Posted by: Jay | April 17, 2008

Current Laws Good?

In the ongoing debate over at Oliver’s site, I was asked the following question in regard to my opposition to transactions between private individuals being subject to background checks at gun shows (aside from it being totally illogical that private sales outside gun shows would not be covered):

Let me ask you something, Jay. Are you satisfied with the current system as it is now? Are you satisfied that the way the system works right now is adequate in keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals or other evil doers?

My response:

Yes, I am satisfied because while people talk about all of the crimes committed in America with guns, it represents a minuscule percentage of the amount of guns owned in this country. Less than 2 percent of crimes committed with a firearm are traced back to a sale at a gun show. That means 98% of the transactions that take place at gun shows result in no crimes being committed. Yet, people support that passage of a law that will:

A. Not have any negligible affect on crime (since so few criminals buy guns at gun shows)

B. Not have any affect on private sales outside of gun shows.

Now, private sales of guns without a background check is legal in the majority of the states and has been for a long long time. Do we have some sort of epidemic of crimes being committed as a result of private sales of firearms? No. So why should we put in place a law that will hardly help in preventing crime and will only place a burden on law abiding citizens?

Now before you answer that. Let’s look at it from another perspective because I know some people are going to say that the families of the victims of that 2% would certainly want such laws passed. So let’s look at the situation elsewhere.

You mentioned cars before. Drunk driving is responsible for far more deaths each year than crimes committed by people who purchase guns at gun shows. Of course, those crimes (and drunk driving in and of itself is a crime) are committed by a very small percentage of the general public that drives. Yet, what do we do about drunk driving with regard to legislation? States have

A. Lowered legal limits on being drunk (.08% seems to be the norm these days)

B. Improved technology to test people in the field to see if they are drunk

C. Increased penalties for drunk driving.

What we do not do, is place burdens on the vast majority of law abiding citizens that don’t drive drunk. What if Congress decided to pass a law that said everybody who went to any establishment where alcohol was served had to show their license and have a check run on it to see that the person’s license wasn’t suspended due to a drunk driving conviction? Or passed a law that said anybody going to a place where alcohol was served was prohibited from driving a motor vehicle of any kind? How well would that go over with the public? Do you think the X% of people who have lost loved ones due to a drunk driver would support such laws? And would it be ‘reasonable’ to put such laws in place if it was going to save even one life?




  1. Spot on.

    Reminds me of something I read on a CBS Sportsline board commenting on the tragic death of a Mets fan, Antonio Nararainsami, falling off an escalator and to his death at Shea the other day. The commenter stated that death is one more reason why beer sales should be banned at ballparks.

    1. Despite the fact there’s no evidence to suggest Nararainsami was drunk at the time.

    2. Fan deaths at Shea have been few and very far between. The last death from a fall occurred back in 1985.

    Nevermind that the vast majority of fans who consume alcohol at sporting events do so in moderation or that the biggest risk most of these people face is drinking too much and making complete asses of themselves in public.

    2 accidental deaths in the span of 23 years that may or may not have been related to alcohol in any way is just cause to ban beer sales in this guy’s mind.

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