Monday, December 17, 2012

The Stupidest Excuse.

Of all the stupidest excuses for not passing stricter laws against the spread of firearms in this country is the "If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" argument.


Because, in spite of the cutsie little play on words there, the principle is that outlawing guns is useless, because criminals won't obey the law.


Let me get this straight.  You've taken a poll pulled an imaginary number out of your ass, and because you feel that some number of Americans will willingly disobey a particular law, it would be a failure, so we just shouldn't pass it?

Let's look at a statistic.  I could use more than one, for the sake of drama and histrionics, but for my purposes, one will do - plus, I HATE statistics.  I think that the total number of murder victims in the United States in 2011 was 12,996, according to Wikipedia.

I do hate math, but in my dimly remembered high school math, that number, compared to the total population of the US at over 350 million people, would come to somewhat less than a fraction of 1%.

So, you are saying that because a very tiny fraction of the American population is likely to fail to obey a law, it shouldn't get passed?   Really?  Are YOU some special kind of stupid?

That principle, if spread out over the entire Justice system, would simply shut it down.  We'd have no reason to pass laws.  Look, let's get something straight, for those of you who failed to take civics because your ultra-right wing christian school board forgot to fund it that year.

The justice system exists to set in place a system of laws intended to inform the populace of the general expectations we, as a society, have for the behavior of those who live here.  It is not a set of general guidelines, but a system of rules - with requisite punishments for those who violate them, in keeping with the severity of the violation.  They are passed using a system of democratic representation which ensures (supposedly) that the population supports the laws as passed.

Yes, we DO expect you to obey them.  Yes, we WILL take you to court in order to impose those punishments on those who fail to do so.  That is the way we set it up.  That is the system that the right wing and most Republicans revere so much they'd like to send even more people to jail if they could.

And yet, in this one particular instance, we have this glaring, bright, nasty exception.

It puzzles me.  The proposed law, like the one which expired in 2004, is NOT a general outlawing of assault weapons so that cops will come take your guns.  It is a ban on the SALE of assault weapons.  That is intended to reduce the possible outlets for getting one to zero - legally speaking.  This would have a couple of salutary  results - it will reduce the availability of these weapons drastically - to those who are willing to risk Federal imprisonment or to private sale.  This would, in turn, in accordance to economics 101, cause the price of said illegal items to skyrocket in price.

Good news if you happen to own one - a private sale could net you as much or more for a used weapon as you may have paid for it new!

Bad news if you are a Federally licensed firearms dealer.  One less item to sell and profit from.  REALLY bad news if you are a prospective buyer before the ban goes into affect.  You'll need a LOT of additional money to get one - and THAT ensures that fewer people with homicidal tendencies will be able to afford to buy one.

So, let's reduce this to a Facebook meme:


Edward Haines said...

Generally, our criminals use small handguns and occasionally a rifle (not generally their choice because it is cumbersome). They generally do not kill but, if they do so, they do so in ones and twos, not tens and twenties.
The assault weapons for mass murders have not been carried out by criminals. I feel much safer from criminals than from a neighbor boy who has been regularly beaten by his gun owning drunken father (oops, I am letting my prejudice against beating children show).
So, having criminals as the only armed persons does not strike me as particularly dangerous.

Anonymous said...

excellent..I tried to share on FB but wasn't allowed - not your app, mine apparently..Linda