People want “common sense” gun control, yet criminals heed no laws.  Heroin is against the law, but Vicodin is OK.  Marijuana is against the law, but alcohol is OK.  In New York, it is OK to have a gun that holds 6 bullets, but one holding 7 is illegal.  Baseball bats are legal everywhere, but machine guns are not.  It’s OK for an adult to have sex with an 18 year old, but one day before that critical birthday will land the person in prison.

 

The common theme among most of our laws involves thresholds—speed limits, gun magazine capacity, chemical concentration, age, quantities, and so on.  But, based on common sense?  Hardly!  What decides that 6 bullets are OK and 7 is not?  What determines that 18 is “adult” while 17.999 is not.  And why is a natural form of medication illegal, while a synthesized analog is not?  Why is it legal to smoke nutmeg, but not marijuana?  And, is a thug with a baseball bat somehow more acceptable than a a trained firearms instructor with a machine gun?  Common sense?  That’s laughable.

 

It’s not difficult to imagine how these thresholds were created, nor why—statistics.  Most 18 year olds have reached a given level of maturity.  Self defense does not usually require dozens of bullets, so a room full of people argued and decided on a specific limit, above which would land you in jail.  And, people who need pain medication should get a prescription from a doctor, after all—it’s common sense.  It is?  Why?  That’s easy—most people are not trained in medicine and pharmacology, while most medical doctors are.  Again, statistics, thresholds, pigeon holing, labeling, etc.  I could be an opiate expert, who teaches doctors, but if I acquired my own opiates without a doctor’s prescription, I could be in deep trouble.

 

How many bullets are needed for self defense?  It depends on dozens of factors—how accurate can the victim shoot?  How far away is the attacker?  How many attackers are there?  What weapons do they have?  What caliber bullet is used?  Where did the bullets hit the attacker?  Is the attacker in a drug-induced rage?  In many successful self-defense situations, 0-1 bullets are sufficient.  Merely showing a gun often stops the attack successfully.  But, if 2-3 drug-crazed attackers are determined to assault you, 30 rounds might not be enough.  Regardless of the usual number, statistically, the outliers are common, and the spread far and wide.  Common sense?  It depends on the situation, and having more at hand is much better than running out.

 

Common sense used to be used by judges and courts, but overzealous legislators have written mandatory sentences which do not differentiate between an 80 year old woman in New York City, who has been beaten and raped repeatedly, by several attackers at a time, and had a 10-round magazine, and a habitual rapist who also had a 10-round magazine.  Under these mandatory sentencing laws, a judge is precluded from using common sense and must sentence both to the same prison term.  There are people in prison for decades over marijuana possessions, while child molesters go free after 2-3 years.  Common sense?

 

Instead of mandatory sentences for possession of things, wouldn’t true common sense focus on what the possessors did with these things?  Then, the little old lady defending herself with an AR-15 containing a 30-round magazine would be aquitted, while the would-be rapist with a one-shot derringer would be imprisoned.  With common sense in use, people caught with drugs would be encouraged to attend drug rehab programs, while violent criminals would be imprisoned.  And, a judge might look at an 18 year old man and a 17.9 year old woman, not as a statutory rape situation, but as two kids in love.

 

Banning or restricting things is doomed to failure, if people are motivated toward these things.  A much better approach would be to ban or restrict behaviors and activities!  This way, owning a gun or possessing some weed would not be illegal, but obnoxious public intoxication (does it matter on what?) would be, as would using a gun to commit a crime, regardless of how many rounds were held in its magazine.  This would be common sense legislation!

AuntieBS

 

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