What are restrictive gun laws good for? Nothing–but don’t let that stop them

I concern myself chiefly with the gun rights debate in the U.S., but this article, about a poll conducted in Canada, is instructive, I think, in showing the attitudes that drive advocacy for restrictive gun laws everywhere.

According to the poll, only 14% of Quebec residents own firearms. Even for a place with such a low rate of firearms ownership, popular support for gun laws so restrictive that any attempt to implement them in the U.S. would provoke a civil war are astonishingly popular–a full 81% support an outright ban on all semi-automatic firearms (apparently under the theory that it’s much better to be killed with a revolver), and 85% believe that non-hunting weapons should be used only in gun-clubs, and should be stored in a central location, instead of in the owners’ homes. The odd part (quite apart from the extreme oddity of advocating such draconian restrictions) is that many of the people advocating the restrictive gun laws do so despite realizing that such laws will do little or nothing to reduce violence. Fewer than half (47%) think more restrictive gun laws will help to reduce violence.

In other words, a huge plurality of those who advocate stricter gun laws do so without being under any illusions that such laws will be useful in efforts to improve public safety. They know these laws are no more than a “feel good” measure, they admit it (at least in polls, which are fairly anonymous), but they want them anyway. They don’t like guns–so no one should have access to them.

One has to wonder if there is much difference between the poll respondents in Canada, and the more outspoken gun rights deprivation lobbyists here in the States, such as Sarah Brady and Josh Sugarmann. I had always assumed that they, in their naivet√©, really believed that the laws they try so hard to force on us would make a real difference in improving society’s safety. Perhaps it is I who have been naive, in thinking that their motives were so noble (the misguided nature of their efforts notwithstanding). Perhaps they, like the poll respondents in Quebec, simply dislike firearms, and know that their arguments about saving lives are just a red herring that helps advance their true agenda of banning private firearm ownership outright.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of the term “gun control.” The main reason for that is that guns don’t go “out of control”–they only shoot wehre the muzzle is pointed, and except for rare malfunctions, only do that when the trigger is pulled. But the other reason that the term “gun control” is a lie is that it’s intended to confuse people into thinking that it’s about guns, when it’s really about control–and disarmed people are much easier to control.

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