Sunday, December 13, 2015

On the Matter of Gun Laws

A couple of weeks ago, it was San Bernardino, and before that it was somewhere else. A few years ago, it was DeKalb, IL, and that hit close to home because I knew people who were on campus that day.

Violence of all manners against innocent civilian lives are being threatened all too regularly these days. It's not something we should be getting accustomed to, and yet we are. So many places, schools and businesses, and they're blurring together.

And the government's response is tighter gun laws.

I'm pretty certain I've said this before, but... strict guns laws do not prevent criminals from illegally obtaining firearms; they prevent innocent civilians from acquiring the means to protect themselves. (Not only am I okay with you quoting me on that, I highly encourage it.)

Here's the thing: gun laws only restrict the buying and selling of registered firearms on the open, "white" market, and they only weed out people who have a history of past transgressions.
  1. Without mind-reading or time travel, there is no way for gun laws to predict someone buying a gun will use it in such a way to intentionally put others at risk if they don't have a record or history of doing so. There is no magic way of doing that.

  2. Many people who purchase a gun and later become a first time offenders may not have shown any early-warning signs at the time of purchase. Their psychological profile may not have shown any indication of a future risk of violence.

  3. People who purchase a gun with the intent to use it in an act of law-breaking are not overburdened with the inhibition of avoiding law-breaking when acquiring their weaponry. They're going to break the law when they use it, so what's one more broken law when they buy the gun?
Gun laws do one thing: They make it more difficult for people who are likely to be attacked by someone wielding a gun to buy and use one of their own for self-defense.

Now, I don't own a gun. The gun laws in my state make me ineligible for gun ownership pretty much indefinitely (as long as I live in the state). Truth be told, I don't even like guns. But that doesn't stop me from carrying around a well-honed pocket knife to keep me feeling safe. (It also helps that I've had fairly extensive self-defense training, which I feel that everybody should have to take a class in... but I'll save that for next week.)

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