James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Peaceful v. Law Abiding, and the Reality of Homemade Third-World Guns

It is said that if guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns.

Such a statement conflates "law-abiding" citizens with peaceful or moral citizens. The premise is that if a gun control bill is enacted, most gun-owning citizens will obey its requirements, creating a de facto "open season" policy for violent, gun-possessing criminals on the law-abiding.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Individuals know the difference between moral requirements and legal requirements, and if something is called "immoral" only because a legislature proclaimed it to be illegal, does not make it so. That's why most people knowingly or unknowingly break laws and regulations all the time --  they know what they're doing isn't hurting anyone, and they'll probably not get caught.

For instance, if health-care was based on State-run rationing and doctors were prohibited from private practice, there is nothing immoral if doctors and patients helped each other with under-the-table services and payments, even if it's illegal. If you disagree, would you sacrifice your own child to a rationed system?

Likewise, if a certain plant could make a sick loved one well, and yet it was illegal, you're still within your moral rights to procure it.

This is, indeed, why Alcohol Prohibition didn't work. Otherwise law-abiding people felt entitled to drink, and they were correct in believing that their illegality had little to do with criminality -- that, in fact, it was the Statist law that was immoral rather than their behavior.

No less can be said for self-protection. Just because a certain political system says you can't own a particular type of weapon doesn't mean you shouldn't own it if you believe it's in your interest to do so and would employ it only for defensive purposes. Why risk your life to obey a law?  

J.D. Tucille notes this. He talks about the demand for illegal guns even in places - such as stable democracies in Europe, Canada, and Australia - that supposedly have "gun control." Even when gun registration is required, only about a tenth or less of these populations comply, and illegal gun ownership seems to range from 25% to 45% of the populace, depending on the country.

And the more guns will be regulated or prohibited, the greater the black-market will provide them. Tucille writes:

In 2007, Suroosh Alvi, a co-founder of Vice magazine, pulled a few family strings in Pakistan to gain access to the turbulent Northwest Frontier Province. Specifically, he wanted to see the gun markets that are feeding a steady supply of arms to Afghanistan. More specifically, he wanted to see just how modern firearms were being cranked out in wholesale lots under the most primitive conditions imaginable. His opening comment in the resulting video documentary—“I’ve seen kids making guns with their bare hands in caves”—only barely overstates what he presents. Thousands of 9mm pistols, knock-off AK-47s, machine guns, and anything else you can imagine are manufactured there over wood fires with hand tools—and so is the ammunition to match.

Pakistan isn’t alone. Danao, in the Philippines, has a thriving underground gun-manufacturing industry that is reputed to employ as much as 20 percent of the local population. Starting decades ago with crude revolvers, the “paltiks” turned out by the backyard gunsmiths of Danao now include working replicas of modern assault weapons manufactured with basic technology.

Just how do you shut down underground craftsman who don’t seem to require much more than their skills, some scrap metal, and access to Third-World tools that barely begin to compare to the equipment in the garages of many Western suburbanites?

That’s a rhetorical question. The evidence suggests that underground manufacturers will step up to meet any demand that arises.

 U.S. politicians are living in a fantasy land is they think their laws will lead to compliance by "decent, law-abiding Americans," let alone believe they can control the number of guns.

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