the absurd observers

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Terrorists protected by NRA lobbying positions


So, the GAO figures that terrorists can buy guns, and that the FBI has trouble stopping them because of the laws protecting the privacy of gun owners. Is this the time for an all out diatribe about gun control? Should this post be 1000 words on the multiple levels of idiocy that permeate the anti-gun control arguments? No, that's for another day. However, this is the perfect moment for biting sarcasm and extending criticism to ridiculous conclusions.

The article explains that the gun lobby cites privacy concerns for gun owners as a justification for creating the procedures that now protect terrorists:
The N.R.A. and gun rights supporters in Congress have fought - successfully, for
the most part - to limit the use of the F.B.I.'s national gun-buying database as
a tool for law enforcement investigators, saying the database would amount to an
illegal registry of gun owners nationwide.
I think that public gun records or a registry of gun owners nationwide would accomplish the some of the other rationales the gun lobby uses to oppose gun control. I am thinking of the safety argument - if guns are illegal then only criminals will have guns, and making it more difficult to get guns only makes it harder for law abiding citizens to protect themselves. And the "Constitutional Argument", which seems to boil down to "it's in the Constitution, and that's the end of the story. No need to look any further or ask what purpose the Amendment serves. If you disagree you are against the Constitution."

Public registry of guns would accomplish the goals of both the safety rational and the "Constitutional Argument". Here's how:

If a criminal knows that a person has a gun they are less likely to attack them. Who wants to attack some guy with a gun when some other person sits at home without a gun? If I am less likely to be attacked, I am safer than I would otherwise be. (The NRA should love this idea: the only way to be safe is to own a gun. This would increase gun ownership, because no one would want to put themselves in the pool of easy targets for criminals.) The idea is: the more we scare each other, the less likely we are to mess with each other. Consider it a little like Hobbes Leviathan - a brutal dictator that established order with fear - except the world is made of lots of mini-Leviathans, each one frightening the other.

Also, the "Constitutional Argument" would be satisfied by a gun registry. First of all, there is no mention of privacy rights in the Constitution, so we missed a bullet right there. (Sorry for the pun/cliche combo.) Moreover, if ownership of a gun is a fulfillment of a Constitutional right, then isn't publicizing ownership of a gun, merely a celebration of the Constitution? Isn't a registry of gun owners accessible to everyone really just a list of patriots? Isn't keeping gun ownership private or protected by privacy just unpatriotic? If someone is against transparency of gun ownership, aren't they just against the Constitution? Traitors.


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