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The Practicality of Gun Bans in America

dpncdpnc Posts: 1 New Member
I posted a long article on medium.com. You can read the full version by clicking here.  I'd appreciate any feedback.

Here is an excerpt:

Let’s imagine that we have a magic wand obtained from an ancient fairy that will instantly and magically collect 100% of these rifles from their owners and pay them (using taxpayer money) “fair compensation”. These rifles in all their configurations run from about $400 to $6,000. You can spend more if you wish. Let’s assume that the average compensation paid will be $1,000. 10 million x $1000 = $10 Billion. That’s conservatively the cost to confiscate (with compensation) every semi-automatic centerfire rifle in the US. It doesn’t include any of the infrastructure or labor costs to collect and destroy these rifles, so the actual cost would be significantly higher.

The wand works! BAM! No semi-automatic rifles in the US. 100% done. Fixed. What happens?

Murders drop from 15,129 to 14,729. That’s about 3%. Or do they?

Do bad guys that would use a semi-automatic rifle give up, or do they switch to another weapon? Do mass shooters start volunteering at the local soup kitchen because AR-15s are unavailable or do they use a semi-automatic handgun like the gunman at Virginia Tech did in the worst mass shooting ever on a college campus and the third deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in the US with 33 killed and 23 injured?


  • BigslugBigslug Posts: 9,863 Senior Member

    I gave your full article a skim - old news to most of us.  Overall, I'd suggest you think a little bigger on several angles.

    I would say that even your high end of the numbers of self-loaders in circulation is probably low.  I would guess that 15-20 million would cover just the AR-15's.  That doesn't even touch the Garands, M1A's, Mini-14's, M1 Carbines, SKS's, Tokarevs, AK's, FAL's, HK's, Remington 742/7400's, the old Frank Hamer era rifles, etc...  Also, you make a division between centerfire and rimfire, which not all gun-banners will, and I'm not really sure that I'd use the method of priming as a firearm's measure of lethality anyway.  If you correct your numbers on centerfires, and then include buy-back compensation for all the Ruger 10/22's and Marlin 60's floating around, you're looking at a serious price tag as the cost for stealing our freedoms in a pointless, clueless, illusory attempt to purchase safety.

    Now, if you want to draw a division along the lines of what the anti-gun politicians are calling "military style" vs. those that they don't, consider that the demand for things that resemble their current full-auto military counterparts never really took off until the Clinton administration worked toward and gave us a decade-long ban, and the Obama administration brought forth the idea of bringing it back.  What was the reasoning behind those elevated sales?

    The anti-gun argument against private ownership or use of any type of firearm always hangs its hat on crime prevention - - "crime" in that case being your day-to-day, person-on-person crimes like domestic violence, home invasion, armed robbery, and yes, the occasional unhinged mass shooter.  All of these are tragic, yes, but when you look at it dispassionately in terms of the natural attrition (old age, disease, accidents, suicides, etc...) that happens on a planet with seven billion people, that number is going to be pretty small in overall causes of things that stop a heartbeat.  I don't lose a lot of sleep on those numbers.

    What never really gets talked about enough is how private gun ownership stands against the really big crimes against humanity level events where the group that has no weapons is purged - often in the MILLIONS - by the group that does.  That is what I DO lose sleep over, and it's necessary to note that the tool for that kind of oppression will always be the standard military and police weapons of the day.

    The pro-gun argument is that private gun ownership stands to prevent BOTH, and it rides on the premise that an armed moral individual stands as a barrier against an immoral one, regardless of whether that immoral individual is a crackhead sticking up a convenience store in search of his next fix, or a would-be dictator wanting to wipe some societal slate clean.  We buy the small concealable handgun as protection against the former, and the reason why there are so many millions of semi-automatic rifles in U.S. circulation is a well-reasoned desire to prevent the latter, backed up by PLENTY of historical precedent. 

    In short, ownership of semi-automatic rifles IS about crime prevention, but often not the kind of crime that anyone holding political office is going to be comfortable talking about.  Think about it - when was the last time you saw someone stand on a podium and say "I support your right to defend yourself against me and my policies"?

    As to your angle on the mechanical utility of semi-automatics:  they happen to be, AT THIS TIME, the most efficient tool for the purpose of dealing with the aforementioned human problems.  If you look at the history of humans using tools for any purpose, you will see that more efficient tools replace the less efficient ones, but you will also see that if the latest and greatest is not available, the older tools can still be picked up and will still serve - regardless of whether that purpose is moral or immoral.  An immoral criminal - individual or state-sanctioned - will always choose the most efficient means available to accomplish his goal.  That statement will hold true all the way back through history to choosing a metal knife over a stone one.    What then, is accomplished by restricting the moral individual's access to the same, more efficient tools?  As has been said "Gun control is not about guns - it's about CONTROL".

    The current coronavirus crisis brings a key element of this into debate:  What is the better societal model - the American system where individualism has value, or the Chinese system where any even slightly square peg gets forcefully whittled to fit into the state's round holes?  The great negative of gun control from the view of the American model is that it ONLY fits into a system trending toward the Chinese one.

    Again, welcome!  And consider your horizons broadened.  ;) 

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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