First, Wayne LaPierre and Ted Nugent are, in my opinion, epic douche bags. That’s right, a lifelong gun-toter just said (well, he typed it) that.
So, we have a problem, Houston. The problem is that we once again find the country in a heated debate over how to infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms, even if they’re creatively avoiding calling it an infringement. Semantics, by the way, is actually a very interesting field of study within Linguistics. Check it out some time.
So, to begin with, let’s read the holy scripture, starting in II Amendment:
“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.”
I don’t like the way the commas and capitalization are used there, but that’s not entirely relevant.
Let’s briefly examine one of the gun control arguments happening right now (and there will be many, MANY more to follow):
The guns-vs-automobiles argument!
Second Amendment advocate (hereafter 2A): More people died from cars than from guns in each of the last few years in America, yet no one’s screaming to ban SUVs.
Gun Control advocate (hereafter GC): But cars are not designed to kill anything. And there are laws that require cars to be inspected, to be registered, to be insured, and to be operated only by licensed persons. AND passenger automobiles have been subject to ever-increasing safety standards to increase the survivability of those in and around them in traffic.
ME (no, really, this is me, the less-medicated asshole whose blog you’re reading): BOTH Y’ALL SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Now, allow me to explain…
It is an interesting observation that traffic fatalities exceed firearms fatalities each year, at least lately. But firearms and automobiles are used in entirely different ways, whether they’re killing people or not. The validity of this argument is therefore in question, as it really is an apples-to-sea-cucumbers comparison. And just what IS the point? Would Mr. 2A (let’s face it, while there ARE a number of women on the 2A side, it is disproportionately a WASP straight male perspective–your contrary anecdotes do not impress me) have us ban personal license to operate certain types of automobiles in order to express his spite over another Assault Weapons Ban, should it happen? Nope. Not at all likely. This is not an argument of valid equality/equity, but simply a convenient exercise of statistics.
Now, as for YOU, Ms. GC… First, there’s a reason that we even CAN BE required to license drivers, register cars, and insure both, in order to operate them on public roadways. Why? Because that is NOT A RIGHT GUARANTEED TO ANY-FUCKING-BODY in this country. (Was that all-caps enough? Should I type it again, just in case? No? Alright…) Operating a motor vehicle on public (ie-property of the state, and therefore, of the people) roadways is a PRIVILEGE. It’s nice, but it’s also easy to take away from you for misconduct.
Without getting too far off on a rant about shitty American drivers, let me just say that if gun owners were as frequently and blatantly in violation of the law with their guns as motorists are with their cars, then all weapons more deadly than a toothpick would have been outlawed by now. Y’all are shameful.
So, you can HAVE a car, and you can drive it all you want, and you can wreck it as often as you like, and so on. No, really, you’re allowed. You just don’t get to do it lawfully on PUBLIC roadways, nor on others’ property without their permission. But if you’ve got a flat 100 acres out back, then you don’t need a license to go play Ricky Bobby in the yard. No inspection. No license plate. No insurance. Nothing. Go, have fun, fuck stuff up. I’ll wait.
Better? Good. It’s not a matter of regulating what people do in the privacy of their own property, but what they do in public. And when it comes to a RIGHT, no citizen has an obligation to justify to anyone else, nor to his government, why he should be allowed to exercise his right. That’s not how RIGHTS work. Just privileges.
Further, we often hear argued that automobiles have been subject to numerous safety improvements over the year, and it is unfair that guns have NOT been. To that I answer, ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID?!?!?!
Let’s back up to 1787 for a bit. The common means of transportation was a horse, whether riding it directly or tying a cart/wagon/carriage to it. The common weapon was a smoothbore, flintlock musket-type long gun. You’ve come a long way, baby.
The horse got a gas tank, bumpers, bumper shocks, airbags, 3-point seat belts, more airbags, crumple zones, and all kinds of great engineering since then. (The Japanese do it better, though.)
The gun got what? Well, let’s think on this…
*Percussion caps. These reduced the misfire rate from about 1/4 to about 1/10, especially in wet/cold weather. They also decreased the squeeze-to-bang time in firing, and decreased the amount of smoke and flash in the face of the firer, and finally, they decreased the reload time between rounds. Less than a century later, the average infantryman could put 5-8 rounds a minute down range.
*Rifled barrels. These made for a longer range and a tighter firing group, all else being equal. A more accurate firer, so long as he obeys the law, is a safer firer.
*Premanufactured cartridges. With the repeating rifle that President Lincoln rather famously tested during the Civil War, we also got the ability to mass-produce firearms munitions. The conditions could be controlled such that great consistency was realized, making weapons even MORE reliable and accurate. Again, SAFER.
*Decocking devices. We often call one of these a “safety.” Fair enough. There are a number of different ways of going about the design of these, but they all have something in common–there is a switch or lever on the outside of the weapon that can be manipulated to alternate between a SAFE (ie-shouldn’t fire even if loaded) and FIRE (she’s ready to kill) mode. These designs have seen numerous improvements over the years.
*Passive safeties. Take the 2005 handgun of the year, the Springfield XD (yeah, that recently). Rather than use a decocking lever to render the weapon safe, this uses two separate levers that are spring-loaded to the SAFE position, and which must be depressed simultaneously in order to fire the weapon. This requires that the firer GRIP the weapon properly, and that he actually pull/squeeze the trigger. In this way, a weapon cannot be left lying about with the decocking lever (‘safety’) already in the FIRE position. Thus, it cannot fall off a table or out of a clumsy guy’s holster, and fire a round inadvertently. As long as it is a functional weapon, it simply won’t fire like that.
SO, you say there’s been no effort to make guns themselves safer since the late 18th Century? Go punch yourself. Please. And post pics.
So, what do you do if you don’t want someone else to take your car and break the law with it? You LOCK it. Same goes for a gun. If it’s not in use, it’s secured somewhere. If it’s in transit and is NOT a carry gun, then it’s transported safely–locked and cleared, with ammo stored separately.
When you’re operating in public, you are responsible for your car and what you do with it, and what you cause to happen with it. Same for a firearm. There is no difference in this way.
But it’s WHAT YOU DO with each of these things in public that makes them different. So different, that the comparison/contrast of them is annoying and childish.