It feels incredibly right that criminals should be shot. Of course, many of our killing fantasies are not limited to dealing with criminals. Many is the time I have wished I'd had a tank instead of a car so I could blow away the fool who cut in front of me without signaling. There is always a murderous thought for the bank teller who will not cash my check, as well as for my landlord's snotty secretary. This is the problem: the idea hurting those who violate us feels very right, but it does not make much sense.
Also, since neither my brothers, niece nor friends know anything about guns or self-defense, I am afraid that if a handgun had been available and they had gone for it, they could have easily been disarmed and injured, if not killed. If Bernard Goetz's muggers had had guns, he probably would be dead along with some innocent subway riders. Criminals have better thought out and planned their crimes. They are usually prepared for any of the victims' possible responses. Very often, they have done the crime before. The victim, on the other hand, has watched too many Scarecrow and Mrs. King episodes and has foolish notions about combat.
Further, the many reports about accidental shootings while cleaning guns, about violence in domestic disputes and about little Johnny blowing his brains out while playing with daddy's gun point out other dangers of handgun ownership.
Many people argue that banning handguns will simply keep them out of the...