It’s better than a pointy stick

In discussions about stopping power as opposed to convenience, anything less than Jim DiGriz’s .75 recoiless pistol is grudgingly labeled as being better than a pointy stick.  Some years ago, I read a discussion on a gun board about the idea of carrying cap-and-ball revolvers for self-defense, and beyond one hilarious anecdote about a would-be attacker who had a sudden change of heart about his career choices when confronted by an eight-inch octagonal barrel at the business end of a hogleg, the consensus was that black powder is something best left at the range or during muzzle-loading season.

Another use acknowledged was for people in jurisdictions that make more modern firearms difficult or impossible to obtain.  And Britain provides a real-world example of this.  The gun laws of that country make our worst states look almost permissive.  But antiques are still legal, including some cartridge guns, and criminal gangs are getting a hold of and distributing them, along with ammunition.  While Britain is frequently cited as being much safer than the United States, violent crime with firearms do still occur.

The rate of these is small, but we have to recall that the United Kingdom has long had a lower homicide rate, running at a few hundred to almost a thousand total murders in a given year over the last 120 years.  And guns have long been viewed there as something that hunters or soldiers need, not something that ordinary people would routinely carry around.

But the fact that criminals, even in a society that has a limited and small demand for guns, are getting armed shows the impossibility of controlling firearms in America.  Britain is estimated as having some four million guns in private hands, legal and illegal.  By contrast, in 2013, the estimate of just the legal guns owned by citizens of the United States was 357 million, and given the sales since then, that number may have topped four hundred million.  This total constitutes an abundant and durable supply, and with a large part of them, we have no way of knowing for sure who has them now, given the good choice we’ve made on the federal level and in most states not to register firearms.

And if by magic, guns were removed entirely from this country, replacing them would be a simple matter.  The United States has some 7,500 miles of land borders and over 12,000 miles of coastline.  How would guns get brought in? Take as one example the submarines used by drug smugglers.  Since they’re machines made of common materials, guns are hard to sniff out unless they’ve been handled or fired, so sneaking in contraband guns can be as simple as packing them in boxes of engine parts.

The experience of Britain illustrates the madness that is gun control.  This message is one we have to hit home again and again until it’s accepted.  Gun control is about controlling good people.  Once we understand that, the debate becomes so much clearer.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of