Quote of the Day: PubliusCorneliusScipio – gun ownership and nuclear weapons

Quote of the Day: PubliusCorneliusScipio – gun ownership and nuclear weapons October 20, 2014

A superb point about guns and gun control which is not nearly used enough:

It is almost a truism that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. But the fact remains that, given the intent to kill, guns make it far more likely that it will end badly.

You can kill someone with a kitchen knife, and you can kill someone with a gun, so why the bother about guns and not kitchen knifes?

Perhaps a comparison will illustrate the reason:

Why all the bother about Iran having nuclear weapons? You can kill as many people, destroy as many buildings with conventional weapons as with nukes, and Iran already has those. The answer is that it would be SO MUCH EASIER with nukes compared to tanks and bullets. As it is with guns compared to knives.

Regarding restrictions on gun ownership: we already accept that people need a licence (and to pass a test) to drive a car; we accept this because it is dangerous and people could get hurt if incompetent or irresponsible people drive…. guns are even more dangerous than cars. Drivers also need to have insurance and a whole lot of other paperwork because even if you are not incompetent or irresponsible, sometimes shit just happens. Just use the same caution and most people would be ok with guns.

I think another important point to note here is that guns are designed in order to kill. To damage to death. This is not the same for cars, or even knives. A consequentialist argument may be able to be constructed to defend cars, for example, based on the good they do (CO2 and global warming aside) which would be difficult to assign to guns in the same way.

But the point of the QOTD is clear: One has to establish an arbitrary line, which gun fans draw over and above whatever gun they seem to like (to own), but using that same logic, one can argue for mass ownership of nuclear weapons.


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  • epicurus

    I always raise the question of why the american right to bear arms doesn’t extend to tanks, jets, nukes, etc. Why just guns? Because if the original purpose back in 1785 or whatever was to be armed in case you need to overthrow a bad government, you are not going to be able to do it nowadays without the above. What good is an assualt rifle against an armoured vehicle? Or maybe it’s all a big misunderstanding – a typo in the original that was supposed to read right to BARE arms. :-)

  • Geoff_Roberts

    The 2nd amendment has been affirmed by Supreme Court decisions. Check out the District of Columbia vs. Heller. The court upheld that personal firearms are allowed even if one is not associated with a militia. I don’t think any serious student of the constitution believes the founding fathers meant for us to have advanced weaponry I.e., cannons, etc.