Ricardo Pimentel’s Faustian Bargain

Columnist O. Ricardo Pimentel doesn’t seem to like guns very much. Oh, he’s willing to admit that they have their moments, citing this incident in San Antonio where a homeowner shot at two armed men (killing one, wounding the other) coming into his house through his garage. But Ricardo almost immediately goes into damning-with-faint-praise mode saying, “and this, of course, is the type of incident that seemingly undercuts the arguments of even the most ardent supporters of reasonable gun control and bolsters those of folks in the opposing, see-that’s-what-I-mean camp.” Okay, just for starters Ricardo, how is it that a successful DGU only seemingly undercuts the confiscatory arguments you and your fellow gun prohibitionists make?

More from Ricardo:

Sure, this homeowner used a shotgun and no one is reasonably arguing that the government take away your long guns (assault rifles excepted). But there have been other incidents here and elsewhere in which handguns were involved.

I couldn’t agree more. No one is reasonably arguing long guns should be confiscated. All the arguments have seemed to me to be completely unreasonable. And then there’s that one little exception of Ricardo’s. Since assault rifles are already strictly controlled by the National Firearms Act of 1934, I can only assume Ricardo meant assault weapons and there, indeed, lies the rub.

What, precisely, constitutes such a weapon? According to Illinois’ SB1588, any semi-auto shotgun that has a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds is an “assault weapon”. Given that you can get 1 1/2″ shotgun shells that means any semi-auto shotgun that can load three 3″ shells is already an assault weapon. The bill also defines any semi-auto pistol version of a full-auto firearm as an assault weapon. So Glocks would be illegal, as would 1911s, and Berettas and, well, just about any semi-auto pistol because just about any such pistol can be ‘modified’ (okay, remanufactured) to fire full auto.

As for banning shotguns, I guess Ricardo hasn’t seen the (relatively) new ATF study where they rule that just because a shotgun is used in a sport, that doesn’t necessarily mean it meets the “sporting purpose” test. Essentially the ATF is saying that traditional pastimes like hunting and skeet shooting are “real” sports, but that practical shooting is not. Never mind the thousands of participants and worldwide tournaments.

But gun grabbers always tell you who they really are, and Ricardo reveals not just his ignorance but his malice:

Everyone should be pleased by innocent lives saved as a side effect of gun ownership for the right people. But we can still recognize that the same laws that allow that also create a climate of too many guns in the wrong hands — and innocent lives taken.

So Ricardo, just who, exactly, do you think the white (sorry) the “right” people are who should have guns? And how many “guns in the wrong hands” is too many? And given that more than twice as many innocent lives are saved in DGUs each year than are taken by criminals with guns (see here for all the math; briefly 25,000+ lives saved vs. 11,800- taken), why would you want to see fewer guns in the the right peoples’ hands? Finally, do you agree with the Brady Campaign when they say that even one gunshot victim is too many?

Then Ricardo begins to reveal who he thinks are the wrong people:

Felons with guns are one problem. But we also have folks with no criminal records misusing guns.

Not wanting to get distracted, I will pass lightly over the felons with guns “problem” and merely quote David Codrea: Anyone who can’t be trusted with a firearm can’t be trusted without a custodian. But Ricardo is apparently not satisfied with keeping guns out of criminal hands, he wants them kept out of non-criminal hands as well! Indeed a couple of paragraphs down he states:

The sad fact is that, at sale, potential gun misusers often can’t be distinguished from people who will unfailingly use them legally and responsibly.

So it seems that as far as Ricardo is concerned everyone, everyone who buys a gun is a potential criminal, it’s just that most of them haven’t been caught yet. It is rare to see such forthright honesty in a gun-banner, usually they try to hide their true intentions behind phrases like “common-sense” and “reasonable restrictions”.

Ricardo then breaks out the twisted statistics to show what a “Faustian bargain” (aka deal with the Devil) we have made with the Second Amendment. Seriously, Faustian bargain? Dude, get over yourself!

Nationally, there were 554 unintentional firearm deaths in 2009. There were 14,161 unintentional firearm injuries in 2010. Between 1999 and 2009, Texas had 643 unintentional firearm deaths.

Now how about justified shootings? A 1998 study of shootings in and around residences in Memphis, Seattle and Galveston …  revealed that there were four unintentional shootings for every legally justified or self-defense shooting, seven criminal assaults or homicides and 11 attempted or completed suicides.

What Ricardo completely ignores here is that not every DGU involves shooting someone. Or even shooting at someone. According to the Kleck-Gertz study on defensive shootings, only 15.6% of respondents reported firing their weapon. So assuming respondents shot as well as cops and hit their target 37% of the time, that means for every legally justified or self-defense shooting there were a little over 17 actual DGUs. So there were 4 DGUs for every unintentional shooting, almost 2 1/2 DGUs for every criminal assault or homicide, and who cares about suicide because studies have repeatedly shown that increased availability of firearms may increase the number of firearm suicides and attempts, but has no bearing whatsoever on the total number of suicides and attempts.

So the “Faustian bargain” is not between citizens and the Second Amendment, it is between the hoplophobes and their disarmament philosophy.