Why Do We Enact Gun-Control Laws?

              Tuesday night C-Span carried the debate and vote of the House Judiciary Committee about the ‘red flag’ law. The statute was sent to the full House where it will pass and then no doubt languish until sometime next year when the GOP begins to read the tea leaves seriously and decides what legislation will and will not help or hurt them in the 2020 race.

              There’s a chance that three gun bills will be waiting Senate action during the current Congressional session: comprehensive background checks, red-flag laws and another assault-weapons ban. If there’s a blue sweep come next November, we might even seen these bills consolidated into one, major piece of legislation, which would mark the fifth time the Federal Government enacted a gun-control law, the previous laws having been passed in 1934, 1938, 1968 and 1994. The initial assault weapons ban was also enacted in 1994, but it was stuck onto the Omnibus Crime Bill which was also passed that year.

              The four statutes which got the Federal Government into gun-control big time, defined certain guns as being too dangerous for ordinary purchase and sale (1934), defined the role and responsibilities of federally-licensed gun dealers (1938), created the definition of ‘law-abiding’ individuals who could purchase or possess guns (1968), and brought the FBI into the mix to make sure that people who claimed to be law-abiding gun owners were, in fact, what they claimed to be.

              These laws approached the issue of gun control from four different perspectives, but they all shared one common thread; namely, they were enacted to help law enforcement agencies deal with the issue of crime. Here’s the preamble to the 1968 law: “The Congress hereby declares that the purpose of this title is to provide support to Federal, State and local law enforcement officials in their fight against crime and violence….” The other Federal gun laws basically say the same thing. In other words, these laws may have been enacted to regulate the ownership and commerce of guns, but their real purpose was to help fight crime.

              Every other advanced nation-state also enacted gun-control laws, for the most part either before or after World War II. Most of these laws were patterned after our initial law, the National Firearms Act of 1934, but these laws were all different from our gun-control laws in one, crucial respect, namely, they prohibited the purchase of handguns except under the most stringent and restrictive terms.

              Why do we suffer from a level of gun violence that is seven to twenty times’ higher than any other advanced nation-state? Not because we have so many more guns floating around, but because we make it very easy for folks to get access to handguns, which happen to be the guns that kill and injure just about all those 125,000+ Americans every year. Oh, I forgot. Some of them aren’t real Americans. They snuck in here, got on welfare and deserve to get shot.

              The reason that countries like France, Italy and Germany banned handguns had nothing to do with crime. The gun-control laws passed in these and other countries were based on government fear of armed, rebellion from the Left – Socialist and Communist labor unions to be precise. The United States Federal Government also once had to deal with a serious, armed rebellion, but this was a rebellion not about class oppression or workers versus owners. It was a disagreement about race.

              For all the nonsense about how guns keep us ‘free,’ the truth is that owning and carrying a Glock has nothing to do with freedom at all. It has to do with a totally irrational belief that we are surrounded by predators who just can’t wait to invade our homes, beat us up and run off with that wide-screen TV. Since we know this to be a fact, how come the violent-crime rates in countries where nobody can protect themselves with a handgun are lower than the rate of violent crime in the United States?

8 thoughts on “Why Do We Enact Gun-Control Laws?

  1. The only other difference is the 2A. I think it was Scalia who said it takes some options off the table. But as Winkler quipped, to paraphrase, it left a lot on the table. The obvious thing on the table is graduated licensing.

  2. I wouldn’t touch a handgun ban. It’s chance of passing would be about nil – and it would make pushback from the NRA-types that much worse (if there could be a thing).
    Khal’s approach I much prefer.

    A Youtuber named Jeorge Sprave, from Germany, did a great episode on the gun laws of his country – laws he supports with little exception. I believe he said he owns about 30 to 35 firearms of various classes, though his main interests are archery with bow or crossbow and slingshot use.
    NRA-types would do well to watch that video.

    • I love archery. The “reloading” is cheap and easy, its quiet, it requires a lot of concentration to do well, and its got a lot of Zen. In fact I ended up getting back into firearms after a long hiatus after getting back into archery.

      • For a while I couldn’t draw the bow at more than about 30 lbs after a bad shoulder injury. Had the shoulder rebuilt a couple years ago and now I can do archery again pain free. Its nice. I just have to be careful because the way they reattached my bicep muscle, I can cramp it if I go to a really high draw weight on my old compound bow, which itself is of nearly historical context: It was my stepdad’s hunting bow from the 1970’s.

  3. >Since we know this to be a fact, how come the violent-crime rates in countries where nobody can protect themselves with a handgun are lower than the rate of violent crime in the United States?

    Because there’s no violent crimes in public or at home that need to have a gun to stop them? Is that what you’re implying. Also, ridiculously stupid single cause fallacy/post hoc ergo prompter hoc. “If a butterfly flaps its wings in china, the price of gold in Zimbabwe will go up” logic.

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