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Rebuttal to article written by Mick Lindley entitled A Message to Misguided Anti-Gun People

Written by Ed Kimmel, October 2002

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    MICK: Study after study shows that many things cause more accidental deaths than guns. A few examples are drowning, falls, poisonings, medical mistakes, and automobile accidents.

     ED: Your point, I assume, is that if reducing the number of guns will not address the largest causes of  death, it is not worth doing.   An extension of this logic might be that getting rid of terrorism will also not eliminate one of the largest, it is also not worth doing.  I believe that reduction of the number of tools whose principal purpose is the destruction of people will result in less destruction of people.

    MICK: Guns do not kill people. People kill people. If you take away guns are you nave enough to think people will not use knives, clubs, swords, stones, poisons, or other means?

    ED: Yes.   Although some very deliberate and very methodical people will find alternative weapons, most are not as effective or as available.  Besides which, a great number of the gun deaths are not perpetrated by methodical, deliberate people.  They might try a gun or a sword, but the chances that the victim will die are greatly reduced.

    MICK: A ban on guns is a violation of our U. S. Constitution. It is legally and morally wrong. You choose to ignore the Constitution, are you a traitor?

    ED: Until about a year ago, no court had held that a ban on guns violated the Constitution.  For 200 years, courts had uniformly held that bans on weapons that did not interfere with the ability of a state to organize a militia did not violate the Constitution.  Even that one case to rule as though individuals had a personal right to own guns was reversed on appeal, so that final ruling of the courts is, once again, unanimous against your proposition.

    MICK: Were it not for our right to keep and bear arms someone would likely be telling you what to do today in most aspects of your life.

    ED: No.   When did individuals with light arms stop an invasion?

    MICK: Every citizen has a right to carry a gun to defend themselves, their family, or their nation.

    ED: As mentioned above, the Court have, for 200 years, disagreed.

    MICK: A gun is the only means most women and some men can use to defend themselves from an attacker. Is your objective to deprive them of that right. What if it was your daughter?

    ED: Your premise is wrong.   Far more people defend themselves by screaming, biting, kicking, or summoning help than by using guns.

    MICK: Great Britain and Australia have banned guns and attempted to take all of them up. The criminals kept their guns and crime has increased dramatically. Is this the fate you want for your country?

    ED: Crime has dramatically increased in our country during the same time period.  Aside from the logical falicy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc, what would you cite as a causal link?

    MICK: Guns are used roughly every 1 seconds (this includes their presence, even though they may be concealed) to prevent a crime by ordinary citizens. Is it your objective to stop this and let crime run rampant? Are you nave enough to think the police have enough manpower to protect you?

    ED: Again, the premise is inaccurate.   Assuming that you are asserting that there are 52,560,000 uses of guns by civilians to defend against crime (60secs x 60 min x 24 hrs x 365 days = 78,840,000 divided by 1.5 = 52,560,000) in the US each year, the conclusion is that one out of every 6 men women and children in the US have defended themselves from a criminal each year (without reducing that number by the law enforcement, military, incarcerated, incapacitated, and juvenile populations.  According to the FBI crime stats released in October 2002 there were approximately 2,300,000 criminal arrests made in the US last year by all law enforcement agencies, combined.  That number is just over 1/23 of the number you assert, suggesting that at least 95% of those who used a gun to thwart a crime let the criminal go.

    Your number is wrong.  As the premise is unsustainable, there is no reason to address the conclusion.

        MICK: Is it going to take you or a member of your family becoming a crime victim to wake you up to the fact that we need protection from predators who would harm our precious family members?

    ED: Your assertion assumes that if I had a gun, my family would not be harmed by a criminal and that if I did have a gun, they would be safe.  It seems likely to me that the bulk of women and children who are attacked are not attacked in the presence of their husbands/fathers, so they ALL need to carry handguns to be significantly safer.

    We disagree on whether or not having all of those guns carried around at all times will make this a safer country.  

    MICK: I recently learned that some anti-gun people have a bodyguard who carries guns. Is it your objective to deny fellow citizens the protection guns can provide?

    ED: Yes.  And not only the protection; also the danger caused by those guns.

    MICK: I do not know all the answers to crime prevention in this country. I do know that gun control is not the answer. I pray to my Lord and Savior that we as a nation will find the answers.

    ED: I pray you find them, too.   I just spent the last three weeks (Oct. 2002) living within one mile of one of the Washington, DC sniper's attacks; within 10 miles of 8 of his attacks and within 20 miles of all but one of his attacks.   I have read about a high school student in Salisaw, OK who shot 10 people, killing 2, and about a nursing student in Arizona who shot 4, including himself, killing all 4 today.  As you suggest, they could have used clubs or knives, but they wouldn't have won all the battles if they had. 

    Your Constitutional argument is meritless. The Bill of Rights is a group of limitations conceived by the Founding Fathers as limitations upon a federal government in a contract between state governments.  The purpose of the Second Amendment was to allow the States the ability to have a hand in their own defense; to prevent the Federal Government from taking away their ability to raise armies to defend themselves from a national tyranny.   As such, it does not distinguish between hand guns and artillery.   But that was no indication that the Founding Fathers believed that the state governments should be powerless to prevent their citizens from privately owning the most powerful weapons of the day. 

    No doubt, some of the contributors to the Federalists' Papers believed that there should be a right to private gun ownership.   But the topic before them was the relative rights of state and federal governments; not an articulation of individual liberty.   So the First Amendment is absolute, notwithstanding the fact that at least one of the ratifying states had laws prohibiting Catholics in their state.  It was about limiting the Feds; not empowering the citizens.

Ed Kimmel,   b.lawyer@verizon.net