Dishonesty remains at the core of anti-gun control arguments and I note that regardless of evidence, shifting policies, or gun control experiments in countries other than the US, these arguments have barely shifted in decades.
Here’s the failed Sad Puppies 5 leader Sarah Hoyt https://web.archive.org/web/20180221173128/https://accordingtohoyt.com/2018/02/21/your-most-basic-right/
Here’s a summary of the arguments deployed:
Self Defence: Hoyt starts with claiming a fundamental right to self-defence. That’s a good start, as at least that is common ground. She trips over it almost straight away.
“So while it’s illegal to attack you, the criminal will still do it, and if you don’t have the right to defend yourself (as is true in many places in Europe) then you’re devolving to the criminals having power of life and death over law abiding citizens. This is a recipe for the law to become dead letter and for everyone ignoring it.”
The argument is posed as if X occurs then Y will happen. If there is no right to self-defence, Hoyt claims then effectively the end of the rule of law will happen. She also claims that in many places in Europe there is no right to self-defence. Where? Because that would be a simple test of her argument. Point out these countries that have no right to self-defence and we can all go see how everyone is now ignoring the law in general.
She doesn’t mention a single one. Nor is it clear which European nation has everyone ignoring the law.
Of course, she also wants to connect this to gun control. The UK has strict gun control, arguably the strictest gun control in Europe. And yet:
- The UK has legally recognised the right to self-defence. You can even kill somebody and not be charged with murder IF you can establish it was done in self-defence. It doesn’t provide a defence to do ANYTHING you want or use any level of force but it exists as a right. Are there cases in which a British court should have more clearly recognised self-defence as a factor? Yes but then the same is true in the US (warning this link has some disturbing content http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/the-teenage-sex-trafficking-victim-who-was-sentenced-to-51-years-in-jail-for-shooting-her-abuser/news-story/2db912a333c06885a6cfe0acbbe622e9 )
- Law has not become a dead letter in the UK nor does everybody ignore it. The UK is not perfect but then…neither is the US.
Armed population are a defence against tyranny: there is little evidence for this being true and substantial evidence that it is false. Authoritarian governments do not tend to first act against guns but rather tend to first act against ways for people to organise. Free trade unions are a common target, open communication is another. Tyrannical regimes may enact gun control but not more so then non-tyrannical regimes because…most countries enact some kind of gun control.
But more relevant is this claim runs counter to a later argument: criminals will get guns or other arms one way or another anyway.
Lawbreakers will still have guns: Hoyt says:
“Because it makes killing easier, criminals and psychopaths will have it. They will have guns, regardless of what the law says.”
Yet that hardly means it should be made easy for them. A determined burglar can break into your house but that doesn’t mean you should leave your front door open. Making life harder for criminals to commit crimes is how laws work. Few laws prevent all cases of a crime and this kind of fatalism applied across the board really would lead to the law becoming a dead letter with everyone ignoring it.
Of course, Hoyt has forgotten that she thinks actual determined people fighting a tyranny somehow WON’T people to break the law and get guns.
A gun is just a tool: True and tools make it easier for a person to do a thing. Printing presses are tools and the development of printing presses and their spread led to more books and more literacy. Computers are tools and have led to profound social change. Sure, without printing presses people still found ways to make books but precisely because it was harder there were fewer of them. Likewise, without spreadsheets people would still do accounting or statistics but the tools we have make it easier. A gun is a tool that makes killing people EASIER. Hoyt does recognise that guns make killing people easier and then ignores that point.
Note that this argument runs directly counter to the necessary for self-defence argument and the armed population argument. If a determined person will easily use ‘a shoe, my handbag, or the handle to my office door’ to serve the same purpose as a gun then what need does anybody have for a gun?
This argument is part of Schrodinger’s gun – when a gun is both a magical talisman that enables the rule of law and wards of tyranny and yet also a dumb lump of metal easily replaced with a well-aimed shoe.
You can be confident that a person who advances such arguments does so with NO sincerity. To advance these Schrodinger’s gun argument implies that the argument is offered in bad faith.
Gun control is stupid: Hoyt starts struggling:
“The only people who believe that the way to prevent violence is to disarm the law abiding people and leave them at the mercy of psychopaths are children and idiots. “
Children, idiots and a wide range of people on the left and right in most nations of the world. In the English speaking world, in countries with many cultural connections with the US, major gun control measures have been enacted by CONSERVATIVES.
Stalin! The arguments come closer to gibbering at this point. I don’t know how Hoyt thinks the Bolshevik’s came to power but I’m quite certain she doesn’t believe that Lenin and Trotsky were just fine & lovely and Stalin betrayed the revolution. The Bolshevik Red Guard were armed paramilitaries who toppled the Provisional Government. Lenin took power using literally MILITIAS of armed citizens to depose a more democratic (if deeply flawed) government.
Private militias do not have a great track record when it comes to the rule-of-law versus tyranny. There are many exceptions but a list of people who had their own armed militias BEFORE they took over the state includes these chaps:
- Pol Pot
- Lenin (and as a subordinate Stalin)
On the plus side, there are examples of people’s militia’s fighting for freedom against tyrannical governments or against military dictators (or wannabe military dictators) but even these EXCEPTIONS tend to not be groups that Hoyt would like (e.g. the paramilitary wing of the ANC or the Sandinistas). In zero cases, do we have nations maintaining significant private paramilitary forces during periods of democratic stability with rule of law. Private guns are not a prophylactic defence of freedom.
Gibber, gibber, SOROS!: Seriously.