I Need an Argument for Guns
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
I say this seriously, not as a joke. I have always owned guns, I like guns. I have been trained by some fine instructors on the use of a wide variety of weapons, up to and including machine guns and anti-tank rocket launchers. I even have an aversion to using the term “gun” because it is so imprecise, seemingly unprofessional, but it works best here. That Said, I have no problems with rational measures for gun safety, such as background checks and keeping weapons out of the hands of mentally impaired people, criminals or terrorists. I am not even sure private citizens need assault rifles, i.e., military specification rifles, but I never want to lose my right to own guns. I support the second amendment, so why the title of this post? It was triggered by a post I read on LinkedIn.
The person who posted was reacting to some news related to gun control or something similar. I read the poster’s arguments, as well as the comments in support of owning weapons. I found all the arguments specious at best. Starting with the first argument that gun control won’t work because criminals will still buy guns illegally. My problem with that argument is that it is simplistic. Based on that logic why have laws? Murderers will murder regardless of the law, robbers will rob regardless of the law, etc. People will drive while under the influence of alcohol. Why have laws? I will simplify here but the reasons are to prevent harm to others, prevent harm to ourselves, to promote a degree of morality, provide goods or services to the people, and defend the state (such as espionage and tr4eason laws). There are other reasons why we have laws, resolving disputes, maintaining order, protecting liberties and rights, etc. but we all get the idea.
Clearly, the gun debate is a conflict between protecting society from harm and keeping order, versus protecting a right described in the constitution. But the idea of why have gun laws because criminals will still get guns is not relevant.
I also read some quotes that a criminal is not afraid of the police or the justice system so the only way to combat them is to make them afraid of the victim. OK, that is utter nonsense. If criminals are not afraid of armed police, they are not going to be afraid of the average citizen, whether armed or not, unless the average citizens are psychos that kill everyone that moves in their neighborhood. I am not talking about self-defense here. The quote goes beyond self-defense and promotes a desire that the average citizen is so fearsome that criminals are afraid of them, in short, a stone-cold killer. Not going to happen, I have seen the average gun owner. We are not Dirty Harry.
Another argument raised is that the founding fathers created the second amendment in order to prevent tyranny by the government with a well-armed population. That doesn’t fly either. The second amendment is very clear:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
It makes no reference to stopping tyranny. The founding fathers disliked the idea of a large standing army, what we have now. They viewed THAT as the potential source of oppression, therefore they maintained a very small standing military. In order to protect the nation, they then had to rely on state militias to augment the small army. Even the Civil War was fought by militia units, units drafted by the states. They would be appalled at our current military.
As a counter to the militia requirement, there have been several interpretations of the second amendment by the courts, including a 2008 Supreme Court decision that said the right to bear arms is not related to being a member of a militia.
The tyranny argument goes on to highlight all the people killed by their governments (very true) and some even cite the Holocaust as having been possible because the victims did not have weapons. The reasoning goes that if the Jews had weapons, like in the U.S. they would not have been victims of the Holocaust. Let’s take a logical look at these points.
The idea that lack of weapons helps lead to the slaughter of a populace by its government, or at least facilitates that slaughter, doesn’t seem to hold water. I am sure there are variations on the list but the strictest gun laws are found in Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and China. Leaving China aside, which has other, complicating issues, none of these countries have slaughtered their people, or oppressed them in any serious way. I believe the common thread in the countries that take violent action against their people is a repressive or politically unstable government, not the lack of weapons. If you have a stable government, usually with a degree of participation and influence by its own people there is less of a chance for such violent oppression.
As to the idea that an armed populace would prevent that kind of oppression, again I find that argument weak. Using the argument that if the Jews of Germany had been armed the holocaust would not have happened, I have to ask myself the question how was Nazi Germany able to defeat the combined forces of France and The UK (France lone had 900,00 regular troops, 5 million reservists and over 3,000 tanks) and not be able to defeat 500,000 of its own Jewish citizens armed with small arms. Yes, the Jews could have inflicted losses on the Nazis, but in the end, it was the unstable German government, among other things, that led to the rise and power of the Nazis and the subsequent horror.
No, guns don’t prevent tyranny, a stable, government where an engaged and informed population has input and ultimate control, prevents the tyranny cited in the gun ownership argument. I’m sure there are exceptions. Life has taught me that there is an exception to everything, few things are clear cut, but in general, it’s the type of government that leads to oppression.
Guns don’t kill people, people do. Then why give guns to the mentally unstable, the violent, the criminal, the terrorist. All can but guns right now, if not in their state, then the neighboring state. I can’t believe that the majority of Americans want these categories of people to have guns.
I have seen Switzerland used as an example and model of gun ownership, and it is a fine example. Switzerland has wide gun ownership, especially as it relates to its armed forces. The Swiss army is heavily reliant on reserves to beef up its small military and as a result has encouraged gun ownership, including military-grade weapons for just such an event. Here I will note that gun ownership in Switzerland is heavily regulated, more than in the U.S., even if current gun law recommendations were enacted. If someone ever steals your gun and commits a crime with it you are liable as well.
Right now, I am left with the arguments for gun ownership of hunting and home defense.
Now I know this all sounds like an anti-gun diatribe but it’s not. If it sounds that way it's because the reasoning and logic behind not supporting what is termed common-sense gun laws are not there. I can’t find a RATIONAL argument against background checks, against keeping guns out of the hands of individuals with violent and unstable histories. I don’t see the need to sling an AR-15 on your back to pick up a few things at Walmart. We are not in Somalia or Afghanistan, though it can feel like that at times. How am I to tell whether you are just an armed casual shopper or someone looking for temporary fame as a mass shooter?
Please give me some sane reasons for our current gun ownership conundrum.