Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reisman: We Need Gun Control--for Our Government

George Reisman has a good post titled Gun Control: Controlling the Government's Guns, in which he argues convincingly (as usual) that by far the biggest gun threat to the private citizenry comes not from domestic criminals but from the government's misuse of it's legal powers of physical force. Reisman's take on the Second Amendment is instructive:

   Our entire Constitution and Bill of Rights are essential measures of gun control—this time, gun control directed against the government. For example, the First Amendment prohibits the government from using its guns to abridge the freedoms of speech or press. The Second Amendment prohibits the government from using its guns to abridge the freedom of the citizen to keep and bear arms.
   Indirectly, the Second Amendment also operates to limit the government’s use of its guns to abridge freedom in general. This is because, in our system of checks and balances, an armed citizenry constitutes a check on the possibility of the government becoming tyrannical and attempting to use its power to threaten the citizens’ lives and property. It should be understood as protecting a balance between the power remaining in the hands of the people and the power they have delegated to their government. Indeed, the language of the Second Amendment¬—“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—should be understood in this way.

Reisman explains that every "law, regulation, ruling, or whatever, would be without force or effect [without] the government’s implicit threat to use deadly force [guns] to uphold its decisions." Controlling the government's guns, therefore, is imperative because, left unchecked, government power will end in slaughter. This is historical fact. Notes Reisman: "human deaths on a scale dwarfing the deaths caused by the worst individual psychopaths" have been perpetrated by governments. Consequently, concludes Reisman, we need gun control--levied against our government:

To impose gun control on their government, the American people need in addition to arm themselves in a way that is more fundamental than merely possessing physical weapons. They need to arm themselves intellectually and morally as well, by reading and studying the works of the great modern defenders of freedom, above all, Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. This will enable them to counter and overcome the vicious ideas that underlie the misuse of government power and its continuing growth. An armament of physical weapons combined with knowledge and moral conviction will ensure that the American people will never find themselves in the position of helpless, terrified people being led as sheep to the slaughter. They will never allow themselves to be either the victims or the perpetrators of a holocaust, for they will have regained control over their government and its use of its weapons. They will have achieved the kind of gun control that secures their lives and property and threatens the lives and property of no one else.


The Nature of Government by Ayn Rand

Gun Control Should focus On Principles, Not Guns

Thoughts on the Colorado Theater Shooting

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