Gun Control: Shell Shocked

28 Jun

I woke up today and logged onto my computer to check up with the world. To my chagrin the very first story on Google News centered on the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Chicago Hand Gun Ban. For those of you who are not advocates of gun control, it basically says that all handguns were illegal in the city of Chicago for anyone, even if it was for home protection. For 28 years this was on of the strictest laws limiting gun ownership in the US, but with this decision and in 2008, with District of Columbia v. Heller, it appears that gun control is be eroded fairly quickly in this country. I am not certain of the efficacy of this hand gun band, but it is true that murder dropped in the Second City. In 1990, the windy city has 851 murders and last year it was only 458 (the third lowest year in the past 20 yrs.)

While it might be true that one could interrupt the 2nd amendment as a means of allowing all us citizens the right to own a gun, but that does not mean it is the best desicion for well-being of the state as a whole.

First off what does the 2nd amendment even say – “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” So there are basically two parts to this, first the militia. No I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure the United States of America has built the world’s most expensive and without a doubt the best professional military in the world (minus the current two wars), so we no longer need a rag tag bunch of farmers with rifles to defend us against the English. So the necessity for guns to supply a volunteer army seems antiquated – especially when the tax payers are spending around $600 billion maintaining our current military (This excludes the costs of both wars). Because with half a trillion to throw around the military has stealth bombers and tactical missiles, muskets and flintlock pistols are certainly not applicably as they were the main weapons during the era of revolutions.

Second part of that 2nd Amendment say that the right to bear arms should not be infringed. While this is fairly straight forward, nowhere in our bill of rights does it say that these amendments are infallible and unchanging.  The reasoning behind protecting gun ownership in 1791 (the year the Bill of rights was ratified) are not the same as we have in 2010. We have police everywhere and owning a gun does not mean you will always be able to protect yourself. Back in the 1770s when the British where commandeering homes, one might have wanted a gun, but now days we live in a modern world. I think it is absurd that we cannot separate the needs of our society now – guns in the U.S. are the major way people are murdered, accounting for about 10,000 of the approximately 16,000 murders a year.

I believe that sometimes constitutionality needs to be supercedded by new laws that can help the welfare of our society as a whole. Handguns serve only one purpose: to hurt or kill other human beings. You cannot really go hunting with a pistol, as if you can hit a buck from 200 yards away with your iron sights. So these solely act as a weapons and even if you are going to a shooting range, you are merely becoming a more adept killer of people. Guns don’t necessarily kill people, but they certainly make murder an easier choice, school shooting more common and the ability for the police to fight criminals harder.

I would hope that our society could see that the gun control decisions in Western Europe have helped bring down the murder rate and it certainly has made murders more creative having to use more knifes and blunt objects. In America it would be impossible to impose a complete ban on guns or confiscate them (The United States has more guns than people, includes hunting rifles) and we have a hugely entrenched arms industry (The US again produce about 30 billions of dollars of weapons, much of which we sell to the Army and other nations) who has a vested interest in keeping guns completely legal. Remember to gun companies, guns are just something to be bought and sold – except they product are intended to kill people, its not a byproduct.

It seems to a be common sense that in city’s with high rates of gang violence and generally higher rates of murder that banning handguns in cities would be an attempt at trying to lessen crime. Criminals are the ones who are committing these murders and we need to strengthen and expand the background checks needed to purchase a gun. I don’t care if you think as an American you have the god given right to buy a gun with your drivers license and the same day be able to use it. Guns are not cigarettes, while second hang smoke does kill, it certainly doesn’t kill without someone’s consent as bullets do. If you are a normal person and just want a rifle to kill deer with, that is fine by me, just have a background check and an extended waiting period, just to make sure you have not robbed and assaulted people in the past. Finally, we need more gun education, especially in urban areas, fighting not only gangs in general, but trying to address the serious nature of guns. I don’t think these solutions are full proof, they would be a step in the right direction. But, if our courts continue to see the constitution as a some stiff sheet of concrete ideas, then gun violence will dominate headlines and urban violence might even rise.


2 Responses to “Gun Control: Shell Shocked”

  1. B June 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    You mentioned military spending but you understate it. Here’s Robert Higgs on why that’s the case:

    When trying to understand the Constitution and the social arrangements it accords, we have to consider the monarchy. Our Founders were generally afraid of the tyranny they witnessed under George III and in other nations and these fears play out in many Constitutional amendments. The second amendment is meant to prevent any state from being too oppressive and declaring a confiscation of firearms. The ability to form militias can still be necessary if militarism ever prevails – an unlikely possibility, to be sure, but one that carries a low cost of allowing.

    Gun ownership is not simply a matter of protecting your property from other individuals, it is a more concrete threat for the police everywhere not to abuse your rights. Guns aren’t just for killing people and inflicting pain; they serve as an effective threat from initiating violence.

    Perhaps gangs in Chicago and other cities are using ‘unnecessary’ guns to achieve their ends. But this is not necessarily an argument for banning guns. Consider that the beating heart of gang activity in the U.S. is the drug prohibitions which, because of their black market status, allow the most violent individuals and groups to exploit the market that wouldn’t be possible if the drugs were legal. People see gun violence and jump to ban guns as if guns were a cause and not a symptom. Frustration results when the Constitution prevents these people from legislating morality. If you want to change the Constitution, the use the amendment process. But activist judges and lawyers should not be the ones to command how we will “improve” overall social well-being. If they should, then why have the Constitution at all?

  2. TeaParty10 July 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    You say “Handguns serve only one purpose: to hurt or kill other human beings.” And that is true, thats what makes them a deterrent to criminals if more people carried them. Have you ever heard that an armed society is a polite society.

    Criminals are going to kill people no mater what. There set on commuting a crime and if they have to brake a law, such as having a handgun, its not going to phase them. Take England for example, them restricting firearms has resulted in an increase in violent crimes . . . what a shocker, leaving law abiding citizens defenseless is not a good idea ? Here is a good article about the results of England’s experiment (

    The average police response time in America is 7-12 min, not to say that the police are not doing there job well it would just be unrealistic for them to be any quicker, if some one brakes in to my house I would like to end the incident quicker than that.

    The law abiding gun owners are not going to go running through the streets shooting people, thats what makes them law abiding. Making the process longer and more bureaucratic will only cost the taxpayers more money. Criminals are always going to commit crimes thats what makes them criminals. Gun control only gives criminals the upper hand.

    Though I do agree with the need for more education, The only gun control that I need is my trigger finger.

    PS hand guns are used for hunting (

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