My response to The New Yorker


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bfason
July 11, 2003, 12:59 AM
10 July 2003


Hendrick Hertzberg
The New Yorker
4 Times Square
New York NY 10036-7441


Dear Mr. Hertzberg:

Thank you taking the time to read and reply to my letter.

As a gun owner, I must admit that it is tempting to embrace the argument that we should regulate guns like cars, as it would result in the greatest decontrol of firearms in America since 1868, when the 14th Amendment abolished the Southern states' Black Codes, which prevented freedmen from owning firearms. As it is now, I may walk into a dealership and purchase just about any vehicle that I can afford - be it a cheap junk car, a military-style Hummer, or an evil low-rider car "of the kind commonly used by criminals" - without getting cleared by an FBI Instacheck. I may put the same kind of premium gas in my tank that the police put in theirs. I may install a muffler or automatic transmission without paying an onerous tax, getting a special permit from the Department of Transportation, or undergoing an intrusive federal background check. I may install both running lights and a gun rack without having to fear that I am inadvertently creating an illegal "assault vehicle." Neither a license nor registration is required if I operate my vehicle solely on private property. If I did by chance operate an unregistered vehicle in order, let us say, to protect myself and my family, at the most I would be merely fined and ordered to register the vehicle. I certainly would not be sent to Rikers Island and branded a criminal for the rest of my life. If Ronald Dixon had been here in Texas when the incident occurred, he would probably have been awarded a “man of the year” trophy - not packed off to serve time in the same jail as his assailant.

If we treated guns like cars, then licenses would be issued according to objective criteria (shall-issue) and not according to the whimsy and political imperatives of the chief of police (may-issue). As things stand now, the average New Yorker has about as much chance of getting a carry license as he does wrangling an invitation to a Conde Nast Oscar night party. Nonetheless, each day sees 74 reported robberies in New York city, and yet there's still enough jail space to incarcerate Ronald Dixon, a Navy veteran working two jobs.

Best of all, if we treated guns like cars, then my concealed carry license would be valid in all fifty states.

See Dave Kopel's article, "Taking It to the Streets, Why treating guns like cars might not be such a bad idea." Up on the web at http://tinyurl.com/glru . See also J. Neil Schulmann's article, "OK, Let's License Guns Just Like Cars." http://tinyurl.com/glt0

If you read only one book this year about guns from the pro-gun side, make it _The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong_ by by John R. Lott, Jr.

Ultimately, there is little reason to believe that violent crime in the US would be reduced by licensure, registration, trigger locks, signs proclaiming gun-free zones, five-day (or fifteen-day) waiting periods, or any other proposed gun control law. Can anyone explain to me how we would get the bad guys to register their weapons anyway? Even if we could, the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Haynes (1968) that a convicted felon can not be convicted for failing to register a gun, because it is illegal under Federal law for a felon even to possess a firearm. Obliging him to register his firearm would mean requiring him to incriminate himself, and that is specifically barred by the Fifth Amendment.

As a crime-prevention or crime-solving strategy, registration of firearms is a bust. It makes sense only as a precursor to gun confiscation. As a card-carrying member of both the NRA and the ACLU, I would oppose this infringement, and would no more register the guns in my safe than the books in my library.

Regards,



William E. Fason
1302 Waugh Dr #272
Houston TX 77019

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Dave R
July 11, 2003, 01:22 AM
Well done!

S_O_Laban
July 11, 2003, 02:19 AM
Good response. I like the links to pro gun info included in your letter. Maybe...just maybe he will spend the time to educate himself about the truth of gun control...you never know.

HBK
July 11, 2003, 03:26 AM
Great letter. Here's hoping he reads it.

Monkeyleg
July 11, 2003, 07:27 PM
Outstanding! Please post any reply you get from the "journalist."

Standing Wolf
July 11, 2003, 10:09 PM
...there is little reason to believe that violent crime in the US would be reduced by licensure, registration, trigger locks, signs proclaiming gun-free zones, five-day (or fifteen-day) waiting periods, or any other proposed gun control law.

Sorry, but there's every reason to disbelieve it.

bfason
July 12, 2003, 12:34 AM
Sorry, but there's every reason to disbelieve it.

Well, yes, that's kinda my point, even if I did understate it. Don't worry, Hertzberg is smart, he'll get the message. My impression of him is that wrapping the message in subtle packing is more effective.

AZRickD
July 12, 2003, 12:59 AM
That was an interesting twist on one of my favorite arguments.
it would result in the greatest decontrol of firearms in America since 1868, when the 14th Amendment abolished the Southern states' Black Codes, which prevented freedmen from owning firearms.
Ouch.

Rick

Tropical Z
July 12, 2003, 12:31 PM
Good job!

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