When Only the Cops Have Guns, Who Watches the Watchers?

I’m on the e-mail list for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and what I get is always interesting, even if I don’t agree with it. The most recent arrival is a statement of Joshua Horwitz, who is Executive Director of the Coalition. Mr. Horwitz is exercised over the Senate’s vote on July 13 to prohibit law enforcement officials from using federal funds to confiscate private firearms during future emergencies and major disasters.

What is particularly interesting about this e-mail is not so much Mr. Horwitz position, but the basic assumptions on which it rests, which are common to many anti-gunners.

Assumption Number One: Anyone who owns a firearm is a likely psychotic, because normal, law-abiding people do not need firearms and would not be allowed to own them in the best of all possible Americas.

The fact is that the people who were doing the shooting in New Orleans were the usual thugs, felons, and hoodlums of which the city has a plentiful supply. Most people—legal gun owners included—were too busy trying to stay alive to bother with shooting at the police and National Guard.

Assumption Number Two: If the citizenry is an armed mob, then the forces of government, the police, etc., are always just, fair, and efficient, ready to protect you when trouble comes.

I would sooner have Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow protecting my old ass than the New Orleans police. During the Katrina unpleasantness, 250 of them simply deserted, others looted, and 4 were cited for brutality. And when it was over, their chief resigned in disgrace. And these are the guys who are going to save you?

Mr. Horwitz goes on to say: “…But what if the next crisis is something worse [than Katrina]—a biological chemical, or nuclear attack on the United States? Do we really want to tie the hands of law enforcement and restrict their flexibility in dealing with a catastrophic event?”

Think a minute. If we get anthraxed, or nuked, or Sarined, it is scarcely going to matter who has what in the way of guns. Our troubles are going to go far, far beyond that. But people who believe as Mr. Horwitz does see the world as a simpler place. Remove the guns and all will be well.