Gun Control: Getting Guns Out of the Hands of Drug Dealers - Island of Sanity

Island of Sanity


Gun Control: Getting Guns Out of the Hands of Drug Dealers

A common argument for gun control today is that we must do something to end the violence associated with drugs. Drug trafficking frequently involves violence. Perhaps some would say that they are not very concerned if drug dealers kill each other in turf battles, but the victims of drug-related violence are often the police or innocent by-standers. It has often been said that drug dealers are better armed than the police. If we would just place legal restrictions on the sale of guns, the argument goes, we could get guns out of the hands of drug dealers and end the violence.

But it seems to me that this is addressing a symptom rather than the problem. Surely the root problem with drug dealers is not that they have guns, but that they have drugs. Thus, a more effective way to deal with the problem would be to make the possession or sale of drugs illegal. If the government would just pass a law against having or selling drugs, the drug dealers would be put out of business and the associated violence would end of itself.

What? You say it is already illegal to have or sell drugs? Then I must be missing something somewhere. If strict laws against drug possession have not forced drug dealers to give up their drugs, then what makes gun control advocates think that laws against gun ownership would force drug dealers to give up their guns? Obviously these are not people who have great respect for the law.

I have yet to hear someone suggest that guns should be completely banned, all existing guns should be confiscated and destroyed, and all future gun production forbidden. Yet this is pretty much the state of the law on drugs. Even with such tough, absolute laws, drug dealers still seem to get just about all the drugs they want. How can anyone seriously believe that restrictions on gun ownership would have any noticable effect on the number or type of weapons that these people get? The only people it would disarm are the innocent, law-abiding citizens, who would then be even less able to defend themselves than they are now.

© 1996 by Jay Johansen


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