On Guns - Chez Goodman 
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 Essay  Description
 *On Opinions  A disclaimer and introduction to these essays.
 *On Identity  Some of my thoughts on identity.
 *On God  Some of my thoughts on the nature of God.
 *On Life  Some of my thoughts on the meaning of life.
 *On Humor  Some of my thoughts on humor.
 *On Guns  Some of my thoughts on guns and gun control.

Some Thoughts On Guns

Handgun Every time someone is killed, the natural reaction is, "How can we prevent this from happening again?" That's a reasonable and intelligent reaction. We don't want to sit by and let bad things happen without trying to make the world a better place.

When someone is killed by a gun, the reaction of many people is, "We have to get rid of guns. Guns are dangerous. Guns are only good for killing people. Let's outlaw guns." Many politicians, whether they believe in that or not, will push for gun control legislation so they can be seen to be "doing something" about the problem.

I would love it if we could pass a law that would keep guns from being used to kill innocent people. I'd love it if we could disarm criminals and murderers and terrorists.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's possible to keep criminals from having guns. Practically the entire country is opposed to drugs, and we can't stop even children from getting drugs. We tried to outlaw alchohol, and failed miserably there too. I just don't see us getting guns out of the hands of criminals.

Furthermore, you don't need a gun to be dangerous. Many terrible tragedies involved no guns at all. The Unabomber. The Federal building in Oklahoma. The explosions and firebombing of abortion clinics. People are tool users. If you take away guns, they can set fires, set off bombs, poison our food and water. There is no stopping someone who truly wants to use deadly force.

Even worse, many of the alternatives to guns are more deadly, more destructive and less selective. A gun will injure just the intended target, and perhaps some bystanders. A bomb or fire will destroy a building and can kill everyone in it. You're not going to end murder by outlawing guns.

Guns are evil in the hands of people bent on murder, but they have benefits to society. Honest, hard-working people use guns every day to defend their lives, their homes and their families. A gun can prevent a tragedy without even being used. Guns discourage criminals from committing crimes. Disarm the populace, and criminals have little fear of invading your homes.

I do believe that too many people use guns carelessly. Anyone who leaves a gun where children or irresponsible people can get access should be severely punished. People who use a gun recklessly should be severely punished. Criminals who use guns should get the severest penalties.

I have no problem with making guns safer to use, provided it doesn't diminish their usefullness. I am opposed to gun registration. Once you let the government know you have a gun, what's to keep them from some day deciding that people shouldn't have guns, and coming to take them from you? And what if you had destroyed your gun or had it stolen? Can you imagine the trouble if you couldn't prove what happened to your gun? I'm sorry, I just don't trust our government.

I've seen too many disasters to believe that our government can protect us at all times. When a town is ravaged by tornado, flood, fire, rioting and other destruction, the police are overwhelmed and unable to protect everyone. We need the ability to protect ourselves.

Don't take guns away from careful, honest people. I welcome reasoned discussion on this topic.

Some Assorted Quotes

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin, Statesman and Inventor, 1759

"... And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms..."
Samuel Adams, United States Congress, 1779

"Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the people's liberty teeth."
George Washington, First President of the United States

"False is the idea of utility ... that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction of liberty. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... such laws serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States
Writing in his 'Commonplace Book', 1775

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States, to George Washington, 1796

Copyright © 2004 David K. Goodman. All Rights Reserved.
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