By Seth Richardson
In the wake of the shooting at the “gun free zone” at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, the debate about guns in society is again ignited. It’s time to stop debating statistics though, because people are not statistics, they are individuals.
Anti-gun advocates love to argue statistics however. They love to compare the U.S. to Great Britain or Japan and proclaim that we must ban guns in order to bring our statistical death rates from gun crimes in line with the rest of the world.
But this is a deliberate distraction and those who understand the nature of our rights must stop engaging this statistical debate, because it’s a smokescreen that prevents us from arguing the actual issue, which is the individual right to self-defense.
Statistically speaking, it doesn’t matter how many people in a given society are murdered by guns, or any other instrument. All that matters is the potential individual victim’s ability to defend themselves against such attacks using the most effective means possible.
In Great Britain right now they are discussing legislation to regulate knives. Not switchblades or daggers, but kitchen knives, and household cooking utensils. They are looking at legislation that would ban “sharp” instruments and all knives with points, because they have been suffering an increase in assaults and murders committed with edged weapons. British lawmakers are planning to ban glass beer glasses in favor of newly-invented unbreakable pint glasses because a large majority of armed assaults in Britain are done using broken beer glasses. They also want to ban the possession of cricket bats.
I hope I don’t have to expound on the futility of trying to ban sharp edges, pointed objects, and bludgeons. Moreover, Britain is also suffering from increasing levels of firearms violence, even though guns are effectively banned, because criminals don’t care about bans, they just smuggle them in. Most alarming is the increase in crime using fully-automatic machine guns, mostly UZI and Mac-10′s and other small submachine guns.
But all of this is merely a distraction because the actual issue is one’s fundamental, unalienable, Constitutional right to carry and use effective tools for self-defense. Did you know, for example, that it’s illegal in Colorado Springs to carry a stun-gun or a pepper spray canister containing more than 1.75 ounces of active agent? Get a permit and you can carry a handgun, but even then you cannot carry less-lethal defensive weapons as a part of your available continuum of force. The police can, but you can’t.
At the state level, a “concealed weapons permit” used to allow one to carry various defensive tools in the continuum of force, including collapsible batons, pepper spray or Mace, knives and stun guns. Now, however, your “concealed handgun license” only permits you to carry a handgun, which means that if a lesser degree of force might dissuade the attacker or stop the assault, you have no recourse but your handgun and lethal force, which prevents you from engaging a less-than-lethal attack with a “reasonable and appropriate” degree of physical force short of deadly force, except using your fists, feet or other makeshift weapons.
Laws that disarm law-abiding citizens are not just immoral, they are entirely unconstitutional, because they interfere with the fundamental right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This right to armed self defense was part of the reason the 2nd Amendment exists.
General statistics are irrelevant because the statistical probability that a law-abiding citizen being victimized by a criminal will be the victim of a violent crime is one hundred percent.
The only thing that matters in this debate, and the only thing we, as advocates for individual rights should be arguing, is that each and every individual must be free to make a personal choice whether to be armed for self-defense and that they be permitted to make the decision to defend themselves or not do so at need.
No government can or will be there to protect the individual, and government has no legal responsibility to do so. The legal fact is that a police officer can stand there and watch you be beaten to death, just like the cowardly security officers in Seattle stood by and watched a teenager being assaulted and robbed, without the slightest legal liability or mandate that they intervene. That duty lies with each and every citizen.
Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the London Metropolitan Police, which was the first organized police agency in the world, which remains the model for modern law enforcement throughout the civilized world, laid down nine principles of civilian law enforcement that continue to guide policing in this country. Principle number seven says: “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
The duty of self-defense is an individual one, and arguments about this country or that nation having a higher or lower rate of gun homicides are not only ignorant error or mendacious lies, they are immoral and unethical diversions because the simple fact is that in every individual case where someone was murdered with a gun, that person not only had a right not to be murdered, but he or she had a right to keep and bear arms in anticipation of a deadly attack and to utilize those arms in self-defense. There is no legitimate moral argument to be made in opposition to this principle of civilization.
When victims are disarmed by their own government on the evil and pernicious notion that overall societal violence will be reduced by reducing access to and possession of weapons, the government is explicitly disregarding the fundamental rights of the individual who is in peril in the interests of broad attempts at social engineering that are universal failures. In doing this, the government is saying that the individual citizen and his personal safety is of no interest or value to the government or society, and that his or her death that might have been prevented if they had possessed arms is acceptable collateral damage in attempting to achieve the broader goal of less societal violence.
In short, attempts at social engineering like this are anathema to our very system of government, which says that each individual has rights that the government is obligated to recognize and respect, even if the exercise of those rights interferes with the social policy goals of the government.
The right to be armed with effective tools of self-defense is no less protected against attempts at social engineering than the right to free speech is, for exactly the same reason: Your rights as an individual outweigh the needs or desires of society which interfere with your superior rights.
And being free to decide which tools one may use to defend one’s life against an attacker is as superior as rights get. That’s what the Founders believed anyway. Progressives and socialists have a far different version of your fundamental rights, and view the Constitution, and your rights, as impediments to their social policy goals.
This is the concept that gun-rights advocates need to work to put forward, and not be distracted with the statistical arguments, because they are all red herrings intended to deflect public attention away from the fundamental rights I’ve just illuminated.
The only possible reason government would have legitimate authority to ban the personal possession of defensive firearms by law-abiding citizens is if it could be proven that such possession and use by law abiding individuals posed an unreasonable risk to the general public. In other words, if the Sarah Brady/Hillary Clinton/VPC nightmares of blood running in the gutters from masses of innocent victims and bystanders being mowed down as a result of law-abiding citizens using their arms lawfully in self-defense were true, then there might be a legitimate health, safety and welfare argument to be made for banning public possession of arms.
But the facts are clear and unrefuted: this nightmare scenario remains that, the stuff of liberal/progressive nightmare and propaganda. We’ve done the experiment and in the last 20 or more years, none of these horrific prognostications have come to pass. Such claims are propagandistic lies concocted to instill fear in the lumpen proletariat, and nothing more. They have been conclusively refuted.
So, unless government can show a clear and present danger, under a strict-scrutiny standard of review required for the infringement of any fundamental right, it must, according to the limitations imposed upon government by the Constitution, respect the individual right to be armed for lawful self defense. Period.
© 2010 Altnews