Shooting Down the “What-ifs”


Isn’t the right to life higher than the right to purchase a gun? And does a gun purchase threaten or enhance that right to life? The NRA always suggests that a gun enhances the right to life, even against the threat of other guns. Its straight line view ignores the paradox, the several places where its logic breaks down, and where its thinking in real cases is a proven failure.

The common argument is a “what if” story. It ignores the large, overwhelming real body of experience to the contrary, that guns can be or will be used in public areas to end mass killing sprees. In the abundant cases and timelines in urban neighborhoods, gun possession has consistently increased violence, not deterred it. In well armed areas (Mexico, Chicago), deaths have gone up, not down.

As the NRA plays “what if” people are dying–overwhelming, incontrovertible proof that the arugment is specious and self-serving. How many have to die before this argument’s empty logic is condemned as wrong?

Since people kill people (not guns!), let’s take guns, at least weapons of mass destruction sold at weekend gun fairs, at store walk-up counters, on over the internet out of the hands of people. Let’s regulate people! No extended clips and semi-automatics. National registration. What if we as a country did implement these people controls? Because the logic of the current “what if” is isn’t working, never has, and is empty as a mass murder’s clip.

II.

Confiscation. That’s a dark conspiracy that ignores reality. There are solid reasons–and overwhelming examples (the I-95 gun pipeline to urban Eastern cities, the Southwest massive gun purchases that end up in the hands of Mexico’s gangs–the purchases not only legal, but untraceable, which put our agents at risk–these are real!) for registration. The notion of “confiscation” is a favorite “what if,” and ignores the legislative steps, bureaucacy, and demonstrated need–and there is none! “Righty” assumes not only logical connection, but eminent cause.

I oppose federalizing and making possession uniform as a function of big government. I live in South Carolina. I can see legitmate reasons and differences for its gun laws and those in New York or Illinois (or Maine and Montana!)

My famiy has hunted, owned guns for four generations. I have news photos of my father’s African-American hunting club having an integrated hunt with another club. My brother is a retired police officer, rated expert, and a fire arms instructor. But we see the need to regulate the growing numbers of people who seek the opportunity of gun ownership as a chance to be irresponsible and play out even more dangerous and deadly “what ifs.”

About walterrhett

Walter Rhett is a New York Times verified commenter. He writes "Digging Deeper," a blog for Democrats for Progress and his blog, "Walter Rhett" appears in the San Francisco Examiner. The Oxford Dictionary follows him on twitter.
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