- Created: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 00:00
- Written by Kenneth Bennight
Would-be gun controllers argue that guns are different from other dangerous commodities. Guns are uniquely are designed to kill, they say, and therefore lack the utility of other dangerous things. Take automobiles, for instance: automobiles kill more people than guns, but automobiles' primary use is peaceful, and automobiles are not designed to kill. Why, gun controllers ask, should we tolerate guns, which are dangerous and have no material utility other than killing?
Gun-rights defenders sometimes argue that guns have innocent uses such as hunting and target-shooting. Those uses, they argue, justify widespread gun ownership.
But what other widespread toy is as potentially lethal as guns? It's poor argumentation to refuse to acknowledge the obvious: the function of guns is to kill. That is incontrovertible. Non-killing uses of guns are incidental.
Does that make the gun controllers right? No. If we are to preserve our Second Amendment rights and our freedom generally, we must accept the possibility of legitimate killing in two circumstances: defense against violence and resistance to oppression.
Self-defense is a natural right of all persons, one not limited to non-lethal force. If gun controllers concede that, they proceed to parse finely the degree of allowable lethal force. (No one needs more than a three-round magazine.) But any such calculation necessarily assumes unknowable things.
Why is it that those who know the least about guns have the strongest opinions on how much lethality is legitimately necessary? And gun controllers would not impose those limits on the Secret Service or the bodyguards of other prominent people. What has become of America if the law holds that the lives of such people are more worthy than the lives of the rest of us?