The riots (and more germanely, the looting) that have come to dominate the George Floyd story have added to a societal paradigm shift initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. People’s easy complacency about daily life is being shattered, and replaced with edginess, fear, and distrust. Those who can have escaped (or are trying to escape) dense urban centers for the greater social-distancing and ability to isolate afforded by suburban residence. Many who didn’t give a moment’s thought to their domestic safety, apart from door locks and alarm systems, are buying guns in the realization that the police cannot be everywhere.

And, the Left’s focus on a particular type of gun control brings us a tale of three politicians.

Mike Bloomberg, less than a year ago, reasserted his long antipathy for individual rights and autonomy by declaring that only cops should have guns, after a private citizen thwarted a potential massacre in a church. As an Internet friend noted, that didn’t age well.

Joe Biden, who knows he has to talk gun control to satisfy his party, and has been around long enough to know how his party’s efforts at gun control have backfired on them time and again, has long tried to split the baby. His advice, back when he was Vice President, to those who’d want an AR-15 or other modern sporting rifle for home defense was to buy a shotgun. Now, his advice to police officers whose job it is to deal with the violent rioters and looters is to “shoot ’em in the leg, instead of the heart.” Biden is either pandering or unconscionably ignorant in his latter statement. If anyone – cop or civilian – has just reason to fire a gun at another person, there’s no gray area that warrants an attempt to disable that may very well fail to do so instead of “center of mass” fear-for-my-life shooting.

Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, noted a year ago that he owned an AR-15 “in case “there’s a hurricane, a natural disaster, no power, no cops, no anything.””

A couple nights ago, the Americana Mall in Long Island (Billy Joel’s famed “Miracle Mile“) was declared as a target of the organized criminals. It prompted the boarding up of its luxe storefronts and a massive police presence. Many of the town’s residents recognized that, if the police were all at the mall, there’d be no one to patrol their neighborhoods or respond quickly to bad guys showing up on their doorsteps.

Sounds like one of Graham’s scenarios, no?

A shotgun is certainly a viable home defense firearm, and one that offers certain advantages in certain circumstances. But, it has its limitations as well. While it doesn’t require perfect aim, its “spread” in a home defense situation is not what those who know of guns solely from Hollywood’s portrayals imagine it is. Think softball, not beach ball. And, germanely, most shotguns load six or fewer shells. Against a single intruder, that’ll almost always be enough, to either take down or chase away. What, however, do you do if you’ve got a rioting mob at your doorstep? While there’s a good probability that the shotgun will prompt them to move onto the next target, people seized by mob mentality aren’t always rational. The “no one needs a 30 round magazine” gun-grabber gave no consideration to this sort of civil breakdown, or if he did, figured it was OK to sacrifice some innocents to achieve his fantasy (a fantasy that, by the way, would not achieve its purported aim). Police officers’ sidearm magazines routinely load 15 or more rounds, and they carry extras. If police departments feel firearms with higher capacities are a good idea, why deny them to private citizens? While AR-15s aren’t the best choice in all situations and environments, blanket bans deny citizens of a potentially life-saving tool. They’re also easier to manage than a shotgun if you’re a smaller individual, given how much less they recoil.

I sincerely hope that the riots, civil unrest, and opportunistic mayhem and looting peter out, instead of escalating (and, as I write this, it seems that’s starting to happen). I think that government is warranted in engaging, pursuing, and arresting the violent and the looters, because that’s its job, and because violence and looting are not how we’ll get positive change in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. But, should things go the wrong way, those who have worked so hard to deny Americans their right to defend themselves and their families with the best tools available will have a lot to answer for.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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