It didn't take too long after the murders in the movie theater for the usual suspects to begin calling for some kind of ban on guns. Here in my city of residence, that call came from local gadfly Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee.
Breton half-heartedly tries to sound reasonable, saying "I don't want to take away your gun, so please spare me your Second Amendment screeds." No, he only wants to ban "assault weapons," but in the end, he sings the same old tune.
First off, Mr. Breton, please define for me what an "assault weapon" is. As Dennis Prager always insists: we need clarity before agreement.
Not that I would agree with Mr. Breton even if we had clarity. Here is how he couches his argument regarding "assault weapons":
The AR-15 was initially designed for U.S. armed forces. According to the Associated Press, Holmes' weapon allegedly had "a high-capacity, drum-style magazine … some range from carrying 50-90 rounds apiece." Such a weapon is designed to kill large numbers of people quickly – in combat. That's it. So why are they sold legally to civilians under any circumstances?I'll tell you why: Because civilians have the God-given right to defend themselves from not only nut jobs like James Holmes, but from the tyranny of our own government. Now, now - I can hear some of your eyes rolling already. If you think I am being overly dramatic, kindly remind yourself how the United States became the United States in the first place: We rose up against the tyranny of our central government (which at the time was King George III and Parliament). We rose up and killed British soldiers, and we used weapons that were equal, and even superior, to the weapons the British soldiers had.
Again, throughout Breton's screed, he tries to sound reasonable. He tries to emphasize that he is familiar with all the arguments that people like me (who only listen to the NRA according to him) use to support the keeping and bearing of arms. The problem is that Breton badly contradicts himself. Early in his screed, he says:
This isn't an argument about legislating ourselves into a better world. Many of us know that we can't eliminate danger in our lives. We can't send our kids to the movies with a guarantee they will come home safely. We can't stop emotionally detached and spiritually vacant misanthropes from killing us where we live. And you know what else? Many of us know about the epidemic of illegal guns and how gun-control laws often are obeyed only by law-abiding people while criminals keep stockpiling weapons and killing people.So, Breton acknowledges - in so many words - that if guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns. And yet, at the end of his anti-Second Amendement screed, Breton makes it clear that he apparently wants only outlaws to have guns:
As a culture, we're always preaching personal responsibility. Why can't we insist on more responsibility in the gun culture? No one is arguing that any and all public massacres can be prevented. Even without an AR-15 involved, people still likely would have been killed in Aurora. But maybe not as many people would have been killed. Maybe if it were harder to be a gun owner – if there were a federal assault weapons ban, longer waiting periods, stricter psychological evaluations linked to gun ownership – there would be fewer gun victims.So Breton acknowledges that only law-abiding people abide by gun laws, and yet he wants to make it harder for law-abiding people to keep and bear arms. Seriously, Mr. Breton? The Bee is not a high school newspaper, yet your column sounds like it was written by a student who works for one. This is because the level of your analysis on this subject reaches only to that maturity level.
Let me explain this to you like you're a four year-old, Mr. Breton. The bad guys are going to get any kind of gun they want, and they will willingly break any gun law to get it. If James Holmes wasn't afraid to walk into a movie theater and break Colorado's murder and attempted murder laws 80+ times over, do you really think he is going to shed even one bead of sweat breaking any gun laws that are designed to keep "assault weapons" out of people's hands?
But don't just listen to me, listen to the great Thomas Jefferson, who said the same thing in a much more eloquent manner than I:
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.I own what you would consider an "assault weapon," Mr. Breton. Come and take it.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson