Let’s be clear, we already have gun control in America, but after the Las Vegas shooting, a predictable debate is re-emerging about more gun control, including possible bans on certain firearms and legally sold accessories. This is a tired debate, with each side of the political spectrum heavily fortified in entrenched positions, neither wanting to budge and both coming up with evermore creative rhetoric to justify their unwillingness to compromise.
The debate is about as productive and divisive as the never-ending debate on abortion.
But, why is it that so many Americans refuse to see the gun control light after a horrifying tragedy like Las Vegas or any of the other mass shootings happening in America? Is it just because they don’t want criminals to be the only demographic with guns? Is it just because guns are part of American heritage? Is it because of the 2nd Amendment which enumerates the supposed Divine-given right to bear arms?
To a degree, all of these arguments are a real part of the picture, however, there is one major point which is much less frequently discussed, going above and beyond any of the afore-mentioned reasons. One that is rather taboo to discuss openly in our state-worshipping, stand-for-the-anthem, patriotic nation. This reason is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, that so many rightfully fear, because history backs this one up time and again.
The numbers don’t lie. The State is the leading mass murderer, mass casualty generator, mass property destroyer ever to plague planet earth. It is the one agency where criminals can run amuck with unlimited franchise, pillaging their neighbors, destroying communities and whole societies with absolute impunity. Government is the most dangerous human institution ever devised. Again, the numbers don’t lie.
Interestingly, it was well after the 2nd Amendment that these statistics really began to pile up. It is estimated that in the 20th century alone, some 262 million unarmed people were killed by governments in mass .... That’s roughly 80% of the current population of America.
“Let’s start with a number: 262 million. That’s the number of unarmed people the late Prof. R. J. Rummel estimated governments murdered in mass killings he termed “democide” during the 20th century. “This democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century,” he wrote.
Unsurprisingly, the bloodiest body count was run up by totalitarian regimes, though authoritarians were busy stacking up the corpses, too, if in smaller piles. Democracies were also responsible for unjustifiable deaths, especially in subduing resistance in their colonial possessions (think: Belgian Congo) and in indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets during wars (think: Hiroshima), but to a far lesser degree than Communists, Nazis, and overdecorated generalissimos.” [Source]
This little graphic breaks it down a bit:
At the root of the gun control debate is the acknowledgment that armed citizens serve a very real and effective role in preventing the deterioration of a state into outright murderous tyranny. This type of authoritarian tyranny can happen anywhere, even in supposed democratic states.
So, if you’re wondering why so many Americans are so stubborn, and sticking to their guns on this issue, consider that beyond the statistics of gun violence there are much more deadly statistics about state violence. Which is where the real dangerous fallacy of the gun control argument is, as pointed out by Stefan Molyneaux: