They’re supposed to be dangerous

When a concerned citizen approached Texas Ranger Charlie Miller about the cocked-and-locked 1911 Miller carried on his hip, asking “Isn’t that dangerous?” Miller replied, “I wouldn’t carry the son-of-a-bitch if it wasn’t dangerous.” I love that line–not because it’s good for a chuckle (although it is that), but because it’s right. A sidearm incapable of inflicting fairly significant damage (up to and including quickly fatal damage) would not be worth carrying.

Oddly, though, the fact that guns can wound or kill, and are thus “dangerous” (as are chainsaws, welding torches, and many other useful implements), is what upsets the anti-gun pantywaists so much. Their solution (when they lack the ambition to come out and lobby for what they really want–a complete ban on privately owned firearms) is to mandate various “safety features.” Of course the “safety” to be had by building in these “features” comes at the direct expense of the gun’s utitity at what it’s designed to do (quickly expel a projectile in exactly the direction the shooter intends it to go when he pulls the trigger), but this is fine with the anti-gun bigots–to them, a useless gun is the next best thing to no gun.

Hence we have proposals to require that guns be built with triggers too heavy to be pulled by small children (and thus much too heavy for any kind of accuracy–making guns more dangerous in many situations, because of the increased chance of stray rounds hitting people who don’t need shootin’). Other proposals incude integrated trigger locks (thus adding more mechanical complexity for Murphy’s Law to act on at the worst possible time). Probably the worst of these ideas is the proposed plan to develop so-called “smart gun” technology, that will use biometrics and/or other electronic means to render guns absolutely impossible to fire by anyone the gun isn’t “progammed” for (the unreliability inherent to something like that should go without saying). There are also proposals (and beyond proposals, actual laws, in some jurisdictions) to limit the power of guns, to limit the number of cartridges they can hold, to limit how small they can be, etc.–all because we are to believe it is too dangerous to leave these things unregulated. Chicago has actually outlawed laser sighting devices–apparenly on the grounds that accuaracy is dangerous.

A gun that can’t wound or kill is as useful as a car that can’t move, a telephone on which calls can’t be made, or an umbrella that cannot be exposed to moisture without being ruined. When the only way to save your life is to shoot the person who would end it, you’d better hope you have a gun, and that gun had better be “dangerous.”

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