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Gun Control - Does it Work, and What's the Real Agenda Here?
One of my favourite topics. Talking about gun control manages to antagonize and polarize almost everybody in the room.
The government ALWAYS wants to take away your right to owning firearms. The United States has approximately 300 gun laws in place, and in most of the world, even the idea of owning or using a gun in self defense is entirely inconceivable.
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns.
The fact that governments around the world have always tried to disarm the people is as good a reason as any to oppose gun control. But some people - most in fact, actually believe they themselves have a vested interest in supporting gun control.
(Note that when talking about gun control, I'm referring to all personal weapons. My arguments apply to firearms, stun guns, pepper sprays, knives, and anything else a single human being can reasonably use to defend themselves. So, tanks aren't included.)
So here are my top arguments against gun control. I think personal weapons should be unrestricted in purchase, sale, ownership, and legitimate use.
If you disagree with me on the topic of gun control, at least give the arguments a chance. If you're still not convinced, feel free to comment below!
If a criminal tries to take your life away, I think it is safe to say that they lose the right to their own in the process. Thus is borne the right to self defense.
If someone initiates aggression against you, you ought to be able to defend yourself with appropriate use of force. Appropriate is whatever stops the aggression and ensures your safety.
You do not need to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are trying to kill you. Maybe they're just trying to hurt you - doesn't matter. If they threaten you with a potentially lethal or hurtful weapon, you should have the right to defend yourself as if your life were in danger.
For all you know, it is.
So what is appropriate force?
If merely drawing your weapon is enough to scare the assailant off - no need to shoot them in the back as they're running away.
If they won't stop until you kill them, so be it.
To argue against the use of force in self defense is pacifism. There's nothing wrong with it, but where do you find the right to endanger the lives of others with the gun control you advocate?
Equality of force
Do you agree that there is room for legitimate use of personal weapons? Would you use a gun in self defense if someone just broke into your home and was trying to rape you, or someone you love?
Now we can assume that if a criminal embarks on such an enterprise, they will be well armed. It only makes sense for you to be armed too.
Trying to resist an armed rapist with your fists is not a good idea. If criminals possess lethal weapons, so should civilians. Otherwise, the law has just given an unfair advantage to criminals, and tilted the table against law abiding citizens.
When the law aids criminals and punishes innocent people, you know something went very wrong.
Gun Control does not remove guns from the street
That gun control is somehow successful in reducing guns available to criminals is nonsense. It is contradicted by both facts, and simple logic. Why?
Because the lawbreaker doesn't care about the law.
Many advocates of gun control talk about how streets would be safer if we just... had no guns. Whoops, what a silly argument. Here's why:
A criminal who is willing to hurt you is already potentially facing many years in jail. Do you really think he's going to care much if he gets caught with a weapon and an additional few years are tacked on?
If you're facing 25 years for murder, is an additional 5 really going to dissuade you from using a gun?
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns
Duh, it seems obvious. And it's true. Police estimate 5 million illegal firearms in circulation on the streets of Britain. Much good the gun bans there did.
Laws restricting guns will by definition only work on law abiding citizens. They serve to disarm only the very people they claim to be protecting.
But of course, this is not a failure of gun control, for gun control never aimed to protect people in the first place. That was only the pretext those in government used to argue for gun control.
The true aim of gun control has always been to disarm the citizenry. To make their resistance to an oppressive government toothless and futile.
Weapons are tools
What matters are the intentions of the individual. If someone really wants to kill you, and for whatever reason he doesn't have access to a gun, he can use a knife. Or his fists. People can get beaten to death.
Are we going to ban arms and legs now? If someone really wants to commit a crime, they will find a way. Gun control won't stop them. What the law needs to do is ensure the victim has the opportunity to legally defend themselves.
Weapons are morally neutral
Objects aren't inherently good or evil. Whether they are or are not depends entirely on the person using them, and what they are used for. A chef's knife used to make a salad isn't bad in any way. That same knife in the hands of a maniac can be used for evil purposes.
Likewise with firearms. A gun used to facilitate a robbery is bad. A gun used to prevent one is good.
It is important to understand that weapons are morally neutral objects, which can be infused with moral qualities depending on how a person, a moral agent, uses them.
There will always be bad people in society. Luckily, the majority are generally good. But disarming them and leaving them defenseless seems like a really stupid idea.
Criminals don't like to get shot
And that's one hell of a dis-incentive, especially if the law unequivocally states that the shooter, acting in self defense, won't face charges.
Criminals, especially recidivists, generally operate on the same principles as everyone else. When they consider an action, or crime, they look at the possible risk, and the possible payoff.
Sure, they might have a bit of a skewed look on things, and some of the criminals are high on drugs, but nonetheless, the very real possibility of getting shot means a mere 13% of robberies in the U.S. occur with the homeowners at home. That's compared to a whopping 53% of robberies in the UK.
Put yourselves in the shoes of a would-be criminal. If you're planning to assault someone, would you feel more at ease knowing they're almost certainly unarmed - or wondering whether they might end your life right there and then?
Which leads us to...
Weapons deter crimes
Economists love to talk about positive externalities. Well, every encounter a criminal has with a potentially deadly civilian is going to make him think twice before he goes out to commit his next crime.
When you stop or deter a criminal using a personal weapon, you're not just saving yourself, you're helping other people too. A proliferation of guns among law-abiding civilians is a positive externality.
Gun control thus leads to the opposite: negative externalities.
Black markets are really profitable. And gun control creates a very lucrative black market
It turns out that when something becomes illegal, the profits (and risk) rise massively. The mob in the 1920's became powerful mostly because of the prohibition on alcohol.
Why exactly is the government giving cash cows to organized crime in the form of black markets in goods and services? I know why - to keep people scared, and for them to seek the protection of the State.
Even in jurisdictions that allow guns, criminals usually use illegally purchased weapons anyway
Not very surprisingly, it turns out that people comitting a crime don't like to leave a paper trail. So they don't buy legal guns.
Therefore, banning the legal sale of guns only hurts law abiding citizens. Criminals were already acquiring the guns illegally.
The police aren't always around the corner. Also, they usually don't care
The person most capable and in the right place, at the right time to deter or stop a crime is.... the victim!
If you're going to hope for a Knight with blue sirens to stop your would-be rapist, murderer, or mugger, you're probably going to be disappointed.
I don't know about you, but I would rather have a gun on my person, than a policeman on speed dial. Policemen will almost never arrive on the scene of a crime in time to stop it; and when they do, by that time there's usually a pile of bodies.
If that's not a good enough argument, studies have shown that the psychological profile of the average policeman is chillingly similar to that of the average criminal.
Are these really the people you want protecting you?
Police officers aren't subject to the same laws as everyone else
If a policeman accidentally shoots you, they probably won't even lose their job. If something is done, it will be a slap on the wrist in the form of paid leave during the investigation. For a policeman to go to jail for wrongdoing - that's very rare.
I don't want people operating on legal double standards anywhere near me.
Weapon ownership breeds responsibility
Besides deterring crime and saving lives, personal weapons have numerous other positive externalities. Many people have remarked that holding a weapon in their hands gives them an awesome, and scary power.
For many, it is a humbling experience. Most people, even in jurisdictions where it is permissible, do not carry. They're scared to. They realise the responsibility that brings.
But what about mass shootings?
This is the killer. This is the one question, the response to which really brings out the beliefs of an individual. In the wake of a mass shooting, there are generally two types of responses:
"We should ban guns! Without guns there would be no mass shootings!" To see how well that works, remember that lawbreakers don't care about the law. We've already covered that one earlier.
The other response is,
"You know, if the victims of that shooting were armed, they'd be able to take down the psycho long before he killed so many people."
There's a reason the most lethal shootings are always in "gun-free zones". The ones that aren't are usually promptly stopped.
And there it is really. The difference between people ready to take responsibility for themselves and others, and those who live in the fantasy land where laws banning things actually work (remember prohibition? the current drug wars?).
Let's remember the ultimate reason gun control is evil
Force is the last thing standing between a free people and an evil, oppressive government.
Nobody can turn around and with good conscience say, "Well, that will never happen." Really? Have you never read human history?
I can't help but think that if the Germans were better armed and more willing to fight for their freedoms during the rise of the Third Reich - things would have looked a little differently.
Wake up people! You're being turned against one another over the non-issue of gun control.