A woman who was new to the liberty movement recently posted a question in a large pro-freedom group. She wanted to understand how libertarians (and voluntaryists) could possibly support the abolition of all gun laws. Like many others (including my old self), she has trouble feeling comfortable with truly bad people being able to access any firearms. I thought about her question and realized that while I’ve written around 30 articles and produced numerous videos about how horrible gun control laws are, I’ve never written an article simply explaining why all gun control should be abolished. So, I figured that I must write one.
Three distinct reasons
When explaining why no gun laws should exist, there are three entirely different approaches that one can take. Each of them alone would be indisputable arguments against all gun control laws. I have a favorite, but all three are excellently effective.
1) The US Constitution
Let’s get my least favorite argument out of the way first. The US Constitution states in Amendment II that “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It does not say that gun rights can be infringed a little bit. It doesn’t say that if politicians call the infringements ‘reasonable’, that makes them acceptable. It does not say that only good people should have guns. It does not say that gun laws could be implemented by any vote, by cops, by politicians, judges, tragedies, or anything else. It simply states that this natural human right shall not be infringed. Among other reasons, I do not like the Constitutional argument because nearly every sheep in the US has accepted that the Constitution means whatever judges claim it means. So, when a judge inevitably rules that the Constitution does not really protect gun rights, conservatives – who pride themselves on their obedience to the law – would have to accept that the Constitution does not really protect gun rights. If you need any more clarification regarding what the authors of the amendment intended when they wrote it, check out this article.
2) Human rights
On to my favorite of the three arguments. Unlike the Constitution, human rights are not really up for debate. The Constitution can technically be amended. Human rights cannot be amended. The Constitution can be reinterpreted by any judge anytime. Human rights are concrete and don’t waiver depending on a judge’s ruling. The right to ultimate control over one’s person and their property (generally referred to as ‘property rights’) is arguably the foundation upon which all human rights are built. If a person does not own themselves and their rightfully acquired property, they are a slave or a prisoner – not a free individual.
Once forced to make a binary decision, each individual must come to terms with their belief about property rights. Those who believe that each individual is naturally born as free humans support property rights for each individual. Those who believe that individuals do not own themselves or their property, and instead everything is owned collectively by the community, society, or the government are called communists. The foundation of socialism and communism is the belief that individual property rights should not exist. They generally grant the power over all people and property to the government, figuring that the government could then give each person the amount of food and shelter they need – in a more fair way than ever before.
As someone who does believe that each individual is born with the natural human right to conduct their own lives and have their own property, I cannot support any gun control laws. Simply put, every single gun control law violates the property rights doctrine. If a person can rightfully own any property, how could they be prohibited from owning some items? Prohibiting people from owning dangerous items such as firearms would be immoral and would violate property rights. It would also require politicians to prohibit cars, alcohol, cigarettes, cheeseburgers, sugar, and all drugs! So, the next time that you hear a politician claim that people should not be able to own a piece of plastic, ask yourself whether that politician supports property rights and freedom or collective rights and communism.
3) Practical application
For the less principled and more practical people, this is the argument that will be most meaningful. Gun control simply does not work. Time and again, we see that the areas in the union with the strictest gun control laws are consistently the most dangerous places. The areas with no gun control are consistently the least dangerous. This makes the correlation between gun control and murder rates nearly a perfect one. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming have historically had essentially no restrictions on firearms. Can you guess which three states are consistently the safest in the union each year in terms of homicides, violent crime, and gun crime? The states and cities with complete gun control – meaning that it is essentially impossible for those who obey the law to own a firearm – consistently experience the most murders, violent crime, and gun crime.
This is because laws do not affect criminals; they only restrict those who obey the law – by their very definition! If a person is seeking to kill others (only sociopaths and evil people generally seek blood), no extra law will stop them. People who are already so committed to murdering a person that they are willing to take a life, break a heinous law (murder), and are not afraid of their victim, would certainly not be stopped by additional gun control laws. This is why gun control does not and could not stop murders from occurring. Law-abiding citizens, however, are hurt by gun control. I have a relative who lives in NYC. After a surgical procedure, he was ordered by his doctor to rest in bed for a few weeks. During this time, he was the only person at home during the day while the others in his house went to work and school. I urged him to get a firearm so that he could have a fighting chance should a person break into the house. This law-abiding citizen refused to risk going to prison for life, despite agreeing that he’d be safer with a firearm by his bed. Weak, sick, and elderly women have even more reason to want a firearm when they go about their day all alone and defenseless in NYC. If such an old lady is attacked, a gun would be her only chance. Yet, politicians have made it a crime for her to have a fighting chance at repelling her assailant.
One must also consider that if we allow politicians to restrict firearms, magazines, accessories, and ammunition (which we already do), there will be no hard limit to their powers to control such items. I have said many times that as soon as the first politician (FDR) passed the first gun law and received no pushback from the sheep, gun rights were doomed forever. If politicians say that automatic guns are too dangerous, what’s to stop them from saying that semi-automatic guns are too dangerous next year? If 15 round magazines are too dangerous to be legal, what’s to stop politicians from banning 12 round magazines next year? We have already seen the incremental erosion of gun rights by authoritarian politicians. Each day, politicians in places like New York and California brainstorm new ways to restrict individuals’ rights to protect themselves from criminals and tyrants. So, I support no restrictions on firearms whatsoever. This is not to say that I support no punishment for violent crimes. I believe that anyone who hurts another peaceful person should be punished harshly. Violent crime is a bad thing. Owning an item is not a crime.
Some readers might still have concerns about mentally ill and dangerous people obtaining firearms. While it is simple to announce that such people should not have firearms, things get more complicated when you think about who makes the determination about a person’s mental fitness. According to Democrats, anyone who supports a religion, capitalism, or firearms is inherently mentally ill. According to Republicans, anyone who is transgender, supports socialism, or hates police is inherently mentally ill. According to the CDC, over half of the US population is mentally ill. As for dangerous people, there are some complicating factors here, as well. Firstly, I must admit that some people are truly dangerous. Just like the truly psychotic, these people would not have access to any weapon in an ideal world. However, in the current system – the system which does have gun control in effect – many dangerous people somehow obtain firearms and kill thousands of people each year with them, mostly in the most Democratic gun-controlled cities. Additionally, the dangerous people who obtain firearms and use them to kill innocent people are often the government’s agents!
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.