The liberal case for gun ownership

I find none of this remotely acceptable as a human, or an American. Remember, I said at the beginning that I believe that the liberals are basically right about the staggering cost of ubiquitous guns. Further, I don’t believe the net effect of ubiquitous guns during an average year, or decade, or century is a reduction in harm. It’s a complex picture, but many Western nations have managed crime as well or better than the US without the population being armed. On long timescales, however, I suspect this trend reverses. A nation’s descent into tyranny can kill millions, and it can drag continents, or the world as a whole, into war.

The terrifying carnage that derives from the right to bear arms must, in the end, be compared to the cost of not having that right, not only for the individual, but for the republic and its neighbours at a minimum. If you imagine that tyranny cannot happen in America due to some safeguard built into our system, or by virtue of some immunity residing in the population itself, then perhaps there is nothing left to discuss.

For my part, I don’t believe it. In fact, I believe I know better, both as a scholar and as someone who was falsely accused of racism and hunted in my own neighbourhood — with the police withdrawn in a foolish attempt to appease the mob. And I suspect that if we put the question to a vote, the fraction of the citizenry who believes tyranny could happen here is rising rapidly, even if we don’t necessarily agree on its most likely source. Of course, the fact that tyranny may happen anywhere is not sufficient counterweight to the unacceptable cost of ubiquitous modern firearms. To imagine that cost is outweighed, one must also believe that an armed population is in a position to fend off tyrants.