Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gun Control Part 2

In my last post I examined Gun Control more on the wording of the 2nd Amendment and the differing interpretations of that right.  This time around, I'd like to focus on the wisdom of banning weapons.  While I do support gun rights and am therefore biased, I fail to see the justification for the banning of weapons.  From what I've witnessed, the only legitimate case for banning is generally made on the basis that it would have the potential to decrease violent acts in the country.  However, statistics I've examined have not demonstrated any real correlation of gun control with lower rates of crime.  I would accept the fact that gun control would reduce the ease in which people would commit crimes, and in the sense that may reduce crimes in particular cases.  However doing so may cause different crimes in different cases.  To be honest, statistics can easily be provided that make a case for either gun control or gun rights, so I feel it's not safe to provide any of those for this discussion.

So if the case for gun control on the basis of realist grounds remains limited, let's examine the case made by gun rights advocates.  From what I generally hear in the news, the US should protect gun rights because:

  • It needs protection from the government
  • It needs protection from others
  • It's their civil right
  • It's their civic duty
  • It'd leave it in the hands of only criminals
I'm sure there are more cases out there, but these are the basics I'm familiar with.  Let's unpack each other these statements.

Protection from the Government:
The case is often made that citizens needs to maintain their arms in order to be an additional check on the government.  That if a government becomes too powerful or interferes with the rights of a citizen, then they would have the means to defend themselves from that government.  Since the Bill of Rights seems to be concerned with limiting the government's control of the people, I find this case particularly interesting.  As a studier of history, it seems that governments that have the power to do something will attempt to do so if the costs aren't too great.  In authoritarian regimes, this could mean oppressing the people enough that they fall back in line, but not so much that they engage in rebellion and have the means to be successful.  The government's situation would thus be improved by limiting the ownership of firearms within the country, and if you look at examples like Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union, the government was able to dominate certain aspects of society because they had no means to fight back.

In a liberal democracy, things are a bit different.  There are often more checks and balances in place within the government itself, and in theory, the people are supposed to have the ultimate sovereignty.  Nevertheless, there remains the possibility that an elected government could overstep its powers in some way.  This seems particularly possible in times of war where the government takes emergency powers that often enhances the executive.  With an increased power, that government may attempt to enact certain legislation that violates rights of citizens, thereby acting much like authoritarian regimes.  By having gun control, then, the likelihood of such rights violations by the government seems as if it would only increase.  From that sense, then, I'd say that gun ownership would be helpful in providing an additional check on the government.

Protection from others:
I won't go into this one too detailed for the simple fact that it would require statistics that could be easily manipulated as I said previously.  The essence of the argument though is that people need to have the ability to protect themselves or others from people attempting to commit crimes against them.  A counter-argument can easily be made that the police should be the ones providing the protection, so I don't feel that this argument is relatively strong one way or the other.  Indeed, it can be far too politicized to have any legitimate bearing on this issue, but that transitions into:

Civil Rights:
 Moreless this is the idea that I mentioned in my last post that it is the right of the person to bear arms.  The Consitution's Bill of Rights guarantees this right in the eyes of some, and I feel I made a case for why, according to the language, that gun ownership should be accepted.

Civic Duty:
This idea stems from a framework that people could help deter crime, but also supports the aforementioned check on the government.  In a liberal democracy, it is necessary to empower the people with tasks to better society, like voting in proper leaders.  Having a means to protect that society could also be lumped into there.  Counter-arguments are then made about the police again, but the fact of the matter is that the police are, in fact, working for the government.  Their interests may not be the same as the interests of that society, and so its the peoples civic duty to help enforce things.  This issue with police can easily be seen in a country like Egypt, where the police were the oppressors of the people under Husni Mubarak.

Guns for Criminals:
This idea is particularly interesting.  It revolves around the idea that should gun control laws be passed, then only law-abiding citizens would turn them in.  Criminals would therefore be the only ones that'd realistically be carrying them.  Supports of this would say that these criminals would find it harder to obtain these guns, but to be honest, we have almost as many guns as we do people in this country. Th ability for a criminal to obtain a gun would be quite easy to do, and this seems as if it could actually increase the amount of crimes committed with a gun, because criminals would not be worried about their victims carrying.

I could continue but it's rather late and I need some rest.  Basically, however, with all the facts that I've seen on the issue of gun control,  I just don't see how banning gun ownership is constitutional, viable, or even safe in this country.  If any of you are gun control advocates, by all means post on here; i'd love to hear your comments and hopefully you can help me understand the case that you make better.  With everything that I've seen however, gun control just doesn't seem to be the right way forward.  Any thoughts?

Next time I plan on examining the problems that our society has.  Hopefully discussing this issue of gun control will inform you of how I will examine our trouble areas and attempt to lead discussion on how to change those problems.  However, future posts will likely be more on the basis of principles and the ills of our society and not one key issue.  I may bring issues up from time to time or examine contemporary situations like the revolutions in the Middle East, but the ultimate goal of this blog is being able to come up with ways that we can make our society better.


  1. I'm all for civic rights and civic duty! We need to be able to protect ourselves.

    Great post!

  2. I really enjoy your insight on these issues. I also really enjoy the fact that you take the time to put quality time and effort into your posts. :) Thanks!

  3. @Wiz: NO free guns for everyone :D :D :D

  4. compelling and rich. stay classy

  5. But I want all the guns. Controlling them makes them less fun.

  6. This was a very interesting read. Thanks for sharing, will be looking forward to more.

  7. I like your points.

    I've recently started appreciating such a right to bear arms. I think these days the younger and young adult generation takes this right for granted. We have too much technology, we don't think of anything arms related.

    With natural disasters cutting off resources and such, things could very possibly get violent in towns that are cut off and need to take things into their own hands.

  8. To tell you the truth, I'd rather have the right to carry a weapon then guns.

    All the martial arts I trained developed my love towards blades!

  9. its all about gunz as you can read in my blog