When you tell a gun grabber that you oppose gun control because criminals don’t obey laws, you’ll occasionally encounter someone who will claim, “In that case, why have any laws? After all, criminals don’t follow laws.” It’s an exasperating comment because, on a visceral level, we all know it’s complete and total bull.
You see, gun laws aren’t quite like other laws. Oh, the look that way. I mean, a group of legislators stand and vote on these new rules, then the police go out and enforce these new rules, but that’s just the “skin deep” version of things.
However, laws against burglary don’t make it illegal for me to lock my doors. Laws against identity theft don’t penalize me for having a credit card.
Most laws take aim at how a criminal behaves and creates laws so that this behavior can be punished.
In truth, gun laws actually would have this effect, as well. A criminal caught using a gun in a crime would face an additional charge and probably more jail time. In theory, at least.
I’ll concede this.
However, it’s the other things that happen that become the problem.
You see, when you pass a law that restricts my ability to own a particular firearm, you’re impacting my ability to defend myself from those who ignore the laws. While the laws will create additional charges my attacker may face if/when he’s arrested, it’s of little solace. After all, I seriously doubt the dead really give a damn.
That gun law is tantamount to combating burglary by outlawing door locks, something that no one in their right might would actually do.
Yet, since guns in the hands of good guys look much the same as guns in the hands of bad guys, the gun control crowd sees no problem with trying to restrict them at all. They see the tool, see the evil that some people do with it, and think that removing the tool will make the evil magically go away.
That’s where the problem with gun laws lies. It’s not like other laws. Outlawing drunk driving makes it illegal for everyone to drive drunk because everyone is a threat when they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Banning burglary impacts me only in so far as to tell me I can’t break into my neighbor’s home (something I wouldn’t do anyway).
Yes, some won’t comply with the law, but the laws themselves don’t make me less safe. They simply exist, something that the law-abiding see and know. While criminals do ignore these laws, there’s no additional penalty against me or mine because those laws exist. They don’t impact me in any way except by keeping some people in check, people who aren’t necessarily honest, but not likely to break the law for fear of punishment.
Gun laws don’t work like that, though. They make everyone less safe. Since the criminals will ignore it anyway, the only people who are disarmed are the law-abiding citizens who weren’t the problem in the first place, and yes, that makes everyone less safe.
The truth is that while their argument, saying that if we use the logic that criminals don’t obey laws then we shouldn’t have any laws, may make them feel like they’ve engaged in some serious rhetorical jiu-jitsu, they haven’t. What they’ve done is betray a fundamental lack of understanding about why many Americans are so adamant about their Second Amendment rights.