As I’ve previously discussed, gun control is sexist, racist, ineffective, and unconstitutional in it application, serving only to ensure that crime victims are defenseless against the still armed and/or physically stronger criminals. However that is not my point here. Instead, I would like to note that the idea of restricting guns is wrongful and flawed at even the conceptual level:
- Many of society’s criminal laws focus on punishing behavior that is itself harmful to individuals or society. For example, when a person commits murder, the murder victim is deprived of his or her life, their family suffers emotional and financial harm, and society is deprived of that individual’s contributions. Similarly, when a person commits theft, the owner of the property is deprived of their valuables which they had to work to buy, and society as a whole is less secure in their property. Murder, theft, rape, arson, battery, kidnapping, fraud, and other such crimes harm the victim as well as society as a whole, and if left unchecked could lead to a total collapse of society.
- Some of our laws focus on punishing either behavior or the possession of objects, when the behavior or object in question has virtually no legitimate use, yet is ultra dangerous. For example, we don’t allow individual citizens to possess nuclear weapons, since there is no legitimate reason for an individual to own a nuclear bomb, while at the same time a device capable of destroying an entire city is as ultra dangerous as it gets. Similarly, we have laws that prohibit the possession of certain infectious disease samples like small pox, and some very dangerous chemicals. Under this same theory, we make it a crime to drive at 100MPH through a school zone, due to the high risk of injury to children and lack of any legitimate need for a driver to operate at such high speeds in an area where children may dart into the street.
However, gun control laws are different, and fit into neither of the two categories discussed above. Gun possession, in and of itself, does not inflict harm the way that murder, rape, theft, and other crimes inflict harm. Nor are guns ultra dangerous objects like nuclear bombs. About 1/3 to 1/2 households have a gun in the United States, and most of those gun are never used in a crime. Instead, law abiding gun owners use their guns in self defense about 2.5 million times each year, saving 65 lives for every 2 lives lost.
Not fitting into either of the categories, gun control seems to occupy an area of the law all its own. It is akin to a hypothetical ban on sports cars, on the theory that a Corvette owner can’t be trusted not to run down children with their 400+ horse power car. It is akin to a ban on copy machines, on the theory that copy machine owners can’t be trusted not to infringe copyrights with their copy machine. It is akin to a ban on knives, on the theory that diners will use their knives to cut each other, rather than their steaks.