Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Guns don't make anyone safer

This may be a long one...

Here is all of the background information concerning William Morva, the suspected shooter of a law enforcement officer, and how VA Tech was frozen in fear due to his being "on the loose" in or near the campus.

The incident spawned a series of arguments related to gun regulation. One example was the editorial I responded to last week. Now, another editorial comes out supposedly putting to rest all of our silly "gun rights advocate" ideas. He's responding to a submission by Bradford Wiles titled Imagine if Students Were Armed.

"In my 55 years I've read a lot of newspapers and watched a lot of news on TV, and I just have not seen many reports of incidents where private citizens packing handguns have defended themselves or prevented crimes. I'm sure those incidents do occur, but I'm equally sure they don't occur in meaningful numbers."

Well, I guess that settles that, right? I mean, since you don't hear about it on CNN or EVEN FOX NEWS (*gasp*), it must not ever happen, right? Well, not in meaningful numbers, surely. Let's see... You can pick up an American Rifleman and read about half a dozen or so such incidents every month. You could check Keep and Bear Arms for daily reports of citizens lawfully defending themselves. You could even (and I know this is hard) do your own Google search to find examples of this. Of course, that still won't find all the occurrences because many, if not most incidents where a law-abiding citizen uses a gun (most often not even firing it, let alone killing anyone) go unreported. The Gary Kleck study showed that there are approximately two million defensive gun uses (DGU's) per year by law abiding citizens. Would you consider that a "meaningful number?" [Update: Check out Clayton Cramer’s Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog, for near daily uses of handguns for self-defense. Hat tip to SayUncle.]

"In contrast, we read every day of incidents where private, usually law-abiding citizens use too readily available guns with tragic consequences -- emotionally charged domestic disputes, alcohol-related disputes, road rage and, rarely, misguided attempts at private law enforcement."

Since you read about it every day, I'd like a half dozen examples each of where otherwise law-abiding citizens (especially concealed carry permit holders) use their firearms unlawfully and with tragic consequences in road-rage incidents, domestic disputes, and (where did this come from?) "misguided attempts at private law enforcement". I won't hold my breath.

"In response to Wile's implied question: Yes. I do expect you to rely, as everyone else does, on trained law enforcement rather than on yourself, with a gun."

I don't really care what you "expect" me to do. I know my rights. You just keep telling yourself that the police will always be there to protect you. Don’t bother to read about all of the unanswered 911 calls [2] [3], dismissed as prank 911 calls, or the court’s upholding the fact that police do not have an obligation to protect individuals.

"I feel better knowing that my daughter, a college student, does not have a gun and does not need a gun largely because her college, like Virginia Tech, prohibits them on college grounds."

I don't care how you "feel", and it is just plain stupid to think that VT's prohibition of guns would keep someone (by definition a criminal) from using one to harm your daughter.

"As soon as you put any person on that prohibited list, you're recognizing that the Second Amendment cannot be an absolute unbridled right for every individual to 'bear arms.'"

That's the first quasi-logical thing you've said. That's why I agree with those who believe that anyone who can't be trusted with a gun can't be trusted without a custodian.

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