March 17 2013
Who benefits? Who suffers?
The most important Latin phrase you’ll ever learn isn’t semper fidelis, persona non grata, or status quo; it is cui bono translated who benefits? Cui bono isn’t just for impressing lawyers at cocktail parties; it’s the most important question you can ask about any piece of legislation considered by city hall, the statehouse or Congress. Cui bono? Who benefits if this becomes law?
Let’s apply a little Latin to the gun bills passed by the Colorado General Assembly now sitting on the governor’s desk starting with House Bill 1224. The legislation puts a legal limit on the magazine size of a firearm. Apparently the bill’s sponsors feel 14 rounds are okay but 15 goes too far. I wonder what the word for arbitrary is in Latin. If the legislature can limit magazines to 15 with no clear rationality, why wouldn’t they limit rounds to ten or five or outlaw firearms altogether? Reductio ad absurdum? Ask Second Amendment opponents about their end game.
Ultimately, politicians and special interests are the ones who most benefit by limiting law abiding citizens access to firearms. New York Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama, and various lobbyists have been urging Colorado legislators to pass gun control bills as part of a national agenda. They need to score a win. The party loyalty of Colorado legislators on the Left will surely pay off, quid pro quo, next election season in contributions and endorsements.
Who else benefits? Criminals who don’t intend to abide by magazine limits much less laws against maiming and killing, benefit from having lesser armed victims. How many bullets does a woman need to stop a rapist? In the words of Laura Carno of I Am Created Equal, as many as it takes to stop the rape. The world’s largest magazine clip in the hands of a law abiding woman is no threat to society; a simple hammer in the hands of a murderer or rapist is a crime waiting to happen. That hammers and clubs kill more people than rifles in the United States shows that the present debate over the size and shape of inanimate objects is misplaced. The real issue is the person with lethal intent not the hammer, knife, gun, etcetera, at their disposal.
Then there’s Colorado House Bill 1229 which would force all firearm arms buyers to undergo background checks. Cui bono? Who benefits if this bill is signed into law? Score another win for politicians and lobbyists. The bill would have no impact on criminals who buy guns on the black market or steal them. The law would be at best an inconvenience to the honest citizen who buys a gun from a friend and at worst an attempt to gain information about law abiding citizens and their firearms. Registration always precedes confiscation. If that sounds too improbable, so once were unmanned drones, omnipresent surveillance cameras, and computer spyware the providence of the paranoid.
What legislation could be passed this session that would benefit the public while preserving the rights of individuals?
Instead of targeting law abiding citizens, as does this bill, lawmakers could instead create a “no buy” list of people who are forbidden from owning guns because of criminal history (thank you Ari Armstrong for the idea). It would be the “no fly list” of firearm possession that individuals or shop keepers could consult before selling a firearm. Who would benefit from a “no buy list”? Law abiding gun sellers, be they individuals or gun shop owners, do not want guns in the hands of criminals or those with violent psychosis and would be eager to check a potential buyer’s name against a comprehensive list of ineligible personae non gratae.
Such a law would keep guns from being unknowingly sold to criminals on the private market while ensuring that law abiding citizens’ rights to protect themselves would not be taxed and recorded as it is in public sales. The public and individuals benefit from Second Amendment protections for law abiding citizens to protect themselves and a streamlined process for identifying those who cannot legally possess a firearm. In the simplest terms: good guys benefit and bad guys suffer, not vice versa.