THE FOLLY OVER GUNS
As the blight of crime, brought to us by statism, leaves its ugly mark on more and more lives, the cries for gun control grow and grow. Many, in their desperation about crime and in their ignorance of its causes, have been driven to support gun control but, in doing so, they have been sent on a fool’s errand by statists. Do you possess the right to self-defense? Do you have the right to defend and save your life if it is threatened? If you do, then you have the moral right to possess a weapon to defend yourself against physical assault by some criminal and that includes the right to possess a gun. If you do not have the right to defend your life, this means you have no rights at all and that your life has no value, that it is worthless. Are these the ideas you wish to promote and sanction? If so, you might as well walk around with a sign on your back, declaring: "My life is worthless. I am defenseless. Kill me." An obliging criminal will take you up on the invitation soon enough.
If these statists, mostly the liberals, succeed in outlawing the possession of guns by honest, law-abiding citizens, we will witness a furious explosion of criminal behavior burst forth in this country, bringing even more mayhem and terror than we have today, even though the alleged purpose of this control of guns is to reduce crime. As with everything statists seek to prohibit, statists know that the abolition of the right of the individual to own and possess a gun will not stop the crimes committed with the use of guns. If statists were so concerned about guns, why aren’t they simply advocating we make it illegal for criminals to own guns? They would laugh at this, saying it wouldn’t work and, for once in their mindless lives, they would be right: it would not work. Criminals are not going to surrender their guns, they will still keep their guns even if guns are made illegal. Criminals do not obey the law. Since criminals are the only ones who commit crimes, since only criminals are the ones who use a gun in the commission of a crime, since criminals will continue to keep their guns even if their possession is made illegal, then just how would crime be reduced by making it illegal to possess a gun? It wouldn’t be reduced: criminals would still have their guns—and statists know this. If statists know this, and they do, if they know outlawing guns will not stop armed assault, and they do, what are they really after?
What is accomplished when honest, law-abiding citizens have their guns taken from them by statists? Who stands to gain the most when guns are removed from your home? Criminals and statists.
Criminals will suddenly have a field day: they will know that almost all of their potential victims have been disarmed—defenseless, unless police can be summoned in time to protect them. Now, the criminal who might have been afraid to break into your home for fear of being shot has little to fear from you. And this is precisely why we will see a violent, bloody increase in crime, once guns are abolished. The removal of guns from honest individuals will provide an incentive to encourage even more criminal attacks against you, bringing us an outbreak of violence, the likes of which we have never seen.
Statists will gain on two fronts. First, as noted earlier, the increase in crime which will come with disarming honest citizens will spur even more demands on the part of individuals for the government to "do" something, leading to further statist measures which gobble up even more liberty. Second, they gain a crucial instrument they need to make it easier for them to eventually accomplish what they have in store for you. When statists make their final thrust to plunge this country into tyranny, they will be faced with overcoming a disarmed citizenry, which is obviously easier to overwhelm than an armed citizenry. And if this night of despair descends upon this country, how will you defend yourself when some armed agents of some future Gestapo arrive at your door? You won’t be able to do so. And if you want a gauge to measure just how close we are to crashing into the ground of tyranny, just listen to and watch the demands by statists to outlaw guns: the louder, more frenetic the demands become, the closer statists will be getting to making their final push to have absolute power over you.
Fifty years ago, there were few calls for gun control. Why not? After all, back then, criminals used guns in the commission of crimes, just as they do today. Back then, guns were all over the place, yet crime was low compared to what we have today. Back then, it was virtually unheard of to hear about some psycho opening fire on a group of individuals, killing a score of them. Now it has become an increasingly common occurrence. In my small town of around 2,500, there were probably as many guns in town as there were people. Virtually every adult in town owned a couple of guns and many of them owned semi-automatic weapons, yet no one murdered anyone and no one committed armed robbery.
Most teenage boys in town owned a shotgun, given to them by their fathers as a rite of passage into approaching adulthood, yet none of these boys ever took their guns to school to terrorize students and teachers. Why do we now have so many more crimes involving guns than back then? Why this difference? Well, we have already answered this question. Back then, statism did not have the cultural and political dominance it has achieved today. Back then, the doctrine of statism was not widespread enough to give birth to the wave of crime which is now inundating this country. Back then, a liar was severely condemned by most adults. Back then, most adults did discriminate against liars: they held it against a liar for lying. And any youngster who lied, who was on the verge of going bad and taking the first steps to becoming a future criminal, found little encouragement from the adults around him or in the media. Back then, it would have been unthinkable to most to vote for a bald-faced liar and send to their children the kind of message children are receiving today. Yes, even back then, there were politicians who dissembled, but few lied about factual matters, as we have today, few were blatant liars, few would stand before an audience and tell them that a budget increase is a decrease, that an increase is a cut, that more is less, as we now have from the person who holds the highest elected office in this land. Back then, even most liberals morally condemned liars. And back then, unbelievably enough, even the mostly liberal media would have nailed such a shameless liar.
If you are a young woman asleep in your apartment and you are suddenly confronted by a 250 pound brute, wouldn’t you be grateful to have a gun at your bedside to shoot this monster who seeks to rape and murder you? Unless you have a death wish, you would. Do a bunch of statist politicians have the right to prevent you from owning a gun to defend yourself? Must you die because you have been forcibly prevented from owning a gun? Yes, if these statist have their way. If your life was of any concern to statists, they would not seek to forcibly deprive you of owning the means of defending it. No, these statists are not concerned about the preservation of your life or the life of anyone else (except their own).
In the ceaseless efforts of statists to abolish your freedom, they continuously bring confusion to the minds of many by corrupting the meaning of words. Look at the controversy which has been stirred up by these statists when it comes to so-called "assault weapons." For an honest person, an automatic weapon is a self-defense weapon, not an "assault weapon," as it has been deceitfully dubbed by statists. Honest individuals do not assault others, only criminals (and statists) assault others. If a criminal uses an automatic weapon, or any other kind of weapon, then it has become an assault weapon. Again, if these statists are so concerned about "assault weapons," why aren’t they simply outlawing the possession of these weapons by criminals? They aren’t because their goal is not to disarm criminals, their goal is to disarm you, to leave you helpless to defend yourself in an emergency situation when you are attacked by criminals, those soul mates of statists.
Mercifully, a significant majority in this country still supports your right to own a gun and it will likely take years of statist propaganda to convert this majority into a minority. However, the greatest threat to your right to own a gun comes from the confusion created by statists regarding the right of private individuals to own military weapons—and this confusion has enabled statists, as confusion always does, to drive a wedge of doubt into the minds of many about the right of gun ownership.
Do private individuals have the right to possess military weapons of any kind? Yes, they do. What if your neighbor is some sort of deranged millionaire who has enough money to purchase a nuclear bomb and places it in his basement? Does this individual have the right to do this? No. In a free society, the state would properly act to prevent this individual from putting such a bomb in his basement.
In order to understand the alleged problem with individuals possessing military weapons, such as a nuclear bomb, you must fully understand the following: no individual has the right to initiate force against another individual, either directly or indirectly—and this includes the threat of force, even if it is only implicit. For instance, if your neighbor went out and purchased a military cannon, loaded it and pointed it toward your house, this would be the implicit, if not explicit, threat of force. If his action is accidental, simply unthinking carelessness, then you can ask him to unload the cannon and not point it at your home. If he refuses to do this, then he is explicitly threatening you with the initiation of force. In pointing the loaded cannon toward your house, your neighbor has put your property and life in danger of being destroyed. You have a right to live your life without the threat of force, whether it be intentional or accidental. Your neighbor does not have the right to threaten you, even implicitly, with the initiation of force. In a free society, police would properly act to prevent your neighbor from threatening you with this cannon. However, if that same neighbor simply put the unloaded cannon in his front yard, he has the right to do so and is not endangering or threatening anyone.
Now, the same is true with the hypothetical case of your neighbor putting a nuclear bomb in his basement. Your right to own a gun is, in principle, the same as your right to own a car (if you have earned the money to pay for it and someone is willing to sell you one), the same as your right to any thing or service you can pay for, as long as your use of that thing or service does not threaten another individual with the infliction of force.
In the case of a nuclear bomb, this is not a weapon of self-defense, except in the case of a nation defending you and every other individual from an attack against foreign aggressors—if you detonated a nuclear bomb to protect yourself from someone who has broken into your home you would kill yourself, not defend yourself. Since there is no reason to own a nuclear weapon by an individual for the purpose of self-defense in one’s own home, its possession by your neighbor can only be for the purpose of implicitly threatening you with destruction. Even if it is not the intent of the neighbor to threaten you and he is simply stupid, the fact is his possession and use of such a bomb is, in fact, a threat to you: its accidental discharge would kill you and destroy your home. This is the implicit threat of force against you and this must be outlawed in a free society.
It is very important to not be confused on this issue: it is not the possession of a nuclear bomb as such which is being outlawed, it is the threat of force which is being outlawed. It is not the possession of objects which must be outlawed, it is the act of using of an object in a threatening manner, the threat or actual use of the initiation of force through the use of an object which must be outlawed. To further clarify this point, consider another example. Suppose you and your neighbors pool your money together to create a company which is going into the business of building military weapons which will be sold to the United States military forces and all of you have decided you will build and sell nuclear bombs. In this case, these nuclear bombs are owned by the individuals who own the company. Their possession of these nuclear bombs at their manufacturing facility does not constitute a threat (unless they build their plant too close to your home), not even implicitly, to anyone, and in this case their possession and use of nuclear bombs should not be illegal. Only certain acts are properly made illegal, acts which involve the initiation of force or its threat. The possession of an object, one an individual has earned, should never be made illegal.
McDonnell Douglas(now Boeing), the military contractor, has a manufacturing facility only a few miles from my home. They manufacture F-15’s and F-18’s, as well as other military aircraft. This company is owned by a collection of individuals, its stockholders, and their ownership and possession of these weapons is not wrong. By owning these weapons and selling them to the military, they are threatening no one. If the president of McDonnell Douglas suddenly lost his mind and instructed some crazed pilot to fly over my home in a menacing manner, then I am being threatened and this should be stopped. Again, it is the threat or actual use of the initiation of force which must be illegal, not the possession of objects.
Those who produce certain types of movies either purchase or rent military weapons of all sorts, such as tanks, automatic weapons, cannons and so forth. They have the right to own and use these weapons so long as they do not use them in such a way as to threaten the life and property of another individual, as long as they do not threaten to use them as an instrument of force.
Statists bamboozle many in their talk about so-called weapons of destruction in their drive to outlaw guns. Almost any object can be a weapon of destruction. In mankind’s history, innocent individuals have been destroyed by the use of all sorts of objects. Individuals have been murdered by the use of baseball bats, knives, metal pipes, heavy stone statues or any other kind of blunt object. You could beat someone to death with a large, heavy, hardcover book or with a block of ice. You could strangle someone using a nylon stocking, a rope, piano wire or any other similar thing. Is the solution to the death brought to the victims of murderers to outlaw the ownership of books, baseball bats, knives and other objects which may be used to murder someone? No, the solution is to outlaw the threat or actual use of the initiation of force, to outlaw this kind of act, not the possession of objects as such. If an individual stands before you and threatens you with a baseball bat, it is not his possession of a baseball bat which is wrong, it is his threatening you with force that is wrong. And the same is true of a gun: if he stands before you threatening you with a gun, it is the threat of force that is wrong, not the possession of the gun as such.
Now what about these militia groups which have sprouted up in this country? These groups are a product of the advance of statism. Most who join such groups likely sense this country is heading toward some sort of tyranny, and they are right. In training themselves in the ways of the military, they are attempting to prepare themselves to be able to defend themselves and their families in the future. They have the right to do so, as long as they do not physically threaten or initiate force against another individual—and this includes any representative or employee of government. If there are lunatics in these militia groups who are plotting to bomb government buildings and kill government employees, they must be stopped. True enough, our government has inflicted many injustices on various individuals, but we are not at the point in this country where it is time for an armed insurrection. The fight against the injustices of statism must be fought by ideas, not guns. The only time it is proper to physically fight against a tyrannical government which rules you is when you are no longer free to speak, when you no longer have the freedom to fight by means of spreading the right ideas. Military battles have been fought, throughout the centuries, against statism and those battles have only gotten rid of statists for an all-too-brief period of time. Statists keep resurfacing, every generation or so, because their ideas have never been defeated. The proponents of freedom must have the right ideas on their side to win, and once they do, statist politicians will quickly retreat.
The criminal acts by some members of these militia groups are contributing to the breakdown of law and order in this country and, therefore, hasten the move toward some future tyranny, the very thing they apparently oppose. Their acts are also being used by statists to smear gun owners by declarations, mostly in the media, which vaguely or overtly suggest gun owners are somehow responsible for the criminal acts of these militia members, inspiring even more frenzied effort by statists to outlaw guns, to remove from you the means to defend your life. Criminals, including those among militia groups, are not the product of those who seek to have the means to defend themselves against the initiation of force, they are the product of those who advocate the initiation of force. It is the doctrine of statism which promotes the initiation of force and it, not gun owners, is responsible for the creation of criminals, including those in militia groups.
In a free society, guns would be controlled by private property owners exercising their right to control the use of their property. An individual could forbid the possession of weapons on his property. In a free society, the overwhelming majority of owners of property where there are public gatherings would, in most cases, forbid the possession of firearms on their property. They would be free, like private schools testing students for drugs, to check anyone entering their property for weapons. This could include screening each individual with metal detectors if they thought that was necessary. In the case, for instance, of airports and planes, rather than having the state forcing such screening, it would be left to the property owners to set the rules: the airport owners and the airlines. Since these owners would have to be responsive to the desires of their customers and since almost all passengers do not want weapons on a plane they are flying, you can be sure airports and airlines would forbid weapons onboard planes or in airports. This would be accomplished without the state mandating anything and without the violation of individual rights by the state’s initiation of force. In a free society, the role of the state would be to enforce the rights of the property owners. If an individual attempted to defy the wishes of airlines and airports, by bringing a gun onto their property, then the police should properly take action to enforce the rights of the airlines and airports. An individual does not have the right to carry a weapon, concealed or not, onto the property of another individual without that individual’s permission.
Those liberals who are loudest in their support of outlawing guns are the first to sympathetically embrace some foreign dictators, such as the rulers of communist China. And if it is the violent loss of life brought about by some lone gunman that is their concern, where is their outrage over the millions who have been slaughtered by statist dictatorships in totalitarian countries? Where is their outrage over the killing of thousands by the Castro regime, the millions in communist China? Their silence and hypocritical inconsistency is revealing. It reveals the loss of human life is not their real concern. A tragedy such as we had in Tasmania, in 1996, in which some crazed gunman killed over 30 people is cynically used by statists to increase their power over you. They care not about the loss of life in Tasmania. If they did, they would be screaming their heads off about the loss of life which occurs on a daily basis under the dictatorships which cover a large part of this planet.
We urgently need gun control, but not the kind that’s being talked about today. We must control the government gun, which is the statists’ assault weapon of choice. Government must never be allowed to initiate force against a single individual. The government gun can bring—and has brought---more loss of life and property than a single AK-47 can ever bring in the hands of a solitary individual. Many individuals have been forcibly prevented by statists from using certain drugs which might have saved their lives. How many have died? No one knows and there has been scant mention, if any, of this loss of life on the nightly news.
In a free society, one which protects the right to life and liberty of each and all, the initiation of force is abolished. The guns of the state must only be used in defending you against the initiation of force, not inflict it upon you.
Your life is important, it is yours and you have the right to defend it with a gun, a knife or any other means at your disposal. If you surrender your right to own a gun, you surrender your right to your life—and if this is surrendered by a majority in this country, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what will lie ahead for you in the future.