Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why We Should Not Ban Guns

This is an article meant to refute many of the claims about guns going around and to educate those who are sitting on the fence and want some facts and logic. There is a lot of misinformation and outright lies being told in order to pass more gun legislation. Many of these measures would in fact accomplish nothing at all. Let's take a look so you understand why us gun nuts are so opposed to new measures. Well, the same old measures being proposed again.

One common theme I hear is closing the "gun show loophole." Trading guns at a gun show is not a loophole to background checks. Having actually been to gun shows and talked with people there, many of them run background checks on their clientele anyway, even though they aren't required to. Contrary to what the media says, we actually don't want guns falling into the wrong hands. When someone feels off sellers have the right to reject selling them anything and have done so. Gun shows sell anything from firearms and ammo to tactical gear, antiques, clothing, books, bumper stickers, knives, and other things. I've even seen people selling fine china and jewelry!

The number of guns used in crime bought at gun shows are amazingly small. I've seen numbers running from 3%, 2% and 0.7 percent. In other words, next to none. Straw purchasing is still illegal even from a gun show and is a legal ground for prosecution. One of the problems is simply that people who do so are rarely prosecuted.

Another claim is that we need another Assault Weapons Ban. This was enacted during the Clinton Administration back in the 90's. The thing is that it did absolutely nothing of any kind to help anyone. This is not an exaggeration. It was enacted as a measure against criminals but almost no criminals use guns like the AR-15 or its cousins. They typically use handguns that they can conceal. The ban primarily outlawed cosmetic features. Such measures as outlawing collapsible gun stocks or pistol grips would have the same effect as banning spinning rims on cars to cut down on speeding. In other words, nothing. It was a failure that did nothing but teach people to buy firearms by the bucket load every time a politician suggested more firearm legislation. To those of you who aren't savvy to this, gun sales have skyrocketed during the Obama Administration. Every time someone mentioned gun control another few hundred thousand firearms flew off the shelves.

A common misconception is that violence in general has increased dramatically in recent years. It is very easy to suppose that mass shootings and crime are much more prevalent now. However, this is not true. Rather we are given this impression because of the speed of social media and increased focus on such events. With modern technology news can spread much faster and thus with greater coverage it gives the impression that these things are more frequent. In reality however violence has been decreasing steadily. Violent crime is at its lowest point since the fifties with far less murder and overall aggression. Nor have mass shootings increased. They took place more frequently in the past, but because of limited coverage at the time it had less of an impact.

It is much like that trick question of a tree falling in the woods but no one is around to hear it. Does it make a sound? Yes, but no one hears it and nobody reports it, so to the world at large it didn't happen. There are also shootings where the perpetrator has in fact been stopped in his tracks by other individuals carrying firearms legally. However these are almost never covered simply because a hero saving the day doesn't get as much attention in the news. It's not horrifying to see a monster thwarted in his evil schemes. These happen more often than the blood-soaked massacres we hear of.

Don't let TV fool you. America is actually one of the most peaceful places in the world today. For some context there are approximately 322 million people living in the United States today. The ATF estimates there are approximately 300 million firearms owned across the country. Speaking personally, I believe that number is actually much higher. I also believe about 100 million citizens are gun owners. But the number of crimes or violence committed with weapons cited in the ban are very few. Those that do take place are anomalies. On average about 30,000 people per year die from firearms in the US. However, most of those aren't murders. This number includes justifiable homicide, such as police officers shooting suspects and private citizens killing in self defense. Accidents take up a pretty small number but are included. Most actual murders occur places with the highest gun control such as California, Illinois and New York between criminals shooting at other criminals. There is of course overlap in some states such as Texas and Arizona simply because they are right by Mexico and the drug smuggler violence spills over onto our side.

Actual murders with firearms are closer to 10,000. And again, almost none of those are done with "assault weapons." So what percentage of these guns are used in actual crime and how many citizens are engaged in said crime? I'll let you do the math. I don't do well when it's literally less than one tenth of a percentile. It should illustrate however that for such a large and dense population and the enormous density of firearms the number of incidents with them being misused is extraordinarily small. This would be like banning Ferraris on the basis that it would make drug smuggling harder. Theoretically it would result in a few incidents being thwarted or slowed down, but in the grand scheme of things it would have so little overall impact as to be unnoticeable.

Supposedly the Second Amendment needs revision. Many have called either for it to be removed, changed, or ignored. Often I have seen it said that the part "A well regulated militia" implies that the citizenry are not only open to control but mandated by the Second Amendment itself. However if we look at the context in which it was written and the men who wrote it this makes little to no sense.

For example, if taken in the context that the militia is simply a home guard like the National Guard, then what sense would it make to limit what they have access to? If a group is charged with defending a countries borders against invasion then why would they be subjected to bureaucratic control? This would be counter-intuitive and would actively harm any efforts to protect the country. Would it not be better to ensure that they have the best tools available?

What's more the Bill of Rights was written by men who were rebelling against an intrusive British Empire with the express purpose of outlining rights divine to all human beings that no government had any right to restrict. The Bill of Rights is not a set of laws to restrict the citizens but to restrict the government. With the First Amendment the rights of free speech, peaceful assembly and practice of religion, the cornerstones of a truly free society put in such high regard would it not be strange that the second right should immediately be about regulation and control? And with this written with the echoes of musketry still ringing in the ears of the writers? This seems extremely unlikely.

As further proof I cite the words of Thomas Jefferson: "No free man shall be debarred from the use of arms." As the drafter of the Bill of Rights and Constitution he clearly held the ability to own and use firearms to be very important.

Another argument I have frequently seen is that destructive weapons we have today were inconceivable back then and that the founders could not have anticipated the horrors that would be committed today and thus a provision should be made in light of this. While it is true that by far the most common guns were single shot flintlocks with slow reload times there were in fact crude repeating weapons at the time. One of the most notable was the Puckle gun which bears some remarkable resemblances to the famous Gatling gun. The Puckle was designed in the year 1718, decades before the American Revolution and almost a century before the invention of the Colt revolver. The founders also consisted of many inventors who were very familiar with mechanics and engineering who were well aware that advances that would take place with weapons. It was an inevitability that they were well aware of.

Another common argument is that the founders never intended for men to have access to military-grade weapons. This is also quite untrue. In fact, often throughout history civilians have had access to weapons superior to what armies and navies had. This is because civilians were able to expend more money on high quality weapons. Armies had to outfit thousand of soldiers with weapons which made logistical sense. All they needed was a weapon that was good enough and could be spread across their forces. This was again illustrated during the American Revolution. The main weapon of the British forces was the Brown Bess musket, a rugged weapon that was a decent all-arounder but excelled at nothing besides massed fire and bayonet charges.

While most American soldiers were likewise armed with Brown Bess muskets and French supplied muskets, the weapon that many brought to the table that made an impact were the Kentucky long rifles. Backwoodsmen from the tall woods of Kentucky became notorious for killing British officers from up to 200 to 400 yards away which was almost inconceivable to most of the Red Coats. Although the long rifle wasn't as fast firing or able to equip a bayonet, limiting its use in large formations or charges, its accuracy and range were unrivaled. American snipers harried artillerymen and officers with unnervingly accurate fire.

Prior to the American Revolution most armies saw rifles as extremely specialized weapons that couldn't make any major impact on the field of battle. After their experiences with the American backwoodsmen however the British Empire came to the bloody realization that they were in fact quite deadly when applied correctly and gave rise to the Royal Rifle Corps, also known as the Green Jackets, a specialized group of British soldiers using the Baker rifle. Suddenly all other European militaries began using rifles to a greater extent as well. They all realized that accurate fire from skirmishers or scouts could kill important personnel and turn the tide of battle in their favor, all lessons discovered from the bloody battlefields of the American Revolution.

Nor was this the only case of this sort of thing happening. Throughout American history the civilian population was always leading the way in small-arms development. Throughout the 1800's the US Military was learning lessons from men with privately purchased arms. The Mexican American War saw the legendary Colt revolvers come into existence. The Civil War showed the Henry and Spencer repeater rifle's deadly effectiveness on the battlefield in the hands of men who purchased said weapons with their own money at private shops. The expanse across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains was dominated by the deadly Winchester rifles, Sharps rifles, and mountains of others whilst the Army was using converted muzzle-loaders for the sake of logistics.

Even today private companies lead the way in new small arms. The now infamous AR-15 wasn't made by the military. It was invented by a company and first being sold to civilians until they picked up a military contract. Americans owning powerful weapons rivaling or surpassing the military isn't unusual. It's been standard tradition for centuries.

Yet even with this in mind many insist that we the people have no business owning such deadly weapons, arguing that we have no need for them. The days of the rugged frontier and invasion from foreign powers are long gone and with them the need for arms. Right? I in fact argue that the need for private defense is just as valid today as it was hundreds of years ago. As the saying goes "The more things change, the more they stay the same." For a hundred years no country has dared invade the United States. Note, I did not say "attack." I said invade. Poncho Villa attacked the United States early in the 1900's, but he made no attempt to occupy or hold territory. No one has tried to hold territory because nobody thought it was smart. Even during World War 2 when the Japanese Empire was steamrolling all competition the idea of invading the United States and occupying territory seemed the furthest thing from their minds. Not even the gigantic Soviet Union during the Cold War harbored even the foggiest thought of invading the US.

This is because in addition to the incredible military prowess of our country the idea of facing millions of highly motivated and heavily armed men and women protecting their families and homes would be a blood-stained nightmare to even the most elite military force. How could any army hope to overcome tens of millions of citizens armed just as well if not better than their own military?

But as our country is currently slipping with incompetent leadership and a now highly motivated enemy we still have a very valid need for private citizens with arms. ISIS is attempting what no one has tried in almost a hundred years. But they are operating on the sly and not engaging openly. That's because if all of ISIS were to come to the US right now and engage us in an up front fight they would be in for a one sided curb stomp. They attack places with lots of people where firearms are prohibited. When was the last time you heard of a mass shooting at a gun show or a shooting range?

They pick their targets carefully and aim for the points of least resistance where they can do the most damage. They are not abiding by any laws and are using the deadliest weapons they can get ahold of. It is for this reason that I argue the Second Amendment is just as valid as it was when the ink was still wet. We have to be ready to face these men and others at a moments notice with as much firepower as we can muster. They don't want a fair fight, so why should we give them one? Why should our citizens be limited to the barest minimum of weapons when our enemies get the most destructive possible, legal or not?

Paris outlawed all "assault weapons." As we can see, that did nothing to deter truly evil men. Nor will it deter them in the future. Why should we make the same mistake? We should be ready to respond to any such acts of depravity with swift and precise retaliation that they can't hope to stand up against. Harsh? Yes. But it's also effective.

But can the citizens of the US truly fight back with firearms? Or is it just a fad? Well, according to all numbers, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. Depending on the source, citizens use firearms to defend themselves approximately 800,000 to 3,000,000 times per year. Assuming we go with the lowest number, 800,000 cases per year, that is in vast excess to firearms being misused. Speaking personally I believe this number is so low because of how the statistics were gathered. Many actual uses aren't listed depending on the location and procedures of the local PD. But we'll go with the lowest number for me to illustrate my point.

Now, these aren't all cases of people being killed or even shot. Many of them are simply firearms being brandished and the offending party retreating. But that's still pretty good. As mentioned above thousands of criminals are shot and killed by civilians every year. So let's compare the 800K defensive uses compared to the approximate 10K murders. That's an 80 to 1 ratio. So if we confiscated all firearms would the US actually be safer? You'd remove that 80 to 1 and make it 0. And how would those 800K of defensive uses have turned out had the defenders not been armed? You can take a guess.

Even with this knowledge many of you who are sitting on the fence probably wonder why people like the NRA and other gun rights activists are so adamantly in opposition to any new gun legislation at all. This is due to several reasons. One is that over time gun rights have actually been dramatically restricted. There was the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968. Back in the 20's you could own a tank or field artillery without so much as a stamp required from the government. But steadily new laws have been marching on us. We've seen legislation of all sorts thrown at us all year every year for decades, and simply put, we don't want to see the choke-chain of laws to get any tighter.

Many members of the gun community simply want to have the means to defend themselves simply because they know that the police likely won't arrive in time in the event of violence taking place in the home or abroad. Defending one's life and those of friends and family is the right of every human being. Life is precious and is to be respected. However, we recognize that not everyone has this respect for life and that in order to preserve our lives from those who would take them we must be prepared to stop them. Firearms are by far the best tools for this.

Throughout history there have been many weapons devised and most relied on physical strength. Firearms however changed the face of the world. Suddenly a sickly man in a wheelchair or a young maid could fend off a rabble of thieves with a simple flintlock pistol. A firearm is by far the most effective tool for defending one's self. It doesn't require exceptional training or physical strength to operate. A firearm makes the weak equal to those who are strong. There is a reason the Colt revolvers have been nicknamed The Great Equalizer. It doesn't matter if an someone is poorly trained or sickly. They're bullets hurt just as much as hardened criminals or terrorists. And that makes evil men afraid.

But what's more is that most men in the NRA fear some people far more than terrorists or criminals. A far greater threat is the United States Government itself. In the last century more than 100 million people were slaughtered not by invading armies or disease, but by the establishments set up to protect them in the first place. Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong, Fidel Castro, Benito Mussolini, all were men in charge of governments that were then ordered to conduct a bloody harvest of their own citizens. No criminal syndicate, terrorist cell or serial killer could ever hope to equal even one percentile of the carnage that these historical monsters enacted.

Even these men were preceded by other tyrants who treated their citizenry like cattle. The single biggest problem to these despots however have always been armed citizens. A foreign government or organization might be bribed or threatened into neutrality or cooperation, but few men can be persuaded to turn on their own families and homes. A single body of men determined to protect their loved ones with proper arms are extraordinarily difficult to defeat or subject to tyranny.

Equalization of firepower isn't meant just for citizens to fight against crime, but to balance the power of the government. When a body of government has the power to do whatever it wants with its citizens, it will do whatever it wants. Nothing teaches men drunk on power and authority humility like knowing that the people they lord over have the capacity to knock them down. This is the very essence of the Second Amendment and why we gun owners cite it so often and enshrine it so fervently.

Some look to our government for protection as well they should since that is in fact their job. And they have done good work. The FBI and other organizations have worked tirelessly to thwart groups of evil bent on committing atrocities and are to be commended for their work. But at the same time this same body can and has done horrible things. In World War 2 thousands of innocent American citizens were interned in concentration camps without evidence or trial even while Hitler was doing the same thing. The Manzanar camps were just one example of this. The Tuskegee Project took place over decades where a government branch infected thousands of black citizens with disease for experimentation under the guise of free healthcare. Going back further the various indigenous tribes were subjected to a vast array of mistreatment and terror after being disarmed. They too were portrayed as being vicious, uncouth, untrustworthy, dangerous barbarians that had to be civilized and deprived of weapons in order to do so.

As much a threat as terrorism poses it can never equal the threat that a corrupt government presents. While ISIS is killing thousands other governments are killing millions. This is the core around which the NRA bases itself. Only armed citizenry can withstand a hostile and corrupt body of power.

Even with all this in mind, outright gun confiscation is physically impossible anyway. If an Australia style gun ban were done, it still wouldn't get all the firearms. Gun control can no longer work. Here I go into great detail about why it is simply no longer feasible:
There are millions of Americans who wouldn't submit to gun confiscation anyway. The Australian culture is very different from ours. For many a forced roundup would be the final straw and would take up the call for revolution. No police force in the world would contain the millions of Americans, being armed, marching on the capitol to relieve the current government of its power.

I hope this has been of help. Keep your powder dry folks.

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