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Guns, Licensing, State Encouraged killing?

First: I really enjoy the blog I’m linking too here. It is often funny and simply fun to read. And I do this for entertainment first and foremost.

Over on the BL1Y Blog there is a very short post, with only a few comments (as of now), that raises some excellent questions.

For those of you living not only under a rock, but wearing earplugs and blinders also, there was a school shooting in Texas.

In the comments of the above first post, which was about a defensive use of a firearm, BL1Y said some stuff that got me thinking.

I think the best solution is to just increase the licensing requirements to include regular gun safety classes, and perhaps even a competency test, similar to a driving exam. If we’re going to let you carry a gun in public, I think we can also demand that your aim be okay. I’d also be in favor of criminalizing possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

I have heard these many times. I’m not going to rehash the arguments of why driving a car is not the same as using a gun (rights vs. privileges). I have a few more interesting things in mind.

First, following his ideas of marksmanship testing and such I disagree that using a gun in self-defense should only be permissible if we first confirm one is more likely to kill. Admittedly this may decrease the number of crime victims who get sued by the criminals, but is this really the way to have tort reform?

Presently though most people who use guns for self-defense hit nothing at all, I agree with the criminologists who classify threatening to use or showing a gun to be a form of use who show more than 2 million defensive uses per year. Isn’t it better in many ways that would-be victims aren’t killing criminals more often? Even if only by giving them a scare and a chance to reconsider their life of crime. Even criminals seem to miss more than hit (6 shots reported only two hit; minimum 40 shots fired, one person hit most shots miss; “dozens of shots fired” no reports of anyone being shot ) The best estimate I’ve found was that 3% of gun related crime results in a person being wounded or killed by the criminal. Since prior to being a criminal they may have gotten a gun lawfully, do we want to institute policies that would increase that number?

Of course I don’t expect anyone to actually look up any statistics, if they did we would be dancing in the streets over the rates of crime having plummeted over the past 20 years. Don’t take my word for it, here are the stats from the 2009 Uniform Crime Report made into pretty pictures (click to make them bigger). They are grouped by similar rates of crime to better show crime rate changes, not type of crime:

Oh, and gun ownership rates (thanks Gallup):

Hmm, gun ownership remains effectively flat, crime rates drop. Something makes me think gun ownership doesn’t seem to correlate well with crime.

Mandating people are more capable with their firearms though I can see would result in some nasty repercussions. Do we really want to have increased the likelihood that when someone decides to address a perceived slight with a gun that they are even more deadly? Understandably we may find a certain gratification if a rapist is killed by their would be victim, or an abusing spouse meeting an end before they have the opportunity to kill their spouse; but what of the very foreseeable (even if very rare) consequence of Bob deciding to shoot Bill for sleeping with his wife, Bob is now a State-certified marksman, did the State just incur some liability for having required him to be a good shot, where if they would have left it alone Bob might have just ended up shooting up the front of Bill’s house? 

Lastly, in a case where a person must resort to defending themselves (walking/running away is not an option) do we really want to have removed the most effective deterrent they have. Here is a hypothetical for you, 21-year old college female goes to a bar, has a few drinks (becoming visible impaired) and wisely decides to call it a night. Bad judgment comes into effect though and she decides to walk home. Sober 21-year old male confronts her and makes some demand upon her, let’s go all in and say he has a knife and demands she pull out her wallet and follow him into a darker portion of the park. She pulls out a gun and scares him off without firing a shot. This is witnessed by a law-abiding citizen nearby, you in fact. Would you report her crime?

Bonus Q1- Would an inhabitant of their home be a criminal if they become intoxicated within it and a burglar breaking in causing them to grab a firearm, thus violating this law. Would constructive possession apply, would they have to sanitize their home of all firearms before having a beer?

Bonus Ethics Question – You are witnessing the girl in the park and have recently started a criminal defense practice do you anonymously report her to the police and then give her a business card when the cops show up? Ma’am, you might want this, I’m just saying.


One Response

  1. To clarify a bit, I know the person could always claim a neccesity defense, but that would only come at a trial, it does not change the fact they would be put through the process of a trial.

    Also such a defense would be relying upon an event which had not occured, which she had no reason to know would occur, to attempt to justify her breaking the law earlier in the evening.

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