Armed Self-Defense is Essential in a Free Society
The recent string of multiple-victim incidents of gun violence and police shootings of black Americans has once again resulted in renewed calls for restrictions on gun ownership. President Biden has said that executive instructions to various branches of the Federal government will attempt to reduce the frequency and possibility of such violence.
Some of his proposals, however, are merely using the gun control argument as a cover for more government redistributive intervention within the society. Thus, when the White House released a statement on April 7, 2021 detailing its plans in this direction, one of them called for a $5 billion investment over eight years to support “community violence intervention programs” with a key part of it being “to help connect individuals to job training and job opportunities.” The Department of Health and Human Services will be also directed to “educate” state governments in better using Medicaid funding to better subsidize such interventionist projects.
In other words, if only we expand notoriously wasteful and ineffective government job training programs, gun violence magically will be reduced. If only “unemployed” gun-using criminals can be taught a nonviolent job skill, they will stop robbing convenience stores and stop killing people in gang-related drive-by shootings! Plus, once the national mandated minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour, there will be long lines, obviously, of prospective employers eagerly waiting to hire former street thugs with their newly certified government-provided entry-level employment “skills.” Who knew it could be so simple?
A Divided Country About Gun Control
But the meat of the Biden gun control policies all center on defining various types of firearms to categories that can rationalize greater prohibition of access and ownership. The fact is, however, that the number of Americans thinking the country needs stricter gun controls has been decreasing. According to a recent Gallup opinion survey, in 2018, 67 percent of survey respondents supported more stringent gun laws, but in 2020, that number had fallen to 57 percent, or a 15 percent decrease in those holding this opinion.
And in a survey in early 2021, Gallup reported that of those most concerned about current government gun policy, 42 percent said that current laws are sufficient, 41 percent replied they should be stricter, and 8 percent called for them to be less strict. So, 50 percent, think that gun regulations should be left as they are or actually reduced. Hardly a clamoring supermajority wanting the government to dramatically weaken a relatively wide right to bear arms. More like the same and usual vocal minority who think that “bad things” can be legislated away by political paternalists given enough governmental power over people’s lives.
Also, according to those queried by Gallup, 42 percent said that they had a gun in their home, 55 percent said they did not, and 3 percent had no opinion. It is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that many among the 3 percent who had no opinion in fact might be simply not wanting to admit that they do have one or more firearms in their home. Nor is it likely going very far out on a limb to presume that at least some of those who replied that they do not have a gun in their home probably were not being completely honest, particularly if they are suspicious of government or have a firearm that is not properly licensed in the state in which they live.
But, nonetheless, among those Americans wanting a heavier government hand over gun access and ownership, a good number probably view the Second Amendment and its guarantee of the right of the individual to bear arms as something practically anachronistic. It may seem to be a throwback to those earlier days of the Wild West, when many people, far from the law and order provided by the town sheriff and circuit judge, had to protect their families and land from cattle rustlers and outlaw bands. Such people are wrong.
The Tragedy of the Unarmed Victim
Locks, bars on windows, and alarm systems are all useful devices to prevent unwanted intruders from making entrance into our homes and places of work. But what happens if an innocent victim is confronted with an invader who succeeds in entering his home, for example, and the safety of his family and possessions is now threatened? What if the invader confronts these innocent occupants and threatens some form of violence, including life-threatening force? What are the victims to do?
Critics of the Second Amendment and private gun ownership never seem to have any reasonable answer. Silent prayer might be suggested, but if this were to be a formal recommendation by the government it might be accused of violating the separation of church and state. No, better to not get the anti-religion lobby on your back, especially if it’s in an election year.
Even in an era promoting “politically correct” notions of equality among the sexes and an infinite number of self-defining genders, it nonetheless remains a fact that on average an adult male tends to be physically stronger than an adult woman, and most especially if there is more than one man confronting a single woman. A good number of years ago, economist Morgan Reynolds wrote a book on the economics of crime. The following is from one of the criminal cases he discussed. It seems that four men broke into a house in Washington, D.C., looking for a man named “Slim.” When the occupant said that he didn’t know where Slim was, they decided to kill him, instead. One of the defendants later testified,