Sunday, August 07, 2005

I'm coming out of the closet.

I'm anti-gun-nut. I think the things are way too dangerous to be sold the way they are. I mean, the purpose of a gun is to kill living beings, and there's nothing innocuous about that. Everything else I can think of that's dangerous, like cars and medicines and chemicals and poisons and explosives and such, is strictly controlled.

Yeah, the Second Amendment says that we have the right to keep and bear arms, and that's a right that's guaranteed as much as any other in American society. But come on, rights are limited. We've got the right to freedom of speech unless it's libel or slander or perjury or false advertising or negotiating a contract you don't plan to fulfill or shouting "fire" in a crowded theater or using fighting words or making threats. Or advocating the armed overthrow of the government. Or high treason, which is merely using your "freedom of speech" to tell the enemy national secrets. That is, the right to freedom of speech is by no means absolute, and the freedom to keep and bear arms isn't absolute either. If you can think of one right in the Constitution that isn't somehow limited, let me know.

I can understand why some people would want a gun in order to protect themselves. And, though I strongly dislike hunting, it is unfortunately necessary since we've wiped out most predators. These are the only two legitimate reasons I can think of for owning a gun.

One reason I'm anti-gun is that I'm pro-cop, and the cops are unanimously in favor of strict gun control. I figure they know what they're talking about better than a bunch of gun hobbyists.

Gun nuts often claim that guns are necessary to defend the people against government encroachment of their rights. Come on. Not any more. If the army pulls a coup we're going to resist it with pistols and shotguns? Yeah, right. Or if we get invaded and taken over by some evil foreigners. If they can take on our military and win, there's no way a bunch of farmers with twenty-twos is going to defeat them.

I think the real motivation of gun nuts is that they like shooting guns as a hobby. It makes them feel powerful. This is obvious in posts by bloggers I otherwise mostly agree with, like Glenn Reynolds, James Lileks, and Samizdata. Check out some of the photos these guys put up showing themselves heavily armed and proud of it. Well, I'm sorry, just because you like something is no reason you should be allowed to do it if there are good reasons for not letting you. Me, I like drinking a lot and driving fast, but I can't do that because it's dangerous and other people will get hurt.

I don't know what I'd do about the United States's gun problem. There are something like 200 million guns out there, which is about 199 million too many. I'd really like to confiscate them all and then require people to prove they have a good reason for owning one before they get a license, but that would be impossible. I honestly don't know what could be done short of some drastic measure like that.

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