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Freedom's Phoenix

In Defense of Self Defense

November 5, 2009 - 4:25pm
Richard Sutton by Richard Sutton


There is a general opposition among social liberals to the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. I have some comments and rhetorical questions that may help clarify the context of such rights and the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

At the time of the revolutionary war one of the serious burdens that Americans faced was the organized disarmament of the citizens of Boston which led to the later oppression of those, then defenseless, citizens.

The fact that guns are effective killing devices encourages many people to feel that the guns themselves are evil rather than giving credit to those who use them for evil or for good. They also rarely have any knowledge that firearm statistics are routinely manipulated and misrepresented - even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control include suicides in their gun death statistics (which greatly inflates the apparent death toll). The U.S. has a high gun murder rate; England with strict gun controls has almost no gun murders and a very low murder rate. This shows that gun control is effective in reducing murder doesn't it? No.

Prior to having any gun controls at all, England already had a homicide rate much lower than the United States (Guns, Murders, and the Constitution: A Realistic Assessment of Gun Control, Don B. Kates Jr.). The Swiss (pop: 7 million) have hundreds of thousands of fully-automatic rifles in their homes (see GunCite's "Swiss Gun Laws") and the Israelis, until recently, have had easy access to guns. Both countries have low homicide rates. (incidentally, the Brits are having no luck keeping their criminals from keeping and bearing arms)

The U.S. has a higher rate of murders which do not involve firearms than some European country's total murder rates. On the other hand, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Mexico have gun-less murder rates in excess of our total murder rate. All that can be determined is that there are many factors that influence homicide rates, and crime in general, more than the availability of firearms.

Some Questions:
If it is so good an idea to have all citizens unarmed why do politicians so frequently exempt themselves from gun possession restrictions?

Guns can be fearsome it's true; could that be why they are frequently useful in deterring crime without being fired?

If you are defenseless will calling the police save you when seconds count?

If we cannot keep drugs out of our prisons how do we expect we would be able to guns out of our criminals?

Related Content:

The Right to Bear Arms: a Fundamental Liberty - Austin Raynor
McDonald v. Chicago and Second Amendment Incorporation - Austin Raynor
Gun Rights as a Defense against Tyranny - Austin Raynor

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