The latest approach of the anti-Second-Amendment and anti-gun brigade seems to be to point out how difficult it is to use a handgun appropriately and effectively. The Washington Post reports:
The study was commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, an advocacy group devoted to enacting "sensible gun laws" that "find common ground between legal gun owners and non-gun owners that minimizes gun violence in our culture." The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: "carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level," the authors wrote in a statement.
They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.
They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn't take cover. They didn't attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy -- they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough -- they didn't shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.
There's more at the link.
It's nonsense, of course. First the WaPo trots out the same old lying 'statistics' about 'more guns lead to more gun homicides -- not less' and 'guns are rarely used in self-defense' (all of which have been resoundingly debunked, but anti-gunners will never admit that). Then they try to tack on claims like those above - ignoring the reality that the mere display of a weapon by the intended victim is often enough to drive away a criminal predator without a shot being fired. What's more, there's abundant evidence from news reports and police files to prove that ordinary citizens successfully defend themselves, their loved ones and their property thousands of times every year using firearms. The study cited above completely ignores such evidence.
Of course, I'm not opposed to everyone getting firearms training - in fact, I think it's an excellent idea. I've been through half a dozen week-long shooting courses since coming to the USA, and learned a great deal from them (over and above what I learned during my military training and experience, and later civilian firearms training, in South Africa). However, many people don't have the time or the money to participate in such training. Are the authors of this latest study suggesting they should be disarmed because of that? Why should they be penalized for something beyond their control? The Second Amendment never speaks of qualifications at all - only a right that 'shall not be infringed'. Any attempt to tie that right to training would, IMHO, represent an infringement.
The situation is actually very simple. Some people believe that the thing is the problem. They ascribe morals, motives and opportunity to an inanimate object. It's 'the gun' that's the problem, rather than the person wielding it. That's a lie, of course. Consider:
- If a drunk driver runs over a pedestrian, we don't charge his vehicle with a crime - we charge him.
- If a contractor erects a shoddy building, and the facade later falls off and kills or injures someone passing below, we don't charge the fallen rubble with a crime - we charge the person or persons who caused the problem.
- If a murderer shoots someone, we don't charge his gun with a crime - we charge him.
To say that 'guns are the problem' ignores that reality. A hammer can be a useful tool to drive a nail, or it can cave in someone's skull. It has no moral volition of its own; it can't choose how and when and where and for what purpose it's going to be used. A gun is precisely the same. It can be used to shoot targets, or be carried on the hip of a police officer to keep the peace and enforce the law, or be used to commit robbery or murder. The gun itself is not the problem - and if it wasn't available, the criminal class would find other tools to use in their crimes (just as they did for millennia before the gun was invented). To outlaw guns, or restrict their availability, won't outlaw or restrict crime at all.
All too often, 'sensible gun laws' morph into 'any excuse we can find to disarm law-abiding citizens'. That's not about to happen where most of us are concerned.