The "Convenience Argument" for and against handguns
by phil on Friday Jun 27, 2008 3:26 AM
Justice Antonin Scalia elaborates:
There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police. Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.
Timothy Noah counterpoints:
A handgun can be concealed easily, and it can be tossed down a sewer drain without attracting much notice. The barrel can be used to break a snitch's jaw. (There's no such thing as "rifle whipping.") If it's easier for a woman to handle (I presume that's the meaning of Scalia's gallant reference to upper-body strength), imagine how much easier it is for a 4-year-old child. It can be twirled on a table when you want to play Russian roulette. It can be used to caress a woman, as various witnesses attested in Phil Spector's murder trial (which, despite this testimony, ended in a hung jury; a retrial commences Sept. 29). Because of its light weight, it can be accessed immediately after your wife tells you she's been sleeping with your best friend, but well before she heads out the door with a suitcase. Because of its small size, it can be used to shoot a cop dead before the chump even realizes you've got it in your hand.