In yet another recent online debate I had just pointed out that historically the powerful and wealthy have always given themselves exceptions from laws which prevent the bearing of arms. A user attempted to justify these hypocritical exemptions with the argument that they are “high value targets”. The following is my attempt to educate him about the logical justification for the right to keep and bear arms.
So because high value targets require protection of armed men (or is it that anyone is allowed to be armed that bugs you?), therefore everyone should be able to own a gun?
No, no, no….. it has nothing to do with any of that bullshit, these concepts are not difficult to grasp. Let’s walk through this one step at a time.
You are alive, would you assert that have the right to continue living?
Fine, I’ll play your game…
Yes, I assert I have a right to life. Please, continue.
Do you also assert that you, by extension of the former, have a right to use force in the defense of that right?
Get to the meat of it already
I’m using the Socratic Method, be patient. Now…
Would assert that the level force you could employ in the defense of your own life includes that which might end your attacker’s life if necessary?
Since you agree that it is your right to employ deadly force in defense of your own life, would it not follow that you have the right to access implements designed to enhance and aid you in your employment of deadly force if needed?
Yes, I agree with that as well.
The point is (sorry I’m gonna have to put an end to these small irrelevant questions. I’ve grown tired of them), we disagree on WHERE the line should be drawn.
If you can (and I think I can) make an argument that a society in which gun ownership is heavily restricted is actually safer, and people need to defend themselves less…. Then that outweighs the act of restricting individual freedom in this regard.
Just like we all think everyone should be able to say what they like… To a point. You and I both don’t think it’s a good idea to scream “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theater, because people could get seriously hurt or die. That doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in freedom of speech or that we want massive amounts of legislation prohibiting speech.
Hell, I’m even for public ownership of guns. I think it can be done and regulated to a point where we don’t have the insane amounts of US gun crime and guns are still legal and able to be owned by the population. There’s a middle ground. Maybe a ban on all handguns is a good thing. Maybe a ban on fully automatic rifles is also a good thing.
Nope, you jumped off the ride because you began to see the logical conclusion and wanted to avoid admitting it. But you’ve ridden far enough to put the pieces together so let’s do that now.
You have agreed with all of the following.
1) You have a right to life.
2) Whereas rights are meaningless without the ability to enforce them; you therefore have a right to use force to secure your right to life.
3) Whereas you may employ force prevent your death; the level of force you may employ includes deadly force.
4) Whereas you have the right to use deadly force; it follows that you have the right to access tools designed for that purpose [ARMS].
And so we find that by beginning with your right to life, it logically follows that you also have a right to keep and bear arms.
Now you come to the table with this line drawing bullshit to avoid admitting that conclusion. You will find no argument from me that those who have demonstrated a willingness to feloniously violate the rights of their fellow man should be restricted by law from having arms and punished further if found in possession of them.
Your argument hinges on the false assertion that “a society in which gun ownership is heavily restricted is actually safer”. You and I are not felons and to demand you disarm and merely trust that because you are the violent felon will choose to remain disarmed as well is ludicrous and un-safe.
This notion of heavy regulation leading to safety is not based on reality but on the imagined non-sequitur belief that heavily restricting a particular tool of force makes people safer? It requires one to completely ignore other tools, the size disparity between different people, the strength disparity between the sexes, and the ability of criminals to outnumber their victim. The fallacy of this idea is well explained in Cesare Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishments.
“A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniences, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, ‘Be thou a slave;’ who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.”
(Regarding limits on free speech) Indeed, and someone who abuses their right to free speech to cause demonstrable harm to others should be held to account and punished accordingly. But if we are keeping with your line of argument, we should cut out people’s tongues to prevent anyone from yelling “FIRE!” in that movie theater. After all, according to you, if someone can’t yell “FIRE!” then we are all safer, right?
But what if there is a “FIRE!” and screaming “FIRE!” would actually save people? People would burn to death because you’ve preemptively taken away their ability to sound the alarm in your misguided want to feel safer.
There isn’t an “insane amount of US gun crime”. It has in fact been falling sharply for the past 20 years. But because you believe what you hear in the media you feel like it’s worse.
There’s a middle ground.
I’m not buying the old “let’s compromise” argument. We have the 2nd Amendment and you say, “Let’s compromise. Give me half.” I respond by asking what I get out of this compromise, and you reply that I get to keep half of my rights. Let us call this compromise The National Firearms Act of 1934.
This leaves me with half of my rights and there I am, enjoying my rights when you walk back up and say, “Surrender your rights.”
I say — again: “No, these are my rights.”
You say, “Let’s meet in the middle.” What do I get out of this compromise? Why, I get to keep half of what’s left of my rights I already have.
So, we compromise — let us call this one the Gun Control Act of 1968 — and this time I’m left holding what is now just a quarter of my rights.
And I’m sitting in the corner with the remaining quarter of my rights, and here you come again. You want my rights. Again.
This time you take several small chunks — we’ll call this compromise the Clinton Executive Orders — and I’m left with about a tenth of what has always been MY RIGHT and you’ve taken nine-tenths of it.
Let me restate that: I started out with the full unmolested RIGHT to keep and bear arms and you have already ‘compromised’ me out of ninety percent of MY RIGHT …
… and here you come again.
Compromise! … Lautenberg Act.
Compromise! … The HUD/Smith and Wesson agreement.
Compromise! … The Brady Law.
Compromise! … The School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act.
After every one of these “middle ground compromises” — in which I lose rights and you lose NOTHING — I’m left holding crumbs of what was once a large and encompassing RIGHT, and you’re standing there making anime eyes and whining about being “reasonable” and wondering “why we won’t compromise” as you try for the rest of my RIGHTS.
Maybe a ban on all handguns is a good thing. Maybe a ban on fully automatic rifles is also a good thing.
This last little bit reveals your true position. A ban on all handguns is not “middle ground” and I guess you were just lying when you wrote “I’m even for public ownership of guns.” and forgot you wrote that.
FYI – Fully automatic rifles were already de-facto banned in 1938. New fully automatic rifles have been banned since 1987. Prior to that you could register it with the ATF and pay a $200 tax to own one, but even though no legally owned machine-gun was EVER used to commit a crime from 1938 to 1987, your gun control brethren decided that they wanted to take that part of the 2nd Amendment away too.
You can still own the pre-ban machine-guns that were part of the NFA registry but they are tens of thousands of dollars now. It is also interesting to note that even though certain wealthy private citizens still own machine-guns, none of them have been used criminally since 1987 either.
You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. But going back to something you wrote at the beginning.
“a society in which gun ownership is heavily restricted is actually safer … Then that outweighs the act of restricting individual freedom in this regard.”
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”