Worlds & Time

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On Gun Control

Do you know which one of the candidates in this election had a score of 'A' by the NRA?

It was Bill Richardson, Democratic Governor of New Mexico.

Perhaps being from New Mexico is why I'm substantially to the right of most democrats and other liberals when it comes to gun control.

Granted, I do not own a gun and at this point in my life I never have but I certainly don't begrudge people the right to own guns. The second amendment unequivocally states that people should be able to keep their guns.

Of course, those to the left of me ask whether I would like to live in a world free of guns and violence. Yes, sure, but that's an imaginary world. The world is never going to find perfect peace until there's one living human left on the planet, and not a moment sooner. Where there are two people living together, there are going to be two points of view.

We should be pointing out that nonviolent resolution to problems is a good deal more effective than armed resistance, but there are times that I happen to think that armed revolt is the only option. Widespread fascism, for example, during which an oppressed minority is being slaughtered.

But gun ownership is a historic fact in the United States. So is crime. Until the people have no defensive needs (yeah, including from their own government), there is a requirement for some people to own guns.

So the fuzzy liberal notion of turning all guns into plowshares is ridiculous. We live in a real, dangerous, and imperfect world. Guns can't and shouldn't vanish. That's ridiculous and contrary to common sense (See The Simpsons Tree House of Horror II, Lisa's Nightmare).

On the other side, of course, conservatives have gone way past the point of sanity themselves.

In my head, I describe myself as "pro-gun control," but I also realize that I'm nearly unique in my definition of that term.

See, when someone says "gun control" and by that they mean "taking guns away from everyone," I'm against that. Very much so. What I mean when I say "gun control" in my head is actually "gun registration." Universal gun registration for every weapon, with shorter than current waiting periods. I'm pro-gun registration for the exact same reason that I'm pro-car registration: when they get stolen they can cause massive problems for people.

NRA members absolutely hate that position. Once, in a conversation with a real card carrying member of the NRA, I was told that registration was one step away from the government confiscating everyone's guns. Yeah, because we've all seen how car registration has led to a massive confiscation of cars by the government.

Really, what it boils down to is that gun registration would make it easier to control the guns that flow into the hands of criminals. If you can follow a specific gun through it's existence, you can trace where guns leak from legal law-abiding citizens into the hands of criminals, and eventually plug the leak.

Felon's don't have the right to carry weapons and anyone who is careless enough with their weapons to allow felons access deserve to be held responsible in the same way someone can hold you responsible for handing your car keys over to a twice convicted drunk driver that's wasted.

Obviously it would take years for any kind of gun registration system to make an impact on our society, which is why it pisses me off that we haven't started one now that we have the technology to do so.

I mean, don't legal gun owners want to make it harder for guns to make it into the hands of criminals? Apparently not if it means that they have to stand in the "gun" line at the DMV to register their weapons.

I'm aware that I'm not really in the "middle" on this issue. My position is still probably on the liberal side, especially due to massively intense pressure from the NRA. I happen to think that my position is reasonable though. I lack the naiveté of the stereotypical democrats but also haven't fallen down the slippery slope of the stereotypical NRA member.

One last thing, on the saying "An armed society is a polite society."

No it's not. I mean, come on, who's being naive now? In the history of the entire freaking world has the possession of firearms (and swords, axes, daggers, spears, etc before that) ever made a distinguishable difference in how polite a society was?

Think about it for just one moment: The Wild West, Pirates, and the current Mideast. All well-armed societies. Do you see them as particularly polite? Especially to potentially armed outsiders?

The most polite society that I can think of is the British Empire (circa the 19th century, probably), and that isn't because they all owned guns. It was because they thought that being foppish and dandyish indicated their higher rank and classiness.

Please stop saying that armed societies are polite societies. It doesn't make any sense. Find something new. Thanks.

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