Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Save one life? What's it worth to you?

I often see a suggestion from gun control advocates that they support gun control because they believe it will save lives, or even (to paraphrase), "It we can save just one life our efforts will be worth it."

The problem with such limited thinking is that they do not consider all the possible effects of the laws they wish to implement. I'll actually agree, that some gun control may actually save some lives, but looking at the overall picture, not a considerable amount, and the unintended consequences outweigh the benefit.

Take, for example, mandatory waiting periods to purchase firearms. I'll concede that there may actually be a very few instances where someone would, in a fit of anger, go buy a gun just to kill someone with it, and if they had to wait 5 or 10 days, they would cool down and change their mind. Statistics show this is a very rare event, as the average purchase "time to crime" for firearms is a year or longer depending on the type.

So let's just agree it would save at least the "one life" that the gun control advocates are after. Success, right?

Not if you consider the unintended consequences.

Far more common than buying a gun in the "heat of passion" to kill someone is people who want a firearm for personal protection. How many people, needing a firearm immediately to defend themselves against a known, imminent threat, will become victims because they had to wait 5 or 10 days for a firearm to protect themselves?

So consider: Is the one life you save with gun control worth the one life that is taken because it prevented someone from defending themselves? Or, how many rapes? is the one life saved worth 5 rapes? 10? 100?

I don't know how many lives are saved by gun control vs. how many people are left defenseless. Has such a study ever been done? There is plenty of evidence that gun control doesn't seem to have any effect on violent crime rates involving firearms, and there is also anecdotal evidence that proves some people that were denied purchasing a firearm because of a "waiting period" become victims unable to defend themselves in the face of an imminent threat.

There is not one gun control law I can think of that doesn't have negative side effects that more than offset any positive result. Lives saved? I'll admit there MAY be few - Very few. Is that minor advantage worth the lives lost and people victimized because they were denied their right of effective self defense? What about the other costs, such as charging and punishing people for victimless crimes, or denying people the free exercise of their rights? Are those negative consequences of gun control worth it?

Is it worth saving one life if you deny someone else the right to save their own?


1 comment:

  1. Well said.
    There may be many circumstantial scenarios where some form of gun control "could" save a life; Yet, there are many more in which the uninhibited freedom of one to defend themselves would spare their own lives or that of family, etc.
    Often times, I believe, the act of a law abiding citizen practicing his or her right to carry, leading to the deterrence of a crime, goes undocumented. While the unlawful acts committed by a minority of unresponsible gun owners is magnified by the anti-rights media.


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