Gregory Parker, Guest Editorialist
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms, disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”[i]~ Cesare Beccaria.
Gun control is defined as the laws or established policies that regulate or restrict the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, or use of firearms by individual citizens. The New York Times defined the gun control as “a broad term that covers any sort of restriction on what kinds of firearms can be sold and bought, who can possess or sell them, where and how they can be stored or carried, what duties a seller has to vet a buyer, and what obligations both the buyer and the seller have to report transactions to the government.”[ii]I consider gun control and its accompanying laws to be thinly veiled attempts to socialize the individual right of self-defense and to place such self-defense in the hands of government’s collective security.
Let me explain, gun control advocates pursue an agenda of distortion on individual freedom through reduction, by seeking the elimination of all firearms, declaring public safety will be enhanced. They perpetuate the theory government can provide for an individual’s safety better than the individual or that the individual freedom of self-defense is somehow subservient to criminals individual right to due process. Example, Justin Curmi, writing for the Huffington Post, argued that Americans have no legal right to shoot a violent attacker because it violates the criminal’s right to a fair trial. He stated that “The main problem with the notion of self-defense is it imposes on justice, for everyone has the right for a fair trial. Therefore, using a firearm to defend oneself is not legal because if the attacker is killed, he or she is devoid of his or her rights.”[iii]A similar sentiment was echoed by Temia Hariston, the mother of a black robbery suspect that died from a gunshot wound he suffered while robbing a Pizza Hut. She stated during an interview with CBS News that she believed the employee who shot her son had no right to do so and should have let the police handle the situation. “If there was to be a death, it was not the place of the employee at Pizza Hut. That is the place of law enforcement.It was an act of desperation, but I do not believe that Michael would have hurt anyone.Why in the hell did this guy have a gun?”[iv]The robbery suspects fathers stated “Even a criminal has a right to a degree,”[v]Likewise, 10 democrat Nevada state Senators filed a bill to water down the current castle doctrine protections, effectively allowing criminals to take legal action against their victims if the victim fights back and injures the attacker. Under the proposed legislation, a rapist who breaks into a woman’s home would be allowed to sue the woman if she interferes and injures the attacker. Similarly, a father who defends his family during a violent home invasion could be sued by the attackers.[vi]
In essence, the criminal’s freedom to do as he or she desires supersedes another’s freedom to be safe from harm. As we have seen in my essay “Freedom and Democratic Socialism,”an individual will always choose collective safety and security over freedom, unless that safety is best obtained through their own personal liberty. For instance, most Americans believe and acknowledge that a police force (collective safety and security) is necessary for a civil society and are willing to relinquish some freedoms for such collective safety. However, most Americans also agree that personal protection (individual safety) is also needed and it is up to the individual to choose which protection method best suits them. A Gallup poll finds that among those who own firearms, personal safety/protection are most often cited as the reason for ownership 60 percent, followed by hunting, at 36 percent.[vii]
In recent memory, the government has continually failed in the arena of collective safety, i.e. terrorist attacks, school shootings, illegal immigrants killing Americans, and with the increased murder rates in cities with high levels of gun control. Further, government agencies have been known to misplace firearms entrusted to them and allowing them to end up in the hands of criminals. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) misplaced 539 weapons, including a gas-grenade launcher and 39 automatic rifles or machine guns, six of which were eventually linked to crimes, two were seized during arrests, and one was held as evidence in a homicide.[viii]Moreover, In 2001, it was reported that the FBI lost 449 weapons, including machine guns.[ix]These events only increase the momentum for individual freedom of protection through firearms.
Federal background checks as well as local concealed handgun permits, increase following all mass shootings.[x]Since 2007, concealed handgun permits have increased 215 percent to more than 14.5 million. A record 1.7 million additional permits were issued between 2014 and 2015 alone.[xi]In eight states where data is listed by gender, since 2012 the number of permits has increased by 161% for women and by 85% for men.[xii]While this may not be the most accurate way to determine gun sales, given that federal law prohibits keeping a national registry of all guns and their owners, it does, however; reveal a correlation and trend relative to the fact that Americans when faced with government collective safety failures, hunger for individual freedom of self-defense. This individual freedom of self-defense, as opposed to government’s collective security, has even begun to infiltrate what are commonly known as the socialist groups. After, the Orlando mass shooting, in which a Muslim gunman opened fire killing 50 people and injuring 50 more, the gay community soon after encouraged gay individuals to purchase firearms, stating, “…the government is not able to keep you safe.”[xiii]A group, the Pink Pistols, was created in response to an article by Jonathan Rauch, a Brookings Institution senior fellow, who advocated lesbians and gays carry concealed weapons to protect themselves. Jonathan Rauch stated in that article “Being able to rely on ourselves for self-defense is an important part of standing up for ourselves.”[xiv]The group’s membership tripled in size after the Orlando massacre.
In Paris, where extraordinarily strict restrictions, on firearm possession by average civilians, are imposed, and even police officers are unarmed, mass shootings still occur. Owning a firearm in France for self-defense is essentially out of the question for average citizens. Notwithstanding, fully automatic AK-47s, which were apparently used by terrorists in the most recent attack in Paris, can be purchased or sold on the black market for less than $1,200 US dollars.[xv]In the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in France police are now demanding to be allowed to carry service firearms again. The trade unions representing municipal police are demanding that all police officers routinely carry a firearm. Christophe Leveillé, General Secretary of the FO Trade Union, stated: “Our colleagues are unarmed and in danger, and something must be done.”[xvi]Deputy General Secretary Frantz Michel added “French people are being told that the government is doing everything it can to keep them safe, which is false.”[xvii]
As I have stated previously in this essay, gun control is an attempt to socialize the right of self-defense and to place such self-defense in the hands of government’s collective security. This socialist construct of self-defense does not stop at just guns. Amid the government’s collective security failures against terrorism in Sweden, Swedes have taken to wearing body armor and bulletproof vests. Allan Widman, chairman of the Swedish parliamentary defense committee, now demands that Swedes should be prohibited from obtaining bulletproof vests to protect themselves from the increasing violence. He stated,“I believe that the sense of personal security that wearing armor gives, helps to lower the threshold for the use of serious violence.”[xviii]Moreover, given that vests are classified as military equipment in Sweden, the bill he has filed would make it illegal and punishable for individual citizens to wear body armor in public places.[xix]Essentially leaving the right of self-defense in his country to the government collective, which is evidently not up to the task.
It is also interesting to note that, gun control advocates do not appear to truly be against guns, considering such advocates will obviously need the police to have guns to disarm the people. Example, gun control advocates strive for only the police or military to have access to firearms. That is not gun control it is merely centralization of gun ownership, in the hands of the government and the political elite. As evidenced by the California state legislature, in 2011, sought to exempt itself from the “Good Cause” requirement of California concealed firearms law. Bill SB 610 would have exempted members of Congress, California statewide elected officials and members of the California legislature, from said cause requirement, “for protection or self-defense,”the bill noted. That section was removed prior to the bill’s passage. In another example, Former California Democratic State Senator and candidate for California Secretary of State, Leland Yee, a staunch gun control advocate, was sentenced to five years in prison for accepting bribes and trafficking in weapons. Yee, as a state Senator, strongly supported strict gun control laws and was named to the Brady Campaign’s Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll.[xx]
“Yee’s actions…vile…and the arms dealings particularly hypocritical given the politician’s history of gun control advocacy.”[xxi]~ Yanan Wang.
While doing promotion for his latest Jason Bourne motion picture in Australia, Matt Damon proclaimed that he wished America would pass a gun ban similar to Australia. Lena Dunham, the actress, preceded to advocate for the removal of all guns from subway ads promoting the new movie Jason Bourne.[xxii]Matt Damon’s hypocritical answer was in effect, do it to everyone else, just not to me. “I totally get it, I mean especially given what’s going on recently, and I get not wanting to see a picture of a gun right now, and I don’t blame her at all.I mean for marketing purposes of ‘Jason Bourne’ — I mean he is a guy who runs aroundwith a gun, so it’s not gratuitous marketing, but certainly in light of recent events I understand that impulse to tear the gun out of the picture.”[xxiii]
As you can undoubtedly see from these examples, gun control like any other socialist construct only reduces freedom creates black markets and hurts the very people it was intended to help. Further, most gun control advocates pushing for gun confiscation or outright bans, want those gun bans to apply to everyone else but themselves. Which is highlighted by California lawmakers belief that they alone are worthy of individual personal protection, while other California citizens must wait until the police arrive. Which, according to the Department of Justice, as of 2013 that average police response time is 11 minutes.
************** References ************
[i] Cesare Beccaria, “An Essay on Crimes & Punishments”, New York: Stephen Gould, 1809, p. 124-25. (translated from the Italian with a commentary, attributed to M. de Voltaire, translated from the French)
[ii] Richard Pérez-Peña, “Gun Control Explained”, The New York Times, October 7, 2015
[iii] Justin Curmi, “A Revision on the Bill of Rights, Part III”, The Huffington Post, April 26, 2017
[iv] Dave Urbanski, “Even a criminal has rights’: Dead robbery suspect’s parents angry that store worker shot their son”, The Blaze, November 4, 2016
[v] Dave Urbanski, “Even a criminal has rights’: Dead robbery suspect’s parents angry that store worker shot their son”, The Blaze, November 4, 2016
[vi] Nevada Senate bill SB-254, Filed March 9 2017
[vii] Art Swift, “Personal Safety Top Reason Americans Own Guns Today”, Gallup, October 28, 2013
[viii] Guy Smith, “Gun Facts Version 7.0”, 2015, pp.62
[ix] Guy Smith, “Gun Facts Version 7.0”, 2015, pp.62
[x] Lacey Wallace, “Research shows gun purchases go up after mass shootings”, Raw Story Online, December 8, 2015
[xi] John R. Lott, “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies”, Regnery Publishing, 2016
[xii] John R. Lott, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States:, Crime Prevention Research Center, 2016
[xiii] “Pink Pistols LGBT gun club triples in size after Orlando”,June 28, 2016, The Guardian.com
[xiv] “Pink Pistols LGBT gun club triples in size after Orlando”,June 28, 2016, The Guardian.com
[xv] Alex Newman, “Amid Terror in Paris, Gun Control Leaves French Defenseless”, The New American, January 9, 2015
[xvi] Romina McGuinness, “French police demand right to carry guns as nation faces Islamic threat”, Daily Express, Aug 9, 2016
[xvii] Romina McGuinness, “French police demand right to carry guns as nation faces Islamic threat”, Daily Express, Aug 9, 2016
[xviii] Staff Writer, “Bulletproof vests proposed banned in Sweden”, Speisa.com, February 17, 2017
[xix] Staff Writer, “Bulletproof vests proposed banned in Sweden”, Speisa.com, February 17, 2017
[xx] Yanan Wang, ” Ex-Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee, gun control champion, heading to prison for weapons trafficking”, The Washington Post, February 25, 2016
[xxi] Yanan Wang, ” Ex-Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee, gun control champion, heading to prison for weapons trafficking”, The Washington Post, February 25, 2016
[xxii] “Lena Dunham Calls for Altering of Gun-Toting ‘Jason Bourne’ Subway Ads”, Arlene Washington, July 12, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter
[xxiii] Matt Damon Says ‘Jason Bourne’ Is Keeping His Guns”, Katie Jerkovich, July 21, 2016, The Daily Caller