Guns; as a weapon, they can be both a potent killer and a protective guardian. They can intimidate someone into doing as you wish, or protect a person like spikes protect a porcupine, by telling the hostile that you’re armed and to back off. And like most other weapons, whether it serves as a protective aegis or a terror threat is entirely up to the wielder. The weapon is an inanimate object, and the form of its power is entirely in the intent of its wielder. And it is this power that restrictive gun laws attempt to nullify. They intend to level the playing field, such that killers and victims alike both lack weapons. But do these laws really work?
Firstly, we should definite what restrictive gun laws are. They are, in essence, laws put into place that deems the possession, use and sale of firearms illegal. Be it a shotgun, rifle or a mere handgun, the possession or use of these weapons would be enough to throw a person into the slammer for several years whatever the reason (unless you’re a top secret government spy), under the influence of restrictive gun laws. Other weapons, like swords, cans of mace, and tazers shall not be considered at all in this debate. They’re not part of restrictive gun laws, and thus should not be a part of this debate (and therefore we shall assume that the use and possession of these items are still legal).
Now, when we debate restrictive gun laws, we first have to understand how guns are used in the context of victim and assailant. If the usage of guns in the morally-correct defensive way is more prominent, then guns shouldn’t be banned, correct? Unfortunately, this is rarely the case; let me explain why.
Firstly, guns are used more often by assailants than victims, simply because of the psychological block that one has to overcome in order to fire a gun. Simply put, it takes a kind of courage to point a gun at someone and to pull that trigger requires a whole different level of courage altogether. And whilst the many armed victims are quick to aim their guns at their assailants, are they really ready to pull the trigger? Most people are faced with many moral conundrums in the use of firearms in self-defense. Is this against the law? Will I regret taking a human life? Do I know how to use the gun properly and ensure it doesn’t backfire? These are quandaries that the assailants won’t have and thus the assailants are likelier, and quicker, to fire on the draw.
Can we also trust citizens not to abuse the power of firearms, and to use them in a safe, responsible manner? Many killings are done so in a moment of emotion; a second of rage, a hint of jealousy, a fit of anger coupled with a firearm, can be a regretfully lethal situation. This is the power that firearms bring, the power over another’s life, and is it really possible to leave such power in the hands of the complexities and flaws of human nature?
Restrictive gun laws will remove this power from the hands of the people; both from assailant and victim. This will eventually reduce the amount of fatalities. Victims will not accidentally misfire, assailants will be less likely to pull out a gun to threaten and injure/kill someone, and fatalities will be lessened all around. (I mean, the worst that can happen without firearms is a stun gun in the ribs or mace in the eyes. Or a full-out brawl. Still painful, but not fatal.)
Now if I may be frank, time to address the numerous and somewhat nonsensical arguments that are keeping these laws from being passed.
The most common theory is that restricting guns wouldn’t really stop the murderers and whatnot from acquiring weapons; after all, there’ll still be a black market, and only these hardened criminals know where to find them, right? And then, whilst the criminals have guns, the poor common Joe on the street will be left defenseless and vulnerable.
But let’s face reality. Other than the fact that few people on the street actually have the moral fabric required to pull the trigger like mentioned earlier, but most fatalities occur not during organized crime, but from the afore-mentioned fit of emotional outburst. Accidental killings happen all the time, and by the very same common Joe we’re trying to protect. People who don’t know anything about the black market and by removing firearms from the common market, we’re helping to ensure these accidental killings don’t happen.
And as for organized crime? Seriously, guys, if the mafia wants you dead, you’re probably either highly skilled at evasion and hiding, or already dead. Organized crime has a largely superior treasury and manpower, so whether firearms are on or off the market, the common man on the street won’t stand a chance either way. Guns or no guns, it won’t matter when you’re ambushed by a group of 10 or more men, they’ll overwhelm you even if you have a gun and all they have is sticks and bats.
The other argument is that this is all a government conspiracy to leave power only in the hands of the government, who’ll control the military and espionage teams who are the only ones allowed to carry these firearms. And as to these people, I say ‘seriously guys……’. The power of the government lies in the hands of the people; the people choose and empower the government, for without consensus they can’t do anything. Think about it; if everyone decides today that America doesn’t exist, that there’s no such thing as an American citizen, and simply walks out on their own government (including the military personnel), what power will the government have then?
So, when are restrictive gun laws about to be banned? Before the power of guns claim more lives, perhaps?