Gun Free Utopia
by Dr. Michael S. Brown
of gun control are well known for supporting their position with emotional words
and images. When called on to back
up their argument with facts, they almost always fall back on the most basic
statement of all: "If there were no guns, there would be no gun
deaths". It is impossible to
refute this because it is true, but basing public policy on this utopian concept
is utterly irrational.
many gun control lobbyists truly believe that prohibition is a worthwhile
political goal. Senator Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA) stated it clearly in 1995: "If I could've gotten 51 votes
in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of
them... 'Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in,' I would've done it."
Other anti-gun speakers use the phrase "ban them all" as a
would it be like to live in an America where guns are prohibited by law?
There is plenty of well-documented history on which to base our
conclusions. Everyone is familiar
with our costly war on drugs and the failure of alcohol prohibition in the
1920's. New information is now available on British, Australian and Canadian gun
laws. The adverse results of gun control in major American cities must also be
reasonable interpretation of this history suggests that gun prohibition would
not decrease the overall crime rate. In
fact, it would probably increase for a wide variety of reasons:
agencies would be forced to divert resources to gun enforcement, leaving fewer
officers available to deal with real crimes.
Courtrooms and prison space would be insufficient, placing more convicts
on the streets.
would be emboldened by the thought of more unarmed victims to rape or rob. If
caught, they will serve less time in prisons overcrowded with gun law violators.
Frightened by the more aggressive criminals, citizens would be under
great pressure to arm themselves illegally.
More crimes would go unreported, since an officer investigating a crime
might stumble upon an illegal gun kept hidden by a citizen.
police departments would reduce routine patrols. As in the past, resources would be devoted to protect areas
where the most influential citizens and politicians live. A population shift might occur, as families flee high crime
victims would switch to other methods, like hanging, as they have in Australia,
but the overall rate would be unchanged. Gun
accidents might increase, since gun safety classes would cease to exist and safe
storage practices would be abandoned in favor of better concealment from
authorities and quick protection from criminal attack.
the independent nature of Americans, compliance with the new gun law would be
poor. Increased police power would
be necessary to enforce the law, leading to more corruption and erosion of civil
rights, as we have seen in the war on drugs.
crime would enjoy a gold rush of profits supplying smuggled guns to criminals
and to citizens who feel their need for protection outweighs the law.
Large amounts of money would be available for bribes.
Criminals might be better armed than before, as they are now in Britain.
often stated plan of gun prohibitionists is to move their agenda forward in
small steps. This incremental movement won't stop after prohibition becomes law.
History shows that when any new gun law does not produce the desired results,
they will call for even stricter laws and increased police powers.
hypothetical society does not sound at all like the vague utopia of the gun
society in which the government makes no distinction between criminals and
law-abiding citizens. All people
are assumed to be equally violent and dangerous.
society in which citizens are dependent on government for their personal
protection, even though the government is not legally required to protect them
and will never have the resources to do so effectively.
society in which the concept of personal responsibility has been weakened and
criminal behavior is blamed on inanimate objects.
scenario is a reasonable prediction based on real evidence from history, but gun
control lobbyists will ignore the facts and simply label it paranoid or
extremist. They may respond with
junk science from dishonest medical researchers, but they will not look beyond
their shallow concepts and emotional appeals.
American way of maintaining public safety has much in common with our free
market economic system. History tells us that attempts to intervene in free
markets often result in disaster.
as people are free to make their own security decisions, a kind of balance
prevails. It may not be perfect,
but it is relatively stable and crime has decreased dramatically in recent
years. Some experts say that guns
in the hands of law-abiding citizens have played a role.
no evidence to show that gun control works as advertised and much to show that
it is harmful. The simplistic
slogans and sound bites of the gun control lobby are not sufficient to justify
new legislation. We should insist that they honestly address the true
consequences of their proposals before any vote is cast.
Dr. Michael S. Brown is an optometrist in Vancouver, WA who moderates a
large email list for discussion of gun issues in Washington State. You can reach
the rest of his archive here.
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org