"Guns don't kill people. People kill people."
These are, perhaps, the most popular quotes one can find on the issue of Gun Control versus Gun Rights. Being a Libertarian, you can probably guess that I agree with these quotes and you'd be right. However, one could probably deduce that the debate on Gun Control doesn't end at those two quotes.
In the United States, we have something called the Constitution. Anyone familiar with the judicial system knows that the Constitution is the highest law in the land and, historically, is only preceded by the Articles of Confederation. As most history buffs will know, the Articles of Confederation was the original document that superseded all other judicial documents.
However, one of the major flaws in the Articles of Confederation was that it gave too much power to the State and not enough to the Federal Government. As such, there was animosity between two political parties; Federalists and Anti-Federalists, which eventually led to the ramification of the United States Constitution.
But the members of the Constitutional Conventation of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- otherwise known as the Founding Fathers -- didn't just modify the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation, nor did they take the easy way out of just turning the United States into a Federal-based, Tyrannical Totalitarian Nation -- the very thing they fought so hard to rid themselves of.
Instead, they leveled the playing field with The Bill of Rights (individual liberties), the Tenth Amendment (which would give the States reserved powers; i.e. anything not mentioned in the Constitution is up to the States), and the system of checks and balances (which ensures that no branch of government becomes too powerful.) Naturally, the focal point of notice, here, is "individual liberties". Our Founders wished for us to be free from tyranny; they didn't believe our voices should be silenced, didn't believe the press should be monitored, didn't believe in a National Church, didn't believe in telling you that you can't protect yourself.
And yes, it's very cut and dry. The Second Amendment of the Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." In other words, you have the right to own a gun in the event that the government becomes too powerful. The founders were careful to include this in the Bill of Rights as a last resort to ensure balance and order is kept.
Don't believe me? Lets look to the Founding Fathers:
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither
inclined or determined to commit crimes. Such laws only make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assassins; they serve to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson
"To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them." -- George Mason
"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose people are afraid to trust them with arms." -- James Madison
Of course, it doesn't stop there, but I could congregate an entire page of quotes by those who founded our Country stating the importance of bearing arms. As Thomas Jefferson puts it, "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." What this means is that the government seizing your arms is a direct violation of your individual freedoms. In other words, we are not free under Gun Control.
Certainly, you can make the case that our Founding Fathers are long beyond their time and created the elastic clause because they knew that times change. So, could one argue that these principles are not applicable today?
In theory, yes, you can argue. But it's not exactly an air tight argument and I'll explain as we go along.
You can, of course, argue that the United States military would refuse orders to harm innocents if given the orders, thus making the Second Amendment null and void. However, that's based on presumption and disregards the long term effects of applying more government to the society. I realize that this is a slippery slope argument (despite the fact that it's in response to a slippery slope argument), but one must consider the theoretical possibility of limiting one's individual liberties.
If you analytically observe tyranny, you will understand where I'm coming from. Nazi Germany, perhaps the figurehead of contemporary tyranny, didn't begin with the ideals of racial purity and the Aryan race. Quite the contrary, it grew with time -- as did the loyalty of the German army and its denizens. The same can be said for Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and so on and so forth.
Authoritarians don't gain control by sweeping in and overturning everything. Quite the contrary, they win their bees with sugar and honey and make them believe that everything will be a Utopia. They promise peace. They don't take control; they make you trust them enough, so that you hand it to them willingly. That's when disaster strikes.
Once you give them your liberties, a metamorphosis occurs. So, who's to say that, in time, the U.S. Military won't have a care about unloading a shell of lead between your eyes?
People who make such arguments like to use hyperbolic words such as "never" and "wouldn't think about" to skew you into believing that such things could never happen.
Anyway, you can make the case that outlawing guns will remove accessibility to outlaws obtaining guns, thereby writing off the first quote of this article. However, the fact of the matter is that they will still be in circulation and by stripping the average citizen of the right to defend himself, you're putting them at a distinct disadvantage. Argue that there will be less in circulation all you want; it still doesn't refute the fact that they will be in circulation.
Which brings us to the second quote. Many argue that guns being a tool used to kill people means that they do kill people, but this is completely illogical. Any object can be used to harm or kill another; you may as well outlaw everything including water and oxygen because both of them have the potential for someone to kill you with them too.
Both those who are in favor of and are against Gun Control tend to use other Countries as their basis for their arguments and cite charts and statistics that are contingent upon homicide rates, et cetera. However, I'm not going to do that and I'll tell you why:
Because they mean nothing. Comparing the United States to Australia is nonsense when the populations differ so dramatically. Comparing the United States to Japan is nonsense when the culture is so drastically different. Comparing the United States to the United Kingdom is nonsense when the situations are completely different. As such, it is better to rely on facts and logic than on statistics on a subject such as human behavior.
Whether you would own a gun or not, it is a limitation of your freedom for the government to tell you that you can't. It's a simple matter of acknowledging if you think the government are our care takers or stability. In reality, the founding of the United States never saw the government as the care takers of its people. Quite the contrary, the Nation was founded on Libertarian ideals and shun the notion of the government making your choices for you.
Just remember. You give them an inch and they'll take a mile.