Re: Dai Vernon's Close-Up Non-Sequiturs Explained (was Re:

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 22 Dec 1997 20:44:07 -0500

Keith Elis wrote:
> If the purpose of guns is to protect your freedom and they are
> inefficient, why not find something else to protect your freedom that is
> more efficient? As Lorrey explained, the right to keep and bear arms is
> necessary to protect our freedoms and secure power. Great. Fine.
> Wonderful. But where does it say that in order to protect our freedoms
> and secure power we must necessarily use guns? Why not something else
> that might not have the external costs of firemarms?

You have yet to get beyond theorizing. How about some actual data to fit
in the nice words? I would say that, considering that no other
technology has shown as high a benefit to risk ratio as guns, which is
proven by the fact that no other technology has been able to replace
guns in the American free market, you are not being comprehensive in
your analysis if you only count murder statistics to compare the US to
non-gun countries.

While the murder rate in the US is the highest in the industrialized
world, nobody has mentioned how the US compares to other indutrialized
nations in other crimes, like robbery, mugging, burglary, rape,
extortion, kidnapping, etc... For example, every American I know who has
traveled to Italy has been robbed at least once, likewise a large
percentage of the Americans I know who have traveled to France (yet
France cries about 'human rights' while it shelters a monster like Ira

We know from the stats here that privately owned guns have prevented
between 600,000 and 2.4 million crimes annually. Thats not just murders,
but CRIMES. What is the overall crime rate in other countries, and how
does this compare to the US?? Do other countries REPORT crimes with the
same criteria as the US?

In addition to self protection, another benefit is the recreational. I
have found that people who initially purchase one gun for self
protection, practice with it a few times, quickly become hooked on the
enjoyment of the sporting aspects, and frequently expand their
collection beyond that that might be reasonably needed for self defense,
unless they planned on a David Koresh-like showdown with federales. That
60 million Americans own 200 million guns means that those people own an
average of 3.333 guns per capita. Self defense experts will tell you
that there really is no reason to carry anything more than one main gun
and a small backup, at most. This leaves 1.333 guns in the average
American gun owners posession which really has no defensive purpose. If
there was no significant benefit beyond self defense, the law of
diminishing returns would say that the per capita rate should be between
1-2, and not much over 2 at maximum.

I can say that only 2 of the 15 guns I own could be classified as useful
for self defensive purposes. The rest are purely recreational, unless
chaos falls tomorrow. Given the per capita rate, and the law of
diminishing returns, we need to measure the comparative value of the
1.33-1.88 guns owned by the average gun owning American that can be
described as for recreational use. Off the cuff, I'd say that the
recreational value is between 25% and 50% of the total value. Also keep
in mind that recreational weapons tend to be more expensive than purely
self defense weapons. (i.e I can purchase a decent new self defense
pistol for between $75 and $250 while a decent new over and under 12
guage shotgun with a sporting clays barrel, briley chokes, and vents
will cost between $700-1400)

In comparing firearms to other technologies: pepperspray, mace, and
tasers are an extremely limited market. This is partly due to legal
restrictions, but also due to utility. A determined human predator would
not be inhibited significantly by any of these weapons, except if the
taser was used to kill. Such non-lethal means typically merely pisses
the assailant off, makes them angrier and more determined to exact due
punishment upon the victim.

ANother reason why such non-lethal technologies are limited by law and
by appeal, is the bang factor. Because non-lethal technologies are seen
as just that: non-lethal, a person is more likely to use the weapon
under circumstances which would not be life threatening, thus likely to
bring legal charges against the user, and, more than likely, are liable
to be used against the victim by the assailant when its deterrence value
fails to sway the assailant from his goals, and thus increase the
likelyhood of greater harm to the victim. A gun, due to its positive
'bang' factor, i.e. since it makes a big bang, it must be more powerful
and effective, is, in the mind of the assailant, a more fearful weapon
than spray of a taser, and thus has a greater deterrent value. meek
sprays and zapping tasers do not nearly scare the bejezus out of an
assailant as a .357 going off in one's direction.

> I've attempted to show that external costs may exist, with all of the
> attendant ramifications for efficiency. If I can show guns are
> inefficient economically speaking, then I can argue that the right to
> keep and bear arms should probably not include guns. If I can show that
> external benefits make guns even more efficient, then I can argue that
> more guns should be produced. Either way, every argument for or against
> gun control implicates practicality.

The only real external costs that exist are a) the possibility that the
assailant's family may bring and win a wrongful death lawsuit against
you or that the police might rule that you were not acting in self
defense(increasing less likely these days), and b) artificial ones
imposed by gun control laws imposed by anti-gun activists.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?