(This is the third in a multipost series on the ongoing debate over civilian gun ownership. This topic was introduced here and further parts to this series will be linked at that introduction post.)
Forefront in the push for so-called “reasonable restrictions” are outright, total bans on the possession of this or that widget that the gun-banning crowd sees as the root of “gun violence.” We need to ban “assault weapons” they say, because no one needs to own one. We need to ban magazines with capacities higher than 10 rounds because – they say – no one needs to have more than 10 rounds to fire before they reload.
If they’re honest, and NY’s Cuomo showed a bit of that when he piped up on the subject, they’ll tell you we need to ban guns entirely. Because, you know, you don’t need to be armed to defend yourself, your family, or your community. That nonsense in the Constitution… well, it’s so dated and just not in keeping with our modern world.
Bans, ladies and gentlemen, serve only to hobble and harm the law-abiding. Criminals do not care that the law says they can’t own this or that thing that scares anti-gun people so bad. Criminals are criminals because, by definition, they don’t obey the law. Passage of a ban on some kind of gun or magazine will only mean that the people who are not threats to society as a whole will be precluded from owning something that would be very useful to them in the exercise of their rights. Let’s look at that magazine ban for starters since we don’t even have to go back a week to find a compelling argument against it.
Why would anyone need more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a magazine? Because, quite simply, you might miss. Or there might be more than 1 attacker. And lest you think that 1 bullet per attacker is enough, you need look no further than this story from last Friday wherein a Georgia woman had to defend herself and her 9-year-old twins from an intruder. Confronted with a man who broke into their home and then tracked down where she and her kids were hiding, this woman shot the man with her .38 caliber, 6-shot revolver. She hit him 5 times out of 6 – that’s some remarkable marksmanship in a real combat situation, by the way – and while she managed to put him down, he was definitely not out. She bluffed her way past him with the empty gun but what if there’d been 2 or 3 intruders instead of 1? Perhaps with even better shooting or perhaps a better selection of where, specifically, she hit him, she might have done better but even if she scored 80% hits that’s 8 rounds of a 10-round magazine. With 3 attackers that’s 3 rounds into 2 of them, 2 into the remaining one. Based on what happened in this case, that wouldn’t have been enough. She’s a perfect example of how the argument that no one needs more than 10 at a time is not true.
The problem with the larger “assault weapon” ban is that the term is so horribly ill-defined it’s just ridiculous. To make the idea even less of a good idea, it’s already been tried once and it had no effect on criminal activity whatsoever. For 10 years it was the law of the land and no agency that studied the results found a scrap of information to indicate that it had done any good. The government should be required to show that such a ban would have a high probability of being effective at the stated goal and banning guns based upon them looking scary doesn’t meet that muster.
What such bans do, however, is place me at a distinct disadvantage in defending myself against criminals who do not adhere to the law like I do. And the courts and law enforcement have been very clear that they have no obligation to protect me or my family. They are there to catch criminals who, I should note, are not criminals until they’ve been observed breaking the law. They are not there to halt them before they do. They cannot be everywhere and they are minutes away from me when seconds are all I have.
In closing, I would also like to point out something else. The 2nd Amendment was never about hunting and honest people will admit to that. It’s also not really about defending my home and family against criminals. The Founding Fathers and their contemporaries knew without even saying that defending your home against intruders was a given. No one needed to be permitted to do such a thing, it was virtually expected. It was about recognizing that the people have a right to rise in defense of their nation against outside aggressors and against tyrants who rose to power inside our own government. It was about making sure that the people had the means necessary to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with their government and to make the dissolution stick. Is it really so perplexing to those people seeking to disarm American citizens that we who support the 2nd Amendment find the motives of the gun-banners so suspect? After all, the talk in the White House is to unilaterally and outside of legislative action restrict our access to effective arms. Considering that it is tyranny in that very House that the Founders were so worried about, it strikes me as a little too convenient that the White House suddenly thinks it has the authority to disarm us.