Archive for the ‘gun control’ Category

Practical Gun Control, Part 8 (end of series)

PracticalGunControlPart8   <== PDF version

We have seen thus far that gun control does not have any positive benefits: it certainly does not reduce crime, nor affect suicide rates.  It is a well-known fact that the places in America with the strictest gun control suffer from the highest crime rates.  So why do so many politicians continue to introduce and vote for legislation that restricts the keeping and bearing of arms by the citizens?  Note that I singled out, as they do, the citizens; there are exactly zero gun-control laws on the books that negatively affect the arms possessed by government and its employees.  I believe there are two classes of gun-control advocates at the political level.  First is the wishful thinker who actually believes that regulation of liberty and property will lead to a “safe and just” society.  The second is the more obvious: these are the ones who seek absolute power over the people.  Both agree that more government is the solution to man’s problems in modern society, conveniently forgetting that governments are staffed by men with the same inclinations, faults, ambitions, and criminal tendencies in about the same proportion as society in general.

The first category of gun control advocates are an odd lot to be sure.  These are the one who believe out of blind confidence in their fellow man (for there is no evidence to support it) that the death rates from accidents, crimes, and suicides can be made arbitrarily low if only the rate of gun ownership can be made arbitrarily low.  They believe without reason or facts that the primary cause of untimely death and injury is you, the citizen, exercising your rights.  They believe that with suitably strict regulation, the evil within men that leads to crimes will be suddenly expunged, and we will, by simple rule of law, enter into a period of peace, harmony, and happiness; primarily because they have confidence that everyone else (including the current gun-owning future/potential criminals) are just as benevolent deep down as they are; the problem is not the evil motivation of men, only the hardware they possess.  I do not need to point out that this type of thinker is divorced from reality, and even worse, is willing to reject all the contrary evidence in order to maintain their self-imposed fictions.  The British have been disarmed within the past twenty years; but the streets of that nation are not safer than before.  A British soldier was recently fatally stabbed and nearly beheaded on a London street in broad daylight by two fanatics who were happy to explain it all to the camera while holding the bloody axes and knives in their hands.  The people of Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angele shave been disarmed within living memory, but those places are likewise more dangerous than they were prior to the 1960’s.  I am doubtful that anything can be done about this first class of gun control advocates; with contrary facts in plain view, they persist in seeking to “educate” the people about the virtues of disarmament.  They are wildly successful because most members of the popular media and most famous celebrities agree with this basic (false) notion about the inherent goodness of men; hence the ubiquity of their propaganda campaigns.  Repeat a big enough lie often enough and pretty soon it becomes part of the mechanical subconscious, especially among the young.

Now before we get to the second type of advocate, it is important to understand the common attributes of all gun control laws [1].  The common characteristics are:

a.  Manufacturing, sale, and importation of firearms and ammunition, or parts thereof, to be performed only by enterprise or individuals licensed by the government

b.  The principal components of all firearms must be labeled with a serial number.

c.  Only persons of a certain age, who are of sound mind, and have not been convicted of crimes are eligible to own firearms

d.  Records of all sales and transfers are to be maintained by the licensed dealers and manufacturers, including name and address of recipient and serial number of firearm

e.  Government organizations at all levels are exempt from all provisions.

It is not necessary to analyze them any further, for all the desired power and ultimate disarmament flows from these few provisions.  Once these general conditions are in place, it is a simple matter to further alter the regulations to impose taxes on possession, requiring licenses for ownership of guns and ammunition (not only manufacturers), make people liable for the actions of others, make them liable to surprise inspections, restrict the nature and type that may be possessed, regulate ammunition, restrict the types of persons who may buy and sell, and even cancel licenses as necessary to make gun and ammunition ownership impossible.  Then the government has all the power.

But what is the underlying motive for governments to enhance their arbitrary power by obtaining a monopoly on personal arms?  There are probably three general reasons, given, as shown previously, that gun control leads if anything to more dangerous conditions for the people.  First is the desire or belief that regulation of every aspect of everyone’s lives will lead to a perfect society; in this respect the politicians are infected with the same delusions as the first class, which also infected Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.  But it also means that the government would have both the means and the motive to purge the nation of “undesirables”, same as Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, the military dictators in Guatemala, the Ottomans in Turkey, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the temporary internment of American citizens of Japanese descent by Franklin Roosevelt in the U. S.  A second possible reason is that governments want power for the sake of power such that their jobs are made easier and less dangerous, as they will have nothing to fear from the people.  This would allow the government to have a monopoly on the commission of crimes with no possibility of retribution or prosecution.  It also makes life easier for the criminal element, who would become the natural allies of the government.

Licensing leads invariably to registration, and registration leads to confiscation as soon as the political conditions are right. Once the government knows who has what types of firearms and ammunition, it is a simple matter to target those people for taxation, restriction, and eventual confiscation (or as U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder put it, “mandatory gun buy-backs”).  In America, the politicians are proud to point out that the federal gun control laws prohibit the establishment of a registry of gun owners.  But there is a fallacy to this argument, namely, that although it is technically prohibited, there is no penalty associated with violating it, and, lacking specific definitions and penalties, no one can be prosecuted.  If a secret federal registration of gun owners exists in America and is uncovered, the worst that can happen to the government employees is a month-long taxpayer-paid administrative leave/vacation during the “investigation” followed by raises and promotions.  The goal of all gun control, historically considered, is the disarmament of the people; the most efficient path to disarmament is registration and confiscation under the rubric of “public safety”.  History has shown that it takes only a few sensational crimes, as in Great Britain, Australia, and the U. S.to get the politicians babbling about “public safety”.

The politicians in America are likely to use the recent United Nations “Arms Trade Treaty” to implement a de facto registration of gun owners in America.  They can claim deniability by saying they did not realize the treaty could be used as an excuse by the bureaucracy to supersede the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  This treaty protects and defends the same entities that have been responsible for at least 100 million mass murders by governments; but restricts you, the individual, from possessing tools necessary to defend yourself.  The U. N. accuses you, the individual, of being the cause of worldwide mass murder.

If the police chiefs, mayors, governors, members of Congress, and the President wish to claim that public safety demands that your Second Amendment rights be restricted, let them first swear under penalty of perjury that they have permanently disarmed the ethnic mafias, the Cripps, the Bloods, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the Hell’s Angels and all the other professional criminal gangs, and further let them swear under penalty of perjury they have disarmed all non-affiliated criminals. Let them swear under penalty of perjury that no criminal will ever acquire arms. Let them swear that no officer of the law will ever commit a crime.  Let them swear that all their bodyguards are disarmed.  They will never do any of these, since they know it is impossible, and will accuse you of making unreasonable demands.  Secondly, they will not do it because if all the aforementioned persons were disarmed (an impossibility, but for sake of argument), the only guns left would be in the hands of normal citizens, which are not a threat to public peace or safety.  Their refusal only proves that they respect the criminals more than they respect your rights.

It would be wise to recall the basic principles of the U. S. Constitution and its allocation of legitimate powers, as explained by Hamilton and Madison.  First, no legitimate government can exempt itself from the laws [The Federalist No. 57]:

I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass o society.  This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together.  It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathies of sentiments of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.  If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of society?  I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant, manly spirit which actuates the people of America– a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.

Secondly, the American people have a legitimate right to resist tyranny [The Federalist No. 28]:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success against those of the rulers of an individual State….

The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.  The natural strength of the people in a large community, in proportion to the artificial strength of the government, is greater than in a small, and of course more competent to a struggle with the attempts of the government to establish a tyranny….

 I think I have shown that there is no practical formula for “gun control”, as it magnifies the powers of the criminal element the government alike at the expense of the people.

References

[1]  Jay Simkin, Aaron Zelman, “Gun Control”: Gateway to Tyranny, Milwaukee, WI: Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 1993, pp. 84 – 93

[2]  http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/

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Practical Aspects of Gun Control, Part 7

PracticalGunControlPart7   <== PDF version

Dear readers:

This essay continues the statistcal aspect of gun control started in part 6.  Because of its length, it is available only in PDF format.

Thanks for reading,

Ed Duvall

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Practical Aspects of Gun Control, Part 6

PracticalGunControlPart6   <== PDF version

Dear readers:

The 6th part of the series on gun control is avalable only in PDF, owing to the charts contained in it.

Thanks for reading,

Ed Duvall

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Practical Aspects of Gun Control, Part 5

PracticalGunControlPart5   <=  PDF version

Having reviewed the cultural, historical, and moral aspects of gun control, we turn now in this edition to the technological aspect.

Some prominent members of the media are opposed to the Second Amendment on the grounds that modern guns (so they claim) are too dangerous; that the Second Amendment logically only applies to muzzle-loading single shot muskets of the type commonly in use at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.  What they seem unable to understand (or are unwilling to admit they understand) is that the modern semi-automatic pistol or rifle is nothing more than the 21st century equivalent of the Brown Bess musket, just as the daily newspaper, radio, TV, and the internet are nothing more than 21st century equivalents of the weekly newspaper and handbill.  If the members of the media claim it is logical for gun owners to be limited to 10-round magazines, it is equally logical that TV news shows be limited to 10 minutes per day and newspapers to 10 pages.  If the citizens are to be limited on a logical basis to purchasing one gun per month, there is no reason why The New York Times cannot logically be limited to publishing one day per month, and the TV networks likewise limited to broadcasting once per month.  If we are to have logical background checks on anyone who seeks to buy a gun, there is no logical reason why we should not impose background checks on every reporter, editor, publisher, writer, broadcaster, advertiser, and producer.  If gun owners are to be logically forced to put trigger locks on their guns, and keep ammunition stored separately in their own homes in order to prevent “accidental discharge”, there is no logical reason why a government employee cannot be deployed to lock down all newspaper, radio, and TV productions until the intended material is reviewed in order to prevent “accidental disclosure of inconvenient facts”.   In short, if the rights of the people are to be denied simply due to the advance of technology, it is evident that every right could logically be so limited.  This may be a good way for the people to obtain a more “responsible” media: demand a plan to regulate it the same as the Second Amendment.  Let us see if our illustrious First Amendment advocates are willing to be restricted to the same extent as the Second Amendment advocates they are so quick to demonize.

But that is not the only technological aspect to be considered.  If we look back at the long development of the firearm, we see a steady progression in its improvements [1].  Here is a quick summary of the advance of firearms technology:

1249:  The first description of gunpowder inEurope(which we would now call blackpowder).

1346:  Cannon were used by the English at the Battle of Crecy.

1381:  The first cannon that could be deployed by a single person (town of Augsburg).

1418:  Mortars were used at the Battle of Cherbourg.

1460:  The first matchlock rifle was invented.

1586:  The first paper cartridges invented.

1610:  The first magazine-fed rifle was invented.

1690:  The first “revolving” pistol was invented (the barrels revolved instead of the cylinder).

1730:  The first breech-loading rifles were invented.

1774:  The percussion cap method of ignition was invented (i.e., first use of self-priming cartridges).

1830:  The double-barrel sporting shotgun in popular use.

1835:  The modern 6-shot revolver was invented.

1840:  The combined self-priming cartridge was invented.

1845:  The first magazine-fed pistol was invented.

1860:  The lever-action rifle was invented.

1862:  Invention of the belt-fed rapid-fire gun (Gattling).

1866:  Gun-cotton (which we now call gunpowder or smokeless powder) was invented.

1884:  Invention of the first full-automatic belt-fed machine gun.

1885:  The first semi-automatic rifle with detachable magazine was invented (Mannlicher).

1886:  The first bolt-action rifle with a detachable magazine was invented.

1895:  The automatic repeating rifle (full-automatic machine gun) invented.

1902:  The semi-automatic shotgun was invented.

1918:  The hand-held full-automatic machine gun (Thompson) was invented.

It is not necessary to go any further.  All the common firearms now in production are simply improvements and variations on these; including those for greater safety or for a variety of calibers.  The famous AK-47, M-1, M-14, and M-16 semi- and selective-fire types were not invented until the middle decades of the 20th century.  The important thing to remember is that all the guns that are now so feared by governments are based on technology that is over one hundred years old; comparable to being afraid of telephones, washing machines, and toasters.  Secondly, anyone with a machine shop capable of 1920’s accuracy and tolerances can build as many machine-guns (and all lesser types) as necessary.  If drug dealers can build ocean-going submarines to smuggle cocaine into the U. S., it does not take much imagination to see that a similar thing can be done with clandestine production of guns, should the government attempt to regulate the current legal ones out of existence.

[1]        W. W. Greener, The Gun and Its Development, London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1910

 

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