Gun Control and Nuclear Disarmament

Whenever innocent people are murdered by some deranged individual, a certain category of people start clamoring for removal of firearms from sane and responsible owners.

The attitude manifested by the inciters to gun confiscation is not unique to the subject, but has been manifested, for example, in the campaign for (unilateral) nuclear disarmament which reached its peak about thirty years ago. The argument put forward, then as now, was that if only the good guys would renounce their arms, the bad guys, somehow, will give up theirs, too.

The difference in approach is that, at least so far, we haven’t seen mass demonstrations, sit-ins, etc. demanding a law to ban “assault weapons.” The anti-gun fight is for now limited to individual acts of the same groups, if not persons, active in the “struggle for peace” of yesteryear. We hear pronouncements of ill-informed TV pundits (who somehow happen to send their children to schools with armed guards), academics thoroughly insulated from real life, and such politicians as Michael Bloomberg and Charles Schumer. They keep insisting that gun confiscation from law-abiding citizens would reduce the occurrence of crimes.

Yet, the empirical evidence goes against their representation. Already in 1998, John Lott has published an ample and very documented study proving that possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens is a deterrent to crime. Also, local customs are important. Thus, gun-related homicide rate is 2.7 times higher in the Philippines than in the U.S., whereas gun ownership is 19 times higher in the U.S. than in the Philippines, where there are strict licensing laws and firearm possession is limited to a pistol and a rifle or shotgun (no assault weapons).[2]

Likewise, the deployment of Pershing missiles in Europe during the Reagan administration, opposed most strenuously and with much property damage by the “champions of peace” played a major role in the elimination of the danger of nuclear war at that time and the demise of the Soviet Union in the bargain.

These arguments have no effect on Messrs. Bloomberg and Schumer; they are men of few ideas and those are all preconceived.

If the concept that “it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun” is so far fetched as these politicians claim, why did they approve of armed air marshals in commercial air flights? It is hard to imagine a stricter gun control for good guys than on the airplane.

To take Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Schumer seriously, they should:

– First provide a statistical survey (not doctored) of the ratio of crimes committed with legal (i.e., committed by the legal owners) versus illegal guns.

– If the ratio is less than one, they should keep quiet about confiscating legal guns until they finish collecting the illegal ones.

– They should start with a report on the success of retrieval of automatic weapons that the Obama administration has distributed among drug trafficking gangs in Mexico.

The attacks on (U.S.-held) nuclear weapons and on gun rights originate in uneasiness of socialists with free people. In the socialist model, the human beings are powerless atoms carried by the flow of historical determinism. Free men attempting to carve their own fate and countries of free men don’t fit the model. They are sincerely believed to be aberrations that impede the progress of the society and need to be eliminated.

The difference in substance between the efforts for nuclear disarmament and those for banning private ownership of guns in the U.S. is that the former addressed a government policy stand and the second a constitutional right of citizens. Therefore, the gun control forces have tried to redefine the meaning of the second amendment; recently, some calls to do away with the second amendment have been heard.

One significant limitation sought refers to the potency of allowable weapons. For example, the former Congressman Bob Michel stated that private gun owners should not have clips as large as he had in the Normandy invasion. In a bout of shouting in front of the state legislature, Gov. Cuomo of N.Y. said that one does not need an assault weapon to hunt deers. Equally clueless, the legislature passed a bill infringing upon the rights of citizens. The constitution has nothing in it about deers, but mentions the importance of a “well-regulated militia.” This phrase is used by some as an argument that militias, that is military formations of the states, have the right to own arms,  but the citizens do not. That interpretation is ignorant.

When the constitution was adopted, members of militias served when called, but did not undergo weapon training. They came to service with their personal weapons and were proficient in their use. The only training needed was for operating in large formations. (They acquired experience in operating in small formations by serving in posses.) The militia units were rather informally recruited and the officers were elected. Information is found in the memoirs of Davy Crockett, relating the Creek war of 1813.[3] It is thus clear that the second Amendment meant that the citizens should possess the same weapons as the army in combat.

It is interesting that the first large-scale involvement of American militias was fighting the lawful government of the time, that of King George III, who the citizens concluded had degenerated into a tyranny. Even after the American revolution, Thomas Jefferson stressed in his writings the right of citizens to take arms against their government if their liberty is threatened.

[1] John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns Less Crime, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1998.

[2] Jeff Stacklin, Philippines shootings illustrate worldwide gun violence problem, Yahoo! News, 4 Jan. 2013;–190043649.html

[3] David Crockett, Davy Crockett: His Own Story, Applewood Books, Bedford, MA, 1993 (originally published in 1834), Ch. V.

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