Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shifting the line

Since this latest mass shooting, I’ve seen an uptick in an argument against gun control that it is unfair to punish law abiding gun owners by enacting gun control measures. I don’t find that argument compelling. It isn’t a punishment for certain things, in the interests of public safety, to be illegal to own or use. We don’t allow people to stockpile mustard gas, even if they have no history of using it to kill and maim. We don’t allow people to buy and commute to work in fully armed battle tanks, even if they promise they’d never fire its cannon except in self defense. Exactly where the line between permissible and restricted is can be a little fuzzy, but the concept that some things are simply too dangerous for us to have unrestricted access to is not a controversial point.

So called assault rifles ought to be on the restricted side of that line. Those high capacity, high rate of fire rifles aren’t derived from hunting or sporting guns; they are designed and refined to be modern weapons of war, specialized to take multiple human lives quickly. Sadly, we have repeatedly seen how even the civilian versions, lacking fully automatic fire, are still deadly efficient at their intended purpose. Like battle tanks and countless other examples, assault rifles should be restricted to the military.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Even if

It seems unlikely to me that the framers of our Constitution intended citizens to own and use the types of weaponry that can now allow one man to wreak the kind of havoc that it would have taken dozens of soldiers to do in the late 1700s. But even if they did intend for citizens (even highly unstable, hate-filled, murderously bigoted citizens) to be able to purchase and carry weaponry that can enable one man to kill many innocent people in just a few minutes — they were wrong.