21 July 2009

Guns Don't Kill People; Children Kill People.

Here's an eye-opening news story about how ill-regulated hunting by children is nationwide. It's become newsworthy because a 15-year old was just convicted for manslaughter, having mistaken an old woman for a bear. It turns out that numerous states have lowered the legal hunting age in recent years thanks to aggressive lobbying by gun-rights groups, while several have no minimum hunting age at all. The gun-rights people resist most regulatory efforts because they think they're intended to suppress the next generation of gun-owners. They say it should be up to parents, not politicians, to determine when kids are ready to hunt, supervised or not. That argument just asks for embarrassing analogies? Should it be up to parents, then, instead of governments to determine when kids are old enough to drive? Or old enough to drink? Some people might be courageous enough in their convictions to say yes, but I doubt there are many of them. Many probably look back on the good old days when boys helped feed the family by bagging possums and the like without needing to ask permission from Big Brother. If it was anywhere necessary for kids to do this today, we might make exceptions to appropriate regulations. But since hunting is exalted as a sport these days, I see little cause for exceptions. Regulation of the use of weapons designed for lethal use is a condition of civilized life. Some may find that burdensome, but the rest of us shouldn't be burdened by their nostalgia for primitive times.