Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Money Guns & Drugs

People like simple answers. Truth is real, but rarely simple. To form an intelligent response to the issue of gun control we need to look at history. Every argument for and against gun control has a corresponding counter argument all based of history.
Pro:
1. The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to keep and carry arms
2. Citizens access to arms protects us from evil doers
3. We need arms to protect ourselves from rogue government
4. We need arms to hunt
Con:
1. The 2nd Amendment meant what we would now call the National Guard
2. Access to arms increases the number of evil doers
3. Existing small arms allowed to the public have no capacity to fight current military weapons
4. Hunting arms can be more effectively regulated.

Nothing above is wrong, sort of.

1. What the 2nd Amendment meant to the original writers was neither what is listed in the Pros or the Cons, and a little of both. The original intent was that the US would have nearly no standing army whatsoever, and that armed citizens would ensure the safety of the nation directly on a model not dissimilar to the modern Swiss one. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_military if you want to know more ) The fear that a standing Army could seize power was balanced in the signers by a fear of hostile foreign take over. The best solution that everyone could concede to signing was a relatively weak volunteer army and a strong armed citizenry. Since we don’t now have either, neither is especially pivotal to the current issue.

2. This one gets very sticky. It would be nice if we could make laws up without having them effect new laws or be effected by old ones, but we can’t. Once upon a time guns were both legal and unregulated. If they were contraband they would be illegal and regulated. They seem to be heading that direction, and are up and down the scale depending on what state in the US you live in. The problem is with contraband is that, in a word, it’s stupid. When a government makes some THING rather than some ACTION illegal, it is no longer making laws about a wrong that has taken place, it is making laws about what someone could do but has not yet done.

During the Prohibition, alcohol was made contraband. Per capita drinking went down by 60%, however, per capita alcohol related crime increased by over 200%. Furthermore, organized policing of the law was responded to with equally organized crime. Organized crime centered on drinking gave the criminals a social machine that they could use like any other organized group to effect political change or support elections. The effects were devastating to America. Eventually the Prohibition was repealed. However, despite the obvious and public failure of the Prohibition people like easy answers and simply outlawing something is easier than coming up with a reasonable response that allows it to be used but discourages abuse. Prohibition encourages hypocrisy and clearly reflects ignorant preferences ahead of rational thought. A good example is that it is illegal you to grow or smoke cannabis on your own property for your own use. However it is perfectly acceptable for Philip Morris to grow tobacco by the ton and lace it with nicotine. THC (the active chemical in cannabis)is a mild psychoactive chemical. Nicotine is a toxic poison. It seems like access to alcohol makes for a safer society, but we are not so open minded about cocaine. “Crack kills!” we are told, but guns don’t kill people, people kill people. As I said contraband laws make us a nation of hypocrites, because they are laws that work off the assumption that something will be abused rather than used. How can we know so certainly what others do, or why they do it? We can’t, so we fall back on cliches and prejudice about things and people that we rarely take the time to understand.

3. As mentioned in (1.) the idea that we need arms to protect ourselves from the government is a romantic cowboy fantasy. Governments world-wide regularly seize the rights and property of the unarmed, and ours would be no different with the right situation and administration, however, the fantasy is that the weapons citizens are currently allowed to posses would have any strategic effect whatsoever in a military confrontation.

4. Oddly, this one is one of the most important economically, though insignificant philosophically. Outdoor recreation is multi-billion dollar industry. Though gun sales themselves make up only about $200 million of those billions (less than 1%) the outdoor industry is founded on weapons. Cabela’s won’t sell nearly as many deer stands if no one is allowed to have deer rifles. Though many people hunt proficiently and happily with bows and arrows, large restrictions in weapons will close the sport to many people and that ripple will be felt in industries that might seem unrelated. Though folks who support gun control often try to take a supportive stance towards hunters, the historic world wide precedent is that gun laws make more gun laws, and usually within a generation or two (30 to 60 years)guns of any type are for all practical purposes eliminated.

So, where does that leave the discussion? Well, what does God say? Scripture has a lot to say about alcohol. Specifically, God doesn’t make it contraband. He could put wine in the list of dietary prohibitions, but He doesn’t. He condemns a lifestyle of drunkenness yet makes wine at a wedding. (Yes, it was wine. I know a great deal has been written about this saying otherwise, but be sure to read the text, it often sheds light on the foot notes. The text in both original language and English is clearly referring to alcoholic wine. Any other interpretation is wistful thinking at best and blasphemy at worst.) Why? Well, ask your self this? Was God surprised by the effect alcohol had on the brain? Of course not, He designed both. God has no problem with alcohol being used but clearly condemns its abuse.

Homicide is another example. God forbids murder and demands death for certain people and certain actions. How is that not hypocritical? Because sometimes homicide is justifiable. In essence, homicide may be used for its proper function, but not abused.

But what about the specific case at hand? Does scripture make a specific case for people having a right to be armed? Perhaps. When Ester’s people were to be killed by royal edict, the king could not take back his word, but instead allowed the Jews to be armed and defend themselves as needed. Further, God demanded that a woman being raped fight and scream. Thus, not only does God demand that the wronged fight, He, in at least one instance, allows them to be armed to do so. A open minded reading of the Bible will reveal that God always expects you to defend yourself

Biblical side: you have moral right to protect yourself, and your charges.
Historical side: you should have 2nd Amendment right to do the above with a gun
Realistically: your 2nd Amendment rights will go the way of the dodo bird within the next 50 years because the legal precedent put in place by well meaning people. If we stand on soap boxes and say: Access to porn makes rapists, access to drugs makes criminals, access to violent video games makes nasty children so it should all be BANNED! Then we have nothing to say when someone else says “access to firearms makes violent crime.” And of course, how long till “access to Scripture makes unhealthy feelings of guilt” and bans it, is anyones guess.

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April 19, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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