Common Sense: Forget The Dog; Beware Of Owner

Harrison Leonard

Harrison Leonard
Contributing columnist

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” – Adolph Hitler

How might history have turned out differently had Nazi SS troops rounding up Jewish families in 1933 been met at the door with break-action shotguns?
It didn’t happen. The Weimar Republic passed stringent gun control measures in 1919, which banned the possession of all firearms. These laws helped to disarm the populace, and set the stage for even stricter Nazi gun control programs adopted once Hitler gained power. America’s Founders understood, as Hitler later did, that the most surefire way for a despotic government to impose its authority over the people was to eradicate their means of defense.

Noah Webster surmised, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.” James Madison expounded that the Constitution protects “the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” Authoritarian regimes throughout history have a strong tradition of limiting the production, ownership, and use of arms as a precursor to tyranny.

The second amendment was actually added to the Constitution as an afterthought, a concession intended to placate the fears of anti-federalists. The Founders presumed that the possession of arms was a vital component of a free society, and that a militia, as Richard Henry Lee put it, “are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.”

Gun control doesn’t work. Census statistics overwhelmingly suggest that those U.S. cities (Chicago and Washington D.C., for example) with the highest incidences of gun-related crimes also have the strictest gun control laws. Switzerland, where all adult males must engage in basic training and are allowed to keep their government-issued SIG rifles afterward, has the lowest crime rate in the world. Because criminals with no respect for the law will acquire guns regardless of what the law says, gun control laws tend to only hurt those who are inclined to obey the law in the first place.

And criminals will certainly feel more confident brandishing weapons in places they know are “gun-free zones.” Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of killing sprees in America occur on school campuses? Remember the recent Fort Hood shooting? That happened in a gun-free zone. On a military base! Gun-free zones may as well be renamed “killing zones.”

People have told me that my desire for less gun control emanates from a trust of humanity. Not true. It’s my distrust of human nature that compels me to want to protect myself and those around me. I distrust bad people; gun control advocates distrust all people.