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by Peter Moskos

July 1, 2008

2nd Amendment

I'm of two minds when it comes to gun control and the 2nd Amendment. I'm not a fan of guns. I would love to live in a society that heavily restricted gun ownership. But I don't.

Say what you want about the 2nd Amendment... and I've always said--just to be provocative to my liberal friends--that if you see the constitution as so broad that it gives women the right to have an abortion, then certainly you can see the 2nd Amendment broadly enough to give a man the right to bear arms. Now the Supreme Court has had their say.

On one hand, it is a huge decision overturning decades of local gun control laws.

On the other hand, gun control fans, it won't matter. Really. Giving law abiding people the right to have a gun in their home isn't so bad. I had a gun.

I'm no fan of the N.R.A., but they do make one good point: we already have laws making guns illegal. If we don't or can't enforce our existing gun laws, it makes no sense to pass more laws making guns more illegal. Most gun control simply prevents non-criminals from having a gun. The problem is criminals with guns. What do we do about them?

One thing I learned as a cop is that there are a lot of illegal guns out there. More than you can imagine. That's a big problem. Gun prohibition isn't a battle worth fighting. Best to save the political capital for something else.


Anonymous said...

That's a good summary of the issue, Peter. I began to sour on strict gun control some time ago. Recently, I have been kicking around the idea that concealed carry laws are an example of advanced community policing. Giving responsible people the option of carrying a weapon may help to reinforce the idea (which should be obvious anyway) that citizens are largely responsible for policing/social control; police officers just get paid to focus on public safety problems full-time. Honestly, I don't think a lot of people will want to get the permits or take on the added responsibility. And as you know, carrying a firearm around is cumbersome and limits your fashion options.

PCM said...

In theory, I like what you say. But the concept of more people carrying guns is scary. Too many people are crazy. Or short tempered. Or just fine till they start drinking.

Who wouldn't defend their friends if they got in a fight? If you have a gun, somebody might get shot.

Lack of guns is part of why homicide is low in places like Holland. They fight and brawl and drink plenty. They just don't shoot each other when they do because they don't have access to handguns.

To put it another way, I'm safer (maybe) if I have a gun. I am not safer if you have a gun (not you personally, of course).

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I encounter mass quantities of people on the job that have the annoying habit of responding to perceived slights (whadda ya lookin' at???) and minor problems by blowing up. I also witness their handiwork, so I could never be as flip about gun rights as some of the hardliners. But, I don't know if a lot of the "excitable boys" (thank you Warren Zevon) I referenced would qualify to carry under a carefully designed ccw system anyway. Some would just blow off the law as they do currently.

The prospect of drunken brawlers arming themselves is a nightmare situation. I am tempted to propose some sort of AWI (Armed While Intoxicated)law to mitigate this danger, but I don't know how that would play out legally (especially if the shooter is on his/her property during the incident).

The point about Holland is sound, and is one of the proverbial turds in the punchbowl for gun lobbyists. Euro thugs might be vicious, but they have to work harder. Guns don't kill people, but they make it really easy to kill people. A firearm can enable a relative pansy to rack up a stunning body count in a short period of time. Squeeze, hold, spray. If you lack a conscience or are deranged, its quite simple and not especially hands on. This is a tough one Pete. Heller made things a bit more clear, but it didn't solve the problem. We have to proceed with caution, and I hope that public safety concerns will trump punditry during the debate. 10-7.

DJK said...

What is "scary" is the amount of criminals that should be in jail but instead are out terrorizing our streets/citizens.

LIke in this story http://oflifeandliberty.blogspot.com/2008/07/8-unarmed-people-killed-in-illinois.html

or like that cop in Philly that was murdered by three dirtbags that got out early...

Most people who are willing to shoulder the responsibility to carry a weapon, concealed or not, aren't going to go shooting people for no reason. When I have my gun I feel even more on the straight and narrow. I need to avoid problems; I don't solve them with gunfire. I'd say 99.999% of CCW holders feel the same way. That's nothing to feel "scared" about.

The bad guys know, in most places, that their victims are ripe for the pickin'. But, let them know that 30% of their victim-fields are card holding gun carriers...they might start thinking twice about victimizing people.

An armed society is a polite society.

BG said...

I don't know of many statistics showing increased gun death when right to carry laws are passed. Its hard to compare societies that unique. Isn't the better comparison between places that had gun ownership and then restricted it? Or places that had restrictions and then removed them?