Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Politics: The Bogeyman of "Felons & Guns."

My stance on background checks and waiting periods for guns (I'm agin' 'em) gets thrown up in my face fairly often. "You're in favor of convicted rapists owning guns?"
"You want lunatics to be able to buy firearms?"
"You want to give guns to criminals?" (Honey, I don't want to give anything to anybody; I'm a capitalist pig.)
I'd attempt to dive to philosophical bedrock to rebut them, but I may as well be trying to explain particle physics to Papuan tribesmen, so let's bring it back to the stuff likely to sway the unwashed; let's drag it back to tendentious pragmatism. The point I'll attempt to make is this: If somebody is too dangerous to trust with a gun, then they're too dangerous to trust with a book of matches. These people belong in an asylum, in a cell, or under a tombstone, not walking the street.

Has the Brady Law, with its mandatory background checks, done anything to help reduce crime? A Justice Department study said no.

Prior to 1994, you could buy guns without a background check.

Were there more or less office and school shootings back then?

Have tedious forms, whose completion is necessary to take home the most plebeian single-shot .22, made us feel more secure?

Prior to 1968 you could buy a gun with no paperwork whatsoever in this country. You could mail-order a semiautomatic rifle. Your thirteen-year-old cousin could plunk down money at Ace Hardware and walk out with a shotgun. Were the streets safer or more dangerous in those olden days? Did more people feel safe leaving their doors unlocked at night then or now?

The argument in favor of these controls is flawed at its base. They do nothing to keep guns from criminals, and merely serve to annoy and inconvenience peaceable citizens.

The denizens of Chicago or DC live with gun control laws that are absolutely byzantine and draconian compared to those of the state I live in, yet the rate (not just the absolute number) of violent crimes using guns is higher on their doorstep than it is on mine despite those laws. Tell me again, how does having our rights infringed make us safer from those who, by definition, ignore the law?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

That seems to fall under the category of "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

If someone with no criminal record buys a gun, then commits a crime, that's understandable. As a society we treat people as honest, law-abiding people until their actions prove otherwise.

Once their actions prove otherwise and they've been convicted by a jury of their peers of a violent felony, I don't particularly shed any tears over that person not having lawful access to firearms.

Tam said...

If they can't be trusted with firearms, then why are we allowing them to run around loose, where they have unrestricted access to automobiles, chainsaws, and five gallon gasoline cans?

More importantly, can you find a way to screen their ability to purchase firearms that doesn't annoy, inconvenience, or penalize me or any other good citizen?

Xavier said...

Tam, you make a lotta sense. Again.

Anonymous said...

"If they can't be trusted with firearms, then why are we allowing them to run around loose, where they have unrestricted access to automobiles, chainsaws, and five gallon gasoline cans"

If automobiles, chainsaws, and gasoline were substitutes for firearms, neither one of us would care about the right to keep and bear arms, or bother having guns. Guns are different.

The NICS check typically takes half an hour. I'm personally willing to put up with that small inconvenience to prevent convicted criminals from walking into a store and walking out with a gun.

- Les (BTW, that was me above, I just forgot to sign it)

Anonymous said...

How about some hard data: how many convictions for illegally attempting to purchase firearms have resulted from Brady background checks? I don't know, does anyone else?

Tam said...

"How about some hard data: how many convictions for illegally attempting to purchase firearms have resulted from Brady background checks? I don't know, does anyone else?"

I have been in the gun business since before the Brady Law was passed. I have spent twelve years working in four different gun stores in two states. I have yet to have ANY law enforcement agency EVER follow up EVEN ONCE on a denied purchase. I have NEVER seen a denial upheld if the purchaser lawyered up and appealed.

As a law-enforcement or crime reduction tool, this is a Complete Farce. It does nothing but cost law-abiding citizens an extra $10 every time they want to buy a gun, and delay delay the speedy resolution of their transactions...

Anonymous said...

What don't you understand about "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED?"

The part where it's infringed.

NICS *IS* and infringement. The Second
makes *NO* exceptions. Period. Full stop.

I'll say it more plainly: felons should
be allowed to purchace firearms. The state
shouldn't get to decide who does and who
doesn't.

Marc said...

Once they've served their time felons have all their right's restored except for the right to arms. I'm told by some that the first amendment describes our most important right, the right of free speech. If a felon can be trusted with this most important right, the right of free speech, why not with this lesser right, the right to arms.

Released felons do have the right to arms, as all in the united states do, the states failure to recognize this does not change it. I might allow some compromise where a felon is released from his sentence early which brings us back to Tam's question " If they can't be trusted with firearms, then why are we allowing them to run around loose..?".