Monday, January 24, 2011

21 Foot Rule

21 feet is often considered the distance at which the advantage of having a holstered gun is about even with that of having a knife. This is a popular topic of debate among the those who think a lot about self defense. However when discussing such things it is important not to come off like a lunatic that has lost all perspective.

Take this guy for instance... He manages to come off a little creepy.

Video 1 (Watch first)

Thankfully you can always count on another clever Internet user to present an alternate point of view.

Video 2
(Watch second)

Friday, January 21, 2011

H.R. 308, the "Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act."

The bill to limit gun magazines 10 rounds has been introduced. Details can be found here. I haven't been able to find the bill text just yet. Supposedly, it lacks protection for existing property that original 90s assault weapons ban had.

(Updated) Bill text and other details can be found here.

Register at PopVox to make your opinion known.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

John Lott Weighs in on Post-Arizona Gun Control

In the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting there have been a many comments from scared politicians hoping to make everyone feel better by passing new laws to limit access to guns or gun accessories. While their hearts might be in the right place, it is sometimes helpful to apply some math instead fear based random brainstorming to solve a problem.

Here is an opinion piece by John R. Lott Jr. outlining his thoughts on the subject. He is a statistician, author, and in general very smart man. I also recommend his book "More Guns, Less Crime," particularly if you enjoy math. The even if you happen to somehow not agree with his conclusions the raw crime statistics are fascinating.

Again I encourage you read Mr. Lott's opinion. With that said, here is my opinion.

One of the more popular ideas is to ban "high capacity" gun magazines. While I don't think 30+ round magazines for handguns are particularly practical, I very much disagree with banning the sale of items that are not in and of themselves unreasonably dangerous. I also very much disagree with their threshold for what constitutes "high capacity." Ten rounds is generally the number thrown around. Most full sized semi-automatic handguns come standard with 15-17 round magazines, so 10 would hardly be considered the norm. It doesn't make sense to pass a law that would limit such a common item.

Every law has a costs. Costs to pass, costs to document, costs to enforce, costs to prosecute, and perhaps most importantly costs legal credibility.

Each law passed subtracts credibility from all the laws that came before it. The human mind can only hold so many rules. If there are too many laws with so little obvious application to public safety, it becomes difficult to take any of them seriously. If every day a citizen lives is a minefield of seeming trivial rules and regulations, eventually they must resign themselves to the impossibility of living totally within the law.

Due to the sheer number of laws in the US it is hard to imagine that during a lifetime any citizen could get by without breaking some law, probably many, without even knowing it. If there are too many laws they become a burden on society instead of value. All citizens become potential victims of political or personality driven selective enforcement, and basic rights suffer because of it. Iran is good example of this. Everyone there ignores all the little laws and live de facto free lives--which is fine until they say something someone in power doesn't like and law enforcement comes by with their magnifying glass looking for a way to make them disappear. We need real freedom, not de facto freedom created by lax law enforcement.

I beg legislators to consider a few things when deciding to add new a law:
1. Does the law really solve the problem? Can you prove it?
2. Is it already covered under existing law? Or can the same thing be accomplished by removing language from existing laws or making minor modifications?
3. Is reasonable for a citizen to comply with the law? Would they need knowledge or tools that aren't likely to be accessible in order to comply? Is it common sense that there would even be a regulation about the thing or action being controlled?
4. Can the law be practically enforced?
5. Is the law worth enforcing consistently, all of the time, even if it means other laws get less attention?
6. Is whatever problem this law might solve worth the negative affect on daily life the law may have multiplied by the total population? For instance, would reducing the chance of 1 person being injured be worth 1 hour of 300 million peoples lives?
7. Remember that MANY people have given their lives to keep this country free. Perhaps if they thought freedom our was worth near certain death for themselves, we can concede that it is also worth a 0.0001% increased probability of death for ourselves.