God, Guns, and Gloves

Matthias Carroll 2/17/17

first 100

It is my belief that inanimate things are amoral: having no qualities to manifest them as right or wrong, good or evil; they merely are extensions of ourselves. Like any other object or tool, they are judged by the credence of how well they perform the requisite task; their functionality, we impart morality by how we use them. Contemplate guns and gloves, for example, I possess no weapons banned by law in my state, however I own some that are barred in places such as California. Interestingly enough, I also own gloves that have been made illegal in that area of the country. We know laws to be an appeal to an authority, presumably backed by public (majority) opinion, but on what basis are these laws founded? Modern legislators have proven quite ignorant, perhaps even stupid, in regards to firearm laws and restrictions. One needs look no further that Dianne Feinstein’s bungled remarks on mass shooters: “When the gunman realizes that no one else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in…that’s just human nature.” Liberals might object to such gendered language, is she implying that only men commit acts of terror through gun violence? Conservatives can be pedantic, but I think we all know she is using man as a pronoun in this context. I believe the problem isn’t inexperience or being out of touch with reality, rather it is one of expedience... .

         It is commonly said that the smallest commercially available caliber cartridge, the .22 long rifle, kills more people each year than any other caliber. There is some statistical debate, but the axiom stands: all firearms are dangerous. In fact, this particular round has enough energy to enter a target, but often can’t escape; eviscerating the internal organs. Next is the common Ar-15, utilizing 5.56 and the civilian variant .223 (less powder in the charge), Liberals like to create fear frenzies saying this can go through police body armor. This is true; most rifles can penetrate the standard soft body armor worn by police to protect them from more commonly encountered handguns, but many departments are upgrading their patrols to ceramic plate armor. This isn’t to say these defenses are impenetrable, if someone wants to be nefarious they will simply drill their bullets and TIG weld a tungsten core, this kinetic round is why lawmakers opposed the military surplus variant m855 green tipped 5.56 round: its partial steel core increased penetration. Yet again we have the dilemma of expedience, any round can kill (placement supersedes firepower), but these rounds lend themselves toward increased ability to do harm. The irony in this is that most liberals or progressives I know who call for gun control claim to approve hunting rifles, but the Ar variants are assault rifles too dangerous for civilian control. Let’s take a historical, analytical approach.

         The ArmaLite Rifle (that’s what the designation Ar stands for) was designed in the 1950’s by Eugene Stoner, the 5.56 variant (Ar-15) was licensed to Colt for manufacture for the US Airforce becoming the M-16 battle rifle, the Ar-10 variant chambered in 7.62x51 NATO (.308) did not see service in the U.S. Armed Forces. This weapon first saw action in the Vietnam conflict due to functionality: whereas the 1911 chambered in .45 Auto was utilized to stop drug empowered Gurkhas in the Philippines, the 5.56 was lauded for its capacity and the ability to maim, not kill, the intended targets. Obviously, shot placement comes into factor here, but the formerly used M1 Garand chambered in 30-06 with an eight round clip would not suffice to hold off surreys of Vietnamese. Because we need to be accurate, a clip is the term used to describe the device that couples the cartridges together, generally at the rear of the casing. A magazine is a device that internally houses the cartridges, often with a spring to guide them into the firearm. It was the opinion of the Geneva Convention that enemy combatants who were maimed did more to dissuade the bolstering of forces than martyrs did. All this being said, banning a relatively safe (excellent reliability and accuracy) weapon with a small round and a maximum effective range of 400 meters while championing hunting rifles with much larger projectiles and a more expansive effective range is an untenable position.

         Why, then, do these particular rifles receive such criticism from vox populi? The basis, again, is expedience. The Ar-15 comes standard with a thirty round magazine, increments of 5, 10, 20, even up to 200 round are commercially available, and these present a certain predicament that Liberals would seek to solve by banning their existence. Those who think contrary to myself might argue that with a thirty round magazine, one has the ability to expend thirty bullets and end the lives of thirty people relatively easily (provided you are a good shot). To extirpate this problem, such magazines ought to be banned (this obviously presents a problem in that individuals could merely manufacture these devices, but we shall overlook this for now). I sympathize with this position; in fact I believe it should be even more stringent! Not only should the magazine limit be ten rounds (so that no one could terminate thirty lives), groups of three men using ten round magazines to kill others should also be outlawed. Doubtless you see the underlying issue at hand, the nature of being criminal presupposes you disobey laws, what’s to say people won’t group up or, forsooth, carry multiple magazines! I reason carrying multiple magazines is imperative because double feeds, etc. happen in which case the solution is to remove the magazine. To synopsize, any law established regarding effects to firearms does little to prevent a crime, and is but a redundancy on an already illegal activity. What a predicament, doubtless we must delve deeper down the rabbit’s hole.

One supposed solution to end gun violence ‘once and for all’ is to ban all firearms, including forcibly confiscating those already owned. Throughout history a handful of nations have attempted this to varying success, some have went further and implemented restrictions on bladed weapons and objects utilized to enact violence of various types. I need not bog this discussion down with the minutia of various statistics, I need only reference America’s oldest ally, England. England peacefully disarmed their subjects, allowing people to own a set few firearms under the protection of the state armory, how did this impact the overall gun homicide rate? It went down drastically, naturally, but you might be surprised to find it is not down to zero. Wikipedia lists the United Kingdom’s firearm homicide at 0.23 per 100,000 in 2011, a striking two percent of the United States’ 10.54 in 2014. While crime and homicides of other natures such as poisoning rose after the forcible removal of firearms, there is still a remnant lingering. This, doubtless, would be the case to a greater degree in the United States, even considering a voluntary handover of 100% of firearms, why? In order to illuminate guns, a government would have to enact the theories of Karl Marx and seize the means of production. A simple YouTube query will show anyone with steel pipe and a welder can manufacture a rudimentary weapon. This crude product can be accompanies by the production of bullet, gunpowder, primer, and casing. Is restricting or keeping a watchful eye on welders enough to stem this cunning ingenuity? Certainly not, one needs but two microwave oven E-block transformers and some thick gage wire to create a home welder. Some philosopher once penned, “As long as men have arms (meaning the appendages) they will have the capacity for violence.”

         It may sound very utopian to have a world rid of weapons, and I have entertained the notion, even barring the natural necessities for such devices (predatory animals and the like). In fact there is but one was in which to resolve the violence in human society: to deprive man the capacity, the freedom, the liberty which he may misuse for violence. In essence, everyone must be sent to the pillory, the stockade, the dungeon to be bound in chains so as to not be able to strike his neighbor. What an impartial judge that must take, what a faithful public servant would there be to lock the lot of us up. I’m certain they would then confine themselves, as per agreement. While there are evil people, like the California congressmen who just voted to be immune to the new gun laws passed in that state, who possess weapons, you can be certain there will be law-abiders like myself who will maintain the same advantage. Jefferson remarked the beauty of the second amendment is that it may only be needed when it is threatened. When laws are passed that violate the rights protected by the constitution, laws that no criminal will obey, it turns good men into criminals who cannot bear abide such an infringement.

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