Friday, March 2, 2018

I confess. I'm not opposed to gun control.

Confession, they say, is good for the soul, so I confess.  Man, I feel better all ready.

I don't object to gun control.  What I object to is stupid and useless gun control.

Unfortunately, all we seem to hear are stupid and useless gun control proposals.  As a public service, here are two simple rules you can use to figure out whether a gun control proposal is stupid and useless:

Rule #1.  Can the person proposing the law state what they think the law will accomplish?  Most of the time it seems that they can't.  For example, what good would banning bump stocks do?  They were (maybe) used in one crime in the Republic's history.  Is the goal really to prevent something that has only happened once?  Really?

Rule #2.  Can the person proposing the law state how likely the law is to accomplish the goal from Rule #1?  Considering that you can make a bump stock from a string and a key ring, is it rational to ban bump stocks?

That's it - two simple rules to identify non-stupid and non-useless gun control laws.  So let's use these rules to look at some gun control laws and see if they're stupid or not:

1994 Assault Weapons Ban.  Stupid.  The law was supposed to stop people from buying military style semi-automatic rifles.  It didn't.  The AR platform is likely the most popular rifle in America, and was so during the "ban".  The Department of Justice said that the ban had precisely zero effect on gun crime.

Gun Free School Zones.  Stupid.  It was supposed to stop people from taking guns into schools.  That sure worked great, didn't it?

I could go on with this, but you can add your own.  My point, though, is that the gun control proposals (magazine size restrictions, one gun a month purchase limits, etc.) are stupid and useless.  I'm willing to leave open the possibility that some gun control proposals could be non-stupid, at least in theory.  But I sure haven't seen any yet.

UPDATE 2 March 2018 12:45: This line of reasoning continues in a second post.


Tacitus said...

Having had the dubious distinction of being robbed at gunpoint (myself, wife, one month old child and several friends) by guys who went on to murder someone in a later incident I am less fond of guns than most.

You do of course make excellent points, and I respectfully* put a couple more up for consideration.

Sometimes simple things still deserve to be illegal. It is probably easier to saw off a shotgun that to make a bumpstock. Neither firearm having any reasonable use I think laws against them are fair. It only serves to add charges and years of sentence but in some cases that is not a bad thing.
And raising the age to buy certain firearms? I could get on board with that. Can you honestly compare the maturity level of 18 year olds in 2018 vs their predecessors who landed on Omaha Beach? Exceptions for true hunting arms, of course for military and Nat Guard types, etc.

Beyond that the sheer ingenuity of mankind in finding ways to kill each other is impressive and will remain so. Enforcing the laws we have, and holding accountable those agencies and individuals who fail to do so would be sufficient for steps 1 - 500 of the admittedly imperfect fixes we will have to accept.

T. Wolter
*at least on conservative leaning sites I can have respectful disagreements!

Richard said...

Not stupid, evil. We have got to stop thinking of our enemies as stupid. That way lies destruction.

Gun control laws have various purposes but none of them involve making people safer.

1. Empower criminals who are the allies of the left (see Gulag Archipelago).
2. Make assorted totalitarian schemes of the left easier to implement.
3. Make normal people totally dependent on the government for their personal safety.
4. Destroy the gun culture, especially gun culture 2.0.
5. Bash the deplorables, just for the hell of it.

A Reader said...

I'm pretty well an absolutist now. Given the stated goals of our enemies - and I use that word deliberately - compromise is a beachhead from which to attack us. We owe it to ourselves and our posterity to take it all back, even if it takes a hundred years, then burn and salt the ideological foundation from whence the foe came. Hoplophobia delenda est.

xmaddad1 said...

Tim, does that mean that you are in favor of raising the age requirements for purchasing alcohol, driving on public roads, serving in the nations military, and voting also?

As for you saying that the 'bump' stocks and sawed off shotguns have no reasonable use, how do you know? Sawed off shotguns were used by the military in WWI in trench warfare and even today the military uses short barreled shotguns and rifles as they are easier to deploy from vehicles in emergency situations and use in close quarters engagements as in houses. Would you remove that option from a homeowner to protect his/her family in an emergency situation?

ASM826 said...

That pesky "shall not be infringed" thing needs to be dealt with before you can pass any gun control laws at all. Every single law, starting with the 1934 Gun Control Act is unconstitutional. All the arms, from bayonets to howitzers, are mine by right.

No control, even "non-stupid", can be considered without a Constitutional amendment.

Ted said...

Like most of rural America , as a Cub Scout I learned to shoot. I was 10

At the Military School I attended (because it was the best private school in the area) I was issued an Surplus M-1 and taught how to field strip and maintain it. I was 12 and only just bigger than it was.

For my 13th birthday , I received my own. “Varmit rifle with Scope” and told that along with my best friend and Neighbor Peter, our new job was to clear the fields of the woodchuck population.

We at least made a substantial dent in the population, seems like the dammed critters are mobile and rapidly fill in the empty spaces.

With all the weaponry at our disposal , Somehow we never had a problem ( or time ) to shoot up anything else.

Would I recommend the same path today???? Nope. Times change ........

Tacitus said...


As I mentioned, on conservative sites I feel as if respectful discussion among those with various opinions is still possible. For now.

Your points:
-Use in WWI is not a reasonable standard. We used mustard gas for god's sake.There are so many options for defending yourself/home that it is not plausible that a bump stock, rubber bands or otherwise, is needed for that. We also ban/heavily restrict fully auto weapons and that seems to be a largely effective law. Our dimwitted media aside, very few full auto weapons are ever used in crimes here. jihadis in Europe seem to find them somewhere.
-I specifically excluded military from any possible age limit changes. I'd put ROTC, students in law enforcement, and any other reasonable exceptions in there.
-I rather suspect that the nation would be better off were the voting age raised to 21 but practically speaking that won't happen. So few of them vote that their silly notions - and we were young once also - are diluted.
-I'm not sure how I feel about drinking age.
-we already have, in many places, incremental driving license laws. New drivers can't be out past a certain hour, can't have more than one passenger with them, etc. Any traffic violations count double points. This might seem harsh but face it, young drivers (and very old ones) pose a degree of risk to the public. I'm a retired ER doc and have seen too much...


McChuck said...

Tim -
The point is that you don't get to define reasonable. We do.
All rules about barrel and overall length are arbitrary and capricious.
All rules about caliber are arbitrary and capricious.
All rules about bullet construction are arbitrary and capricious.
All rules about cosmetic features are arbitrary and capricious.
All rules about magazine capacity are arbitrary and capricious.
All rules allowing some free men to carry and denying others is arbitrary and capricious.
There is no magic fairy dust that suddenly changes a civilian who can't be trusted with a weapon into a government agent who must be trusted with a weapon.

Tacitus said...

I am of course part of "we".
Usually when our fellow citizens of a leftward persuasion say we should "have a discussion" on something alarms go off. But I am legitimately interested in where exactly a common ground might exist.
It might be a rather small patch of real estate.

Borepatch said...

My argument here is directed towards well meaning but not knowledgeable people you meet who might be convincible. It clearly won't do any good against people who are malicious.

But in my experience, it does make some people stop and think. Most of these people know that they don't know much about guns and just want to "do something". Getting them to think that they might be doing something stupid and useless is surprisingly effective in sowing doubt in their minds.

Essentially, I'm trying to plant a mental virus, one that will cause them to doubt the steady drumbeat of gun ban that they hear.

B P said...

Well, how about this standard of reasonableness: Look at the government.

Not "listen to the government", because they lie. But look at them. Actions speak louder than words. What is considered necessary and appropriate arms in the context of modern America? For the specific purpose of dealing with criminals, which is, I suggest, one of the lesser purposes of the Second Amendment.

Swat teams. Full body armor. Fully automatic weapons. Shortened weapons. Armored vehicles. Tear gas. Less-lethal grenades.

I suggest that the government has conceded, through adoption, their reasonableness. Legalize the lot of it, and then let's talk about whether there was anything they should've considered okay, but didn't. And if they say that it isn't okay, then they can have the same prohibition against them.

Until then, I don't want to hear the word "reasonable" from this bunch of hypocrites and their enablers. Their duplicity is inherently unreasonable.

And then we can look at other purposes of the Second Amendment, and carefully consider this "strict scrutiny" creature, and whether a doctrine that approves of Korematsu has any place in this nation...

Tim, you questioned whether sawed off shotguns had a "reasonable use." Xmaddad cited their extensive use in WW1. That use means they have, not only a use, but a situation in which they are so good at that use that a man risking his very life will choose them as a tool in his occupation. That use is shooting armed people in very close quarters where one's own mobility is impaired and while said people are doing their best to kill you. Are you claiming that this use is "unreasonable"?

You've mentioned mustard gas, in counter point. I will point out that the use of mustard gas in WW1 demonstrates that it has a use: killing an area of enemies. That tool is now banned under international law, despite it being useful, because of how horrible it is. So instead we rely on conventional explosives to accomplish that particular purpose. Perhaps you consider that use "unreasonable", but that doesn't in any way undermine the utility or propriety of trench guns.

If you are arguing that sawed off shotguns do not have utility, their use in WW1 and disproves your point. That you, or anyone, has any desire to ban them also disproves that particular point. That police are allowed to have them undermines the point, and is, if nothing else, an insulting inconsistency. If you are arguing that sawed off shotguns are, despite their utility, too horrible too allow, then I mention in passing their conspicuous omission from international treaties regarding permissible weapons for military use, as well as their use in police departments, and point out that a sawed off shotgun is the same as a shotgun in every respect save altered handling/ballistics, and convenience. It's essential purpose is the delivery of lethal force to a targeted individual, at relatively close range. That doesn't change between shotguns. If that's not a good purpose, then the logical conclusion is a wholesale shotgun ban - among citizens, among police, among military, among politician bodyguards. What point is there to discuss "sawed off", if not to boil the frog more slowly?

Tacitus said...


I mentioned sawed off shotguns not because they are a particularly lethal weapon.....just as a comparison point to the purported ease of making bump stocks from improvised items.

I would say that in terms of utility such a weapon is somewhat less useful than a pistol and a great deal less useful as a way to put ducks on the table!

I do get it, that the underlying principle of the Second Amendment is that an armed citizenry is a counter balance to possible government tyranny. A nasty idea but there it is and there it will stay.

Odd that you mention WWI. I'll be spending a couple of weeks excavating a site in Flanders in May. Hope to avoid finding too many still "useful" weapons.

Respectful regards


A Reader said...

Well, I seem to have missed the point good and proper, haven't I?

I agree entirely about winning the middle. I'm willing to let all this take time, which I suppose makes me amenable to compromise from the perspective of someone who, in the name of SNBI, wants all our bogus gun laws repealed yesterday. I see their point, completely, and indeed I agree with them. I want it all back yesterday, too. My willingness to be patient and to work to recover our rights incrementally proceeds from the knowledge that they were lost incrementally. The Sullivan Act has been law for more than a hundred years now. In order to win them back truly, we're going to need to give people time to come around to our way of thinking, so that the victory we desire comes as an expression of the wider culture rather than in defiance of it. RKBA activists have made monumental strides in the last 30 years. I think this may be a useful approach when dealing with folks who honestly say things like 'I don't have anything against guns, but...." With folks like that, I do my best to be fair-minded. A lot of good, honest people are honestly disinformed about these issues. There's nothing to be gained pushing them off the fence into open opposition to us.

Murphy(AZ) said...

Count me among those quiet citizens who gathered up arms and ammunition over the years, legally but without a paper trail. I have lived my life within the measure of society's laws, and with the exception of time in service, I have respected the rights of others to live in peace, and I expect the same from them for me.

I have seen these discussions before, because they always begin within minutes of some butt-hurt nut-job shooting up a bunch of unarmed citizens. And the discussions have never really changed over the years. Ban guns, ban ammunition, restrict lawful gun ownership, confiscate legal guns, disarm the population that just might bring these murderous rampages to an end and save innocent lives. Did I miss anything?

I will not risk my blood pressure by taking part in the angry give-and-take between gun owners and gun grabbers. But neither will I passively give up my property or my rights. If you do not like guns for whatever reason, then don't own one. God bless you and give you a peaceful Life. I own guns because they are useful tools and so I can protect myself and my family and maybe even you, if it becomes necessary.

Jerry The Geek said...

I agree with Murphy.

I worked my way through college in the mid-1960's in part by working as "vacation relief" for NABISCO route salesmen. Usually I didn't handle money, although I carried my own cash for on-the-road expenses, and sometime the small store owners paid their bills to me in cash. I stayed in cheap hotels five nights a week. I turned in the receipts to the home office once a week.

Because I considered myself vulnerable to casual robbery, I carried a .22 magnum derringer, day and night. If I was robbed, I would have cheerfully have given up what cash I had on me. But you never know what kind of varmint you'll run into when you live your life on the road; some folks just don't understand the meaning of "yes, I'll give you all my money, and here are my credit cards, too!"

That was before I was drafted. I've since learned that not every crook is just after your money; there are a lot of very sick people out there who are less interested in money than mayhem.

Just because you HAVE a gun doesn't mean you have to USE it.

But it's better to have the option, and rely on your judgement of the situation, than to be disarmed because some politician trusts your judgement less than the good will of an assailant with a gun.