Saturday, November 30, 2013

"The Constitution properly guarantees to the people of this country, the right to bear arms..."


   That is an interesting and a suggestive proposal which has been made at Albany--to legislate against the common use and even ownership of the ingenious device which has been invented for silencing the noise of firearms. That device is said to be so effective as to make the discharge of a rifle or a pistol nearly noiseless, without decreasing the lethal effectiveness of the weapon. It is easily conceivable that suck an attachment to military firearms would be of inestimable advantage in warfare, a noiseless rifle using smokeless powder giving practically no information as to the location of its user. But it is obvious that precisely the same thing would make a gun or a pistol a far more dangerous tool for the use of assassins.

   It may, indeed, be said that there is no legitimate use for the silencing device, save in military doings and in actual war. If we grant that citizens now and then need to use firearms against burglars, highwaymen and others, it should be obvious that the most desirable and most effective arm for such purpose's is not the most silent, but the most noisy. The report of the piece is almost as useful as the bullet in frightening away marauders and giving an alarm for the summoning of help. There may be those who would if they could shoot all the members of a burglarious gang, and of course for the execution, of that design a noiseless weapon would be useful; but we cannot concede that such a course should be generally pursued. Burglary and highway robbery are not, after all, capital crimes, and it is not well to kill unnecessarily those who commit them.

   The Constitution properly guarantees to the people of this country, the right to bear arms. But that is not assumed to mean that a man has a right to carry concealed deadly weapons. The only reason for which a man in this part of the world carries a pistol is that of being able at will to kill a fellow man. So the possession of A noiseless rifle would seam to indicate at least an expectation of wanting or needing to shoot somebody without being known, and that is an expectation which in law-abiding communities ought never to be fulfilled. If the device in question is as effective as it is said to be, it would probably be desirable to have all departments of the military services equipped with it. But the more effective it is the more dangerous and mischievous it would be to have it promiscuously available for the uses of evil disposed persons.

[New-York Tribune, New-York, Friday, January 28, 1910. Vol. LXIX....No. 23,084. Pg. 6]
   Oh well, at least the shrill speculating writer acknowledged we have a right to arms.

No comments: