Gun Control

Larry Correia wrote an opinion on gun control in the not too distant past on his blog. He makes several arguments based on uncited statistics, or no statistics at all. I will focus on the part of his argument that convinces me the most towards his position.

I need to make my bias clear here. I lean left.

I need to make my bias clear here. I lean left on most issues. Thus, I include a picture of Warner Bros’ Yosemite Sam in a discussion of gun control.

Here is the point: Getting a gun (or high capacity magazine) illegally is easy. As in, if you want a gun for an illegal purpose, you will get a gun, regardless of how. Thus, every law merely impairs purchase by well-meaning people, “Because really serious criminals simply don’t care, they are able to get ahold of military weapons, and they use them simply because criminals, by definition, don’t obey the law.”

That could be a solid argument. However, it is difficult to back up. As far as anecdotes go, the University of Texas shooter bought a rifle and a shotgun the day of the shooting. He would not have been so armed (though he still had guns) if there were a waiting period and background checks at the time. Of course, now we have background checks, and it is impossible to measure how many lives they have saved.

Correia largely ignores these types of control. It would help his case if he either admitted to accepting them or explaining why we cannot expand on them, for instance, by requiring background checks for buyers at gun shows.

In fact, that is a serious part of the President’s proposed gun control legislation/executive order package. Here’s a link to a New York Times description of all the provisions.

The list that they give looks, on the whole, mostly unintrusive. There are three provisions that look least likely to work based on my reading of Correia’s article.

Correia asserts that the proposed assault weapons ban was a farce with ridiculous definitions. Odds are that he overstates its ineffectiveness. Disclaimer: I would need to look up statistics to really analyze the ban’s effectiveness. Looking on Wikipedia (including a version of the page from before the Sandy Hook shooting, thus less likely to be skewed by it), the page appears to say that multiple government agencies doubted the effects of the assault weapons ban.

The second of the three limits the maximum legal magazine size. Correia asserts that most illegally used magazines are already marked for military and police use. He stresses how easy it is not just to buy magazines, but also to make them yourself.

The third is on banning armor piercing rounds.  This makes the average shooter less deadly (I am thinking arithmetic mean here, so yes, it would go down because less prepared shooters would not have them), but it also makes the average shooter’s armor (which, again, some have and some do not) more resilient to weaker return-fire. Again, I need statistics from all the mass shootings in recent history in order to determine which way this would turn the tide. I doubt such statistics actually exist, especially corroborated by both gun control and gun rights advocates. As such, I lean in the direction of not regulating.

However, the rest of the provisions seem entirely sensible. They work to enforce laws already on the books, which is what the NRA et al. want. I suggest watching any of Jon Stewart’s pieces on gun control in the past couple of weeks. Those show just how much trouble the President will have getting the simplest changes through.

On the whole, Correia’s strongest point is one that is hard to back up. He fails to address most of the provisions that the President proposes, though he does hit the few that he addresses pretty hard. Also, I am sure that Correia agrees with the provision “Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations.”

Correia’s biggest suggestion, though, is to arm volunteer school officials and train them for the event of an attack. To be perfectly honest, my only qualm with that would be making certain that a student cannot steal the firearms in question. Looking into this option sounds like a reasonable idea, and I would like it if the President’s proposal entertained the idea, at least for the public debate.

~HHM

One comment on “Gun Control

  1. jamesarthel says:

    I completely agree with your trepidations about a student stealing the firearms from a teacher, especially in a high school environment. Think of this, and it is an admittedly worse case scenario, but: I carry around a very heavy math textbook every day. Some of my teachers are women who are much smaller than me. Let’s say one day I lose it. If I know my teacher is carrying a firearm, who’s to say I won’t use my mathbook and sheer physical superiority, combined with the element of surprise, to take the weapon away from? By the time another teacher finds out and arrives with his or her weapon, I could have already shot dozens of people.
    While armed teachers seems like a good idea, and still could be, it is ideas like these that make me uncomfortable.

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