That's right, you read it in the title. Gun control, by its very nature, is logically fallible. In fact, the subject in particular doesn't, and rather, shouldn't, require that statistics about "how many people killed themselves with a gun" or "how many times a firearm was used in self defense" be put in play.
The use of statistics, when done within the context of governmental regulation, does nothing but introduce the use of arbitrary metrics down the road. Indeed, decisions like these need to be made in the private sector, such as when a business needs to decide whether or not to take action y based on information x. But I digress - liberties, including those of firearms ownership, shouldn't be based off of these type of decisions.
For example, someone might claim that saving one life is worth the firearms restrictions placed on x number of other people is worth it. Is it though? Who is to make that call? What if those restrictions save even 10 lives, but as a result, cost the lives of 20 others because they couldn't defend themselves? Who is the government to make that kind of decision? Where do we draw the line? Those previous two questions are examples of exactly WHY statistics shouldn't factor into the debate.
With that out of the way, let's follow the white rabbit of logic and move on.
The restrictions that gun control advocates propose essentially boil down to two main methodologies:
- Prohibitions on felons and mentally-ill individuals from acquiring firearms.
- Restrictions on physical components of a firearm (can't be semi-automatic, limiting magazine sizes, etc).
Both of these methodologies are flawed when you actually start drilling down into them.
Physical component restrictions
This methodology of gun control might involve such things as banning detachable magazines of over 10 rounds, flash suppressors, threaded barrels, pistol grips on rifles, and semi-automatic firing modes. The theory is that these features of a firearm make them more deadly.
Ignoring the fact that this isn't the case (a bolt action M-24/Remmington 700 can be just as deadly), the flaws in this methodology revolve around the fact that anyone with machining experience that has access to the proper equipment and materials can manufacture and/or modify these components on their own. In fact, a friend of mine has finished a few Les Baer unfinished lower receivers (what the government actually considers the gun) on a 2-axis Bridgeport. What's to keep him from machining a semi-automatic (or even fully-automatic) trigger assembly?
Oh no! A loophole! Should there be restrictions and licensure on who can purchase metal working equipment? Should we restrict what manufacturing materials a private individual should be able to acquire? Should we force background checks against those who may become educated in the fields of engineering and machining? I think it can go without saying, at least to those who aren't logically bankrupt, that to answer in the affirmative to any of these questions opens up a slippery slope of arbitrary governmental decision making when it comes to the areas of manufacturing and engineering in general.
Prohibition of firearms ownership by certain demographics
This regulatory scheme is something that even the staunchest proponents of firearms ownership might advocate. After all, we are the ones claiming it's the individual, not the object, that is actually initiating the violence, is it not? Therefore, we should be in agreeance that keeping firearms out of the hands of people who are prone to initiate unsolicited violence should be a top priority, right? Ok, I'll agree; if we could keep guns out of the hands of all people who were going to commit unsolicited violence, I can live with that.
However, there's a problem. We can't read minds. No one can (at least to my knowledge). So what do we do? Oh, background checks! Right? Well, there's a problem with that as well.
The problem at hand again ignores statistics, such as how much it costs the government to do background checks, or how much it would cost purchasers to go through an FFL should private parties be required to handle all transfers that way (closing the gunshow loophole). The issue here is that restricting ownership/possession of firearms from arbitrary demographics is logically flawed.
Yes, at this juncture you are possibly asking yourself if I have lost my rocker. No, I have not actually.
Look at it this way: Not all felons are violent. Martha Stewart is a felon. Straight up white collar offenses. I would have absolutely no issue with her owning a firearm whatsoever. However, she is prevented from possessing a firearm strictly because she was convicted of a felony. Given her status, it could be argued she could be a target in someones eyes, yet as a result of a felony conviction, she would be required to hire security instead of being able to provide it herself if she so chose.
"But Jason!" you proclaim, "What about the violent felons?". Ok, what about them? If we can't trust them with a firearm in public, why should we trust them outside of prison in the first place? Even if we could prevent them from acquiring firearms on the black market, what else should we restrict? Knives? Tooth brushes that can be filed down into a shank? Where does it stop? Do we again want to go down the road of limiting manufacturing equipment should they posses the knowledge to machine their own firearms? Again, if you can't live with a violent felon possessing a firearm, they shouldn't be out of prison. Then there of course again, not surprisingly, is the liberties issue. If we do trust a felon convicted of a violent crime to be in public, and they actually are reformed, what place does the government have in restricting the ability for self defense?
Same theory applies for those who are mentally-ill or unstable - if we can't trust them with their full liberties, why are they not locked up in a facility?
So what say you? Do you think we should go down the road of limiting access to manufacturing equipment?
Do you think that those out of prison should still have their liberties restricted on the assumption that they can cause massive damage with one inanimate object (a firearm) as compared to another (such as a knife), or that they wouldn't have the will/ability to manufacture their own firearm?
How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go...