Gun Control

"Guns can be used for good or for evil." Outside of hunting for survival food, their only "good" use is in the sense that sometimes two wrongs make a right. A threat to use a weapon can be countered by a threat to use a quicker or bigger weapon. In such cases, the potential victim becomes a more attractive target, so the attacker may wait till he can surprise the victim, or when the victim's weapon is not available, which is probably most of the time.

What are the statistics on the number of people shot by criminals, shot by accident, and shot by people legally defending themselves, or others, or property against criminals? Yes the threat that the victim might have a gun is a deterrent. But a much greater deterrent would be if no guns were available.

Instead of prohibitions and commandments, we need to consider government control by taxation, thereby controlling statistical numbers, while leaving final decisions up to individuals.

Let's consider a tax, prohibitive in some cases, on all mass production, import, sale and rental of weapons and ammunition. The tax would vary according to the weapon's usability for mass killing of humans. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, land mines, grenades, bombs and machine guns would rate especially high taxes. A single-shot .22 caliber rifle with a telescope sight would rate a much lower tax. We would hope to eventually make such taxes international.

It would take time, but the number of usable guns, and ammunition, would diminish. The balance of power between the police and criminals would remain about the same, everything else being equal. Our military power would not automatically be reduced, because it's meaningless for a government to tax itself. Revenue paid in weapons taxes would be recycled to pay for weapons.

(As with many issues, the wide gap in wealth, and ability to pay such taxes, creates an injustice here. This needs to be dealt with on a cultural basis, not on each individual issue.)

There would be a fee for sporting use of weapons on public lands, according their level of technology. But no tax or license would be needed for going into the woods with nothing more weapon-like than, say, a knife, and perhaps making your own bow and arrows.

Some would say part of the idea of sport hunting is to practice our survival skills. Should these skills include buying a mass-produced weapon? Where is the sport in using a modern rifle, and other modern technology, to hunt a deer? We've gotten away from natural selection, culling the herd. A technologically equipped human is so far ahead of his natural environment that some of the stupidest among us can often kill the biggest, healthiest animals. If native Americans want the right to hunt without a license, it should also be without the weapons the white man brought.

If you want real sport, take a knife, matches, some cord and two days worth of food and walk for three days into a large wilderness area. If you like the feel of a gun, the thrill of hunting and being hunted, play laser tag or paint-ball games. As far as I'm concerned, consenting adults can have games using real ammunition against each other, in isolated areas.


Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, danrob@efn.org, Eugene, Oregon
My home page: http://www.efn.org/~danrob/