I don’t like guns. I don’t own any guns. I don’t shoot guns and I don’t want to. Guns scare me, endanger children if improperly stored and are subject to the horrific abuses we read about in large font. On the other hand, I have been increasingly alarmed by the totalitarian mindset that has taken over the United States and wants to have everything controlled by the nanny state. For this reason, I feel compelled to write a defence of the Second Amendment.
The prima facie case against gun rights in the United States is strong. Guns can be used for horrific acts of violence that kill people and leave terrible scars. Guns can also be responsible for awful accidents which kill people when no criminal intention is involved. If you criminalize guns, you reduce these deaths and improve society. Case closed.
Though the prima facie case against gun ownership is strong, I note first of all that equivalent cases could be made against many other things in society. Cars are responsible for tens of thousands of horrific fatalities every year. If cars were illegal, these fatalities would be eliminated and society would be improved. Why not eliminate cars? People swimming at pools and public beaches inevitably leads to drownings and shark attacks. Why not ban swimming? Candy and cakes and other kinds of junk food cause numerous deaths each year due to the complications of obesity. Why not eliminate junk food?
The reason things that cause premature death and destruction are legal in our society is that we have done what amounts to a cost benefit analysis for these things and determined that we would rather live in a society that allowed these things as opposed to a society which criminalized these things. Cars are fun to drive and provide essential services and if their use leads to the occasional traffic fatality, this is something which we as a society have determined is worth the cost. People can drown or get attacked by sharks while swimming but we as a society have determined that the pleasure of such pursuits is worth the occasional fatality. Candy and junk food cause health problems and premature death, but we as a society have decided that we would rather live enjoying our food then continuously eating only bran muffins. What advantages does gun ownership confer upon society?
Though numerous sportsmen enjoy their guns, the enjoyment of firearms is not in my mind the primary benefit that gun rights confer upon society. To my mind, the primary benefit conferred upon society by gun ownership is the deterrent effect upon criminals. Why does a burglar flee into the night when the light turns on upstairs during a crime? Because for all that burglar knows, the person who just turned on that light is a lifelong member of the NRA who is about to come down the stairs with a loaded pistol. Why do rapists and other violent criminals commit their crimes at a fairly low frequency? Could it be because the fear of the unknown gives them a powerful incentive to curb their violent tendencies?
I challenge anyone who thinks that violent criminals are not deterred by the threat of punishment or physical harm to perform the following thought experiment. What would happen if a young woman carrying valuable drugs was sent into a prison with all the doors opened and the inmates were told that no penalty would befall them for any abuse. Would this woman be safe? Would the drugs be safe? Punishment and reward has been used for behavioural conditioning of human beings and animals for thousands of years and it has a proven track record regardless of what bleeding heart liberals would have us believe. A society that forbids gun ownership has declared open season on law abiding citizens and this is intolerable for any thinking person.
Of course, the reason that the Constitution gives for the Second Amendment is that the government may need to call upon a militia to defend the borders of the state. Though liberals often mock gun rights advocates by saying that this is antiquated, I must disagree. When Barack Obama has opened the Mexican border to criminals of all kinds by executive fiat, the need for the Second Amendment specified in the Constitution has never been greater.
Every time a horrific crime occurs involving guns, as sure as the sun will rise you can count on the drumbeat of liberals sounding off about how guns need to be criminalized. May I point out that a criminal intent on killing others could kill far more people by throwing a dozen Molotov cocktails at an old tenement or driving his car on a crowded sidewalk? May I point out that making guns illegal will not be effective at reducing gun violence if we do not have effective control of our border?
July 21 2015
I changed the language of this post a bit because I had been too strident in certain portions.