I think I finally figured out what’s going on inside the heads of anti-gun people. Let’s say it’s discovered that this is the distribution of weapons used to commit murder:
The anti-gun person thinks, “The biggest category there is guns. If we pass gun control and get rid of guns, then that whole chunk can be diminished or eliminated!” Their end goal is that the pie chart look like this:
In other words, they are assuming no substitution. Getting rid of guns should in their minds get rid of the 43% of murder that’s committed using guns; it is never considered that those murderers will instead gravitate towards knives or bludgeons. Their next target will then be knives, to eliminate that slice. Then bludgeons, and so on. All in the name of eliminating as many slices as possible of that pie chart of murder. And this is all of course assuming that weapons control is even possible.
This line of reasoning makes no sense to pro-gun people.
Let’s look not at actions, but intentions. The guy who commits murder with a gun is not primarily trying to use a gun; he’s trying to commit murder. The gun is just a means to an end for him. If he doesn’t want to commit murder then he’s a normal person with a gun, whereas if he doesn’t have access to a gun, his heart is still full of murder. Without a gun, he may be forced to make do with a less lethal weapon or change his tactics to employ the element of surprise more, but nothing has been changed vis-à-vis the fact that you still have a person who wants to destroy a human life. Even if all the weapons in the world were eliminated, the ugly urge to commit murder itself cannot be snuffed out, and people are still easily capable of killing each other with nothing more than their bare hands.
The Brady Campaign likes to say that we need to “keep guns out of the wrong hands” which implies that there must be some people who can be trusted with guns—there must be “the right hands” somewhere.
I think that they would agree that a police station is such a place. In police stations everyone is armed with a handgun and there literally are closets full of fully automatic assault rifles. These people undoubtedly have the “right hands”.
Contrast this with a prison; basically a big house full of people with the “wrong hands”. The guards keep prisons as bereft of weapons as possible, and not just guns, but knives and even objects that could be used to create knives. And yet prisons are still incredibly dangerous places, full of assault, rape, murder, and a palpable atmosphere of terror and despair.
It seems to me that a much more realistic goal in doing away with violence would not be to attempt vainly to decrease the stock of weapons, but to instead increase the number of people with the right hands. As we can see, when everyone has the wrong hands, no amount of weapons control is capable of ensuring true safety, while if everyone has the right hands, no quantity of weaponry can banish it.
Wouldn’t it be more effective to work towards making everyone more safe and responsible around guns than try to prevent them from getting them?