Cars aren’t really made to take you to the mall or carry you to work. Sounds stupid, I know, but think about it…if the purpose of owning a car was defined by each trip, we’d have a multitude of potentialities, one for each time you sit down and buckle up. No, the true reason cars exist is that they are vehicles, a group of machines whose purpose is to convert some sort of energy into motive power. That’s the most basic, lowest common denominator we can wrap our brains around. At this fundamental level, you can’t pigeonhole them as transportation devices; a car is a vehicle, and vehicles have other purposes than transportation (think exercise bikes, pleasure cruisers, or the Vomit Comet). You didn’t buy that F-150 to haul your dirtbike into the woods, you bought it so you can fill it with gas, initiate combustion and roll. For whatever purpose. Let’s look at how this application of fundamental purpose can be applied to why we own guns . . .
Guns can kill, yes. You could say that’s their reason for existence. But like cars, guns have other purposes, from putting holes in paper to satisfying your inner child’s need to blow shit up. What then is the fundamental purpose of the gun? Any classification that frames a gun as a weapon is flawed. Knives can also be weapons, yet they’re great for everything from carpentry to cooking to camping. A knife’s fundamental purpose is to cut. Likewise, a gun’s reason for being is to fire a projectile. A gun is a machine; anything else implies intent.
When considering laws restricting gun use, we have to look at the issue from that fundamental position – that guns aren’t just for killing; they serve many masters. This is important; too many groups label the gun a killing machine. Sure, shooting living things may be the most popular use for them, but it’s not the sole reason for their existence any more than an automobile’s sole purpose is to take you to work.
If we are going to honor the freedom of choice that defines America, we are going to have to accept that stupid people do stupid things with machines. Appeasing our emotions by blaming and subsequently limiting the machine makes no sense and serves no purpose.
Every day, vehicles kill more people than guns. In fact, just a few days after the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, fifteen illegal immigrants died and seven were injured when the truck they were riding in crashed. You read that right: twenty-three people, one pickup. Where’s the outcry for limiting the number of people you can stuff in a truck? Aren’t there already laws in place to deter this sort of thing? Is there any logic in blaming the truck for causing the accident?
From this perspective, it should be obvious that the root cause of so many deaths was human error: severely overloading a vehicle for an illegal purpose. If you’re so quick to blame the AR-15 or the 100 round magazine – or even the concept of teaching tactical reloading to civilians – think about those dead immigrants and how blaming the gun is no different than blaming the truck.
Guns didn’t kill those moviegoers in Colorado, human action did. Restricting guns to ten rounds of ammo because of this event is no different than restricting pickup trucks to ten immigrants. Illegals care about the inches-of-immigrant per foot-of-wheelbase laws about as much as psychopaths care for magazine size restrictions.
Our focus should be on writing laws that target the intent of the criminal. Punishing a rifle that looks scary will do nothing to stop the crazies from pulling out the stops and making the front page every year or two. After all, death and destruction are their tools, not guns.