Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My View on Guns

We need a gun in every home. Well, almost every home.

I will start by explaining why gun control laws don’t work. Then I will discuss the benefits of keeping at least one gun in your home.

Why would someone want to outlaw or limit private gun ownership?

Guns are perceived as “dangerous” and “scary” to many people. The reason they are perceived this way is because they have the potential to kill people. Of course, so do motor vehicles.

Why is outlawing guns a bad idea?

For starters, you can only make a law to outlaw guns for those people that follow the law. If someone wants to kill someone, they probably are not going to be worried about following the law anyway, and they will always be able to go buy a gun off of the street. It works pretty much the same way as buying illegal drugs. Banning them hasn’t stopped the problem.

Partial bans (such as bans on only handguns), are pointless. For example, in cities like Washington and Chicago, there is a complete ban on handguns. If you are going to kill someone, and want to use a handgun, why don’t you just go buy one just outside of the area where is banned. Do you really think that someone is going to be concerned with a silly handgun law when they are planning to commit a major felony anyway?

In restricting the ownership of firearms in any way, you are going to be punishing innocent, law-abiding citizens and taking away their right to protect themselves from those individuals who don’t follow the law.

Now that we have a better understanding of the negative effects of banning the private ownership of firearms, we should look at some of the benefits of owning firearms. Keep in mind that the key to the positive benefits of owning guns is through personal responsibility and common sense. Guns are simple tools that can be recklessly used in the same way as automobiles. In the same way we are taught how to drive, we should strive to educate ourselves on the proper usage and handling of firearms.

Here are some of the main benefits to owning a firearm:

1. Crime Deterrent

One of the most frequently argued positions for guns rights is that it is a serious crime deterrent. This makes sense, as a criminal would obviously be much less likely to assault someone who is potentially armed.

The NRA’s magazine American Rifleman publishes monthly reports of incidents where crime is deterred because the would-be victim was armed with a firearm. You can see some of these reports here.


2. The “Militia Factor”

The militia factor takes into account the benefits of private ownership during times of conventional warfare. Even if a family owns firearms solely for the purpose of hunting and recreation, this benefit could come in handy should the need arise. If for some reason America ever becomes occupied by another entity, her civilians should be armed. Additionally, for the same reason it deters crime, it might also help prevent an invasion in the first place.


3. Enjoying an American Freedom

I don’t know about you, but I am extremely thankful our founding fathers included the second amendment in the Bill of Rights. It is a great feeling knowing that we have the freedom to take up hunting, or just recreational shooting, should we choose. We don’t even need a reason to own a gun, we just can if we want to. It is also nice to have the ability to defend ourselves should we be attacked or threatened.


4. Protection During Disasters

I’ve saved what I feel is the most important benefit of owning firearms for my last point. This is the idea that we need guns for the protection of ourselves and our families during times of crisis.

As one can see from the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, order quickly turns to chaos when the government becomes sidetracked. We can typically depend on police and the military for our protection. However, during the recent disaster they were preoccupied with evacuating people from the city during the terrible flood. Meanwhile, gangs and delinquents were looting the city. With the police too busy to stop them, it was easy to break the law.

Imagine: You are trying to get out of the city as quickly as you can, and you see your SUV waiting for you in the driveway. It is your only ticket out of there. You have your family with you in the car, but you see a gang of 4 men with crow bars and metal pipes come towards you. Will you have the tools necessary to defend yourself and your family?

My point is that we may not always be able to depend on the government, and we shouldn’t have to. There are circumstances where the government is not going to be able to protect us, and New Orleans proved that.

Imagine for a second that Al Qaeda succeeds in attacking a major American city. Let’s say its Chicago. If they someone coordinate a massive attack, people will flood out of the city and seek refuge. Most of them would likely head for the small towns outside of the city. Not many small towns are able to accommodate thousands of refuges. It would probably look like the New Orleans incident, only with much more chaos.

On that note, I don’t feel like the above scenario is likely. It is possible, however, and there are still many benefits to owning your own weapons. I feel that any government action to limit the possession of firearms will hurt this great country much more than it would help. It will not stop criminals from acquiring weapons, and it will strip law-abiding citizens’ right to defend themselves.

I will eventually write some recommendations for self-defense firearms. Some guns are better suited for self-defense than others (you don’t want to rely on a .22 to ward off a criminal, if you can avoid it).

Until then, God Bless America.

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