A Problem Without an Obvious Solution

I have no problem admitting that it is too easy for the wrong people to get possessions of firearms. I also have no problem in admitting that it is a dangerous thing for the populace in general to be forbidden to access firearms. As I see it there is a worsening gap between these two statements. I do not see a solution.

There is a strong presence of politicians and voters who would like to ban all firearms, from so-called assault rifles and handguns to shotguns that are primarily used for hunting. These people strategically do not usually speak this way, but rather argue for incremental removal of dangerous weapons. By banning some weapons, criminals will choose those easier to obtain. Then those easier to obtain must be removed from circulation. Eventually, all firearms would be banned, then sharp objects. They seek to disarm all a nation’s population, leaving firearm possession to police, military, and some private security (especially for the elite members of society). The (usually) unstated assumption of this group is that a strong central governing authority must have the security to operate in the best interest of all its citizens, and that such a government, free from the threat of violence from the populace, will always be benevolent and do good to those citizens. This mindset does not believe that mere humans can be trusted with firearms, but believe that rulers of people can be. Human depravity is only a problem of the individual, never the state.

There is also a very strong presence of people who do not trust those who would remove their right (or privilege in Canada) to own firearms. They observe governing powers and see an ever-increasing lust for control over the individual. They see an increase of abuse against citizens by law enforcement (say, no-knock warrants and civil forfeiture). They know that their everyday existence is regulated, taxed, monitored, and controlled. What is not yet under a regulation or tax soon will be. There are laws that dictate proper behaviour, what must not be done and what must be done. Attempts are made openly to dictate speech, religion, thought and conscience. Those who resist such control are worried that so many of their neighbours vote such governments into office and are so willing to surrender their rights to those in power. Like taxes that are never rescinded, regulations are never reduced, only multiplied. The time seems near that an average individual, simply living daily life, will be in violation of a code, bylaw, or statute. This group believes that a state can be depraved, as well as some individuals. Firearms to are protect individuals from both an evil state and an evil intruder.

It should come as no surprise, then, that firearm owners are not eager to give up that one thing that a government fears most: a way to say “no” to tyranny. Rulers have some fear of the populace during elections, but electoral wins can be had by fraud. There is, though, a real fear among leaders; fear of population that will oppose them with armed violence.

But are the benign governments of the West truly tyrannical, do they truly seek to exert undo control and curtail freedoms and human rights? Is this fear of government power unfounded?

What assurance is there that a cadre of leaders, having disarmed its citizens, will not then enslave them? What assurance is there that there is a more noble goal, when government only seeks more control over its people? Are modern governments seeking to increase, or decrease control over their citizens? At what point of control does a government become a dictatorship? How does tyranny occur–is it sudden, or is it incremental, in small steps? Is it not clear that when a government official fines a child’s lemonade stand (for no licence) that there is culture of control? Again, think of how many laws and regulations have been rescinded and how many new ones must be learned and obeyed.

When modern governments seek to increase influence over the most minute details of daily life, shouldn’t someone be a little suspicious when that same authoritarian mentality makes total disarmament its aim? The suspicious ones worry modern governments. And that’s a good thing.

Between these two mindsets I do see a solution, one guaranteed to upset: the occasional mass shooting by deranged individuals is to be preferred to the daily mass shootings by deranged nations.