Thursday, July 16, 2015

Why Bother With Laws?


It's very difficult to have a rational discussion about the gun culture in America, and so today I'll limit myself to a general philosophical question based on one of the points always raised by pro-Second Amendment partisans: that laws which restrict the purchase and ownership of firearms place an unfair and unjust burden on responsible gun owners because criminals will always ignore those laws.

Now, let's follow that argument to its logical conclusion. If we can say,

"Laws which restrict the purchase and ownership of firearms place an unfair and unjust burden on responsible gun owners because criminals will always ignore the law"

Then it follows that,

"Laws place an unfair and unjust burden on responsible citizens because criminals will always ignore the law*."

"Whoa there, big guy!" you say. "That's not the same at all!"

But why isn't it? Gun enthusiasts maintain that laws restricting gun ownership are unfair because the "bad guys" will ignore them and the "good guys," being upstanding and law-abiding citizens, will observe the laws and thereby place themselves and their families in danger. If that's so, then what's the point of laws at all? Will not most people (the "good guys") always obey them and a relatively small minority (the "bad guys") ignore them?

Laws are important because they establish the boundaries for civil behavior within which society can function. If everyone was gentle, honest, and respectful toward one another, we wouldn't need laws ... but unfortunately, we're not like that, and haven't been for a long time. God Almighty, after all, had to provide Ten Commandments** to remind people how to behave.

So, Dear Readers, please don't insult my intelligence by using the argument that laws don't work because criminals won't obey them. Of course they won't ... that's why they're criminals. The law doesn't magically make them good citizens ... it allows the good citizens to punish them for their actions.

That's all.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Or, as my father was fond of saying, if you lock your doors and windows, all the honest people will stay out.

** Compare that to the US Code, which has 54 "titles" (general subject areas) and constitutes hundreds of thousands of pages of text.

5 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Yes, laws codify the bounds of acceptable conduct. Anarchy is hard to live under.

John Hill said...

My saying is, "Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Mike said...

Exactly.

allenwoodhaven said...

Agreed!

Big Sky Heidi said...

Sound reasoning!