Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gun Control

If you know me or read this blog, you already know that we keep guns and other weapons in our home for self defense.

I remember thinking after the shootings in Connecticut last week that the horror of the thing was so great that it might be the tipping point and drive public opinion toward stricter gun laws. It's looking like that's happening now.

Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Semi Automatic Rifle .223 Remington 18.5 Barrel 5 Rounds Hardwood Stock

I'm having problems with a lot of what I'm hearing on both sides of the debate, left and right. As per usual, the left wing are demonstrating ignorance about what constitutes an "assault weapon". Which of these two rifles is an assault weapon? Most would pick the Bushmaster on the left. But the Ruger Mini 14 on the right fires the same round, is a semi automatic, takes a 30 round magazine, and has a short barrel, all just like the Bushmaster. It would not be banned under a renewed federal assault weapon ban. But it certainly would wreak the same havoc as the "assault weapon".

This is the stupidity of the ban. These rifles are effectively the same.

So if we're to ban assault rifles, I think it would have to include all semi-automatic sporting rifles to have any chance of producing any outcome at all. The assault weapons ban doesn't do that. I think the ban is completely ineffective.

There are calls to ban high capacity magazines, directed primarily against the Glock 9mm 33 round magazine that can be used in a Glock 26, 17, or 19 pistol. As I've written elsewhere, this is completely misguided. A pistol with a foot long magazine hanging off it is an unbalanced mess, difficult to shoot accurately. This is why you don't see people who's job it is to fight with pistols using these magazines. It's much easier to get more rounds on target, and faster, using normal sized magazines. It just doesn't take very long to eject an empty magazine and insert a full one, a couple of seconds.

That said, a big magazine is probably good on a carbine, but not so much if you have to shoot and move. It is a pretty good rig for standing in one place and shooting unarmed people from what we've seen.

But there is plenty of wrongheadedness to go around. The notion that we should arm teachers that I've heard from right wing people on TV is absurd. Do we really want to limit the pool of people who teach our kids to ones who are willing to participate in a firefight with a well-armed, suicidal maniac? Please.

So, I look at this as a set of likely outcomes we can choose from. The majority of Americans favor stricter gun control laws. I don't think most of them understand what they want to control, but we live in a democracy and every once in a while the majority's will becomes the law instead of ALEC's will. Who knows, this might be one of those times. The achievable outcomes I see are these:

1. Ban so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines. No change, these horrible massacres continue. The death toll might be marginally lower, or not. This is what most people seem to want.

2. Ban all firearm ownership, with the few exceptions that would have to exist. Confiscate all firearms, compensate people for their seized weapons. These awful killings decrease, and by a whole lot. Criminals continue to have guns, and home invasions increase exponentially. Gird your loins for that terrible shit. This is what I think a lot of Americans want, whether they know it or not.

3. Do nothing, change no laws. Most likely outcome, I still think.

An option I propose as a start to trying to decrease gun violence: You want to buy any firearm? Fine. Go see your doctor, get a referral to a mental health professional. Have a long interview with that doctor, and he declares you fit to own deadly weapons, or not fit. Repeat this every six months, by law, as long as you own guns, because sane people do go crazy. All att your own expense, or better yet have it covered under Obama Care. The federal government decides what that mental health evaluation is comprised of.

Me? Prepare for having no guns. Because barging into my home to do me harm is always going to be as bad a choice someone can make as I can make it be for them,  I think I'm going to get that O Katana I've been pining for, get serious about using it, and try to develop the physical courage to confront a home invader with it, even one with an illegal gun. I know I have an 80% or so chance of surviving being shot if I'm not killed outright, and can get to a hospital. The home invader has a 0% chance of surviving me cutting his head off with a Samurai sword.


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