Limiting gun ownership will only embolden criminals

January 26, 2013

The arguments for gun control or gun confiscation basically boil down to this: If guns were illegal, they would not be available. If they weren't available, people like that crazy killer in Connecticut would not be able to use them.

This assumes that a crazy psychopathic killer, hell-bent on murder, would let an obstacle like finding a gun legally stop him. This is absurd. A crazy psychopathic killer, by definition, has decided that he must do his evil deed, and indeed is even entitled to do it. There will be an underground market for guns, if they are outlawed, just as presently there is an underground black market for marijuana, heroin and cocaine.

In order to understand the fallacy underlying gun control, you have to understand the nature of criminals and criminal psychology. (Dr. Stanton Samenow’s book “Inside the Criminal Mind” does a brilliant job of this in layperson’s terms.) You can’t assume that these killers are for the most part semi-reasonable, although troubled souls who rush out to the gun equivalent of a convenience store, mostly on impulse, to purchase their gun. If this purchase were made more difficult or impossible, the implied reasoning goes, this poor troubled soul would refrain from his violent actions.

Many cannot understand, or perhaps don't want to understand or come to grips with, the nature of evil. It's admittedly disturbing to try and do so. But this is no excuse for eliminating the right of the nonviolent, noncriminal majority to protect themselves from violence by making it harder or impossible for them to purchase weapons for self-defense.

Look at it this way, even if you do not care to own a gun yourself. Do you want to live in a world where a violent criminal knows that all the nonviolent, noncriminals out there are disarmed? Do you think this will actually alleviate crime or contribute to its rise?

Back in the days of Prohibition, people who wanted to drink still got their alcohol. Outlawing alcohol didn't do a thing to change society, other than make society more dangerous and give the government and police more to do.

Similarly, the "war on drugs" has done nothing to eliminate or even reduce addiction to heroin, cocaine or marijuana. It turns people who enjoy or abuse these drugs into criminals, but it doesn't change their behavior one bit.

We could decriminalize drug users’ behavior tomorrow and that would end the dangerous black market for drugs, as well as give the government much less to do, allowing it to focus on really important things like - oh, I don't know, capturing terrorists, thieves or murderers. And decriminalizing that behavior would not do a thing to change the nature or extent of all the substance addiction problems out there. Those would go on just as before, no more or no less - perhaps a bit less, if anything.

It's the same with gun ownership. Some who support gun control view gun ownership as something akin to, if not worse than, abuse of heroin and cocaine. They seem to think that if the government outlawed guns tomorrow, and took them away from peaceful people, that criminals would somehow be pressured or even shamed into not killing. It's just not so.

I guarantee that if guns are outlawed in the near future, you're going to see lots of changes in the lives of the peaceful, but not a bit of change in the minds and behaviors of the violent. In fact, I fear that violence will grow, if anything, because the violent will now know the peaceful are disarmed, with only a police force of limited resources to defend them.

Michael J. Hurd, PhD
Rehoboth Beach

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