The "Gun Control" Genocide Chart.
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With a title like that you are probably expecting the macho ravings of some right wing redneck and a bunch of stuff about ancient dead white guys. Don't worry, this isn't that kind of article.
There are several reasons why even the most committed, unwavering Liberal should be wary of gun control laws. Let me tell you about some of them.
Gun laws are great tools for repression. Yes, you already know that gun registration and confiscation preceded all the great genocides of the Twentieth Century, but that would never happen here. I'm talking about selective enforcement and overzealous prosecution.
Let's say that we get Congress to pass a nice, reasonable law that requires a background check for all firearm transfers, even between family members. Let's think ahead about what will happen. Some people will obey the law, some will misunderstand it, some will ignore it and some will exploit it for profit by supplying guns with no questions asked. There will never be enough police officers to adequately enforce such a law. The authorities know this and what they do is apply laws selectively to people they don't like, in ways that will improve their record of convictions.
Since there are more cops in urban areas and most cops are pretty conservative guys, you might think that urban Liberals who accidentally violate the new law would be pretty likely to get caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. You'd be right, but there is another group that will bear the brunt of the law.
Historically, American gun laws have been most vigorously enforced against minorities. Several were designed specifically to disarm blacks or immigrants. You may think that passing a strict gun law is sticking it to those nasty, conservative, white rednecks, but the boys in the hood will be the ones getting busted. Have you spent a day at your local courthouse lately? Notice who goes to prison for gun violations now? It's not suburban Republicans. It's not the rich, it's not politicians or celebrities. They are effectively exempt now and they always will be.
Consider the "war on drugs." Is it wealthy suburban drug users who are most frequently prosecuted?
Laws are most strictly enforced against those who can't afford to hire a good lawyer. So more young people, poor people and minorities will enter the criminal justice system for gun crimes, even if they were unintentional or harmless technical violations. There isn't enough prison space to house them, so they will be released if they plead guilty to a felony. That bars them from much of the job market for life. Not exactly a progressive social goal.
Gun laws can also be used by private citizens to harass each other. Suppose you and your right wing, fundamentalist neighbor have an argument. You win and they want to get even. All they have to do is call 911 and say they saw you entering your home with something that looked like a black plastic rifle. Can you say search warrant? SWAT team? After tearing your place apart, they find your grandfather's shotgun that you neglected to register, or maybe they don't find a gun, but they did find your stash and they took your computer in for a porn search. There are lots of ugly possibilities.
Right now, federal law says that felons and those with domestic violence misdemeanors are not allowed to buy guns. That could easily be expanded to add minor drug misdemeanors to the list of disqualifiers. How many of us had a brush with the law for a small amount of weed?
Right now the media and some of our courageous politicians are in lynch mob mode. It feels good to get out the pitchforks and torches, doesn't it? Unfortunately, every time the debate seems to be moving in favor of more control, gun owners and even some who don't yet have a gun go on a buying spree that puts a few million more guns in circulation. Even if you truly hate guns, you have to admit that something is wrong with the anti-gun lobby's business model.
Starting a War On Guns may seem like a simple and logical thing, but let's look at recent history for some guidance.
We have the War On Drugs and that has pretty much sucked. The prohibition on some drugs has put millions in prison and many more have criminal records. The cops are more heavily armed and militarized every year. Has any of this reduced drug use? Availability? Has it made urban streets safer? Or has it increased violent crime and gang affiliation?
We have the Domestic War On Terror and all that got us was groping by the junior gestapo at the airport. Oh yeah, we also have drones looking for our pot farms and feds reading our email. Do you feel any safer?
We did have the War On Alcohol, better known as Prohibition, which gave rise to notorious gangs, black markets and yes, the first federal gun control laws. Did it reduce alcohol availability or use? At least somebody had the sense to call Prohibition off, but the related laws are still there. The other two wars are still going on. It's nearly impossible to stop one of these great wars once it gets started.
So, right now you may be thinking that gun control will never go to the same extremes as those other three campaigns. Let me set you straight on that, there are two things you need to know. The first is that gun control laws never achieve their stated goals. No reduction in crime, no children saved. Sorry, but I have to tell it straight.
The second thing you need to know is that the gun control proponents don't care. They say each law is just a step in the right direction. They expect the laws to fail so that they can demand more and stricter laws.
They made schools gun free zones, but school attacks got worse instead of better. Now they have even more reasons to push for new laws. See what I mean? It's an infinite loop.
There is no happy ending to this cycle, because it's all about money and power. Even if all guns are eventually prohibited, lots of people will still have them and the Prohibitionists will be in front of Congress angrily demanding confiscations, relaxed rules on search and seizure, more heavily armed police, more expensive drones to combat the new gun cartels, more electronic sensors, more invasions of privacy. It will be just like George Bush and the War On Terror or Richard Nixon and the War On Drugs.
That whole "slippery slope" thing ... it's real.
Don't believe the emotional theater the mainstream media feeds us. When it comes to gun control, they spread fear, loathing and confusion in order to promote a political agenda they signed on to long ago. I know it's hard to get unbiased information these days. Every news outlet on the planet is biased one way or the other. Go on the net and do your own research. There is a huge amount of information out there about the failure of gun control and how the media twists the truth. Don't take my word for it. Search engines are your friend!
Michael Brown is a member of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, DRGO.US, and a commentator on gun issues for two decades.