Monday, May 07, 2007

Permitted to carry?

A generally pro-gun friend of mine recently told me that he doesn't feel there is a problem with concealed carry permits being necessary to carry a gun. We argued for awhile, and his main arguments were that some people shouldn't carry, the world of the founders was different, people don't educate themselves enough, and that he didn't feel there is a constitutional right to carry a handgun.
Well, since those are all common arguments, I should probably address them here.

"Some people should not be allowed to carry." - This argument often revolves around criminal records and general competency. As far as the criminal record goes, one must ask why we've released anyone we feel is a threat to public safety. If we haven't done that, why do we strip these people of the fundamental right to self-protection? Are we trying to put them through another punishment? In any case, anyone who has done the time should be considered adequately punished or rehabilitated, depending on your views.
If we use competency as our measure, we must ask what the standard is. Someone willing to carry should be willing to train without being told. Of course, I assume we're talking about competency with the weapon, since someone mentally unfit should have a caretaker. Back on topic, though, a test to be sure a person is able to use their weapon seems reasonable until you go about deciding the standard. A derringer is generally used in extremely close quarters and can be difficult to use even at standard pistol ranges, while someone with a high-end 1911 has far better odds at ranges exceeding standard self-defense range. Knowing how our government works, you can be sure that the test would eventually be something an Olympic-class shooter might do with a high-end gun, leaving people with small, concealable weapons unable to get a permit. Even if you think they'll pick something fair, you'll have some believing it is too difficult and others finding it far too easy, leaving it constantly up for debate.

"The founders didn't foresee modern firearms/situations" - They didn't foresee the internet, either. What they did do, though, is promise not to limit the people's rights. Early Americans had access to the best arms of their time. Some will quickly remind everyone that they were living in a world where wild animals were more common, and they might easily need to defend themselves from a cougar or bear. Of course, we might easily need to defend ourselves from thugs, terrorists, and the like. Should we allow these modern critters to go unchecked?
Others cite the modern police force as a reason not to carry. The police, as I am sure I have written before, cannot be expected to defend you. They respond to the crime, then try to catch the criminal. Meanwhile, you have already been victimized.

"People wouldn't educate themselves." - Some love to point out that people will often take the path of least resistance. They won't learn how to properly handle their guns and deaths will follow. Well, as long as we're forcing children to go to school, why not bring back gun safety classes? Of course, I am a bit of an optimist, and believe that anyone being trusted with a firearm can be trusted to handle it properly. I know that I am sometimes proven wrong, but it isn't as if we can truly prevent all tragedies. We work hard to educate drivers, but there are accidents every day, many of them easily preventable (look at all the attempts we make to warn people about drinking and driving). Part of liberty is responsibility. We should punish those who misuse their rights. If someone negligently discharges a firearm, they'll be punished.

"The Constitution does not give the right to [non-military weapons/military weapons/non-sporting firearms/handguns/other weapons]" - The way I've written this statement, it's true. The right is not granted by the Constitution. The Second Amendment merely acknowledges a preexisting human right and promises that it will not be infringed by the government. Of course, this is not what they are talking about.
Those who say that the government can restrict weapons that serve no military purpose have the 2A rights almost pegged. After all, the idea is that we can keep tyrants from taking the country, whether they come from within or abroad. Of course, the problem is deciding what can and cannot serve a military purpose. After all, any weapon could be useful properly deployed, and virtually any weapon could be rendered almost useless if improperly deployed. Each person should be allowed to decide which weapons serve a purpose they might need.
Those who deny us the weapons of the military deny the single most important purpose of bearing arms. These people make it sound like a service, making sure that only military and law enforcement personnel have access to these "dangerous weapons." As a herd, we accept the inability to have fully automatic weapons, silencers, and other such tools. Of course, these are the very tools we would want if it ever came down to resisting tyranny.
The very idea of a ban on all "non-sporting" firearms is absurd. There is no right to hunt in the Bill of Rights, and the idea of defining "sporting" is absurd. After all, some hunt with bows, some with black powder, others with ARs. Almost any definition of "sporting" would be sure to eliminate the very guns it would theoretically preserve.
Handguns, of course, are the best carry weapon, which scares a lot of antis. They'd prefer to disarm us and assure us we're safer. The fundamental right to self-defense, though, is the easiest way to defend handguns. They are the surest way for a 98-year-old woman to be equal to a 20-year-old thug.

There are, of course, many other arguments than these. I have written far more than enough for one post already, though.

1 comment:

Hammer said...

excellent points. Most people are like your friend. they think laws actually stop bad people from carrying guns. Actually they just stop good people from having the best means of self defense readily available.