As Lynyrd Skynyrd said over 30 years ago, "Handguns are made for killin'. Ain't no good for nothin' else." Despite the triple negative, I think the message is clear. And frankly, I don't think I've ever heard anyone make the opposite argument. People don't buy Glocks to shoot deer (and if there are people that do, they have serious enough problems that they should not be allowed to buy a Glock). And it's not like there's a question when you buy a gun that asks whether you're depressed or pissed off at an ex or off your meds or talking to dogs that you think are possessed by a 2000-year-old demon.
Many cities (including Chicago) have bans on handguns and/or automatic weapons. I don't see why that can't be extended to the rest of the country. I think we're at the point as a society where we can rationally say that maybe it's time to try to prevent more of these mass shootings from happening, and I have never heard a cogent counterargument to the argument that banning handguns and automatic/semi-automatic weapons would lead to fewer gun-related deaths.
Aside from maybe Charles Whitman, you don't hear about mass shootings at the hands of a rifle or a shotgun, and I wouldn't propose a ban on those types of guns. They're bigger, more difficult to hide in a backpack, more difficult to transport, more difficult to reload, are generally not rapid firing, and are used more for hunting animals than for hunting humans. Thus, I'm not concerned with them all that much. In anticipation of any "home defense" arguments in favor of handguns, I'm pretty sure a shotgun will also fit under your mattress.
Also, in anticipation of the argument that "criminals will still find a way to get handguns and automatic/semi-automatic weapons even if they are banned," there will never be a perfect solution to that problem. But, in addition to banning the sale, importation, or ownership of said weapons, you can make sentences more harsh when a crime is committed with one of those weapons, you can make trafficking penalties more harsh, and you can ban the sale/importation/ownership of bullets for those weapons (assuming they are different than they would be for legal rifles), among other things.
Also, in anticipation of the often-used argument that "the world would be a safer place and mass shootings would be prevented if everyone carried guns," that is one of the dumbest anti-gun-control arguments that I consistently hear. Yes, full-scale gun fights are the solution. That will help. The more bullets flying through the air, the less likely someone will get hit with them. If only we had MORE drugs to combat overdoses. And if we could only convince more disease-free people to have unprotected casual sex, we could prevent the spread of both AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. And if we would just give teenagers more access to alcohol, I think we could really cut down on teen drunk driving. And if everyone smoked, no one would get cancer. And kids should bring guns and knives and throwing stars and chloroform to school, just in case. And we should all move to Tombstone, Arizona in 1881. Because guns save lives.
I know what you're thinking. "But GMYH, what about antiques? I simply cannot live without my Mauser C96 Broomhandle that my great-great uncle Winston used to ward off those filthy Dutchmen during the Second Boer War." There is already a special license for the ownership of firearms that are more than 50 years old, and I have no problem with that.
Of course the biggest hurdle is that pesky Second Amendment, which every gun nut tends to throw in everyone's face as proof of their supposed constitutional right to own whatever types of arms they want. The Second Amendment was written at a time where the "arms" were muskets. I have no problem with allowing people to carry muskets. As several of us discussed this weekend at Nick's in B-town, we would almost welcome the resurgence of muskets. For one, all a shooter would get off would be one shot before having to reload his gun. By that time, everyone except the unlucky one victim will have had a chance to run out of the room or give the gunman the old bum's rush. Going a step further, it was suggested that every room in every building simply equip itself with a bucket of water. That way, whenever a musket-wielding mad man were to enter a room, a simple dousing with water would render his gunpowder unusable and would certainly help others identify the assailant as he would be the only man running away who is both soaking wet and carrying a musket.
I would seriously like to hear from anti-gun-control people to get their thoughts on the following:
- Present me with a legitimate argument as to why handguns, automatic weapons, and semi-automatic weapons should be legal. In your response, I do not want to hear the following tired arguments:
(a) The Second Amendment allows the right to bear arms. True, but it was also written over 200 years ago, and it doesn't say "the right to bear all arms" or "the right to bear pistols, Uzis, and TEC-9s." As I've stated above, I have no problem with rifles and shotguns. And muskets.
(b) Criminals will find a way to get handguns and automatic and semi-automatic weapons anyway.
(c) It's a slippery slope. It's not. That's a weak argument in most contexts, including this one.
- How many more of these types of mass shootings will it take to change your mind?
Look, at one point I was literally a card-carrying member of the NRA (even though I have never owned a gun, other than a totally badass blowgun), but as I've grown older and as I've seen the likes of Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, Seung-Hui Cho, and now Steven Kazmierczak take innocent people's lives and ruin the lives of those close to the victims, I have come to realize that keeping handguns and automatic/semi-automatic weapons legal will only result more innocent lives lost. Every time one of these mass shootings occurs (especially at a school), I can't help but wonder how anyone can honestly believe that limiting access to the weapons used to carry out these shootings is a bad idea. It's time.