Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What a gun ban would "accomplish"

There are more than a few advocates of a complete ban on handguns (with or without a concurrent ban on semi-automatic long guns). Some of the proposals to ban handguns would "only" affect semi-autos, leaving revolvers alone. In other words, the details of these proposals vary, but they all sure the common goal of an outright prohibition on private ownership of a broad variety of firearms.

In discussing the "merits" and drawbacks of such proposals, I won't even touch on the most damnning problem--that they would grossly violate a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right. That's an issue for another discussion. Instead, the goal here is to look at the practical effects of implementing such a ban (for the sake of this discussion, call it a ban on all handguns--but the details of this hypothetical ban's features are not really important).

I will also ignore the tremendous difficulty ("impossibility" is probably a more accurate word for it) of rounding up the (very approximately) 80 to 90 million handguns already in the U.S., and the gross injustice of forcing people to surrender possessions that were completely legal when they were bought (maybe that difficulty could be addressed with a massive, mandatory "gun buy back," costing billions of dollars). We're pretending that even all the illegally owned handguns, owned by people who, by definition, are criminals (and thus extremely unlikely to be very cooperative about surrendering their guns), are collected. In short, let us assume that not a single handgun exists in private possession, legally or illegally.

How long do you suppose this "happy" (for the gun fearing crowd) state of affairs would last? Probably about as long as Ted Kennedy's average period of uninterrupted sobriety (not very bloody long, in other words). This can be easily seen by looking at the vast quantities of illicit drugs smuggled into this country every day. The smugglers would be more than happy to expand their business (and thus their profits). They already have the infrastructure--the criminal distribution channels, set up. Even better, they already have a customer base established, as drug dealers are always going to want firepower to defend their turf from rivals.

So, what have we done? We have created a brand new black market, with all the problems associated with black markets. We have added greatly to the wealth and power of smugglers. We have moved commerce in handguns from the tightly regulated legal market to the entirely unregulated illegal market. Finally, we have made certain that the only handguns on the streets are owned by criminals, the very people whose possession of firearms poses a threat--"If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns," has become a cliche, but that makes it no less accurate.

Great. Well done. For our next act, maybe we could combat global warming--by inducing nuclear winter.