NEVER BEEN SHOOTING? Would you like to try it?
An offer for Louisville Metro area residents.

If you have never been shooting, are 21 years old or older and not otherwise barred by state or federal law from purchasing or possessing a firearm, I'd like to invite you to the range. I will provide firearms, ammunition, range fees, eye and hearing protection and basic instruction.

(Benefactor Member of the NRA, member of KC3, former NRA firearms instructor, former Ky CCDW instructor)

Email me if you are interested in taking me up on this offer. Five (5) people already have.

November 13, 2007

Laws are never functionally prohibitive

Sam gets out of bed, pulls on jeans and flannel shirt, then puts on his coat and shoves a 9mm pistol into his waistband as he leaves his home. The sun is well down toward the horizon on this cold December day, and shadows are rapidly lengthening. Sam’s day is just beginning.

Sam grabs a quick meal at a fast food drive-through and drives a few miles just outside of town. He parks just up the street from a mom-and-pop convenience market that cashes paychecks for workers from a nearby small factory. Today is payday. Sam has been here before, and knows the day shift will start to leave the factory in about 45 minutes. He watches the market in the mirror as a few people go in and out.

About 15 minutes before shift change, the last customer Sam saw enter the market comes out the door. Sam checks his pistol to ensure the magazine is full and there is one in the chamber and returns the pistol to the small of his back. He gets out of his car and hurries up the street toward the market. As he walks, Sam reaches into his coat pocket and takes out a ski mask that he pulls down over his face.

Looking through the door, Sam sees only the market’s elderly owner remains inside. Sam knows the old man usually works payday evenings himself, not trusting his other clerks with all the extra money kept in a cash box under the till. Taking a quick look up and down the street, Sam bursts into the market, pulling his pistol and aiming it toward the old man’s head.

Sam orders the old man to hand over the cash box. Lifting the cash box from under the counter, the owner pulls it up with his left hand, hiding the .45 Colt pistol he now holds in his right hand. As the cash box and pistol clear the counter, the old man throws the box at Sam and opens fire. Two rounds hit Sam in the shoulder and arm. He is able to get off one badly aimed shot toward the old man before he drops his 9mm pistol all feeling gone from his hand. The old man holds Sam at gunpoint and has the next customer that comes in call the police.

When the police arrive, they arrest Sam. A quick check shows that this is Sam’s third arrest for armed robbery, and probably an upcoming third conviction for the same. Don’t you love happy endings?

At the end of his short workday, I wonder how many charges will be brought against Sam. I am sure there are more, but here is my list.

  1. Carrying a concealed deadly weapon without a license (misdemeanor)
  2. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (felony)
  3. Use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime (felony)
  4. Armed robbery (felony)
  5. Attempted murder (felony)
  6. Wanton endangerment (felony)
  7. Kidnapping (felony)

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but isn't there a law forbidding carrying a concealed deadly weapon without a license?

And isn't there a law forbidding the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon?

And one forbidding the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime?

And one forbidding armed robbery?

And attempted murder, wanton endangerment, and kidnapping?

Well, no. There are no laws that prohibit any of these things. What the legislature has done, at least in Kentucky, is proscribe certain behavior as criminal and define the level of punishment if convicted of that criminal behavior. An example from the Kentucky Revised Statutes:

515.020 Robbery in the first degree.
(1) A person is guilty of robbery in the first degree when, in the course of committing theft, he uses or threatens the immediate use of physical force upon another person with intent to accomplish the theft and when he:
(a) Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
(b) Is armed with a deadly weapon; or
(c) Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument upon any
person who is not a participant in the crime.
(2) Robbery in the first degree is a Class B felony.
Effective: January 1, 1975
History: Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 130, effective January 1, 1975.

Note the statute does not say, “You shall not commit robbery in the first degree.” No, it merely proscribes the behavior and defines the punishment (Class B felony). For an example of law that uses explicit prohibitive language, look in the Bible, specifically the Ten Commandments. God says, “Thou shalt not…”, and of course, no one since has ever lied, cheated, stolen, coveted, worshipped other gods, etc, have they? Of course, they have. Notice that God also said, "For the wages of sin is death..." He knew people would continue to violate His Laws.

Though the language in any law may be considered nominally prohibitive, in that it discourages behavior, in and of itself the law cannot and will not prevent the proscribed behavior. One may decide to submit to the law, or not. As long as man can exercise that freedom of will, laws can never be functionally prohibitive.

Why then do so many still insist the answer to “gun violence” is more restriction up to and including total bans on firearms? Many of the these same people promote the abolition of the death penalty. One of the reasons often stated in support of abolition is that the death penalty is not a deterrent. Many still commit murder with full knowledge of the consequences if convicted. To make their point, the abolitionists readily admit the law and its penalties cannot stop murder, so how can they expect laws that restrict and/or prohibit firearms to be effective?

Just how exactly is that supposed to work? Snowflakes in Hell, Alphecca, and Call Me Ahab post about efforts in the EU, where they are “just one law” away from a gun-less Nirvana. When asked how much money was enough, John D. Rockefeller, early 20th century oil billionaire answered, “Just one dollar more.” Like Rockefeller and his dollar, they will never be satisfied with just one more law to disarm us. I can understand their insistence, though. After all, the others they have passed have worked so well…

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