Tag Archives: guns

Gun-Control Advocates — Check Your Privilege

3 HOURS AGO

I have my doubts about the utility of privilege theory (and strong concerns about the effects it has on civil discourse). But for those who take it seriously, one aspect of privilege that has been explored to a lesser extent is personal security. That is, if it is to be talked about at all, it is typically about how underprivileged groups are more likely to be the target of violence because of their identity, especially if the perpetrator is considered to belong to a privileged class.

Surprisingly, very little attention is given to the fact that state actors enjoy tremendous privileges (for example, notice how, in the event of police brutality, the focus is almost always on the races of the officer and victim and almost never on the privileges police enjoy, such as qualified immunity from civil liability, extra due process protections as listed in the “Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights,” and preferential treatment from investigating officers and prosecutors).

At least part of the reason for this lack of attention is that to criticize the privilege of government police is also to question the legitimacy of state power itself — something that adherents of privilege theory are hesitant to do as they tend to see state power as the solution to social problems. It is just that the right people need to be in charge of it.

This is probably also why we see so little criticism of gun control advocacy by privilege theorists (the overwhelming majority of whom are probably such advocates themselves), even though this — the ability of the individual, particularly the underprivileged individual, to legally possess the means of self-defense — ought to be jealously defended by them, for they argue that these individuals are precisely those who face the most danger in society. Based on the types of arguments made by privilege theorists on other issues, they should be highly critical of gun control advocates.

For one thing, notice the type of gun violence, as well as the type of gun, most focused upon by the media and by politicians — mass shootings and “assault-type” weapons. This is strange, if we are to believe they are truly concerned about providing an accurate portrayal of gun violence. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, less than one percent of all homicides each year in the U.S. are from shootings where 3 or more are killed. And between 1993 and 2011, 70 to 80 percent of firearm homicides (and 90 percent of nonfatal victimizations) were committed with a handgun, not a scary-looking assault rifle.

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If the Public Shouldn’t Have Them, Why Does the IRS Need AR-15s?

Michael Krieger

Here we go again. Stuck in the aftermath of a horrific shooting and all politicians think to do is scheme about how to take more rights from the citizenry. There are no good guys here. The Democrats want to railroad over due process by denying firearms to people on Orwellian watch lists, while Republicans plot to give the FBI more warrantless surveillance powers. This is the authoritarian knee-jerk response to tragedy we get from the U.S Congress.

Hypocritically, when it comes to foreign policy, all we hear are incessant calls for more militarism, more war and more regime change. As I warned in yesterday’s post, Is the Syrian War About to Experience a Major Escalation?  51 State Department officials just issued a cable calling for the bombing of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. An event likely to lead to direct confrontation with Russia.

While all of that is bad enough, the U.S. government continues to eagerly and aggressively arm non-defense federal employees with weapons of war.

As Adam Andrzejewski of Open the Books and former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn noted in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed:

The number of non-Defense Department federal officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000).

For more, let’s take a look at a few excerpts from their piece, Why Does the IRS Need Guns?

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No, Guns Are Not A ‘Public Health Crisis’

No, Guns Are Not A ‘Public Health Crisis’

In a purely political stunt, the American Medical Association has decided that it is time to declare gun violence a “public health crisis.” American gun violence is “a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country” that requires further research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “help us understand the problems associated with gun violence.”

By definition, however, gun violence is not a “public health crisis,” and a group of physicians, especially those in a political trade group like the AMA, cannot invent a “public health crisis” by simply declaring one.

Properly understood, “public health” deals with the provision and distribution of public goods, that is, commonly owned or government-owned resources over which no one person or group of people have control. Mostly this includes air and water, which are the primary transmission mediums for most diseases. Since those resources are truly “public,” no one has sufficient interest in maintaining their cleanliness. Thus, one person pouring tainted water into a well can start an epidemic that can kill hundreds, if not thousands.

By wrongly declaring that gun violence is a “public health crisis,” the AMA and others have put their biases against guns on the table.

Guns and gun violence are not in the same category. Gun violence may be widespread, but that does not turn it into a “public health crisis.” Bullets do not float around in the air, randomly finding victims and then multiplying to infect more. Guns are possessed by individuals, not owned by the “public,” and more than 99 percent of those guns will never be used to commit a crime. Moreover, many people derive benefits from guns, both in terms of enjoying owning them and by protecting themselves from attackers.

Thus, unlike, say, cholera or the Zika virus, there is no “scientific” answer to the question, “how many guns should there be?” Such an answer, if it existed, would require a cost-benefit analysis, something that doctors are ill-equipped to do. Doctors are good at combating things from which no one benefits—from heart attacks to AIDS to high blood pressure—not things that some people prominently display above their fireplaces.

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Gun Control: Fashionable Prohibition for Modern Lawmakers

Gun Control: Fashionable Prohibition for Modern Lawmakers

Ryan McMaken

With the latest school shooting, all humane people are expected to jump up and do something to stop the next shooting. The most popular response among media pundits and national policymakers right now is an expansion of the various prohibitions now in place against guns.

For anyone familiar with the history of prohibitions on inanimate objects, however, these appeals to prohibition as a “common sense” solution are rather less convincing.

Americans and others have tried a wide variety of similar prohibitions before, and with mixed results at best. Nowadays, prohibitions on drugs are in decline as states continue to unravel prohibitions of the past and make the nature of prohibition less drastic and less punitive. And, of course, the prohibition of alcohol has been dead for decades.

The prohibitions of old have been deemed failures. But fortunately for prohibitionists, there’s a fashionable form of modern prohibition that won’t go away.

Why Not Ban Alcohol?

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from a decidedly male perspective