Article: Victim Disarmament

By Ronald C. Tobin

Victim disarmament, more popularly referred to as gun control, is proving to be a rather vexing issue for libertarians. Here in the United States, it is all too common for well meaning libertarians to refer to and rely on the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights when discussing the basic right to keep and bear arms. Such reference and reliance is a grave error because it at least implicitly (if not explicitly) supports the notion that rights are something that governments have a legitimate right to give and to take away. Besides that, the 2nd Amendment is rather vague and can be interpreted in several ways.

Those in favor of banning guns, of making it more difficult for one to exercise their right of self-defense, look to countries like England, note that their societies are less violent than ours, and then conclude that guns MUST be the root cause of the problems here in the US. This is a case of massaging the data to get the results that bolster their cause. The reason that a place like England has less violence per capita than does the US is because their society is more homogenous than is ours. The US has long been a place where many different cultures mix. This heterogeneous situation creates a lot of friction and, hence, violence.
Banning guns would not change that fact one iota. It would simply make it harder to exercise your right to self-defense.

What is the solution? What should be done without delay is the absolute repeal of all weapon control laws and statutes. Now, I do agree that a building owner, a restaurant owner, any retail outlet or personal house can say you are not welcome if you are carrying a weapon. Right of free association is axiomatic; at least that is how I see it. Of course, by not allowing you to enter armed, said place thereby becomes 100% responsible for your defense while on their premises. This would create the armed society, which would be a very polite one indeed.

Modern government has created another class of victim: the released felon. Once one has done their 'time,' one is faced with a permanent legal disability, and one loses their right to own guns. This is asinine. I say, once a person has completed their sentence, ALL CIVIL RIGHTS SHOULD BE RESTORED. They should not have to keep on paying for the crime once they are released. I think that is only fair.

Am I saying that everyone ought to own a gun? No, I am not saying that. What I am saying is that the right of self-defense is so basic that no government, no collective, no society has any right to say that you cannot own one. If you choose to own a gun, know how to take care of it, how to store it properly, when to use it and when not to. You should be able to go into a gun store, pick one out, purchase it and leave the same day. No ridiculous background checks and no waiting periods -- they do not prove anything, and they do not stop gun violence.

To those out there inclined to use the tired old argument of “but if this saves just one life, then [insert name of stupid fascist program, like gun control, here] it is worth the imposition, worth the restrictions." Well, banning personal cars here in the United States would save over 50,000 lives a year. Probably more than that because they would no longer be putting pollutants into the atmosphere. I know and agree that the entire notion of banning cars is completely absurd. So, why is the notion of banning guns any less absurd?

So, to all the libertarians, Objectivists and fellow friends of freedom out there: do not continue to let people get away with calling it "gun control." Make them tell the truth and admit this is really victim disarmament.

Appeared in the January/February 2001 issue of THE THOUGHT.


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