder is just as easy to commit with a 100 year old revolver as it is with a scary black rifle.
    As important as maintaining my constitutional rights may be, it is also important to look at this issue from a political perspective. Banning scary guns wins votes from people who are scared by them, regardless of the fact that the ban has no effect on crime. The only reason people are scared of guns is because of the bias within the media.

    Do you see a pattern here?

  • A ballistic fingerprinting database has been proposed as a method to help catch criminals after they've committed a crime. The first problem is, it creates a backdoor registry. The second problem is, it isn't effective. Ballistic fingerprints are rarely useful, due to the complexities involved as well as the inherent inaccuracy of the methods. Television crime shows paint an unrealistic picture of how this type of technology works. The third problem is that halfway smart criminals can easily modify their firearms to eliminate the chances of a match.

  • Microstamping is the same as a ballistic fingerprinting database, except the process is more accurate. The problem is, it relies on shell cases being left by the criminal. First, revolvers don't leave behind shell cases and second, they can be picked up quickly by guns that do. In reality, a criminal who intends to use a gun in a crime will either use an older gun or simply file down the firing pin. It takes about two seconds to defeat microstamping. So why pass a law that doesn't help stop crime? Because in the end, you get a registration database of firearm owners!

  • Some politicians have suggested requiring "smart" guns. There are too many problems with this for me to discuss... maybe that can be its own entry. I'll go over the basics though. First of all, guns are expensive. If you add something like this as a requirement, they will become prohibitively expensive, thus denying the right to own a firearm to all but the most privileged people. Second, by Occam's Razor, the cannot be as reliable. With my pistol, if it is loaded, the safety is off, and the trigger is pulled, it will fire, regardless of who is firing it. A so-called "smart" gun would require an electronic measure (biometric, transponder ring, etc.) in order to fire. That means that batteries, which can die, must be used. That also means that electronic interference can cause them to malfunction. There are hundreds of ways one of these guns can be deactivated (intentionally or unintentionally) through inherent problems with their safety mechanisms. Imposing incorrect technical solutions upon a social problem never works.

  • Some states impose storage requirements on firearms. A responsible adult will, of course, keep their firearms safely away from children. However, demanding that a gun be locked up, disassembled or fitted with a trigger lock means that my right to self defense has been infringed. What if I don't have children? What if my children have been taught proper gun safety? Why does my self defense gun need to be locked up? What's worse is there is no way to legally enforce this law! It can only be enforced after an accident has occurred. If someone is irresponsible with their firearms, and their child accidentally kills himself, the parent should be locked up for being a neglectful, irresponsible parent... it has nothing to do with the gun. Taking away my rights will not stop bad parents from making poor decisions. Once again, this is a technical solution for a social problem. What is needed is better education, and more severe penalties for bad parents.

    These are but a few of the tactics used by the people who wish to deny our rights. They use terms like "common sense gun control" to make the average uninformed person believe that their pathetic attempts to stop gun violence will do any good. They tell us to rely on police protection, even though it has been proven time and again (even in court) that the police cannot protect everyone, and in fact are note even required to! Gun-grabbers use scare tactics to convince people of the inherent evil within every firearm. They prefer to ignore facts, and make up their own. The truth is, these people are simply afraid of the monsters under their bed. Instead of acting in the interest of their stated goal of reducing crime for the betterment of society, they openly embrace these arguments, in lieu of logic, so that they can sleep better at night.

    Note: this is not meant to be scholarly work. This is simply my opinion. If I use someone else's ideas, I try to credit them where appropriate. I also reserve the right to change my opinion when provided with better information, as any half-intelligent person should do.

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