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Prohibitionists’ Dreams: If Only We Could Make All The Guns Disappear . . .

man with sword

By Mike McDaniel

Many readers are, I’m sure, familiar with the Tuelller Drill.  In 1983, police officer Dennis Tueller conducted research that revealed that an assailant armed with a knife can close 21 feet and inflict deadly wounds on a police officer before he can draw, fire and hope to stop the attacker. Obviously, an attacker armed with a sword can do the same at greater distance or in a shorter time due to the length of their blade.

It might seem counterintuitive to some, particularly if they reflexively consider the Second Amendment a menace. But this knowledge absolutely refutes a fundamental gun control argument: without guns, violence would be greatly reduced or eliminated. Some civilian disarmament advocates suggest that if only there were no guns, there would be no gunshot deaths.

Radical gun control and confiscation, of course, would disarm only the law-abiding. Only criminals and governments would retain firearms, and history reveals gunshot deaths would continue at very high levels; the only difference would be the people doing the shooting.

Governments with a monopoly on lethal force inevitably use it against their citizens, as there is nothing to restrain their worst, most authoritarian impulses. And of course, criminals are always as armed as they please.

Just for the sake of argument, though, let’s consider what a world without firearms would look like. Would violence really be substantially reduced?

At the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, as many as 6600 were killed within five days using weapons no more modern than spears and swords. At the battle of Actium in 31 BC, using the same kinds of weapons, as many as 7500 were killed in a single day (almost twice the number of Americans killed in the entire Iraq war).

At the battle of Hastings in 1066 AD, as many as 6000 died in a day. At the battle of Agincourt in 1415 between 7100 and 10,500 died.

All of these men were killed and wounded without the use of firearms. Their most advanced personal projectile weapons were bows, but edged and blunt trauma-producing weapons accounted for much of the casualty total.

It takes only seconds and an internet connection to find thousands of people killed or wounded with knives even today. But to extend the argument just a bit further, consider these recent cases (just the last few weeks) of crimes committed by people wielding swords. Yes, swords.

Missouri: Woman smiles in mugshot, accused of killing boyfriend with sword on Christmas Eve

Her boyfriend, 34-year-old Harrison Stephen Foster was found in the basement and pronounced dead. He had been stabbed three times, according to police.

Wilson allegedly told police she and Foster took meth earlier that day. She claimed Foster had been harvesting body parts and had “several other entities living inside his body for the past several months.” By stabbing him, she was “setting him free,” Wilson claimed, according to police.

New York: Greek-American Man Fatally Stabs Partner with Sword in Queens

The NYPD said that Ikonomou “stabbed his girlfriend to death with a sword and stuffed her in the closet of his apartment before calling cops to falsely report a robbery.”

The police described the process of discovering the tragic scene in the Brentwood, Queens apartment, saying that the case came to light after Ikonomou’s mother had decided to visit her son because he had been unresponsive. She immediately discovered the situation and Ikonomou was incredibly unstable and appeared to be intoxicated.

New Mexico – Las Cruces man pleads guilty for killing mother with sword

According to the arrest affidavit, Hunt woke up around 4 a.m. and began contemplating the way his mother treated him over the years in July 2014.

Sometime before 7:30 a.m., police said Hunt went into his mother’s bedroom with a long sword which he used to strike his mother’s hand and head, the arrest affidavit.

Hunt’s 31-year-old wife and their two children, ages 8 and 9, were in the home.

These happened just within the last few weeks and there are thousands more examples like them. Edged weapons — swords — can also be used in self-defense:

A Georgia man is facing charges after allegedly molesting his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter, according to police and media reports.

The child’s mother reportedly caught her boyfriend, John Lawarren Williams, in the act when she walked in on Williams allegedly assaulting the child in her Twiggs County home, WMAZ-TV reported.

The woman grabbed a sword that was in the home and slashed Williams as she tried to stop him from leaving while she called police, according to WMAZ.

The wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan taught us many lessons, but one is particularly applicable to this issue: even essentially medieval craftsmen can produce modern firearms like functional AK pattern rifles.

Consider this passage from a 1922 book regarding Afghan gun makers:

“The villages of the pass are famed for a strange industry — the manufacture entirely by hand of rifles and ammunitions, especially rifles, to the eye so like the products of European arsenals as to deceive all but experts. For these, since they are comparatively cheap and serviceable, there is a ready sale all along the border.”

Fast forward to 2012:

“We met a local gunsmith, Farid Shah from Zarghoon Khel, Darra. This man has a workshop set inside his small shop and has a single helper. ‘I produce Kalashinkov (AK-47) rifles and 12 gauge shotgun rifles in the Kalashinkov design,’ said Farid Shah.

Replying to a question about the quality of his guns, he simply said that his guns were no match for the Russian, Chinese or Pakistani guns produced in Wah Ordnance Factories.

‘A gun made manually from ordinary steel manually cannot match a gun produced in a well equipped factory from weapon grade steel using computerised machines,’ claimed Farid, adding that his guns were bulky and since there is no standardisation in the workshops, it is not possible to replace parts.

Hence, if something goes wrong the entire gun has to be thrown away.

‘This gun costs Rs12,000 a piece and takes 10 days to complete. But we cannot produce quality automatic weapons. Locals know it that is why no one would buy a Darra made AK-47 rifle in Peshawar or the rest of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).”

Even with these drawbacks — by western standards — there is a real market for these guns.

Firearm technology is ubiquitous. You can build a functional firearm with about $20 and a quick trip to your local Home Depot. And that’s to say nothing of the expanding technology of 3D printing.

Even if gun-grabbers’ wildest dreams were realized and every gun in America somehow magically disappeared, it would take very little material and time to produce new firearms. It would take even less time and materiel to produce swords. The armament genie is well and truly out of the bottle…and has been for centuries.

As has always been the case, it isn’t the weapon that kills, it’s the human being who decides to use it for evil. Gun control has always been a quixotic attempt to somehow harness and alter human nature. Because it is invariably focused on depriving the honest and law-abiding of the means of armed self-defense — not “getting guns out of the wrong hands” — it has never worked. And it simply never will.


Mike McDaniel’s home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor

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