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One of the arguments against gun control is “good guy with a gun.” And some people have indeed stopped criminals by firing or brandishing guns.

But as far as I can tell, those guns generally weren’t AR-15s or other semi-automatic assault rifles.

As I understand it, it’s illegal for a civilian to own a fully automatic machine gun, since machine guns are weapons of war and aren’t necessary for household or individual security. That definition seems to fit the AR-15, too.

I’ve heard gun supporters say that citizens need such high-powered weapons because criminals have them. It’s a version of “if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” They sometimes cite Chicago as an example, since Chicago has a high crime rate even though it also has strong gun control laws.

I think that Chicago’s problem isn’t its gun laws but its inability to enforce them. The city is in a financial bind. I don’t think it has the money to hire enough cops to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them. If you can’t enforce a law, then the law may as well not exist.

So yes, let’s ban semi-automatics like AR-15s — and give law enforcement the resources to put muscle behind the ban.

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