Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You have no idea what "availability" means

Tough times in Chicago lately. In the last six months, 20 public school students have been killed in various shootings, 9 people were shot and killed last weekend in various shootings, and now 5 people have been found killed in a house. I will go ahead and speculate that those 5 people were shot as well.

I always smirk when I hear a common argument that anti-gun types use to explain all this, and that argument is "the availability of guns." The Brady Center and the Violence Policy Center make it seem as if guns are just lying in the streets, and you can pick one up at your leisure. If you are a law-abiding citizen, do you know how difficult it is to purchase a gun nowadays? Let me tell you how it was in the old days.

I always remember an anecdote my father once told me, and Dad, I know you read this blog, so if I have totally flubbed this up, feel free to write in and set me straight. My father, who was born in 1941, spent his childhood in Oklahoma; he moved to California in time to start junior high. He once told me of a hardware store in his little hometown that had a barrel full of 1911A .45 caliber pistols - surplus from World War II. You could just dip your little ol' hand into that barrel, grab a pistol, and take it up to the counter: no background check, no forms to fill out, just go on your merry way with your new hand cannon. Miraculously, there were no murder sprees or spates of wanton killing taking place during that time. What changed? I don't have the time or the energy to go into the sociological, pharmaceutical, and psychological reasons for the increase in our country's murder rate (and crime rate for that matter) since the days of my father's childhood. However, I can assure you that one factor that doesn't play a role is the "availability of guns." Contrary to what the anti-gun nuts want you to believe, guns are not nearly as available as they used to be. It is the willingness to use the guns for illicit purposes that has gone up enormously, and the increased unavailability of guns for law-abiding citizens to use in order to defend themselves from our nation's predators.

Good Day to You, Sir


Matthew K. Tabor said...

I received a .410 shotgun from my older brother as an 11th birthday present. I suppose I've defied all the odds by not committing a crime with it yet!

Law and Order Teacher said...

It sounds like a war zone. I know that Iraq is a tough comparison, but I am always appalled that about 20,000 Americans are killed every year. We don't hear a thing about that. What the heck is the deal?