Monday, January 28, 2013

Memo to the S-L: Gun Makers' Profits are Not the Issue

Two recent NJ Star-Ledger editorials, Obama's Real Problem isn't Gun Owners. It's Gun Makers, and Their Lobby and Public Opinion is on Obama's Side, but Gun Owners Must Speak Up, made a big deal out of what it says is the main motivation of the NRA; to protect gun-makers' sales and profits.

Leaving aside the question of the validity of the Editors' claims, I left the following comments here and here. You may want to check out the replies to my comments, as well:

The Editors’ NRA-is-motivated-by-an-agenda-to-protect-gun-sales focus is an argument from non-essentials; a means of sidestepping the important considerations. 
The basic issue in the “gun control” debate is the individual’s right to self-defense, the first derivative of his inalienable right to life. The right to self-defense, it follows, means the right to possess the means with which to defend oneself against objectively credible threats he may face from his fellow man.

Protection against foreign enemies is the government’s job. As long as America maintains overwhelming military superiority over its foreign enemies, and the willingness to use it, the threat of foreign invasion is nil. Therefore, the government may properly ban private ownership of certain military-utility weapons, such as rocket launchers, tanks, portable WMDs, etc.

Protection against domestic criminals is also the government’s job. However, since the police cannot offer 24/7 protection, and generally reacts only when called after a crime has been initiated and/or committed, the civilian must have the right to possess the means—including guns—required for his self-defense. Thus, the right to bear arms at least equivalent to the domestic threats present—the arms possessed by domestic criminals—is an inalienable right (subject, of course, to criminal and mental background checks, and proper training).

The “gun control” issue is more accurately called a “crime control” issue. While I’m not a possessor of or expert on guns, I’m not convinced that certain types of “assault weapons” have no utility in defending against or controlling domestic crime. What I do believe is that a law banning “assault weapons”—which seems so broadly defined as to be dangerously meaningless—will be no more successful at keeping them out of the hands of criminals than Prohibition could banish alcohol or the “war on drugs” could banish drugs.

Though it is the government’s proper job to protect individual rights, delegated to it by the people, it must never be forgotten that the right to self-defense (like all rights) is fundamentally an individual right (the only kind of rights there are).

Related Reading:

Gun Control Should Focus On Principles, Not Guns

Human Volition, Not Guns, is the Source of Gun Aggression

It's the Human Choice, Stupid: Thoughts on the Colorado Theater Shooting

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