Allow me to intrude on your debate with Kai.
As a relatively recent European import, I retained some of the amazement
that most Europeans feel at the idea that widespread gun ownership is
desirable. Yet, some of the American way rubbed off on me, since I no longer
have a strong negative emotional reaction to gun ownership.
As Robert Bradbury wrote, what really counts, is the statistically
measurable influence of guns on the survival of citizens. All "should's" and
"shouldn't's" must be predicated on objective data. It appears to me that
neither side of the debate (and mean in the American society at large, not
here on the list) can make a clear argument in their favor, perhaps because
such data is entwined in some very complex sets of confounding factors.
Additionally, the results of allowing gun ownership might be widely
different under various conditions. In a brigand-infested wilderness, guns
in the hands of good citizens are a necessity - Kai's cops will not show up
there. In a building under total surveillance and a rapid-response security
team (like the Capitol), guns do not offer an edge in defence but do pose
the risk if carried by random psychos. Guns on airliners are totally silly -
in case of a scuffle, you would get most of the damage from rounds fired by
well-meaning WWII vets with hand tremor.
So, I do not believe that a satisfactory, objective and generalized answer
can be found. In a society where the majority wants guns, and machinists are
willing and able to make them from old cars, you might as well have to
accept them. In a society with a swiftly-responding police and a majority of
the population against guns (and willing to snitch on illegal owners and
suppliers), it might be more life-saving to ruthlessly persecute illegal gun
owners. Jedem das Seine.
One more remark: Guns do not kill people. Bullets do (except if you use the
gun to clobber the other guy on the head).
Why not allow gun ownership, but tightly control the manufacture and sale of
You could design non-lethal tamper-proof rounds, capable of knocking out any
attacker. Anybody insisting on owning and using deadly ammo could be in
clear conscience treated as a person intending to murder innocent people
(and preventatively removed from the society). Maniacs would need to first
shoot you, then come over and slit your throat - this would severely cramp
their style. Good citizens threatened by bad guys would be just as safe as
if owning a regular Magnum 367 (or whatever).
You could even shoot first, and ask questions later.
Wouldn't that be better?
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