Get a Knife, Get a Dog, But Get Rid of Guns

By Molly Ivins

Guns. Everywhere guns.

Consider the merits of the knife.

In the first place, you have catch up with someonein order to stab him. A general substitution ofknives for guns would promote physical fitness.We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners.Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldomkilled while cleaning their knives.

As a civil libertarian, I of course support theSecond Amendment. And I believe it means exactlywhat it says: “A well-regulated militia beingnecessary to the security of a free state, theright of the people to keep and bear arms shallnot be infringed.” Fourteen-year-old boys are notpart of a well-regulated militia. Members of wackyreligious cults are not part of a well-regulatedmilitia. Permitting unregulated citizens to haveguns is destroying the security of this freestate.

I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claimto follow the judicial doctrine of originalintent. How do they know it was the dearest wishof Thomas Jefferson’s heart that teen-age drugdealers should cruise the cities of this nationperforating their fellow citizens with assaultrifles? Channeling?

There is more hooey spread about the SecondAmendment. It says quite clearly that guns are forthose who form part of a well-regulated militia,i.e., the armed forces including the NationalGuard. The reasons for keeping them away fromeveryone else get clearer by the day.

The comparison most often used is that of theautomobile, another lethal object that isregularly used to wreak great carnage. Obviously,this society is full of people who haven’t gotenough common sense to use an automobile properly.But we haven’t outlawed cars yet.

We do, however, license them and their owners,restrict their use to presumably sane and soberadults and keep track of who sells them to whom.At a minimum, we should do the same with guns.

In truth, there is no rational argument for gunsin this society. This is no longer a frontiernation in which people hunt their own food. It isa crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in whichletting people have access to guns is a continuingdisaster. Those who want guns — whether fortarget shooting, hunting or potting rattlesnakes(get a hoe) — should be subject to the samerestrictions placed on gun owners in England – anation in which liberty has survived nicelywithout an armed populace.

The argument that “guns don’t kill people” ispatent nonsense. Anyone who has ever worked in acop shop knows how many family arguments end inmurder because there was a gun in the house. Didthe gun kill someone? No. But if there had been nogun, no one would have died. At least not withouta good footrace first. Guns do kill. Unlike cars,that is all they do.

“A well-regulated militia” surely implies bothlong training and long discipline. That is theleast, the very least, that should be required ofthose who are permitted to have guns, because agun is literally the power to kill. For years, Iused to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends abouttheir psycho-sexual hang-ups — always in a spiritof good cheer, you understand. But letting thenoisy minority in the National Rifle Associationforce us to allow this carnage to continue is justplain insane.

I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up. I don’tknow what is missing in their psyches that theyneed to feel they have to power to kill. But nosane society would allow this to continue.

Ban the damn things. Ban them all.

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