Confronting the Myth of Gun Control

Column by new Root Striker Faisal Moghul.

Exclusive to STR


In the wake of the Batman massacre in Aurora, Colorado, and now the Sikh Temple attack in Oak Tree, Wisconsin, the mainstream media’s propaganda blitz has predictably inundated the airwaves with the conventional, yet fallacious, orthodoxy that more guns equal more armed crime. Against this backdrop, some lawmakers have sought to justify tighter gun control laws under the guise of “public safety.”
In this miasma of myth and disinformation, the debate surrounding gun control laws is primarily driven by preconceived notions impervious to facts, history or any iota of objective analysis. The notion that the state can reduce armed crime by strictly controlling the availability of guns to the general public, while superficially plausible, ignores the ample historical precedent and criminological data suggesting otherwise (See Lott, John. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws. University of Chicago Press, June 15, 2000; See also Carter, Harlon (November-December 1974), "The Issue Is Crime Not Guns", Option (Canada), 2(6), pp. 7-9; See also Botsford, David, The Case Against Gun Control, Political notes No. 47, Libertarian Alliance, London, 1990). The reality is that stricter gun control laws have never led to a reduction in armed crime.
The sinister attempt to associate private ownership of firearms with incidents of armed violence, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, furnishes the ideological camouflage for the state to disarm its populace by restricting their “last auxiliary right,” as Sir William Blackstone observed, of individual and collective self-defense against criminals and tyrannical governments.
Democide and the State
Democide,” a term coined by RJ Rummel, refers to acts of intentional killing of unarmed people by their own governments. Rummel’s extensive cataloguing of mass murders by governments of their own people provides a sobering reality check of the destructive power of the most prolific megamurderer of all – the state. Government is force, as George Washington once cautioned, “Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
Consequently, in addition to sanctifying the individual’s natural right to defend himself, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was also meant to preserve the balance of power between the overweening state and its subject populace. This insight stems from the history of wrongs perpetrated by totalitarian regimes.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that tyrants throughout history – from Adolf Hitler to Joseph Stalin, from Mao Tse Tung to Benito Mussolini, from Ferdinand Marcos to Idi Amin, from Pol Pot to Fidel Castro -- have monopolized the state’s control of weaponry while removing any obstacles to effective resistance by disarming their populace.
The relentless fear-mongering and “tough-on-crime” rhetoric that characterizes the push for greater gun control is reminiscent of the propaganda utilized to turn London into a pervasive Orwellian surveillance society with more CCTV cameras per capita compared to any other European nation. Yet, such video surveillance carried out under the putative banner of “public safety” has had no effect on crime as the United Kingdom still has a higher recorded rate of violent crime than any other European country.
Guns Don’t Kill, Criminals with Guns Kill – The Criminological Perspective:
Knowledge is neither good nor evil, but takes its character from how it is used. In like manner, weapons defend the lives of those who wish to live peacefully, and they also, on many occasions kill [murder] men, not because of any wickedness inherent in them but because those who wield them do so in an evil way. (Boccaccio, The DeCameron 686, 1982).
Criminology has shed some light on the fact that, unlike most law-abiding people, a certain class of hardened criminals are not deterred by the threat of stiffer penalties. The faulty assumption undergirding gun control laws is that such “chronic offenders”--the small proportion of criminals who are typically responsible for a major share of crime--are likely to comply with laws restricting gun ownership! “To belabor the obvious, murderers do not obey restrictions on gun possession,” as Jacob Hornberger notes, “contrary to the long-repeated suggestion of the gun-control crowd that if we simply enact such restrictions into law, murderers will comply with them.”
Interestingly, although Colorado is a concealed-carry state, the theater in Aurora that was the site of the shooting was a “gun free zone”--just like Virginia Tech’s campus. But that did not stop James Holmes, or Seung-Hui Cho, from embarking on a killing spree of their defenseless victims. These examples highlight the perspective advanced in several academic studies suggesting that laws prohibiting gun ownership, ironically, do not disarm criminals but only the law-abiding citizens whom they are meant to protect.
In this equation, one must also consider that the average police response rates – the time it takes for law enforcement personnel to arrive at the scene of the crime – for the highest priority emergencies is conservatively estimated at five minutes. Clearly, depending on the police for your safety is an inadequate substitute for armed self-defense when faced with an imminent existential threat. In fact, laws directed at gun disarmament only serve to make us – the unwitting populace – easier targets for criminals.
Some important points must be noted regarding the effect of gun control legislation.
First, just like Prohibition and the war on drugs, restrictive gun laws will only create a burgeoning black market for guns, freely available to criminals, thereby reducing the safety of the law-abiding public. In this context, the manner in which gun control laws are enforced is tantamount to selective gun control.
Second, if it is merely the potential for aggressive use of firearms that concerns us, then why stop at guns alone? After all, knives, automobiles and baseball bats can also be used to inflict serious bodily injuries and deaths. The fact is that ownership of firearms by law-abiding and responsible people is not the problem; the real issue is that such laws have been proven not to stop criminals who are determined to kill.
Third, it is a part-to-whole fallacy to suggest that just because there are some people who may use guns violently, this justifies the wholesale restriction and confiscation of guns from all. Ignoring the logical disconnect built into this proposition, gun control advocates also subscribe to an unduly reductionist approach by using only one variable – guns – to explain the multifaceted phenomenon of crime.
Gun Control Across Countries – A Comparative Look
The speciousness of the causal connection between the availability of guns and higher rates of armed crime can easily be refuted by comparing gun control laws in the United States with those of other countries.
If it is true that the greater availability of guns is the cause of--rather than being a means to--armed violence, then Switzerland should be the crime capital of the world. Due to mandatory military conscription, guns are as ubiquitous in Swiss society as cheese and chocolates, yet incidents of armed violence are virtually non-existent in that country. Similarly, Mexico has more restrictive gun laws compared to the United States, but armed crime and homicide rates are much higher. In the same vein, even though South Africa has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, the rate of armed crime is higher than the United States.
Furthermore, gun control apologists often cite Japan’s strict anti-gun laws as the reason for the low Japanese homicide rates. This fails to explain, however, why the homicide rate in Taiwan, where gun possession is criminalized as a capital offense, is higher than that of the United States.
Perhaps the more fundamental question is whether we as a society are willing to entrust the state apparatus with our protection, even in light of the historical precedents of governmental abuses of power, the inefficacy of restrictive gun legislation, and at the cost of forsaking our natural right of self-defense?
Just like minimum wage laws do not help the poor, like mandatory minimum sentences do not lower drug crimes, like mass surveillance does not yield a safer society, and like bombing countries does not eliminate terrorism, gun bans do not reduce armed crime.
While guns can be dangerous, they are only as dangerous as the person using them.


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fmoghul's picture
Columns on STR: 5


Glock27's picture

I have voted this piece as a must read. Not that you are already aware of it but to keep it uppermost in everyones mind. Though everyone here dispariages the Constitution, or disowns it, the fact of reality is that this piece of raggedy paper is the paper this nation struggels to operate under (despite the crooked crooks in washington). To point out its errors does not cause me disallusionment but you do have to recognize the forgone conclusion that this is the document the majority of Americans are holding on to for dear life. (The Human Condition has rared its serpent head as the "Tea Party, demonstrating a disatisfaction with the way government is currently operating). Despite all its flaws, the Constitution, it can be fixed. No one collective of people can function harmoniously without a guiding principle. Anyone in their right mind realizes this or we would be in a world of chaos, not that we probably aren't now).

Bite me, kick me, drag me through the dirt, abuse me if you must. I am here to learn and learn I will "...the human capacity to start new things calls our natural limits into question" (Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 1958, Chicago Press). I call our government into question for the abuse of the Constitution, call them into question to discover the flaws they suck out of it, forcing it to say things it does not say, making it a bag of hallow bones. I call into question that the framers ment this document to stand as written without change for ever and ever. "...[H]uman beings are merely an animal species governed by laws of nature or history, in the service of which individuals are entirely despenciable." (ibid). The human condition is a condition no one has the power to alter, it will do as it does. Persons are despensible to the Human Condition, the human condition is a part of nature and worms its way into history because of humaness.

fmoghul has boldly stepped into the 2nd amendment and I deeply respect him for providing the documentation of the wrongness of disarming Americans to make us victims to the government whims and the criminal rage, and to all the hoplophobes who moronacally believe that the absence of guns will stop criminal activity. Stupidity recognizes no cognitive skill, ignores educational background; it is stupidity that must be enlightened, if possible, but some stupid people will always be stupid people. I rest.

tzo's picture

"No one collective of people can function harmoniously without a guiding principle."

How about: Don't hurt or kill people, and don't take their stuff.

No 2nd Amendment needed. Owning a gun doesn't in itself trespass against anyone's person or property. Same goes for hammers.

If society would adopt the above guiding principle and apply it universally, they would discover that the creation of Constitutions and governments violate that principle and would forego them if they wished to be consistent.

Taxing (forcefully taking property from a person without his consent) violates the principle.

Suverans2's picture

G'day tzo,

"No one collective of people can function harmoniously without a guiding principle."

How about: Don't hurt or kill people, and don't take their stuff. ~ tzo

    3. Law of nature, is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator*, and existing prior to any positive precept. Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another, and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

* Atheists may leave out the "established by the Creator" without harming the underlying principle.

    Natural Law; or The Science of Justice: The science of mine and thine – the science of justice – is the science of all human rights; of all a man’s rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    It is the science which alone can tell any man what he can, and cannot, do; what he can, and cannot, have; what he can, and cannot, say, without infringing the rights of any other person. ~ The Natural Law or The Science of Justice by Lysander Spooner

"If a society would adopt the above guiding principle and apply it universally, they would discover that the creation of Constitutions and governments violate that principle and would forego them if they wished to be consistent." ~ tzo

Since we are dreaming: If a society adopted the above guiding principle and applied it universally then the government created by that society would not violate that principle, it would only have authority over those individuals who voluntarily chose to violate that principle.

At the slightest sign of government, itself, violating that principle, the individuals making up such a society would begin screaming...

    The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose, but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law has become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself is guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish! ~ The Law by Frédéric Bastiat
tzo's picture

Hello Suverans2,

"If a society adopted the above guiding principle and applied it universally then the government created by that society would not violate that principle, it would only have authority over those individuals who voluntarily chose to violate that principle."

I believe the main difference in our points of view is that I don't choose to use the word 'government' for what you described above. Service providers who have a client base of voluntary customers are called businesses, and I see no reason to stretch the word 'government' into a synonym of 'business' any more than I would try to work the definition of 'thief' to include 'being a productive member of a free market.'

But I agree that authority of one individual over another can be attained in one of two ways: 1) voluntary delegation, or 2) in response to aggression. Although I think of 2) as more of "By aggressing against me, you treat me like an object, therefore, since we are innately equal with regard to rights, you give me permission to treat you like an object," which kind of gets the same result.

Any individual in society has the right to 'claim authority' over an aggressor and so, again, using the word 'government' to imply that perhaps only a few designated humans may exercise authority over aggressors confuses the issue a bit, IMO.


Suverans2's picture

(bobs and weaves) lol

Jim Davies's picture

Thanks Faisal, excellent treatment of the subject. Welcome!

fmoghul's picture

Thank you sir. I am honored that you liked it!