Klavan On The Culture

The Trouble with Guns


“A gun is just a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good — and as bad — as the man who carries it.” Shane, by Jack Schaefer, 1949.

No one could call me a gun nut. I go shooting with friends at most once or twice a year and, while I enjoy it, it doesn’t inspire the sort of obsession that grips me whenever I manage to get my hands on a fishing rod, which nowadays is less often. But as far as I’m concerned, the wisdom above from the best western novel I ever read (and reiterated in the famous 1953 film) doesn’t go far enough. A gun is not just a tool, it is the great democratic tool, the tool that put an end to knights in armor and gave (and gives) the little guy and gal a fighting chance against the powers that be.

The left claims it is determined to violate, if not end, the Second Amendment’s guarantee to our right to bear arms in the name of safety. “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them…  ‘Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em all in,’ I would have done it,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein after she and Bill Clinton managed to enact an “assault weapon” ban in 1994.

But yet another study has now shown that safety does not justify this sort of anti-constitutional fanaticism. The study comes from Applied Economics Letters, an academic journal. Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius studied thirty years of statistics and determined that anti-gun laws are bad for humans and other living things. According to the study’s abstract,( h/t Mediaite):

Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level.

Add to this the fact that, according to FBI statistics, more people are killed in the U.S. each year by hammers and clubs than by rifles of any kind and you get Shane’s point: tools can be used and misused. That’s no reason to ban them.

But in fact, neither Dianne Feinstein nor any other leftist really wants to ban guns. Not at all. They merely want to prevent private citizens from owning them. You can bet the official officers of the state will still be allowed to carry them, no matter what happens. Which makes one suspicious given the, you know, facts. If guns protect the little guy from the powers that be, and if leftists are, in effect, the powers that be, it seems likely that all Feinstein and Bloomberg and Schumer and their ilk are really trying to do is make sure that the state and only the state has the power to defend itself.

Golly gee, Shane!  Good thing we have a Constitution!