The Case for Cheap Guns

During the second presidential debate, President Obama answered a question about gun control by first openly advocating a return of the ugly gun ban, but then transitioned into an indictment of “cheap guns,” blaming them for the violence raging in some of our inner cities (like his hometown of Chicago).  Gun nuts commonly ridicule cheap guns, but for those who have extremely limited resources, they are often the only option for defending what little they do own and their most precious possessions: their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Despite the Chicago v. McDonald Supreme Court case, the city of Chicago continues to be one of the most hostile environments for legal gun ownership.  It also has one of the worst rates of gun violence in the country.  Over 400 deaths this year alone.  Coincidence?  Gun rights advocates say the answer is obvious.  Take guns from the law abiding and only criminals will have guns.  As the violence in Chicago's inner city spirals out of control, gun banners call for even tougher restrictions on guns.

In the second Presidential debate, The president blamed the violence on “assault weapons” and “cheap guns”, calling for a ban on the former and, some would say, opening the door to restrictions on the latter:

And so what I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced, but part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence, because frankly, in my hometown of Chicago, there’s an awful lot of violence, and they’re not using AK-47s, they’re using cheap handguns.

The president's comments in the debate, to me, indicate just another misunderstanding of human nature.  Like his incessant desire to tax the “rich” and give to the “poor”, thinking those policies will have no effect on human behavior, the idea that the cost of guns is what drives crime is extremely flawed.  If only guns cost more, criminals would not use guns in crimes.  Right.  As if criminals are so cost conscious.  If we get rid of cheap guns, only affluent criminals can afford them, I guess.

The real problem with the idea of banning “cheap” guns is the effect it has on self defense.  Most victims of crime in inner cities fit into a specific demographic.  Low income, mostly minority, many on government assistance, like housing.  The cost of a Glock, a Sig, or an H&K is simply beyond these citizens.  Laugh, though we might, at the Hi-Points, Cobras, Ravens, Lorcins, and Jiminez pistols these guns are often the only affordable option for home and self-defense for those trapped in low-income housing in the inner city.  The impoverished, law-abiding citizens in these situations will be denied the ability to defend themselves if you ban “cheap” guns.  As with all gun control, such a ban would leave these poor souls without protection in the name of protecting them from gun violence.  It would leave them vulnerable, and defenseless.

Liberal Democrats like Obama claim to be the only ones who care for the poor and the downtrodden, who (after all) are only in that condition because they are victims of those dastardly Republicans, or extremist conservatives, corporations, the evil rich, or whatever.  A ban on cheap guns basically says to the poor, if you can't pay more for self defense, you don't deserve to defend yourself.  So who really cares about the poor?