Wednesday, February 11, 2009
...but Samuel Colt made them equal.
Toronto's mayor has asked London, Ontario's fourth or fifth largest city, for support in asking the provincial government for a province-wide handgun ban.
This may surprise you, considering my political affiliation, but I'm not really a fan of rules. I recognize that they are necessary, but I also recognize that many well-meaning rules are often misguided. Ontario's pitbull ban is a good example. It's a blunt instrument designed to punish irresponsible dog owners, but instead punishes the dogs.
And I know that Greens seem like well-meaning-do-gooder social engineers, but we're not about banning things, we're about internalizing costs.
Having said that, I dig on handgun bans.
I know that a ban won't significantly reduce the incidence of violent crime. And I know that people who are willing to break the law in order to kill, rob or terrorize aren't likely to be swayed by the prospect of another charge of possession of a banned weapon. And I know that there are lots of law-abiding handgun owners that will be adversly affected by this law, and they won't have done anything wrong.
But still, a handgun ban strikes me as a good idea.
I'm not saying ban all guns. And I'm not saying that just because guns kill people we should ban anything that kills people. That's absurd. But here's the thing.
Handguns are specifically designed to kill people.
Long guns are for hunting. Knives are for cutting. Baseball bats are for baseball. Cars are for transportation. Pills are for medicine. And they all kill people. But none of them exist specifically for the expressed purpose of killing people. And that's why a ban is a good idea.
Think about it. We have controls on things that are designed to kill people, and we only let certain people have them. Tanks, armoured personnel carriers, grenades, bioweapons, and the like. How are they different from handguns, besides the scope of murder available?
You may have to defend yourself against a bad guy with a gun someday. However, that bad guy is more likely to have a handgun if they're not banned. And it's not your job to kill the bad guys. That's the job for the cops. As for killing people in other countries? That's the job of the military. If you want to be allowed to kill people, become a cop or a soldier.
The fact is that a handgun ban will reduce the number of guns on the street. And it will be easier to identify the people who are bad. You'll be able to tell, 'cause they'll be the ones with the guns. If the only people in the province who are allowed to have handguns are the cops, we'll all be a lot safer. And if someone does use a gun in the commission of a crime, I find it reassuring that they'll have an extra five or six years in the cooler to think about whether or not they should have grabbed a machete, instead.
Yes, people are violent, and they will kill people. But they will at least have to use a little ingenuity and use a tool that isn't designed specifically to make the job of killing someone easier.