Should civilians be prohibited from owning firearms?

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Should civilians be prohibited from owning firearms?[edit | edit source]

Arguments for[edit | edit source]

  • Argument for Countries like Australia and Japan have seen their crime rates drop significantly after enacting such a law.
    • Objection In Australia, though crime involving a firearm dropped drastically, most crime did not. Murder and armed robbery rates in Australia increased slightly after its extensive buy-back program in 1997. Japan has never enacted comparable legislation.
  • Argument for Firearms enable people to more easily become murderers, kidnappers, and pose other threats.
    • Objection As do many other useful tools. This is not a reason to prohibit civilian ownership of firearms in and of itself.

Arguments against[edit | edit source]

  • Argument against The civilian is no less justified in owning firearms than any military. The "gun rights debate" is promoted by the media whenever there's a convenient story in which gun(s) were used in the commission of murder. Let's put this into perspective with some respect for proportion and measure: Between one and four million people were killed in the Vietnam war. There were about five hundred thousand to one million total excess deaths as a result of the Iraq war. Many, many people contend that these wars were unnecessary and there are many more examples that one could cite. This is not an argument against having an armed military. Rather, the point is that it's absurd to suggest our entire body of civilians should be held accountable for the actions of a very small minority of individuals and demand that civilians surrender their arms under the pretext of saving lives when we demand so little accountability for lives lost due, for example, to foreign policy and non-civilian actors. There seems to be this bizarre presumption in the media and public discourse that civilian (as opposed to non-civilian) ownership and use of firearms is a comparatively substantial danger to life and liberty around the globe, and that's simply not true. One might make the counterpoint that an army needs weapons in order to perform its duties and then question whether there is any such necessity among the civilian body. However, the purpose of a standing army is largely to act as a deterrent against hostility. The constitution of the United States includes checks and balances because its creators understood that putting too much power and trust into too few people generally does not sustain a just and democratic governement. Likewise, a monopoly on the use of force will nearly always be abused. This is to say nothing about outside threats. At present, about four million people have fled the Ukraine, another six million have been internally displaced, and thousands have been killed. Would this be the case if Ukrainian citizens were duly armed? Prior to the invasion, they had a may-issue policy with regard to permits and apparently one had to demonstrate a "good reason". They've relaxed gun control after the fact, but obviously it's better to be prepared in the first place. In essence, civilian gun ownership results in a more uniform distribution of power among individuals in any given nation. Is this not a primary tenet of leftism? Incidentally, isn't it slightly puzzling that gun control tends to be a policy supported by the Democratic party? We would do well to consider why this is.
  • Argument against Firearms enable people to defend their home and family from murderers, kidnappers and other threats.
  • Argument against Firearms enable civilians to defend themselves from their own government, if it ever turns into a police state.
    • Objection Non-violent resistance can be as effective as violent resistance, and less lethal.
      • Objection Non-violent resistance is preferable if it works, but the use of force is the basis of authority.
    • Objection Household weapons are no real defense against an organized police state backed by the army.
      • Objection The point is not waging a war of attrition against the entire military, but having the means to hold our government accountable, deter them from abusing their power, and being able to defend ourselves in the event the state is either unwilling or unable to do so at any given point in time. Politicians and plutocrats have a vested interest in reinforcing the perceived authority of the state and cultivating the belief that they cannot be forcibly deposed without citizens first having to defeat the entire US military, and so it's a perennial talking point on the news, talk shows, and in debates such as this one. The conversation is always steered toward having to defeat the military, and it goes downhill from there. Biden's recent comments bear this out to the letter: "If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons." This is a strawman, and entirely beside the point. This isn't to suggest that anyone should resort to violence, but that firearms are an effective deterrent against various abuses. While most people are capable of destroying a bee's nest to get honeycomb, it is rarely worth it to do so casually or on a whim. Unless you believe that those in power will always act in benevolence, it is unwise to give up this deterrent. Why is it that they're "household weapons" in the context of utility, and "military-grade assault weapons" in the context of gun control FUD?

See also[edit | edit source]