As the gun debate drags on, one point of contention continues to hold strong by proponents of strict gun control. While guns can be used for perfectly legitimate recreational use (like sport shooting or hunting), the gun’s main purpose is to kill – nothing more.
Though one might expect me to vehemently argue against such a assertion, in truth, I absolutely agree with this statement. A gun better be able to kill.
Guns fundamentally transformed hunting in the 1800s. Instead of risking life and limb in the quest for food, hunters relied on their guns to kill their dinners. Guns made it possible for our ancestors to kill large animals like bulls and ox far easier than ever before, bringing back to their villages large quantities of meat to sustain their populations for weeks.
Guns enabled our revolutionary armies to fight against an oppressive enemy in the 1700s. Guns enabled warfare from a distance, relying instead on the marksmanship of our nation’s warriors rather than the sheer dexterity of men in close combat.
Snipers on rooftops effectively neutralize hostage tackers and terrorists from a distance with guns. Regular people use guns in the defense of their own lives every day. The better your aim, the fewer lives that are lost in life and death situations. Lives saved.
Whether the target is an animal or a criminal, you are darn right that the intent of a gun is to kill. If your life is on the line and you are armed with a gun, it is nice to know that the original purpose of a gun holds true.
It is people who ultimately control what they do with potentially dangerous weapons. Cars are nothing more than 4,000 pound death machines. Historically, cars have killed more people every day than guns. Then again, so has alcohol and tobacco. Nobody argues that cars, alcohol and tobacco were designed to kill people, but yet, their harm to our population has historically outweighed that of guns.
Similarly, matches were designed to start fires. When an arsonist lights a match and burns down a building or starts a violent and destructive forest fire, is it the fault of the match? Typically, matches are used for reasonable and safe purposes. So are guns. The difference is when a gun crime happens, our 24-hour network news jumps on the opportunity to prop up their ratings on a sensationalized story designed to soak as much emotion out of the American people as possible. Unfortunately, it works.
Guns have been used to murder. Cars can be used to hit and kill pedestrians. Alcohol and tobacco have killed people, and matches used to start wild fires have carved large destructive paths of death all over the world. Regardless of the intent of the potentially dangerous weapon, people use common objects in the commission of crimes. Statistically, the intent of the weapon has very little effect on the dangers of its use.
Why do gun control proponents use a gun’s “purpose” to fight for strict controls on guns when many other killers exist in our world that were never intended to kill? The answer is because guns produce emotional responses, and they are an easy target.
When a child gets tragically hit and killed by a car, the grieving parents rarely blame the wide availability of cars. However, when a child gets killed by a maniac with a gun, it suddenly becomes the fault of the gun because it was supposedly the gun’s purpose. Cars cannot be banned, so nobody tries. But guns can be banned, at least in the minds of strict proponents of gun control. The Constitution be damned. Logic be damned. Let emotion rule the world.
Nobody intends to get into a car accident, but people do. Nobody intends to lose their home and become homeless, but it happens. Intent has very little to do with the dangers of our world. Purpose and intent guide our vision and dreams. Only actions provide the impetus to get there.
A gun’s intent is to propel a small projectile in a straight line. Nations have used weapons of all kinds in war against their enemies. Hunters have used guns in the survival of their families. Everyday citizens use guns to protect their homes and loved ones.
The purpose of a gun is whatever you want it to be – after all, we are a free country. For now.