June 20, 2004

By Doug Newman

Posted at Liberty Post, Breaking All the Rules, Strike The Root, Trumpet America, Colorado Libertarian Party Blog,
Couples Company, Rational Review, The Price of Liberty, Dissecting Leftism, The Patriotist, Armed Females of America,
The Independent American Press, Ender's Review of the Web and Free-Market.net

UPDATE: WHY WE SHOULDN'T DISARM CRAZY PEOPLE. To be posted on January 12, 2011.

Time and again, non-libertarians tell me something along the lines of the following:

“A lot of the libertarian philosophy sounds good. In fact, I agree with a lot of it. However, that whole libertarian gun thing has me a little uneasy. I mean, there are so many crazy people out there. You can’t just let everyone have a gun.”

Herewith is my response. I will begin by using four scenarios to illustrate my point.

Each of the above stories involves crazy people and normal people. Each involves people who obeyed gun laws suffering at the hands of people who were undeterred by gun laws.

In only one of the above cases did the assailants use guns. In perpetrating their orgy or blood, Harris and Klebold broke something like 19 or 20 laws. If someone plots for over a year to undertake something as horrific as Columbine or 9/11, they are by definition not deterred by your silly-posterior gun laws.

Gun laws do not deter crime. If you are determined enough, you will use a gun anyway (Harris and Klebold) or you will find a plan B such as a knife (O.J. Simpson), fertilizer (Tim McVeigh), a bathtub (Andrea Yates) or box cutters (Mohammed Atta and friends). The only people affected by gun laws are law-abiding folks.

In the words of an old billboard I once saw, 10 out of 10 criminals prefer their victims disarmed. Disarming crazy people does not make them less crazy or less criminal. It just leaves law-abiding people defenseless. Evil abhors a vacuum. When you disarm innocent people bad things happen.

Thus far, we have examined this issue at the “micro” level. Let us now examine it at the “macro” level.

The Second Amendment to our Constitution states:

“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.”

This Amendment does not “grant” any rights. It guarantees a “right of the people” that already exists. It does not merely apply to defense against murderers, rapists and robbers, but to tyrants as well. The “well-regulated Militia” of which it speaks does not mean the federally armed and sponsored National Guard, but rather indigenous people skilled in both the use of firearms as well as teamwork in the field.

Such a militia was necessary not for the security of any old willy-nilly state, but of a free state.”  Militias played a vital part in securing this nation's independence. The Founders understood that an armed populace was an essential counterforce against tyranny.

The history of the last century bears witness to this. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership posts a wonderful illustration of the relationship between gun control and genocide. Various degrees of gun control – licensing, confiscation, bans on private ownership, bans on concealed carry, requiring demonstration of a “need” to own a firearm – led to genocide in Armenia, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Red China, Guatemala, Uganda, Cambodia and Rwanda. 

The world’s worst sickos can be found in government. The sicker they are, the more power they accumulate. Show me a tyrant – Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, Castro – who is not certifiably insane. The ultimate aim of gun control is to totally disarm the citizenry and leave them defenseless against psychopaths who pull the strings and levers of power.

If you believe “we should take away all the guns”, ask yourself what you mean by “we” as well as how such a “take away” shall be implemented.

If you believe “we should take away all the guns”, you had better think twice. And three or four or five times if necessary.

So, my well-meaning friends who are skeptical about the freedom philosophy, this is why disarming crazy people does not work. Don’t worry: I did not arrive at all my current beliefs overnight, so I do not expect you to either. You do not have to like any of this. Just don’t let your emotions interfere with your quest for truth.

If you would like to post this, please email me and include this URL.

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman