Defend a policy which disarms victims...

Yeah, I know, but what the heck, I’m bored!

Hypothesis:[list=1][li]The number of potential criminal victims is far greater than the number of people who are willing to violate law and custom to take what belongs to another (material goods, dignity, etc.)[/li]
[li]Potential criminals are only slightly less concerned with their own well-being than anyone else.[/li]
[li]A law which requires people to surrender (or forego) a means of defending themselves will be complied with by those inclined to obey the law, and disregarded (or circumvented) by those not so inclined.[/list=1]Assertion:[list=1]The presence of such a law does nothing to protect those who obey it.[/li]
[li]Potential criminals are actually aided by such a law due to the fact that potential victims are (generally) rendered less able to discourage criminal acts against themselves or others.[/list=1]Given the above, defend such a law as (vaguely) suggested above.[/li]
Be merciful – I’m tired and bored and don’t have the luxury of thinking this out better. I ask the above question partly to help figure out where I stand on the subject – and how better to articulate what I believe about it.


[sup]What is the hypothesis-theory-law chain anyway? It’s been a while since I learned about this sort of thing.[/sup]

The good guys won’t accidentally hurt themselves. Nor will they be able to hurt the bad guys so the net result is less people getting hurt. Right?

On your assumptions:

  1. No. The number of potential victims and the number of potential criminals is the same. But certainly there are more victims than criminals.

  2. No. I would imagine criminals are rather more concerned with their own well-being than other people, because they work in a dangerous industry.

  3. This is true by definition.

I will suggest how a law like this might be defended.

Criminals do not go armed for the hell of it. Guns are heavy and expensive. They expose you to more serious charges if you are caught. Criminals will decide whether they are appropriate for the job or not. If you are a bank-robber then you’ll carry a gun. If you are a housebreaker your decision to carry a gun will depend on how much you think it enhances your safety. In other words criminals do a crude benefit/ cost calculation. Banning guns would clearly affect both the costs and benefits of a criminal carrying a gun.

If my house (in Australia) is burgled tonight the criminal will not be carrying a gun. One of the reasons for this is that the criminal is pretty sure any home owner he encounters will not be carrying a gun and that in chasing him the police will not assume he is carrying a gun. Therefore carrying a gun is an added risk and an added expensive for the criminal. If my neighbours started arming themselves I would feel that they were doing so at the expense of my security because criminals would respond by arming themselves.

A lot of weapons used for crime are acquired from someone owning it “for protection”. Sometimes, that same weapon is used to kill the owner.

Well all I can say, without trying to seem smug, is that in the UK there are way fewer guns in circulation partly because there is not an easy source for them such as legal gun owners.
There are far fewer gun crimes and gun murders per capita in the UK and the victims are not demanding easy access to guns to defend themselves.

All those illegally held weapons came from somewhere and I’ll be willing to suppose that most were legally held at one time by somebody.

If someone wants a gun enough over here then they can get one but the jail time involved is very large and anyway robbers have found that they don’t really need them.

Baloo- Gun Control Laws do not have to reduce Crime- they never have & they never will. They have only one piece of "logic’ to them- “Guns are EVIL- thus any law that reduces the number of guns must be good”.

We debated this out in Unclebeers gun registration Thread- where the best thing any GunControl supporter could say way “Well, it will reduce the number of guns out there- there are too many of them”. (I slightly oversimplify- they did manage to show that a Good solid gun registration law would help convict really stupid criminals in maybe one crime in 10,000).

I am being sarcastic- but sadly it is true. “Guns are evil”, “The only purpose a gun has is to kill”. They beleive this. Thus- guns cannot help the victems.

casdave- you cannot compare the USA with England. If you do- you will have to explain why Switzerland, where every able-bodied male MUST keep a fully-auto assault rifle in his home or business- has a MUCH lower violent crime rate than GB. And very few terrorist bombings, to boot.

I was about to make a long reply to picmr’s post, but that would have turned it into just another gun control thread (and we’ve had too many of those). Instead, I’ll simply point out that, yes, there is plenty of arguments against the points you brought up. Ain’t that always the way? :smiley:

Anyway, the best way to defend a law like the one vaguely referred to in the OP would be to tone down the notion of “Criminals stronger, victims weaker”, and instead play off the whole “We’re doing this for your own good!” angle.

One factor that needs to be kept in mind as regards gun control in the US, is that there are already millions of guns in circulation. Making their ownership illegal makes automatic felons of millions of otherwise law-abiding people.

How do we remove these millions from circulation? House to house searches? What do we do about the immediate disparity in force levels between the law abiding who give up their guns and the criminals who do not?

Bernie Goetz, a case in point. Got mugged, applied for a gun permit, was denied. Carried a gun anyway, and used it to defend himself against four robbers. Got arrested (and sued). The jury found him innocent of everything except illegal ownership of a gun. In other words, he genuinely needed the gun to protect himself against what the jury agreed was a legitimate threat (one robber stated specifically to the police officer who found him “We was robbing this white guy, and he shot us”). But he should not have been allowed to have the gun he needed.

Who deserved punishment in that case? The person whose only crime was in having the means necessary to defend himself? Or the four twits who attempted to rob him?

Keep in mind that the only one of the four who attempted the mugging who has not subsequently been convicted of an unrelated felony was the paralyzed one. Contrast the crime reduction of the shooting with the crime reduction supposed to be brought about by the Sullivan laws of NYC.


Not taking sides here, either way, okay? Just having fun turning this into an extended metaphor, for Baloo’s amusement]

On Mars, there is gold. The people who live on Mars like gold. They keep it under the bed. You get gold on Mars by digging it out of the rock. Some people don’t want to work for their gold, they would rather steal it. The Martians who dig their own gold are called the Good Guys, the ones who steal it are called Bad Guys.

There is a way for the Good Guys to defend themselves. They can use some of their gold to buy a Rottweiler, which lives under the bed, next to the gold, and leaps out and kills any Bad Guy who tries to steal the Good Guy’s gold. Up till now, the Bad Guys have not generally bothered trying to rob Good Guys whom they knew to be harboring Rottweilers under the bed. There were always easier pickings elsewhere, and it’s easy to find out who has Rottweilers and who doesn’t–the large economy-sized dog turds in the back yard are usually a dead giveaway. (There’s also a thriving market in fake Rottweiler turds, which private security firms will come to your house and install.) Not all the Good Guys are comfortable having a large slavering beast living under the bed. It is usually these Good Guys who have their gold stolen.

The Bad Guys don’t use Rottweilers themselves, because it’s a pain in the butt having to look after a big dog like that, and besides, all they do is wait under the bed and jump out at people, right? So how would you use it, anyway?

Now the Martian government passes a law making it illegal for anyone to own a Rottweiler. Why? Because the Martian government has decided that from now on, duly authorized representatives of the Martian government will make themselves available to prevent the Bad Guys from stealing gold from the Good Guys, and if they fail at that, then at least they will try to get the gold back that the Bad Guys stole, and punish the Bad Guys who stole it.

So, from now on, if a Good Guy wakes up in the middle of the night and sees a Bad Guy standing next to his bed, stealing his gold, he’s not supposed to do anything except reach over to his bedside table and push the red button that summons the duly authorized representatives of the Martian government, who will then presumably deal with the situation.

Provided, of course, that the Bad Guy’s Rottweiler hasn’t torn the Good Guy’s throat out before he can press the red button. See, the Bad Guys, being Bad Guys, decide they don’t care how many laws the Martian government passes, saying nobody can own a Rottweiler, so they go ahead and equip themselves with Rottweilers–it’s the principle of the thing. And some enterprising Bad Guy figures out how to use them as Offense, not Defense, and tells all his friends, and the next thing you know, there are Rottweiler puppy mills all over the place. And Mars being a big place, and the duly authorized representatives of the Martian government being few and far between, the Bad Guys have no trouble at all in keeping their Rottweilers hidden, out in the Outback.

The Good Guys, being Good Guys, have virtuously divested themselves of all their Rottweilers, with the result that more and more Good Guys are having their gold stolen every week. The red button turns out to be practically useless, as the duly authorized representatives of the Martian government take a long time to get there, by which time the Bad Guy is long gone. They don’t have much luck getting the gold back, either, because all gold looks pretty much alike, and even if the Good Guy kept it in a monogrammed bag, the Bad Guy usually just drops the bag into the trash, so that’s no help.

Some of the Good Guys protest to the Martian government, saying, “Give us back our Rottweilers!” The Martian government says, “No, sorry, we can’t do that, because Rottweilers kill people.” The Good Guys say, “Rottweilers don’t kill people without instructions. Take the Rottweilers away from all the Bad Guys.” The Martian government says, “We’re working on that.” The Good Guys say, “Well, how long is it gonna take? We’re dyin’ here…” The Martian government has no reply.

So, Baloo, what’s the solution? To have the Martian government crack down on the illegal possession of Rottweilers? Appoint more duly authorized representatives to go into the Martian Outback and track down every single illegal Rottweiler? And after they’ve done that, shut down the puppy mills that produce them, so no one can ever have a Rottweiler again? Or should they repeal the law and allow the Good Guys to have their Rottweilers under the bed?

And now that the Bad Guys have discovered how useful a Rottweiler can be, if the Martian government does repeal the law, I predict there will be fearsome dogfights in bedrooms all over Mars.

And what it all boils down to is, where does the Martian government ultimately get its authority from? Why do the Good Guys sit there and let the government pass anti-Rottweiler legislation? Is the Martian government run by Ming the Merciless, against whose word there can be no appeal? Or is it something more sinister, something called–“democracy”…

[okay, Baloo, how was that? Are you still bored?] :smiley:

BEAUTIFUL! I love it. :slight_smile: You have a gift for metaphor.

My God, DDG, I love you.

Hear, Hear, DDG. A beautiful analogy!!

Wow, the first time I’ve seen a gun control thread hijacked into a dog control thread.

So what do you guys think about requiring dog owners to have their dogs licensed (and vaccinated).

::: ducking thrown fruit :::

At this point, I’m pretty much neutral on gun control. I used to be agin it, but my roommate (a gun collector and dealer) has had enough influence on me that my views have moderated.

However, I believe that the pro-gun argument that “if guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns”, and therefore the forcibly unarmed victims will be more likely to be hurt/killed is a poor one. It’s a utilitarian argument: more guns = more safety.

The problem is that the stats don’t bear it out. The large majority of deaths by gun are caused by legally-owned guns, and not in self-defense. They are usually family arguments, etc. Since guns are more lethal than other weapons lying around the house (baseball bat, kitchen knife, etc.), their legal possession causes more deaths than otherwise. Thus more guns = less safety.

To make your point, I suggest that you go with an individual rights or other argument.


Sure. They believe this. And the other, gun-loving “they” believe that they have to own guns to fight the New World Order and shoot down black helicopters and kill federal agents.

Fair summation of the two sides?

Good one, Ducky. I saved this one for posterity. :slight_smile:

To SuaSponet: If you want to kill someone, you don’t give a damn what you kill that person with. Even if you get rid of all guns in every country in the world, you’ll never get rid of criminals. The little loop-hole that pro gun-control people use is the fact that because there are more guns there are more deaths when in fact the truth is BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE GUNS, THERE ARE MORE GUN DEATHS. The phrase changes drastically if you just add one word to it. And to people who say that less guns=more safety and less deaths, look at Japan. No guns but it has one of the highest Suicide rates in the world. Look at Ireland. Not very many guns in households but since the North and the South can’t be friends, one of the highest MURDER rates in the world. Crime isn’t dependant on Guns. Crime is dependant on Society and Political Turmoil and Economics. A gun will just help you commit a violent crime more efficiently. (This thread has been officially Hijacked.)

More examples of my theory: Cambodia, South Africa, (heck, almost every nation in Africa is like this).

Caveat: I’m only arguing here about the utilitarian argument against gun-control. I’m taking no position in the gun-control debate.

No, the truth is that there are more deaths. Why? Because, as you said: “A gun will just help you commit a violent crime more efficiently.” If you want to kill someone, you are more likely to succeed with a gun than with a knife. Hence, if guns are illegal, less people will die. Hence, more guns = less safety.

And you would have to look at rate in Japan of failed suicides. Since the gun is a more efficient killing implement than, say, slitting your wrists, if guns were available to those in Japan attempting suicide, more would succeed.
As evidence of this, look at the male/female suicide situation in America. More females attempt suicide, but more males succeed. The reason is that males are much more likely to use a gun than females. (If you want a cite for this, let me know and I will pull one off the Web.)

Are you talking about Ireland, or Northern Ireland? Two different countries. As for Northern Ireland, um, the combatants are heavily armed, including up to freaking Stinger missiles.
In any event, a province where, until recently there was an armed insurrection cannot be rationally compared to a nation with a simple crime problem.
In any event, I do challenge your assertion that Ireland (north or south) has one of the highest murder rates in the world. To my knowledge the rate in the south, at least, is extremely low, and Ireland is one of the safest developed countries in the world.

I think that you are trying to say that all of these countries have high rates of violent crime, even though they don’t have any/many guns. Excuse me? All of those countries suffered from armed insurrection. In the post-insurrection years in those countries, the guns usually remained in the hands of the insurrectionists when the fighting ended. There are scads of guns floating around in those countries.


I’m talking about the honest citizens who own guns. If many of those citizens in those countries had had weaponry other than Machetes and rocks, they may have tooken out the Insurectionests. Look at the situation in Israel. On one side, a U.S. funded army with war-ready weaponry. On the other side, a bunch of citicens with rocks. Who’s going to win there?

Fight fire with fire…or water.

Good God…Another gun control debate. I can see the black helicopters circling overhead already.

Okay, does anyone have some statistics to add to this debate? Why do the pro-gun people always talk about innocent victims being attacked by criminals? My impression is that in most gun deaths, the perpetrator knows the victim…in fact they are often family members, lovers, etc. Don’t have any actual stats on this though. Of the remaining, I imagine that a fair bit of it is related to drug dealing, etc. My impression is that the fraction of gun deaths that involve “criminals” killing “innocent people” is really pretty small.

Anyway, I think that those trying to argue that there isn’t a strong positive correlation between societies with high gun ownership and murder have an uphill battle ahead of them. As Sua pointed out, MaynardJK’s attempt to do so was pretty pathetic.