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A little perspective on the gun debate

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4/14/2013 10:04:49 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
The gun debate has been particularly heated of late, as laws are being hammered out on gun control.

I'm generally in favor of gun rights (both from a philosophical, and a constitutional, standpoint), but I'm certainly no gun nut. I do think we need a national dialogue based on principles instead of rhetoric. If guns are truly a "right", then whether someone is likely to use an AR-15 for hunting is a moot point, in the same way that since speech is a right, it doesn't matter if it's the Westboro Monsters or an upstanding DDO Genius, they still get to talk. But that's not what this rambling post is about.

Often, a reason put forth by gun rights advocates against the idea of a registry is that it makes it easier for the government to "take their guns", and/or is unnecessarily burdensome, or too expensive. Now, anyone who can pay the hundreds of dollars that a gun costs can trivially pay the $25 cost of a background check, so anyone arguing otherwise is being disingenuous. However, as to the "they'll terk my jerbs (I mean guns)" argument, it often seems ludicrous or laughable.; I just made fun of it in a way I'm sure most people got. And the examples used to bolster the point are usually outdated.


During Hurricane Katrina, we saw that, at a time when government was breaking down, when chaos was looming, and when most people would say "Now is a reasonable time to be armed" (to protect oneself from rioting and looting), the government chose to start confiscating firearms, which was not just "bad", but also demonstrably ineffective at keeping the peace.

Per Wikipedia:

"Controversy arose over a September 8 city-wide order by New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass to local police, U.S. Army National Guard soldiers, and Deputy U.S. Marshals to confiscate all civilian-held firearms. "No one will be able to be armed," Compass said. "Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns." Seizures were carried out without warrant, and in some cases with excessive force; one instance captured on film involved 58 year old New Orleans resident Patricia Konie. Konie stayed behind, in her well provisioned home, and had an old revolver for protection. A group of police entered the house, and when she refused to surrender her revolver, she was tackled and it was removed by force. Konie's shoulder was fractured, and she was taken into police custody for failing to surrender her firearm."

Now, of course, even Mr. Compass's statement was a lie: "Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns." was not accurate. What he meant was "Only law enforcement, military, and those rich enough to have their own private military (thus, security guards/forces of buildings/businesses/rich folks' homes will be allowed to have guns"

So the next time a "gun nut" is complaining about the idea of a registration program based on the idea that the government might pull some underhanded, shady, and obviously unconstitutional maneuver, remember that it happened within the last decade, without an easy-to-read gun registry.
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