From Ready Nutrition:
Now that another mass shooting has occurred, the debate between the pro-gun and the anti-gun camps is raging once again. It plays out about the same way every single time. One side says that we need to restrict firearm ownership in some capacity if we want to save lives, and the other side will say that to do so would be a violation of our constitutional rights. Then they will add that actually, if more civilians have access to guns, then society will be safer overall.
I’m here to tell you though that this argument is a trap. Even though I do believe that an armed society is a safe society, I don’t think that this is the argument that gun owners should be making to support their rights, at least by itself. Here’s why:
Just about every aspect of our lives is influenced by the “freedom vs safety” argument. Everything we do and believe in, can be placed somewhere on that spectrum. Do we want a certain activity to be completely free and unregulated, do we want it to be completely safe and controlled (a state of affairs which we could also call “tyrannical” rather than safe), or should it fall somewhere in between? What do we value more? Human life, or human freedom?
Because the anti-gun crowd believes that there is a net benefit to gun control, that taking away guns would save more lives, they think they value life more than freedom. However, it’s kind of messed up when you think about it, because even the most ardent of gun control advocates will begrudgingly admit that yes, from time to time guns do save lives. It’s in the news all the time. Sometimes homeowners stop murderous home invaders with guns, and sometimes women stop vile rapists with guns. It’s an undeniable fact.
So what they’re really saying when they make this net benefitargument, is that it’s okay if a few people die so that the rest of us can live. That’s simply the cost of living in a safe society.
However, if you believe that guns save more lives than they kill, you’ve just made the same exact argument. In this case, most gun owners would say that there is no real choice between human freedom and human life. More freedom means more safety, because an armed society is a safe society. However, you have to admit that there are people who would die in an armed society that would not die in an unarmed society. Criminals have more access to firearms in our country, and a number of them would not be able to kill if they didn’t have a gun. Would most of them find a substitute to kill with? Yes, but not all. Would there still be more deaths in an unarmed society? I personally believe so, but it misses the point.
For instance, you could also say that if everyone was allowed to carry a gun, then criminals would have a harder time…