The myth of guns as self-defense weapons.

For years, the NRA and its associated wing nuts have been trying to convince Americans that everyone should carry a gun.  And some of those card-carrying dimwits came to Congressional town hall meetings armed with guns to make their point. 

The 2nd amendment in the Bill of Rights states “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  The gun-toting NRA supporters always focus on the second part of the sentence.  They choose to ignore the first part.  In any event, the amendment raises more questions than it answers.  It seems the intent of the founding fathers was to ensure the defense of our nation and the ability to protect it from an insurrection.  But what is the definition of a well regulated militia?  Is that not intended to refer to our nation’s military?  Or perhaps the National Guard?  Or does an armed mob of “tea baggers” and sheet-clad, anti-Obama fascists qualify?

Similarly, if everyone is permitted to keep and bear arms, where do you draw the line?  Currently, anyone can purchase assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns.  But should an NRA member also be allowed to own a 50-caliber machine gun (I hear they’re fabulous for deer hunting)?   A fully-functional Abrams tank (maybe for big game)?  A nuclear-tipped cruise missile?  Certainly, the nation’s founders would have drawn a line in there somewhere. 

Moreover, despite statements of NRA gunslingers to the contrary, a gun is an offensive weapon.  It is, in fact, a lousy defensive weapon.  If you’re attacked while carrying a gun, you have to count on drawing your gun and getting off an accurate shot before the attacker gets to you.  If you don’t, the attacker may actually turn your own gun against you. 

And if both you and the attacker are armed with guns, the “winner” is determined by whoever gets off the more accurate shot first.  (I hear you want to give yourself an edge by keeping the sun to your back.)

The fact is that guns tend to escalate confrontations more often than they solve them.  If you have a gun, you feel compelled to use it.  (My distant relative, Billy Clanton, was armed at the OK Corral, and look how well that turned out for him.)  But if you don’t have a gun, you tend to avoid confrontations or look for other ways to resolve them. 

I own several rifles and a shotgun, but I don’t carry them to public meetings.  Neither do I carry my Tibetan sword, Chinese hook swords, butterfly swords, broadsword, Tai Chi sword, Indonesian Kris, chain whip, 3-section staff, spear, staff, nunchakaus, tonfas, and knives.   But maybe I should.  There must be a Republican town hall coming to my vicinity soon.