More Gun Control Foolishness

Freedom, as applied to the ownership of firearms for self-defence purposes, is a delicate issue. It has a tendency to offend the sensibilities of squeamish individuals.

Earlier today I linked to an article that is critical of gun control legislation. I received one particularly forthright reply, to which I will respond. It begins as follows:

I think one of the better ways to protect my family is to have the government make it very hard for other people to obtain and own assault rifles, handguns and other automatic, even semi-automatic weapons.

Translation: “I do not believe in the ethics of liberty: specifically, the right to self-ownership and private property. Nor do I believe in non-aggression. Rather, I believe in theft by majority vote. In which case, I will vote to have a man with a badge and a gun stick his gun in your belly and say, ‘Fork over your money.’ I will then use that money to buy more guns for more men with badges to interfere with those of you who wish to own a gun. This will make all 34 million of us safer. You see, I know what’s best for each and every one of you.”

This reminds me of the irrepressible Murray Rothbard, who wrote: “[S]uffice it to say here that any argument proclaiming the right and goodness of, say, three neighbors, who yearn to form a string quartet, forcing a forth neighbor at bayonet point to learn and play the viola, is hardly deserving of sober comment.”

If everyone that owned/wanted a firearm was a stable, reliable person who secured their weapons and ammo properly and only used them in dire circumstances of security and for sport/hunting, I would agree with you. However, as I’m sure you will agree, in reality, the population is very goddamned far away from that ideal. So, to that end, I agree with people being able to own long-bore arms (rifles and shotguns, single-action, non semi-automatic, no concealed carry) and small-calibre handguns (under a restricted permit) for sport/hunting use and yes, in a pinch, for security, along with strict regulations on firearms licensing and education.

Why not extend this argument to other areas, such as freedom of speech? It would probably go something like this: “If everyone that wanted freedom of speech was a stable, reliable person who did not commit slander or libel, I would agree with you. However, as I’m sure you will agree, in reality, the population is very goddamned far away from that ideal. After all, people do slander, libel and commit “hate” speech. They also lie, gossip and cuss. So, to that end, I agree with people speaking freely so long as they only say non-controversial things which are strictly regulated by the government and approved via the requisite free speech permit. They should also demonstrate their compliance with the applicable regulations by completing compulsory training on what, in the government’s opinion, constitutes appropriate speech.”

Are you convinced?

It’s terrible that firearms offenses occur and it’s true that in most cases someone having a firearm on their person in those times may have limited the damage.

I agree.

However, the number of accidental deaths and suicides that may have been prevented due to the improper and moronic storage of firearms is astounding, and by making it a) more difficult to acquire firearms and b) outlawing all automatic weapons and magazines of more than 5 rounds, some of these mass shootings would have been decreased as well, if not prevented.

On this point I will defer to David Mamet, the author of the aforementioned article:

The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves? Is this absurd? Yes, and yet the government, of course, is arming criminals.

In addition, we should all know by now the outcome of government bans. Consider, for example, alcohol prohibition, which hardly resulted in its disappearance. Similarly, cocaine is currently outlawed. Has the War on Drugs been successful? For criminals, it certainly has.

In the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” And, as history shows, they often lose both.

The USA has a huge problem with guns and gun violence – the answer is NOT more guns.

This fails to consider the empirical evidence of the impact of regional differences in gun control legislation. As Mamet explains:

Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot.

Cities of similar size in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere, which leave the citizen the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed in the Constitution, typically are much safer.

Our reader continues:

When the 2nd amendment was written, the modern day firearm was a fucking MUSKET. The idea of taking out a crowd of people using a single-shot muzzleloader firing a lead ball with a usable range of 40 yards is laughable. The constitution is a great document, but common sense says that it needs to be interpreted to fit modern technology and society.

Oh, I see. The United States Constitution is not the supreme law of the land. It is simply an anachronism that the government of today may interpret as it sees fit. Is the same true of habeas corpus and the refusal to torture?

Also, could it not be said that Germany’s treatment of the Jews during the 1930s was an interpretation by government to fit the views of society at that time?

He concludes by saying:

Also, the argument that because Obama’s family has armed protection, everyone’s family should have armed protection, holds absolutely no water. He’s the FUCKING PRESIDENT of the biggest asshole country in the world.

No one is arguing that “because Obama’s family has armed protection, everyone’s family should have armed protection.” The argument is this: if the President has the freedom to utilize armed protection, then this freedom should be extended to each individual, who may decide whether or not this is in his best interest.

It is a policy of freedom over coercion.

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  • About Gregory Cummings

    Gregory Cummings writes about Canadian monetary and economic policy. His writing has been featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada and the Ludwig von Mises Institute's Mises Daily publication. Read more.

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