THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 326, July 3, 2005

"Hands Off My Home!"

Gun Control Is Gun Violence
by Anthony Gregory
Anthony1791@yahoo.com

Exclusive to TLE

Gun violence is a horrendous problem in American culture. Guns are dangerous devices, and when put to criminal use in the wrong hands, they can disrupt urban tranquility and even destroy precious human life.

It makes sense then that anyone who opposes gun violence must oppose gun control. Not just because it encourages violent crime, by stripping away the means to self-defense from law-abiding individuals to the benefit of armed criminals, but because gun control itself is a form of gun violence.

All political power and all government activity flow from the barrel of a gun. The State's guns are pointed at us constantly, ensuring that we pay our taxes, behave according to the elective despotism's edicts, and otherwise keep in line. This is true for all government policies, including gun control.

All gun control laws rest on violence and the threat of violence. If you purchase an unregistered weapon, fail to report certain personal firearms transfers, buy banned ammunition, saw off the barrel of your shotgun, or carry a handgun illegally, the government will presumably arrest you if it catches you in the outlawed act. At a minimum, the government will fine you, and if you resist, it will then move on to arresting you.

That is to say, the State's agents will handcuff you, force you into their automobile (purchased with tax dollars), and drive you to the police station, where they will put you in a cage and, depending on what "offense" you committed and what mood they are in, possibly leave you there pending a hearing to see if you are to be moved to a more permanent cage better suited to detain you for a longer period of time.

If you resist during any of this, the State's agents will use physical violence against you. If you resist forcefully enough, they will use firearms against you. All gun control laws are ultimately backed by the threat of assault with a deadly weapon.

No pacifistic person, even and perhaps especially one who shuns all guns in themselves, can defend gun control, which is violent and relies on the use of guns. And no one who believes in the right to use defensive violence but not aggressive violence can sympathize with the State, rather than the peaceful persecuted gun owner, if a confrontation ever occurs over a difference of opinion regarding the right to bear arms.

Of the tens of millions of American gun owners, only a tiny percentage of them believe in or seek out gun violence. Sure, there are the few public and even fewer private criminals among them, but the vast majority of gun owners don't look forward to having to use their weapons violently. Most of them, even of the million or so who protect themselves against invasions of person and property every year, never have to use weapons violently. Gun owners by and large are peaceful people, not proponents of or contributors to gun violence, but in fact society's principal guardians against it.

Make no mistake about it. An individual walking around peacefully, hurting no one, trespassing on no one's property or imposing his will forcefully on any other human being, can justly be attacked with violence, regardless of what weapons he owns or how he decides to keep and bear them. Gun rights are simply human rights -- the rights not to be attacked, caged and shot like an animal simply because someone else thinks his own authority somehow supercedes the rights of the other individuals on this planet.

How can the State logically have rights to wield weapons that the rest of us cannot own? The State is supposed to get its power delegated to it from human individuals, the only entities capable of possessing human rights. It is a logical impossibility for individuals to delegate to the government rights they do not themselves possess. If individuals have no right to bear arms, then neither can the State -- especially for the purpose of using those guns for such purposes as, say, gun control. If, on the other hand, the State does have a right to have guns, it must have gotten it out of virtue of being a government comprising human beings, in which case those human beings must reserve the individual right to own guns themselves.

Despite the ludicrous attempts to read the 2nd Amendment out of the Bill of Rights, the right to bear arms is not the same as the right of the National Guard to have weapons, any more than the right to free speech is the right of the president to call press conferences. For thousands of years governments have done pretty much all they wanted to and all they could get away with, perhaps with technological limitations being their sole confining obstacles. The government does not need any rights guaranteed for it. The people do.

The more fundamental issue at hand is not Constitutional, but moral. If someone defends gun control, ask that person if he or she would advocate hiring an armed mercenary, backed up by the most powerful arsenal around, to break down someone's door, point a gun at the targeted person's head, yank the frightened individual from home, family and loved ones, and throw the person in a cage, all the while willing to shoot and kill the person if he or she attempts to resist, and all for the purpose of minimizing gun violence. Here we see the absurdity: To advocate such activity, stripped of the aura of the State and broken down to its essential elements, is to advocate gun violence. It is not only immoral, but given the alleged anti-violence premises of the gun-control advocates, it is outrageously inconsistent.

Even if you hate guns, you can't believe in gun control—for the State uses guns to carry out gun control. If you hate violence, you also can't believe in gun control. The only way to believe it is if hypocrisy, rather than a consistent love of peace among human beings, is your guiding principle in life.

I'll take peace and liberty, and the gun freedom they necessarily entail, any day.



Anthony Gregory is a musician, research assistant at The Independent Institute, policy advisor for the Future of Freedom Foundation, and writer for numerous libertarian publications. He is an unapologetic peacenik and proponent of the right to keep and bear arms. See his website, www.anthonygregory.com, for more info and articles.


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