Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Interesting idea from BATF: Restricted gun rights

with 6 comments

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has decided that patients using certain drugs that might impair judgment cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

On the whole, this is an interesting approach, but clearly must be extended once we accept the principle. For, based on that same principle and on the observed fact that drunkenness plays a strong role in shootings and killings and other improper use of firearms, clearly those persons using alcohol or who have alcohol in the home should not be allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. It follows as night the day, does it not?

I personally see the wisdom of this—who wants a drunken person to have access to a loaded firearm (or an unloaded firearm with ammunition available)? [Update: Meant as rhetorical question but badly phrased: the answer is, obviously, the drunken person groping in the nightstand drawer for a gun. Better: “Who in his right mind wants a drunken, etc.?”]

I will write to the BATF and recommend this. And, on thinking about the alcohol thing, and looking at the agency title, is there any reason a person with such a death wish that s/he smokes tobacco be allowed access to deadly weapons? I think not.

Here’s the article.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 6:53 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I object to your characterization that tobacco use implies a death wish. A fine cigar or a briar pipe filled with vintage pipe tobacco is an experience akin to a BBS shave with your favorite brush and a perfectly selected blend of shave products. Any health risks posed by such tobacco use are far outweighed by the health risks of simply growing old (and fussy). Furthermore, I feel that it is pejorative language to refer to firearms as “deadly weapons.” They are simply a category of tool that is highly effective at accelerating projectiles at clearly identified threats to personal safety. In fact, the 1911A1 qualifies as number one on my personal list of cool tools.
    Your third paragraph through to the end assumes that nobody is capable of taking responsibility for their own self preservation. It would be the same as saying that small boat captains are prohibited from owning augers, for fear that they may sink themselves or anyone on board their boat.
    Then again, I am from Texas and it isn’t unheard of to see men in black t-shirts with bold yellow block letters “BATF” across the chest and smaller, similar lettering across the back that reads, “who’s bringing the chips?”

    Dirty Texan

    30 September 2011 at 8:05 am

  2. Good point. I was specifically thinking of cigarettes. So far as I know, cigar and pipe tobaccos are not subject to the various chemical treatments that are used on cigarette tobaccos (and papers). Cigarettes are certainly greater than those of growing old (cf. relative mortality rates, cigarette smokers vs. non-smokers). Pipes and cigars: not the same level of problem. (Full disclosure: I smoked pipes and cigarettes and the occasional cigar—H. Uppmann (this was before Castro came to power)—during college and continued with pipes a few years more.)

    Your locution on firearms as projectile-accelerating devices, more or less, reminds me of the story of the Quaker standing in his living room in the middle of the night, holding a shotgun on an intruder, saying, “Friend, I would not harm thee for the world, but thou standest where I am about to shoot.”

    Personally, I see keeping firearms out of the hands of drunks as a significant contribution to my personal safety—at least in those instances in which I might be around inebriated people. That is, my support for laws aimed at keeping separate firearms and drunken people I see very much as taking responsibility for my safety (and, by the way, the safety of my fellow citizens: we’re all in this together, and we should look out for each other—laws are one way we get each other’s back).


    30 September 2011 at 8:28 am

  3. Sure, drunk people have no business handling firearms. No sane person would argue against that. My problem is that you put “those persons using alcohol or who have alcohol in the home” in the same category as drunken people, who, “should not be allowed to possess firearms or ammunition.” How on earth does that “follow as the night the day?”
    Matches and powerful solvents are a bad combination most of the time. Does that mean ownership of one should preclude the ownership of the other? The bottom line is that you can’t legislate 100% safety. Ultimately, the individual has to make decisions that promote (or at a minimum, avoid compromising) both personal and community safety.
    I’m no lawyer, but I think that it might be a Sisyphean task to write a law that separates drunks from guns without over stepping and outlawing gun ownership outright. Even if you could draft such a law, it would be unenforceable until after the fact.

    Dirty Texan

    30 September 2011 at 9:14 am

  4. The post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. The point was that, once some agency decides particular conditions are required for gun ownership, those conditions should be applied rigorously and consistently. I don’t think the idea of forbidding the ownership of guns and/or ammunition to people who use alcohol has a prayer of a chance—not even for those addicted to alcohol (which has a much higher addiction rate than marijuana). The BATF is so incredibly stupid on the face of it that I thought it would be interesting simply to follow where their initiative leads.

    In a word, I am not suggesting that ownership of cigarettes and/or alcohol should be prima facie evidence that gun ownership should be disallowed. It’s the BATF that implies that by deciding (on their own) that some meds prescribed by doctors should lead to disqualification for ownership of guns and/or ammunition. That decision was stupid, and transferring it to other contexts, equally valid, shows its root stupidity.

    That said, I do think it’s reasonable in general to support the passage of laws to protect the public. I consider such laws as protecting me (a member).


    30 September 2011 at 10:08 am

  5. Egg on my face. I just read your post and skipped the link, thinking that this was referencing medications that would be specific to perhaps mental patients. The link colors your post very differently, and I was remiss in not following through to the full story. Medical marijuana is a weird can of worms altogether. People who seek it for treatment of glaucoma don’t realize that you would have to smoke practically a joint an hour round the clock to achieve the same therapeutic results of the formulary eye drops (my wife is an optometrist). I do agree with you about laws and public safety. Speed limits, seat belts, consumer protection laws, these are all great examples of increasing public safety. You can’t write and enforce a law that broadly keeps people from being idiots and endangering themselves and others, though.

    Dirty Texan

    30 September 2011 at 11:19 am

  6. You write, “You can’t write and enforce a law that broadly keeps people from being idiots and endangering themselves and others, though.”

    Exactly, as the BATF itself exemplifies: you’ll recall the BATF operation Fast and Furious greatly promoted the purchase and shipment of firearms to gangs in Mexico, which then used them to kill Federal agents. A guy at the BATF was given a new assignment as a result. And this decision—to stop some people on meds from having guns or ammo because they suffer the curse of “marijuana addiction,” a fairly rare phenomenon, from what I’ve read. (Marijuana is much less addictive than alcohol and MUCH MUCH less addictive than cigarettes, which are more addictive than heroin.) Sometimes the BATF seems just plain stupid.

    I imagine people with glaucoma using marijuana probably use meds as well, but some people it seems to help significantly. But medical marijuana is used for far more than glaucoma. For example, with chemotherapy patients it quells nausea so the patients can eat.


    30 September 2011 at 12:18 pm

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