Why we need guns, even in the wake of yet another school shooting.

17 Dec

With the advent of another school shooting, gun control is back in the spotlight.  The focus of much of the debate revolves around assault rifles and high capacity magazines. I’ve heard people argue that we should ban both high capacity magazines and assault rifles. The proponents of this argument reason that neither are used for hunting, but instead have the sole purpose of enabling someone to kill more people faster. While this is true, the proponents of the ban are wrong in their assumption of what the 2nd amendment was intended for. The 2nd amendment was not written for hunters, it was not written for collectors, it was written for a specific purpose. Here is a simple fact of life:

Government authority is derived from violence.

Like it or not, the government claims a monopoly on socially acceptable violence. (Whether they are justified or legitimate in doing so is another issue.) A government’s laws only have weight because they are backed by the threat of violence. This threat may be very well concealed by formalities like a bureaucracy, but ultimately, if you resist a chain of laws long enough, you will come face to face with an individual with a gun acting on behalf of the government who’s laws you are breaking.

Given that violence equals governmental authority, what happens to a government’s people when they are relieved of their ability to use violence?

They lose ultimate authority over their government.

It is possible for people to exercise authority over their government by voting, but this is not the same as ultimate authority. People can vote about something all they want, but if other people show up with guns, the ones with the guns are going to have the final say. I realize this might sound absurd to someone living in a first world country, but the reason it sounds absurd is because first world countries, by in large, have a relatively good track record when it comes to adhering to the will of their people when the people exercise their will through voting. This track record, however, has varying degrees of length depending on the country.  You only need to look at now first world countries during the various hot and cold wars of the 19th and 20th centuries to see governments repressing their people. (Franco Spain, Vichy France, DDR Germany) It can happen. It does happen. It currently is happening across the middle east. Syria, Egypt, and recently Libya are good examples of where the government swept away any illusions that ultimate authority rested on anything other than violence. It is also here that the people have attempted to reassert their ultimate authority through violence. When the 2nd amendment was written, the colonists in the newly formed United States had just thrown off an oppressor with violence. They had attempted various non-violent means previously, but fond them to be ultimately powerless. They used the last recourse available to them: violence. Having learned this lesson, they drew up the 2nd amendment to ensure that their people would never again be powerless in the face of an oppressor.

The 2nd amendment exists to ensure a people’s ability to use violence against the government.

It is for this exact reason that weapons like assault rifles and their extended magazines are needed. They are designed for you to fight a war scenario and kill people. When someone argues for banning assault rifles, high capacity magazines, and other implements designed specifically for war scenarios, what they are actually arguing for is the removal of a people’s final say over their government.

5 Responses to “Why we need guns, even in the wake of yet another school shooting.”

  1. James Smith December 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Do you seriously believe untrained civilians can suppress a government with aircraft, ships, control over the entire transportation system and drones, stealth fighters, as well as nuclear weapons?

    Even during WW II, resistance fighters in France and Greece required substantial help from the allied military.

    The problem really isn’t the weapons, it’s the uncontrolled access to them that every criminal, mentally-deranged individual, and incompetent now has.

    There are plenty of laws about this but they are now effectively enforced. It’s tru that better regulation would not totally eliminate illegal acquisition of weapons. That doesn’t mean we should not try.

    As far as the “assault weapon” concept. There is zero difference in the function between a military-looking weapon and a semi-automatic anything. If you are shot with either one, the difference will not be apparent to you.

  2. teo December 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    I see your point and you are right. But everyone having a gun at home is not the ideal solution. Let’s be honest – nobody fights against the government with violence at their home. You need a group of people, you need some thoughts and causes and good organization. So there could be some regulations for guns, like a gun library for organizations fighting against the government. But no, it’s not your right to have a gun at home and be able to kill other people as you wish. I can’t accept that and for every European this sounds really crazy… So ti’s a matter of tradition and habit – nobody in Europe will even consider such a right to own a gun for everybody, while in America it’s just like the right to vote…

    • slrman December 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Yet, in Israel and Switzerland, every adult male has a military firearm in his home. The difference is these people are trained and experienced. In the process, I suspect the incompetents, criminals, and deranged are weeded out. That sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

      No system is perfect, but I don’t notice any mass killing in either of those places like we have on the USA and yes, Norway. Remember? He killed 66 with a gun and more with a bomb.

      I think the stress factor in Switzerland is very low and in Israel it is very high. So stress must not be the only factor. Don’t ask me what it is, I don’t know. I do know it would be a grand plan to find out.

      • teo December 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

        It’s not like gun control means that no such thing will ever happen again. because it doesn’t. We can be pretty sure, that if someone want to do something like that, he’ll find ways to supply himself with the needed guns. But no gun control is neither the answer…

        The reasons for killing people like that are various and complex and I doubt that even if we know them in details, we could really prevent most of these acts, but maybe some or even just one and even that’s already worth it.

        • slrman December 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

          Exactly. Criminals and wackos will always find a way to do their worst. Even if we could magically eliminate every gun in the world, you can make bombs with common household products. There will always be edged weapons such as steak knives and meat cleavers.

          The point ti to stop basically subsidizing mass murderers.

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