Gun Rights and Prisoner’s Dilemma

 Gun Rights and Prisoner’s Dilemma

Like most people, I am outraged at the recent school shooting in Connecticut. This matter is bound to re-ignite the debate about guns. On this, there are some who w ll take this into a direction of tougher gun control legislation, and others who will take this into a direction of more people, such as teachers, having guns.

The problem with gun control legislation is that it puts people at a competitive disadvantage. If you don’t have a gun but someone else does, then you are prey. Laws about not letting mentally ill people have guns can be circumvented (as they were i 38 special ammo n this situation) by the mentally ill person getting a gun from a relative or a friend. And strong local anti-gun laws can be circumvented by the person buying a gun in another state. In either case, these laws can be rendered ineffective. The only way that this not be the case is to impose a universal federal gun ban; and I doubt that this measure is ever likely to pass Congress.

Whereas with teachers having guns, not only school shooting but other forms of brutal behavior in schools can be prevented. Yes, most teachers are pacifistic and loathe to have guns; but that doesn’t mean that the gangsters or the school shooters have the same values. When dealing with barbarians, the one thing that works the best is superior force. That’s as much the case with people who shoot children as it is the case with teenagers who come to school armed or have knife fights at school or assault teachers or rape girls or try to turn the school into a gang zone.

Although I vote Democratic and strongly support President Obama, on this issue I side with the Republicans. The reason is what is known in psychology as the game of prisoner’s dilemma. A person who unilaterally gives up guns puts himself at a competitive disadvantage against the people who don’t give up guns. Whereas if people who are at risk of getting shot have guns, then that reduces the risk.

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