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Is gun control behind our loss of civil liberties?

- Bishop Hill blog - Is gun control behind our loss of civil liberties?

the idea that gun control might be behind our loss of civil liberties is deeply, deeply politically incorrect. It's an idea which is likely to get one labelled as a "nutter". A couple of years ago, I couldn't have imagined holding this kind of belief. But perhaps things are changing, now the civil liberties debate is in full flow, and maybe it's time to try the idea out for size. ...
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the root cause of the wave of authoritarian legislation which threatens to swamp us is not authoritarianism so much as "woolly liberalism". We won't punish criminals adequately, so we get more criminals. We won't allow the law-abiding to uphold the law, so our streets get swamped with CCTV. Witnesses can't defend themselves guns, so we have to allow anonymous evidence in court. Women can't defend themselves from rapists, so they shouldn't go out alone. The opinionated can't defend themselves from retribution, so better to legislate them into silence.

We find ourselves between the horns of a dilemma. The idea of rearming the populace is greeted by most "right-thinking" members of the middle classes as evidence of a kind of madness, an idea to get you cast out from polite society. "We don't want to end up like America", they will say, as they check the locks on their doors and windows, and test the burglar alarm one more time.

But the alternative is to continue our increasingly precipitous slide down the slippery slope that ends up with the UK resembling North Korea.

America or North Korea. You decide.

Comments

It's not that gun control is behind the loss of civil liberties - obviously. The problem is the fundamental concept of the state having the monopoly of violence. The right to keep and bear arms is like the canary in the coal mine. Once RKBA is dead, you know you're screwed. You are a slave who can be killed at will by those who have the weapons - be they gangsters or agents of the state.

I am not personally in favour of widespread gun ownership, but I do think too much emphasis is placed on whether people have guns (or indeed knives). The real problem is the attitude that casual violence is acceptable coupled with a total lack of respect for anything. People can and have been beaten to death with no weapon being used - should we band hands and feet?

Neil

The reason for the widespread acceptance of casual violence is because it's seen as consequence free for the perpetrators: they attack the weak who they know can't defend themselves because the government has helpfully disarmed them and, because the prisons are full and the police are more interested in meeting targets and dealing with administration and collecting fines, there's little in the way of legal sanction likely for casual violence. In addition, the state has been actively deconstructing British civil society in general and the family in particular for a generation for a variety of dogmatic ideological purposes entirely disconnected from the practical realities of the human condition. The state's monopoly of lawful violence has to end because it has proved incapable of acting effectively. I just hope enough people will wake up and smell the coffee before too much longer as things will simply get worse and worse if we continue the present course.

Having disarmed us how about some knife control from the authorities ?

While I do support the widespread civilian ownership of firearms I have to agree with Neil. The problem isn't the availability of weapons, weapons have been far more widely available in the past yet the rates of murder, assault and so on have never been higher.

Like Neil I think the problem has a much deeper cause: the readiness of scrotes to use weapons and violence in pursuit of their nefarious aims.

Unless someone much cleverer than I can come up with another solution, the only way to resolve this problem that I can see is the reintroduction what has been taken away: the fearsome retribution that followed the commission of illegal acts of violence.

I don't understand you people - so far as I can tell you're arguing for the government pass yet more useless laws, the proliferation of laws has been at the root of the problem. Recognising the inherent right of the person to armed self defence is the only thing that stands a chance of reversing this: but that can only happen within the context of people in general realising that the government and the police are actually a part of the problem because they have demanded the monopoly of the legal use of force and ever-increasing control of people's life choices. The only way this could be fixed is for there to be less laws, not more, for the government to get out of our lives. Big government fixing stuff for us has demonstrably, empirically, been demonstrated to fail comprehensively. Wake up and smell the coffee people. Jeez, it's like living in a world after the `Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.' Maybe the Zombie Apocalypse has happened and it's just that the difference between an automaton and the average person who simply re-gurgitates the BS the BBC puts out is impossible to discern.

Trouble is, in my country, (South Africa)guns are a No 1 theft commodity. They instantly convert cringing cowards into ruthless gangsters. Want to get into the booming car hijack business? Steal a gun. Then you can and do kill freely and wantonly without batting an eyelid.

Geoff A

Mr Alder, you appear to be adopting the `If guns were banned criminals won't have them so everything would be fine' hypothesis that has got us to where we are today. Empirical evidence directly contradicts that hypothesis. Of course, little things like empirical observations don't matter to anybody nowadays, presumably because if it they did politicians would have to explain why all the things they promised never actually happen, and individual people would have to admit the bad choices they made in their lives were most frequently their own fault and not someone else's.

Boy, did this hit the nail on the head.

As a U.S. reader, I’d like to say thank you to British common law which (as I understand) formerly recognized the lawful possession of arms by the people as natural and originating as a Divinely imbued right demonstrating the responsibility of self-defense. The perspective of self-defense only captures half the thinking. At core, the issue is whether the state entrusts individuals with weapons that can ultimately be used in any manner the owner decides. Legal or not, like it or not, gun owners are more capable of deciding their own future than individuals that do not own guns. Ultimately, the non-owners are surrendering the right to their next breath to a criminal. The government may fear usurpations and violent dissent. I am absolutely against any violent dissent and rebellion, but merely stating that the People have the ability to reject those who would enslave them. – Witness the WWII Jews in enforced ghettos or the one million Rwandan Tutsis slaughtered by Rwandan Hutus in three months.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Heller was quite a cause for celebration over here. After decades of wrangling about whether the law of the land recognized the 2nd amendment as an individual or collective right, the clarity of the Heller decision was a welcome relief. The highest court in the land determined once and for all that a person’s participation in the National Guard (wrongly understood by gun-grabbers as the militia) had no bearing on the individual right to own guns.

Curiously, Dick Heller, the defendant in D.C. v. Heller lives in the District of Columbia. Since 1976, D.C. has had the most oppressive gun laws in the country. Ownership of handguns was effectively forbidden and even long guns had to be kept disassembled or locked safely away. As you can imagine, these precautions rendered residents without any effective defense. Violent crime in D.C. has risen consistently for 30 years; with D.C. grabbing several top honors for “murder capital of the U.S.” D.C. residents were denied the tools necessary to defend themselves against violent attack. Of course there was an exception to the D.C. violence. As the seat of government, our House of Representatives and Senators were protected by the capitol police, with many being driven to and from their offices by drivers trained in defense.

In one famous case involving three single women sharing a two-story flat, thugs broke in and attacked the lady in the ground-floor part of the flat. The other two women, upstairs at the time, called the police but they did not respond. When the downstairs lady stopped screaming, the ladies upstairs thought the thugs had left. When they came downstairs, they too were attacked and held captive for two days. They sued D.C. and lost. The D.C. district court ruled that D.C. police had no responsibility for their personal safety. From the stories I hear out of the U.K., it sounds like D.C. is the U.K. in microcosm. In the U.S. we have a few cities where laws have surrendered lives to the lowest element of society. In the U.K., it sounds like the problem is much larger, reaching out even to farms in one notable case.

Contrast the horror stories coming from D.C. with these two recent events:
- In Kentucky, a pensioner cleaning a flat he owned for rental, shot and killed two thugs who barged in with a loaded gun and threatened to kill him and his wife.
- In Florida, two thugs burst into a sandwich shop at 11:00PM demanding cash from the employee and the 71 year-old customer. The customer pulled out his own gun and killed one of the assailants and wounded the other.

The intended victims were able to defend themselves. The attackers will not attempt this again. Word gets out on the street that crime does not pay. Law-abiding citizens are challenged to take responsibility for their own safety. Some citizens will rise to the challenge, others will, in fear, defer their responsibility to government.

Don’t get me wrong, the siren song of statism is popular over here, too. We also have a rising sense of the state needing to do more to prevent crime and take care of us. The siren song is appealing. All we have to do is trust in the state to take care of us. A few more dollars in taxes relieves us of the messy burden of taking care of ourselves. My response is a question: Who has more invested in my family, state officials or me as a husband to my wife and the father of our three daughters?

Today is July 4th. I am going to slow-cook some ribs on the grill. Later, we will read the Declaration of Independence as a family. I’d really like to get out to the range with my girls today.

If there hadn't been an armed man, who obviously has some skill in the use of his weapon, nearby, how many more people would have been killed or maimed in Jerusalem the other day, when a crazed bulldozer driver ran amok. And did you see on some of the video that there were other people running towards the aforementioned dozer? Brave, brave men. I salute them.

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