Deep in the jungles of South America in the murky waters of the Amazon, lives the electric eel, although it has no malice towards any other living creature, it does have the ability to protect itself.
because it involves such fundamental issues. The calls for more gun restrictions or for bans on some or all guns are calls for significant change in our social and constitutional systems. The gun control debate poses the basic question: Who is more trustworthy, the government or the people?
From the beginning of a worker bees life, he is designated to exactly what his name suggests, working. The queen bee sits at the center of her nest secreting pheromones that essentially force the other bees to do her bidding. The worker bees have no ability to question what goes on, they are just there to do a job.
Gun control is based on the faulty notion that ordinary American citizens are too clumsy and ill tempered to be trusted with weapons. Only through the blatant abrogation of explicit constitutional rights is gun control even possible. It must be enforced with such violations of individual rights as intrusive search and seizure. It most severely victimizes those who most need weapons for self-defense, such as women and targets of hate crimes.
The electric eel is capable of delivering an electric jolt of up to 600 volts due to a long chain of cells (electrocytes) that string throughout its body. This is the eel’s only mechanism of protection against predators.
The various gun control proposals on today’s agenda– including licensing, waiting periods, and bans (on so-called Saturday night specials) are of little, if any, value as crime- fighting measures. Banning guns to reduce crime makes as much sense as banning alcohol to reduce drunk driving. Indeed, persuasive evidence shows that civilian gun ownership can be a powerful deterrent to crime.
Gun control advocates–those who favor additional legal restrictions on the availability of guns or who want to outlaw certain types of guns–argue that the more guns there are, the more crime there will be. More guns does not mean more crimes. For example, Switzerland, through its militia system, distributes both pistols and fully automatic assault rifles to all adults and requires them to store their weapons at home. Further, civilian long-gun purchases are essentially unregulated, and handguns are available to any adult without a criminal record or mental defect. Nevertheless, Switzerland suffers far less crime per capita than the United States and almost no gun crime.
The 600-volt electric shock delivered by the eel is large enough to injure of kill creatures larger than humans.
Allowing for important differences between Switzerland and the United States, it seems clear that there is no direct link between the level of citizen gun ownership and the level of gun misuse. Instead of simplistically assuming that the fewer guns there are, the safer society will be; one should realize that it is unlikely that severe gun laws could ever be enforced. As Stanford law professor John Kaplan has observed, “When guns are outlawed, all those who have guns will be outlaws.” Kaplan argued that when a law criminalizes behavior that its practitioners do not believe improper, the new outlaws lose
Another important aspect of gun control to look at is whether or not gun laws actually disarm criminals. Although gun control advocates devote much attention to the alleged evils of guns and gun owners, they devote little attention to the particulars of devising a workable, enforceable law. Disarming criminals would be nearly impossible. There are between 100 and 140 million guns in the United States, a third of them handguns. The ratio of people who commit handgun crimes each year to handguns is 1:400. Because the ratio of handguns to handgun criminals is so high, the criminal supply would continue with barely an interruption. Even if 90 percent of American handguns disappeared, there would still be 40 left for every handgun criminal. In no state in the union can people with recent violent felony convictions purchase firearms. Yet the National Institute of Justice survey of prisoners, many of whom were repeat offenders, showed that 90 percent were able to obtain their last firearm within a few days. Most obtained it within a few hours. Three-quarters of the men agreed that they would have “no trouble” or “only a little trouble” obtaining a gun upon release, despite the legal barriers to such a purchase.
It is the eels long chain of electrocytes that allow it protection from predators that are larger, faster, and more forceful.
Even if the entire American gun stock magically vanished, resupply for criminals would be easy. If small handguns were imported in the same physical volume as marijuana, 20 million would enter the country annually. (Current legal demand for new
handguns is about 2.5 million a year). Bootleg gun manufacture requires no more than the tools that most Americans have in their garages. A zip gun can be made from tubing, tape, a pin, a key, whittle wood, and rubber bands. In fact, using wood fires and tools inferior to those in the Sears & Roebuck catalogue, Pakistani and Afghan peasants have been making firearms capable of firing the Russian AK-47 cartridge. Bootleg ammunition is no harder to make than bootleg liquor. Although modern smokeless
gunpowder is too complex for backyard production, conventional black powder is simple to manufacture.
With the worker bees carefully and expediently carrying out their designated tasks, the queen bee has the luxury to have food brought to her while she watches her workers. – She relaxes so that this scenario may be repeated the next day.
Apparently, illegal gun production is already common. A 1986 federal government study found that one-fifth of the guns seized by the police in Washington, D.C., were homemade. Of course, homemade guns cannot win target-shooting contests, but they suffice for robbery purposes. Furthermore, the price of bootleg guns may even be lower than the price of the quality guns available now (just as, in prohibition days, bootleg gin often cost less than legal alcohol had).
Without the inherent self-protection mechanisms, the population of the electric eels would be miniscule if not extinct.
On the whole, citizens are more successful gun users than are the police. When police shoot, they are 5.5 times more likely to hit an innocent person than are civilian shooters. Moreover, civilians use guns effectively against criminals. If a robbery victim does not defend himself, the robbery will succeed 88 percent of the time, and the victim will be injured 25 percent of the time. If the victim resists with a gun, the robbery “success” rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery–from using a knife, to shouting for help, to fleeing–produces such a low rate of victim injury and robbery success. In short, virtually all Americans who use guns do so responsibly and effectively, notwithstanding the anxieties of gun control advocates.
Gun control is ineffective, tyrannical, and would only disarm law-abiding
control must never be allowed to disarm the people.
“The Gun in America: The Origins of a National Dilemma”