Let’s Talk About Abolishing Gun Ownership by Cody Fenwick is an op-ed piece responding to Vince Vaughn’s recent comments, posted Sunday on Truth-Out.org. Mr. Fenwick attempted to start a conversation about the outright banning of gun ownership in America. He is hoping that either A: the idea will catch on, or B: the position would be viewed as so extreme as to make the typical gun control policies being advocated seem moderate.
So, let’s have that conversation. Please read the article linked above before continuing, I will quote some points, but you really must read it all in context.
In keeping with President Obama’s recent, he cited Australia throughout his argument, so let me start there.
Australia enacted strict gun regulation in 1996, with little pushback. To own a firearm, an Australian must take a safety course and provide a “genuine reason” for owning a gun. “Self-defense” does not count as a reason, according the Australian government–and I assume ”resisting the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government” doesn’t count, either.
Australia is a favorite of anti-gun activists, as is Japan, because of what is perceived as a near total ban on guns. That being said, Australia has just as many privately owned guns today as they did before the ban. Australia didn’t have a complete ban on guns, they didn’t even ban all semi-automatic guns. They had a massive buy-back and more tightly regulated firearms, but the estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Australia is 3,050,000. The population of Texas is larger than that of Australia (27 Million to 23 Million), so with less than 1/10 of the U.S. Population, Australia still ranks 25th in the world for gun ownership. The police and military combined, reportedly have less than 200,000 firearms compared to the 3 million in civilian hands in Australia. So, with all of those guns, both legal and illegal, in civilian hands in Australia, could it be that guns are NOT the issue? Perhaps there is some other cultural, economic, political or philosophical difference going on here.
Enough about Australia, let’s look at the good old U.S. of A.
In 2013, over 11,000 Americans were victims of homicide with a firearm. That same year, almost twice as many Americans committed suicide using a gun. If over 30,000 American lives were lost every year because of a vaccine, GMOs or terrorism, nothing could stop us from trying every possible method to stop these deaths. Why are we so reluctant to discuss an outright ban on guns?
The natural response is that guns are fundamentally a part of our culture, in the way that they weren’t for Australia before their ban.
BINGO! Australia was also an English prison colony and despite their independence as a country now, they have a long history of subjugation to monarchical rule. Whereas America was founded by subjects of that same monarchical rule who CHOSE to leave in search of freedom, specifically religious freedom at first, but eventually the very idea of freedom itself took hold. Authoritarian dictates are an anathema to the American DNA, where individualism is a much more cherished ideal than collective authoritarianism. That is not to say that some Americans have not fallen victim to that collectivist philosophy as evidenced by Mr. Fenwick himself, but by and large the individualist spirit lives on. Which is why so many Americans choose to provide for their own protection, via gun ownership, rather than rely on the “benevolent” shepherd of the State.
He goes on to make the usual anti-gun claims such as:
“Many people just assert their Second Amendment rights, as if they were divinely given.”
Whether you call it a God-given right or a natural right, the first law of nature is Self-Preservation. The Founders recognized that and enshrined it into the Bill of Rights.
“But the Bill of Rights is simply a list of amendments like any other, written in a very different time. The question is really, do we have any reason to continue to endorse the Second Amendment?
The Second Amendment was intended, as it explicitly says, for the creation of a well-regulated militia and for protection of the state.”
Now, explaining the 2nd Amendment to those like Mr. Fenwick who just don’t get it would require more than I want to get into in this rebuttal, but if you are interested, here is what I would’ve said: 2nd Amendment: A Well Regulated Militia… – A Second Amendment Tutorial
“Do we need personal firearms to protect ourselves against a government which has such power, as Vaughn suggests? It should seem strange to think that personal gun ownership is much of a defense against a national military or even police force.”
Here we have the typical anti-gun contradiction. There is no “need” for ordinary citizens to have such POWERFUL weapons, but against the might of the military and police our impotent little AR-15s and Glocks and deer rifles would be meaningless. So, are civilian weapons powerful or insignificant? Make up your mind. Regardless, in a battle against corrupt and tyrannical military forces, numbers count.
Combined force of military and law enforcement: The number fluctuates, but there are roughly 3.5 million military and law enforcement personnel combined or just over 1% of the population. So even with advanced weaponry and training, they are seriously outnumbered by civilian gun owners, many of whom are veterans themselves with the same advanced training. Just going off of hunting licenses alone, hunters in America outnumber the ten largest standing armies in the world, COMBINED. Not to mention the fact that many, if not most, of those military and law enforcement personnel are staunch believers in the Constitution and 2nd Amendment as well, who would not take kindly to being used as a weapon against their own people.
You see, it is not about the ability to fight tanks and helicopters with shotguns and pistols. It is about maintaining a large armed population that stands as a deterrent to ambitious seekers of power who might make tyrannical use of military might against the people.
“Rather than insisting that no one’s right to violently resist the government be infringed, why don’t we instead rely on and employ the non-violent means of democratic governance to settle our political disputes?”
There are two ways to settle disputes, Reason and Force. When the people have a dispute with a government who has a monopoly on force, why would the government listen to reason? When a government’s military might is balanced by an overwhelming number of armed citizens, then the balance of force leaves REASON as the only option for settling a dispute. The same is true on a personal level, if you have money and a criminal wants it then he’ll take it by force unless you can meet that force with equal or greater force. In which case he has to reason with or persuade you to hand it over.
Finally, but what about the children? Just think of all the lives that will be saved.
“Some estimate that the laws save nearly 200 lives a year. Since Americans are killed much more frequently by guns, similar measures here could save many more lives, both per capita and in total.
Now we play the numbers game. Yes, there are a lot of Americans killed by guns each year, however those numbers have been dropping each year for quite some time now. Even as MORE Americans buy MORE guns and MORE states pass legislation that is MORE gun-friendly. Suicide is a straw-man argument, yes guns make suicide “easier” if you can say the decision to take you own life is ever “easy.” That being said, suicide rates have been fairly stable for as long as they have been tracking them. Even in countries before and after gun bans, the overall suicide rates remains fairly consistent. Economic fluctuations affect suicide rates more than the availability of guns. As for homicides, the vast majority of homicides each year in America are gang/drug related. In essence, criminals killing other criminals and if there is one thing that will stop criminals from killing criminals is stricter laws (tongue planted firmly in cheek).
What is harder to quantify, and what anti-gun activists don’t want to admit, is how many lives are SAVED by guns everyday. Not every situation involving a gun ends in death. People who carry a firearm for protection routinely stop crimes in progress, some which may have been life threatening, with a gun and more often than not WITHOUT firing a shot. I personally have used a gun to stop a crime in progress 3 times in my life and never fired a single shot.
So, there you have it. A conversation on abolishing gun ownership. Not Gonna Happen In America and you can have my gun when you pry it from my COLD DEAD HANDS, but the barrel is gonna be hot and it’ll be out of ammo before that happens.