This post is the first in a series of posts that will be written in by both Spencer and Corben on a variety of subjects and events that have been in the news recently. All the articles will be titled “On the subject of…” and will tie into the idea that the self-regulating society is stronger than the society that relies on government regulation to fix its problems.
After having completed an exhaustively extensive, systematic, and categorical experiment (I wanted to make it clear that this is nothing if not thorough) in which we gathered information about my responses to people when they ask me about my views on certain areas or when political topics come up in casual conversation. These responses have been analyzed by some really chill people, and the entire experiment has brought about one definitive conclusion:
At their core, Libertarians are idealists.
This may not come as a surprise to some of you that are reading this posting on a random blog that nobody knows about (we’re actually trying to change that around if we can.. So refer us to other people if you like what you see and follow us on Twitter at @MrCorben and @PaperhackWriter) but please hear me out. The other parties have this thing where they always need to have proof of something before they will consider trying to make a deal on it. They want to see graphs, figures, talk to specialists, enact committees, hear presentations from their staff, etc. until they know everything about a particular topic and move forward. Libertarians look at society and basically say that it can pretty much regulate itself. The issue of gun control, according to a libertarian, can be solved purely on the basis of letting private businesses and gun dealers have the right to refuse service to anybody that they do not feel comfortable selling a gun to. People can usually tell whether or not they are talking to someone that has a few screws loose. The fact is, if you make guns more available to the public and make it a sort of norm to carry a gun with you or have one near you at all times.
The majority of the people that are going through the background check process and following the lawful method of obtaining a firearm in this country are using their guns responsibly and are not using them to murder people. In other words: the sort of people willing to comply with the law are the ones who follow the law. It’s a truism of course, but it makes sense: a murderer who wants a gun probably doesn’t mind breaking a few gun laws if he is also willing to break the law against murder.
By enacting background checks, the government is inhibiting the ability of a law-abiding citizen to obtain a firearm for recreational use or for protecting themselves against someone who went and got their gun illegally because they had intended to use it for nefarious purposes. Criminals are not going to buy a registered firearm that can be traced back to them.
There is also a deterrence factor at play here. If firearms became a more normal part of the everyday life of the average American and we didn’t have this irrational stigma against them, then it would be a lot easier to deter someone from committing a crime. Put it this way: if people didn’t have a stigma against the everyday carrying of firearms and a majority of people did carry a gun on their person everyday, then every criminal would be very afraid to commit crime because they would know that their intended victim is likely to strike back against the criminal. If every criminal had a thought in the back of their mind that the person that they’re about to rob or rape might be packing heat or even some passer-by is packing heat, then they might start to think twice about what they are about to do.
Of course some will say that “Well then all criminals will start carrying guns, this won’t solve anything! It’s just going to create a dozen OK Corral shootouts everyday!”…well, there is some truth to that. If lots of people were armed as they went about their everyday business, then yes, more criminals would probably feel the need to arm themselves. But, there would also be less criminals, as there are now much greater risks to being a criminal and fewer rewards (since crimes are less likely to be successful in the face of armed victims). More importantly, an armed stand-off between a criminal and citizen, though potentially tragic and traumatizing regardless of outcome, is a much more even-handed affair than a confrontation between a 6’2″, 250-pound rapist and a 5’4”, 14o-pound woman.
And then there is Sandy Hook. In the case of the Newtown Shooting, those children would have been much better protected and had much better odds of survival if guns were allowed to be lawfully carried in the school. The shooter would probably have caused some damage; some lives may still have been lost. However, had a faculty member or two had their guns on them, the tragedy would have ended much sooner and would not have been nearly as tragic as the slaughter of twenty helpless and (thanks to the legislators of Connecticut) defenceless children.
Any attempt at inhibiting an American citizen’s right to keep and bear arms is something that should be vehemently opposed by the American people and by the people elected to represent them in the legislature. The reality is this: these new reforms that they are trying to institute would not help to solve the problems of gun violence that we face today. In fact, nothing being considered at the federal level would have done anything to stop any of the mass shootings from Sandy Hook to Columbine. Rather, they would simply work to disarm the public, which will lead to more troublemakers making trouble for the now defenseless citizens.
While I dislike the meme of “Hitler supported gun control” et al, there is a valid point behind the buffoons making it. Tyranny and totalitarianism can never happen in a country where the people are free to arm themselves. It’s not necessarily that guns protect freedom; it’s just that a government willing to respect the freedom to own guns is a government that respects all freedoms. Oppression is not something that just happens; it is an evolutionary process that has a means and a very ugly end. One of those means is gun control. It is far from the only means and gun control may not even be the most important means of oppressing people.
Thomas Jefferson said that the people have the right to dissolve an oppressive government, even by violent means, if no other recourse exists. While we here do not advocate violence against anyone, not least the government, we do recognize that desperate times call for desperate measures. While we hope it never reaches this point, we can foresee the US government eventually becoming so oppressive, tyrannical, and autocratic, that our democratic institutions and constitutional safeguards fail us and we the people must dissolve our government so that from the ashes we may build anew and embark upon a renewed experiment in government, that we may yet find the perfect balance and see a new birth of freedom. That can be achieved without guns, but it would be much more difficult. It is this reason, among the myriad others, that we believe in the right to keep and bear arms.
Society will always regulate itself if the government fails to. If all regulation disappeared for guns and there was a completely free market for them, then there would be a significantly lower crime rate in the United States because criminals would have to think twice about committing crime because of the fact that the person that they were about to rob, assault, rape, kill, or carjack might have a gun that they could use to protect themselves. Also, if we put the responsibility for making sure that the person that’s getting the gun is in good mental condition and is qualified to carry a gun, then there would be less guns going to those who shouldn’t have them.
If personal accountability was a cornerstone of our society, as it used to be, a lot of the problems that we encounter on a daily basis, as well as the problem around what we should do to control crime and these horrible events that have happened with mass shootings, would go away or be significantly controlled.
CB & SL