Overkill: The Deadly Illogical of Gun Rights
By Greg Guma
Global Research, May 26, 2022
Theme: Law and Justice
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When a disturbed teenager or adult commits mass murder it has nothing to do with liberty. Yet, since the weapon is usually a gun, many people in the US essentially respond that the freedom to be armed is more important that the right to be safe. In fact, millions claim that being armed is the only way to be safe. Like most arguments against gun control, it’s cruel and illogical.
For decades now, leaders of gun rights groups have made the same case. They claim, for example, that the only thing separating Americans from people living in dictatorships is their unrestricted access to weapons. If the government has all the guns, they say, attacks against defenseless citizens will become as common in the US as they are in oppressed countries. This is one of the reasons why gun owners oppose the banning of so-called assault rifles.
Does this sound familiar? It certainly should. The same argument is still being made today by those who say nothing can be done to stop mass shootings like the recent ones in Texas and upstate New York. They also warn that only way to prevent a police state here, which many people claim is on the verge of happening, is to allow the wide and unregulated distribution of all sorts of weapons.
This idea, which assumes that any regulation is the first step toward confiscation, represents a paranoid and individualist mentality that for decades has dominated debate about gun violence in the US. We are free, the argument goes, only as long as we can defend ourselves with guns, not only against criminals but also against the law and the State.
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The arguments against regulation tend to fall into three categories: 1) the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, 2) gun control won’t reduce violence in society, and 3) gun laws are a serious threat to freedom. But do these assertions hold up to scrutiny?
The roots of traditional US ideas about the relationship between weapons and society actually go back centuries to the Florentine political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, who noted that military service should be the responsibility of every citizen, but soldiering the professional of none. Basing his ideas on the Roman suspicion of professional soldiers, he concluded that military force should only be used to assure the common good.
This idea of citizens bearing arms in defense of the State, to avoid the potential tyranny of a standing army, was translated by the authors of the Bill of Rights into the Second Amendments and helps to explain its unusual wording:
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Many libertarians have interpreted this sentence to mean that individuals are guaranteed the right to possess firearms for their personal defense or for any other use they choose. What this fails to acknowledge is the meaning of citizenship as it was understood two and a half centuries ago. In the 18th century, citizenship directly involved militia service for men, which was part of the commitment to the greater public good. An armed citizenry did not mean an armed population. In fact, even then it was clearly understood that access to weapons was a communal rather than an individual right.
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The bottom line is this: Effective regulation, combined with a comprehensive national database and a serious training program for gun users, would establish over time that less access to guns leads to less violent crime. This has been the case in Europe and some US states. Success would also help shatter the myth that government is the problem, and that people are better off armed to the teeth and on their own.
The debate over guns is not about restricting rights. That’s the cover story, an assumption promoted by the gun lobby to shape public perceptions. It’s not even about “control.” The goal is security, freedom from the fear and anxiety sweeping across this over-armed society.
A well-regulated militia is a altruistic idea, certainly preferable to the military-industrial complex. But almost 400 million guns in private hands is — pardon the expression — overkill.
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In a long eloquent screed, the author makes an argument for “effective regulation” and that the Dead Old White Guys didn’t meant everyone.
I almost spit out my coffee at “effective regulation”. Would the author please point out ANY example of such “effective regulation” ANYWHERE in the world. He cite cars as an example. Has he dealt with the DMV lately? And, even this week before the tragic shooting in Texas the ATF is accused of creating a permanent online gun registry in direct violation of Federal law. So much for that argument.
Funny how if they meant militia, they didn’t say it. It’s generally conceded that “well regulated” in their generation meant “hit what you aim at” not a bunch of bureaucrats making diktats. If the Federal Gooferment would return control of the Army to the State governors, disband all the TLAs (three letter agencies), and disarm all the bureaucrats like at the Department of Agriculture, then maybe we can get back to the Dead Old White Guys’ intents. Then maybe we don’t need about ⅓ of “We, The Sheeple” armed like citizen soldiers.
I notice that the author doesn’t point out how Israel dealt with classroom shootings.
Further I notice that the author doesn’t address how mass shootings seem to take place in “gun free zones” or as I like to call then “target rich environments” AKA shooting galleries.
Stiff further I notice that the author doesn’t address violent crime in all major cities where “gun control” id the diktat.
Finally I notice that the author doesn’t address how genocides seem to happen when the citizenry is disarmed. (And yes it does happen here — Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Native Americans, the Bonus Brigade, etc etc)
As a gun owning pro-life pro-choice little L libertarian, there are better scholars on these issues than me (i.e., John Lott; Tom Woods; Scott Horton; and litany of libertarian writers like Heinlein) who can do a better job of responding.
And with “gun control” fixated Democrats in charge of all branches of the Federal Gooferment why haven’t they advanced the agenda? Because they know it’s a loser. Nothing will will bring 100 million voters to the polls quicker than that infringement of the Second Amendment.
P.S., Don’t even bring up the concept of “social contract” because it’s a meaningless phrase. See Lysander Spooner.
In summation, we live in the Fascist State controlled by an oligarchy of the rich who regard us with contempt. Only the knowledge of an armed citizenry prevents them from loading the trains with “deplorable” and sending us to camps.
If that be paranoid, then I’l misquote a 60’s meme “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me!”
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? . . .” — Alexander Solzhenitsyn
So, whomever is sent to collect the guns, should be aware that unlike Germany in the 1920’s, gun owners in the USA will not go quietly.
BTW your link to comment is broken. I assume it’s an accident; not deliberate.
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