Corrected Gun Control Means a Disarmed Public

As I noted in my earlier column, “Come  Out With Your Hands Up!”on the occasion of the Sandy Hook school massacre   and the howling of the Left for gun  controls:

The calls for stricter controls on  automatic and semi-automatic weapons  sound more like the baying of a wolf pack  as it closes in on hapless gun-owners  and the Second Amendment right to own and  bear arms than it does outrage over  the crime.

“Preventive” or “preemptive” law is  the legal offspring of Positive Law,  which, simply put, is legislation passed to  correct perceived social wrongs or  inequities. Positive law nullifies natural  law, which, in today’s and  yesteryear’s context, is based on the requirements  for an individual to live as  an independent, rational being. The Constitution is  based on natural law. The  United States has absorbed many tons of positive law  in the way of welfare  state legislation that has made the Constitution nearly  superfluous. Natural  law has been under assault for over a century.

Positive law presumes that men cannot  be trusted to handle a butter knife – never mind a gun – without harming  themselves or others. But if a man murdered  or maimed another with a butter  knife, then, in today’s disintegrating culture,  in which mob rule and  demagoguery trump individual rights, there would an  outcry against the legal  sale and possession of metal butter knives.

A British correspondent, John Webb,  has seconded these and other points I  make in that column, and provides us with  further elucidation on the  historical, practical, and political background of  not only America’s Second  Amendment, but the British philosophical and political  origins of that  thinking. I have reprinted his comments with minor editorial and  punctuation  changes.

John Webb writes:

I cannot really be bothered to write  anything new on gun control and the  ridiculous stupidity of the media. It’s a  sickening spectacle to be sure. My  position, which dates from 2007, remains  unchanged. I’ll make just a few  comments in no particular order. They are not by  any means intended to be  water-tight arguments, just casual observations jotted  down as they occur to  me.

  1. The government wants to ban private gun  ownership on the grounds of public  safety. Since when did public safety become a  proper goal of government? On how  many objects and humans actions might the  government legislate under the  pretext of possible injury to a third party? Form  your own list.


  1. Even if you argue the case on the basis of  ‘domestic tranquility’ some of  the most violent nations in history have also  been the freest – you couldn’t  find a more bellicose bunch of nutters than the  ancient Greeks, not to mention  the peaceful years of the Soviet Russia, Hitler’s  orderly pre-war Germany or  any number of tribal societies, some of which don’t  even have a word for  ‘theft’ let alone ‘murder.’ If it’s safety you desire –  there’s nothing more  tranquil than a concentration camp, except, perhaps, a  graveyard.

Remember that line of Harry Lime’s  from the 1949 film, The Third  Man? I know this argument is unfair but I’m  sympathetic to its long-term  perspective. The plethora of contemporary moral  panics to which we’re subjected  mean absolutely nothing to me.

“In Italy, for thirty years under the  Borgias, they had warfare, terror,  murder and bloodshed – they produced  Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and the  Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had  brotherly love and five hundred years of  democracy and peace, and what did they  produce? The cuckoo clock!”

  1. If firearms are in general circulation don’t  armed crooks have a tactical  advantage over the armed law-abiding? They may  benefit from the element of  surprise. But their behavior often gives them away  before they draw their  weapons – scoping for security cameras, unobstructed  getaway routes, the  location of their accomplices, etc.  Plus, most crooks are idiots – they are  incompetent at everything,  including gun use – they buy the wrong ammo, forget  the safety catches, don’t  maintain their guns, they accidentally shoot  themselves. And all short-term  tactical advantages disappear as soon as an  alert is sounded – if the people are  armed.
  1. Wouldn’t a ban decrease the availability of  arms to criminals? No. Banning  guns increases their availability to the criminal  classes, thereby making  criminals more of a threat than they should be, which in  turn generates fear in  their victims and potential victims, and fear is  anti-mind. Criminals do not  heed – and, indeed, scoff at – all species of  legislation, especially gun  controls.

In a free society everyone should be  able to own guns except those with a  criminal record. In such circumstances the  law supports, and encourages the  honest and the ‘societal’ advantage of an armed  public, and advantage which  rests with the law-abiding. Ban guns and the  situation is reversed. Now the  law-abiding are at a disadvantage against  gun-toting criminals and more  dependent for their protection on the diligence of  government officials. And  that diligence is too often found wanting, especially  because government  officials cannot predict the commissions of crimes. Crimes  happen regardless of  the diligence of the authorities.

True, when guns are banned the  general supply of guns falls locally, but  among the criminal classes the supply  of guns subsequently increases – not only  do serious criminals merely stash  their firearms along with the rest of their  loot, but petty criminals, too, get  in on the act encouraged by the  artificially inflated profits of a “new” illicit  trade. As long as Afghan  peasants can afford a Kalashnikov it is likely that  there will exist sufficient  economic margins to make it worthwhile for petty  criminals to smuggle and horde  weapons for use as illicit currency.

Unless the UK government can abolish  all guns everywhere on the planet  simultaneously it is unlikely that any  domestic legislation will remove  firearms from the hands of UK criminals. I  doubt that the UK government will  ever be able to achieve this ‘noble’ aim given  its failure to eradicate illicit  drugs from convicts securely ensconced within  the not insubstantial walls of UK  prisons (and U.S. prisons).

5. Speaking of  drugs – the same principle applies to all goods of simple  manufacture.  Prohibition doesn’t work – it merely empowers the criminal classes  to the  detriment of all. The idea that all social illustrations, real or  imagined, can  be solved by the sweep of a legislator’s pen is a popular, modern  delusion.

American Prohibition sired the  creation and growth of organized crime.  American regulations, including the  criminalization of drug use, sired the  creation and growth of drug cartels.  Joseph Kennedy Sr. founded his family’s  political dynasty on smuggled Canadian  and British alcohol. Cigarette taxes and  regulations have fostered the growth of  criminal gangs smuggling cigarettes  from low tax states to high tax states –  gangs often composed of Muslims  raising money for their jihadistmasters.

6. Neither will  Draconian laws against possession reduce criminality – but  it will fill the  prisons with harmless dupes, women, and children coerced by  gangsters to  transport and secrete weaponry intended for criminal purposes.

7. Though it is  true that in society we do surrender our right to  self-defense to the  government, we do so only partially, but not in entirety.  On many, if not most  occasions, no government official will be present to  prevent a crime, especially  a crime against the person. In the absence of an  armed populace (or a  state-appointed bodyguard) the potential for ambitious  politicians to use the  fear of crime to advance their own powers and interests  is exacerbated – 24-hour  surveillance, ID cards, paid informants, retinal  scans, and  etc.

8. Even today the  government recognizes some right to self-defense but what  does ‘the right to  self-defense’ mean in practice? What does ‘the right to  self-defense’ mean for  an unarmed woman in the face of a male attacker? In  purely physical terms most  men are endowed with a muscular strength that puts  women at a serious  disadvantage during a physical confrontation. Firearms – the  product of the mind  – negate that unchosen genetic disadvantage. A firearm is  just a tool, a tool of  the mind; Should the mindful be deprived of the tools of  the mindful? How many  tools would exist if their use were restricted to the  mindless by the mindless?  Would you ban the ownership of pointed sticks? If  not, who should decide who  gets the licenses and permits to use pointed sticks?  If you want a big  government, that’s a good way to get one.

9. Which leads us  to the political aspect. If this country stands for  anything it stands for the  recognition of the idea that individuals have  rights, especially the rights to  life, liberty, and property. The social and  historical context for the  development and “implementation” of these ideas is,  to the best of my knowledge,  unique to this island and its former colonies.  France and Spain, however,  produced some great heroes of liberalism but they  signally failed to implement  any coherent liberal tradition independently of  this country.  Why?

Politically, a number of reasons occur  to me – but four stand out:

a) The absence of a standing  army. b) The early separation of church and  state (since the 12th century). c) The subjection of political  authority to  the rule of law (since the 11thcentury, at   least). d) A consistent affirmation of the right of rebellion (since   12thcentury).
According to some  historians, particularly by  David Hume, it seems that these principles matured  by accident often contrary  to intent and independently of philosophy. I disagree  with that thesis, but it  would take too long for me to justify that position. It  is, however, worth  remembering that these principles did not go unchallenged by  ambitious monarchs  and they were not secured without cost – as Wat Tyler, Jack  Cade, Robin Hood,  the Parliamentarians, the Regicides of Charles I, Algernon  Sydney, and The  Immortal Seven (Five Whigs and two Tories who put their estates  – and necks –  on the line by inviting William of Orange to take the throne from  the Papist  James II), thereby facilitating and enabling the Glorious Revolution.  and many,  many others would readily attest.
In the light of their  experience, what  might the future hold now that we are disarmed, and have an  army of police  officers eager to enforce the dubious whims of our political  masters (e.g., the  regulation of the use of mobile phones today – who knows what  tomorrow)? What  might the future hold now that we have a growing band of  enthusiastic  religionists anxious to foist their vision of the New Jerusalem  courtesy of an  army of professional activists funded by their tax-exempt  re-branded charities  – many of today’s seemingly secular charities have  religious origins, and still  others aspire to the Papacy “Wildlife groups axe David  Bellamy as global warming ‘heretic’,” was one classic headline I remember   from last year.

What might the future hold now that  the government routinely exempts itself  from its own laws –  the European Union’s nonexistent accounts, Mandelson’s  mortgage, bribes  to the Saudis, Jack Straw’s child-molesting brother and drug-pushing son,   Blunkett’s nannies, the sale ofKnighthoods,  exemption from pension taxes etc.
And what sort of rebellion might be   organized if Tony Blair’s great-grandson becomes President of the United States   of Europe and declares Pol Pot a visionary? Will our great-grandchildren thank   us for their lack of arms?
Tom Paine once observed that a nation’s   constitution, ultimately, is its people who must exercise vigilance, identify   tyranny, make their judgment and put their lives and estates in jeopardy in   defense of their rights.
What force does that living ‘constitution’ have   now that it is disarmed? (This is a reference to the  liberal perception of  especially the U.S. Constitution as a “charter” that can  be modified or amended  to conform to the exigencies and circumstances of the  modern world – in short,  a document governed by no absolute principles.)

The long English tradition of an  armed public and disarmed state has been  turned on its head. Is this a good  idea?

10. Gun prohibition also sends out the wrong metaphysical message. On  every  occasion that I have had the chance to seriously question collectivists  about  the wisdom of their infantile policies, exposing their policies for the   nonsense that they are, sooner or later, they always revert to the same old   mantra: the people are sinful, guilty and foolish, unreliable and untrustworthy,  incapable of managing their own welfare, not sufficiently ‘evolved’ to be left   to their own decisions. Is this a principle that we should affirm by agreeing   with gun controls -the people cannot be trusted?

11. The right to bear  arms is written into our own Bill of Rights of 1689.   If we allow such a fundamental right to be infringed then it sets a precedent   for abolishing other fundamental rights (this is already  happening.)

12. By siding in  favor of gun controls we also side with some of history’s  blackest villains,  Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot.

13. By siding in favor  of gun controls we also side against some of freedoms  postulated by our greatest  advocates:

14. Edward  Coke (1552- 1634.)“And yet in some cases a man may not   only use force and arms, but assemble company also. As any may assemble his   friends and neighbours, to keep his house against those that come to rob, or   kill him, or to offer him violence in it….for a man’s house is his castle, and  a person’s own house is his ultimate refuge; for where shall a man be safe, if   it be not in his house? And in this sense it truly said that the laws permit the  taking up of arms against armed persons.” Institutes  of the Laws of England, 1628.
John Locke (1632- 1704.)  “The people “have a right to defend themselves and recover by force what by   unlawful force is taken from them ….” Thus, the people never give absolute   power to the legislator, for they would not “have disarmed themselves, and armed  him, to make prey of them when he pleases.” SecondTreatise  on Civil Government, 1690.
Algernon Sydney (1623-1683.)  “…swords were given to men that none might be slaves, but such as know not how  to use them.” Discourses Concerning Civil   Government, 1698.
William Blackstone (1723-1780.) “In the  three preceding articles we have taken a short view of the principal absolute   rights (personal security, personal liberty, private property) which appertain   to every Englishman. But in vain would these rights be declared, ascertained,   and protected by the dead letter of the laws, if the constitution had provided   no other method to secure their actual enjoyment. It has therefore established   certain other auxiliary subordinate rights of the subject, which serve   principally as outworks or barriers to protect and maintain inviolate the three   great and primary rights, of personal security, personal liberty, and private   property…To vindicate (the three primary rights), when  actually violated or  attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the  first place, to the  regular administration and free course of justice in the  courts of law; next,  to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for  redress of grievances;  and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for  self-preservation and  defense.” Commentaries on theLaws of   England, 1765.

Thomas Jefferson had  something to say about guns and an armed  citizenry:

“The strongest reason for the people  to retain the right to keep and bear  arms is, as a last resort, to protect  themselves against tyranny in  government.”

“No free man shall ever be debarred  the use of arms in his own lands.” (On  an early draft of the  Constitution)

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms  . . . disarm only those who are  neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes  . . . Such laws make things  worse for the assaulted and better for the  assailants; they serve rather to  encourage than to prevent homicides, for an  unarmed man may be attacked with  greater confidence than an armed man.” Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria  in OnCrimes  and  Punishment, 1764.

Americans should treat the current  assault on their right to own and bear  arms as perilous as the current assault  on the First Amendment and their  freedom of speech. The power to physically  disarm the citizen is the companion  power to disarm his mind.

Gun control advocates ultimately and  necessarily must and will advocate  speech control, to render Americans  defenseless in body and mind.

Read more: Family Security Matters Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

3 thoughts on “Corrected Gun Control Means a Disarmed Public

  1. If you attended a university, the liberal bastion of Birkenstocks and unicorns, you know that speech control is already in effect.

  2. If you ever worked for a large Corporation you have realized the same! Right have always been restricted under both of these institutions! That is due to the liberal idiots that have always advocated illegal restraints on citizenry! Political correctness is an absolute constraint on ones freedoms of speech! Just use the term niggar and find out where your rights have gone straight to hell in a handbasket
    The term was of old a reference to a sorry lazy drunken person you know like sorry ass liberals of any color!

    hell in a handbasket! While this term was not only ar

    eference to
    until about 20 years ago a restrictive term to which

  3. Excuse last lines as this is from my out of control android, due to a virus eaten computer!

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