Do Guns or People Kill People? Part 5 in the Right to Protect Yourself
The simplistic answer to the Sandy Hook massacre is obvious: Just make all guns illegal. But is any law 100% effective?
Criminals don’t obey the law. The UK experience from banning guns – the UK is now the violent crime Ak74 capital of Europe according to the European Commission (see previous article) – demonstrates that simplistic answers to complex problems don’t work. In contrast, Switzerland has automatic guns above every fireplace, yet is one of the safest (and most prosperous) countries in the world.
People kill Other People
The annual death toll from motor cars is enormously higher than deaths from guns. Yet although the British government tried to severely restrict cars – the notorious Red Flag Act of 1865 – no one with any sense is suggesting banning motor-cars. That’s because people kill people – the driver of the car causes the accident.
Do guns kill people? Not really, guns don’t jump up and go on a shooting rampage of their own volition. Guns don’t go into a school and kill students and teachers by themselves, it’s mentally ill people who go into a cinema and shoot their innocent victims.
So no, deranged individuals and criminals kill other people, and they use guns, or knives to do so. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are a self-defense mechanism. In Harrold School District Superintendent Thweatt’s words: If something happened here, we would have to protect our children… police officers are true, everyday heroes in my book, but one of them once told me something very revealing. He said, ‘Ninety-five percent of the time, we get to the scene late.’ I can’t afford to let that happen.*
Guns are neither good nor bad, they’re guns
This valuable distinction is not just semantics, it’s crucial for an effective policy. Gun control advocates seem to think that guns kill people, rather than realizing that criminals and the mentally disturbed use guns to kill people. This is a common error by those who make the choice not to defend themselves, yet deny others any right to that same choice.
But statistics count the number of homicides per hundred thousand people, not as per hundred thousand guns. This is because a gun is an inert object, just like a knife or a motor-car. Knives, cars and many other objects can and have been used to kill people, but no one with any sense is suggesting banning knives or cars. That’s because people kill people, the gun or the knife or the car is just the instrument they use.
Whenever someone misuses a gun to kill people, as in the Sandy Hook school massacre, then he’s misusing it. Guns are protected under the US constitution so that you can protect yourself, not so you can kill other people. And when someone uses a gun to coerce you, then you have the right to protect yourself with a gun. The right to own a gun enables you to defend yourself.