All the letters below---except for my letter on top---were published in the San Francisco Sentinel.
Except for those in law enforcement, very few people in the city really need to own a gun. This stuff about defending home and hearth and self-defense on the street is pure mythology. The whole Gun Nut movement is based in large part on an intellectual error---the false notion that guns actually have some kind of political/military significance in the hands of the people. Social control is maintained by much subtler means than that; and if it comes down to it, the authorities can overpower anyone who persists in thinking otherwise (see, for example, Waco). Guns in the US are more a threat to public health and safety than anything else.
Mr. Hussey would like to change the subject to auto traffic deaths or the war on drugs; I would too if my argument was as weak as his. He needs to provide some evidence for the claim that a gun ban "would wind up costing more lives than it saves."
Ms. Jameson points out that Prop. H doesn't prevent criminals from doing anything, which is true. On the other hand, the fewer guns there are to steal in the city the fewer criminals could steal. And the courts have rightly not interpreted the Second Amendment as guaranteeing the constitutional right of the individual to own a gun.
Hussey and Jameson both deploy the self-defense argument but don't provide any evidence that this is reality-based.
The need some individuals have to own a gun has nothing to do with any legal or political reality. They should take this issue up with their therapists and not trouble the rest of us with it.
November 4, 2005
Nothing deluded about wanting to know gun ban penalties before we vote
When it comes to public safety, as a bicyclist, I have more to fear from cars than I do from guns. So what's Mr. Anderson's solution to the 40,000+ vehicular deaths in this country per year? Banning them? After all, they have no political significance, except in the minds of those deluded souls who drive them, don't they? Truth is, you can take Mr. Anderson's simplistic reasoning and apply it to anything you want to prohibit, from marijuana to abortion. If anyone is deluded it's Mr. Anderson, who quotes the measure regarding the Supervisors enacting penalties as evidence of specifics -- yet we still don't know what those penalties will be or how much they'll cost. So what exactly is so deluded about not wanting to hand the Supervisors a blank check? For that matter, what is so deluded about a Tenderloin shopkeeper having a .38 under the counter of his store? The very fact that he is permitted to own one, whether he has one or not, is a more effective robbery deterrent than all the punitive legislation ever enacted. Washington DC has one of these vaunted gun bans in place, yet you are over three times more likely to get shot in DC than here. So much for "gun control." San Franciscans, whether they're gun enthusiasts or gun haters, must oppose Prop. H, for no other reason than that it just takes the punitive "War on Drugs" mentality and applies it to guns. As with the "War on Drugs", it would do nothing to reduce violent crime and would wind up costing more lives than it saves.
Colin Hussey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
November 2, 2005
Gun ban won't stop bad guys from getting guns
The special election is coming up and it's extremely important that everyone go and vote. Many propositions, state and citywide will have a lasting effect on CA and SF. Especially Prop H. Just to remind everyone, prop H does not stop criminals from confiscating firearms, stealing rifles or obtaining guns from the black market. Yes, that's right, prop H does not stop crooks from obtaining guns illegally. That's what many supporters of Prop. H think it does. There are no laws that can stop outlaws. The truth hurts but maybe we can handle it better if we just accept it.And here's a refresher course: California is one of the more stringent states when it comes to guns. No ordinary citizen can carry a gun on them unless they get special permission or happen to be Diane Feinstein or Sean Penn. Both these California residents are anti-gun until it comes to themselves not being able to carry a gun. Proponents of Prop H might ask these two Californians if it's hypocrisy or elitism that gives them special privileges. (A similar argument can be used for rich influential Pro-lifers who will always have access to abortions even if Roe vs. Wade is overturned)Anyone who purchases a gun in CA must register and take a gun safety course. In many other states, law abiding citizens can carry a gun on them. So if someone gets threatened with a thief with a gun, one can fight back. And don't forget, if Prop. H passes there will be lawsuits. City law conflicts with state law. We the taxpayers will have to pay all legal costs associated with Prop. H if it gets voted. I realize the second amendment is not a strong enough argument against Prop. H. Neither is the Constitution a strong enough argument for marriage for all or adoption for all. But the main problem with Prop. H does not stop crooks from obtaining guns illegally but it does stop law abiding citizens from saving their lives from the crooks with guns.
November 2, 2005
Supervisors spell out gun ban penaltiesafter ballot vote
Proposition H -- the firearm ban -- does in fact provide for penalties, as its text makes clear: "Within 90 days of the effective date of this section, the Board of Supervisors shall enact penalties for violations of this ordinance." Opponents of the proposition in the Voter Information Pamphlet use the usual phony arguments against gun control, including the bogus constitutional claim, even likening those who would ban guns in the city to Nazis. Guns are strictly a public safety issue and have no political significance, except in the minds of their deluded owners. Any ordinance that reduces the number of guns sloshing around in the city gets my support.
October 29, 2005
Labels: Chris Daly, Punks with Guns