The Best Kind of Gun Control

Jonathan Paine

Twitter is a place where you expect to find ridiculous things. Including, but not limited to, an alarming amount of news stories, the mayor of San Juan wearing custom made t-shirts in the middle of a natural disaster, and pictures of cats doing yoga.

However, as I was scrolling today, I came across what has to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen on Twitter. Right up there with #squigglebrows (do yourself a favor and don’t search it).

At the top of the ridiculous charts was an article in response to the Las Vegas shooting – 

To anyone who has read the Constitution, or anything else from our Founding Fathers, the ridiculousness will be apparent on the surface. The author clearly has very different definitions for the words “simple” and “constitutional”. Not to mention his perception of the word “protect”.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Amendment II.

The historical basis for the 2nd Amendment makes it very clear why our Founders thought it was so vital. The right to self-preservation was a natural right. The 2nd Amendment does not give us that right, it merely tells government “hands off”.

The right to self-preservation (to keep and bear arms) is the right that protects all of our other rights. Your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (property) are to be protected by the government. However, when the government fails in its duty, that is where your right to self-preservation comes into play.

The Founders believed in this so strongly that they made it clear this right “shall not be infringed.” I don’t know about the author, but the words “shall not” seem pretty straightforward.

2 Guns Per Person

Now that we have the real purpose of the 2nd Amendment, I’d like to examine some of the author’s arguments. But first, let me be clear that I do not impugn the author’s motives in any way. I believe he has a sincere heart and a desire to do good. However, sincerity of desire does not necessarily result in a correct argument.

“What we need are tougher and smarter rules that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, while still allowing law-abiding, rule-following people to arm themselves.”

It almost seems trite to say it, since it’s been repeated so often, yet it is still true – bad guys do not obey laws. It appears that the Vegas murderer obtained most of his guns legally. However, even if “tougher and smarter” (implying the current laws are lenient and dumb…?) laws were put in place, there would still be ways to get around them.

We have laws against murder. The Vegas murderer did not obey those laws.

It is a sad fact of life, but evil people will always find ways to be evil Whether it’s a knife, a pressure cooker, a van, or a pair of underwear, evil people corrupt what is good and useful.

And the solution to that is not to limit the ability of the good guys to defend themselves.

“We’ve never had a federal law that says you can only own so many guns.”

Perhaps the author should stop and consider, in the 241 years of America’s existence, there may be a reason we’ve never had a federal law like that. Perhaps it’s because 1) it’s unconstitutional and 2) it’s completely impractical.

If they government can regulate how many guns you own because guns are dangerous, this opens a very large can of worms. We’ve already shown cars, knives, pressure cookers, etc. are dangerous. Where will this stop? If we limit the number of dangerous items you can own, better check your drawer to make sure you don’t have more than 2 pairs of scissors.

Would the author’s proposal be expo facto? Would the gun owners of America have to surrender any “superfluous” firearms in order to get down to the magic number 2 per person? Maybe we could redistribute all the “extra” firearms to those who don’t have any? Would the federal government have the time and money to enforce this proposal? Would the federal government go door to door inspecting gun cabinets and closets of every home in America to insure compliance? What would the punishment be for non-compliance?

Just a few questions before we go changing 241 years of American policy.

“But here in 2017, how many firearms does the average American need to competently defend her residence? For whom would, say, a 10-shot semi-automatic pistol and a six-round 12-gauge pump action shotgun not suffice for home defense?”

That’s a great question. But I’d like to take it a step further. Who’s ever heard of a home break-in with 16 intruders? Isn’t it a bit overboard for the author to suggest that someone would ever need 16 rounds of anything? Why not just have a shotgun limited to 2 rounds? Or one?

You see the problem here. the author’s numbers are completely arbitrary. Few people I know can shoot 2 guns at a time with any accuracy. So why would they need 2 guns? Why 10 rounds? 6 rounds? 1 round? What is necessary?

The answer is, it depends. And that’s the beauty of freedom. Each person is allowed to decide what and how much they need to protect their family.

“Let me put that another way: Why shouldn’t we require someone who wants to own more than two firearms, and who isn’t legally in the gun business,

-to file an application?

-Send some paperwork to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives;

-submit fingerprints and a photo; and

-send in a $200 fee along with the make, model, and number of additional weapons you’d like to purchase (and eventually their serial numbers).

-You would agree to undergo a thorough criminal, domestic violence, and mental health background check,

-knowing that if a permit to purchase additional firearms were granted, such a background check would be performed every six months (to ensure the applicant hadn’t fallen into a prohibited category of gun owner).

-Finally, and most important, the reason for requesting additional firearms would be stated on the application.”

Now we get to the meat of the author’s proposal. It seems Americans only need 2 guns. But if they felt they needed another one, let’s create a ton of bureaucratic red tape, paperwork, and headaches to make it as difficult as possible. Let’s invade the privacy of decent Americans who are willing to put in the ridiculous amount of time and effort to get another gun.

Meanwhile, the bad guys who have an intent to kill, are purchasing whatever they want, and however much they want out of the back of an ‘68 Cadillac in a dark alley.

I also like how it’s a $200 fee. Yet another completely arbitrary number.

“Whether or not you agree with this idea, it’s plainly correct that neither the Second Amendment nor any other part of the Constitution stands in the way of policy proposals like this one.”

Anytime someone says something is “plainly correct” I like to stop and determine whether it’s quite as plain and correct as they seem to think. Due to the author’s apparent misunderstanding of some other words, I can’t help but doubt the above statement.

Yes, the 2nd Amendment stands in direct and strident opposition to proposals like this. For all of the above reason plus one more – the proposal does not address the real problem – the heart of man.

Our Founding Fathers knew that freedom can only exist in a society of religion and morality.

“[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.” ~John Adams

(More quote here)

We can’t change other people. We can only change ourselves. And through that change, you will see the lives of others impacts for good.

The best kind of gun control, the only kind that will actually work, is self control.


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