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Inalienable Rights, Civil Rights, and Guns

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<p>Here is the right way to think about gun rights. </p>

<p>First, you do not have an inborn inalienable right to own and carry a gun. You don’t. If you are an American, you may have a constitutional right, but that’s different. If you don’t understand the difference and the relationship between these two, you will get nowhere. So that is where we must start.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.johnmccaskey.com/joomla/index.php/blog/65-guns">Read More...</a></p>

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There is no doubt that when guns are available, they get used to maim and kill innocent people. There is no doubt that when guns are available, they get used to protect and save innocent people. So, the idea goes, we just need to run the calculation, compare number saved to number killed, with and without guns, and regulate guns in whatever way saves the most lives.

That suggestion divorces the issue from the concept of rights completely, and calls for a purely pragmatic solution instead. As someone who believes that the concept of individual rights is best suited to guide government policy, I cannot disagree more.

 

And I'm not just reciting that sentence as a cheap bromide, I am fully aware of what it means: it means that, even if 10 people who refuse to buy and learn to use guns to defend themselves end up dying because of this policy (because the criminals who kill them got access to guns more easily), the government must not prevent the ONE individual who is able to use a gun to save himself, from keeping that gun. The lives of the 10 DO NOT justify intervening to prevent the one person from defending themselves. 

 

Guns should (and MUST) be allowed to the extent they help rights respecting individuals defend themselves. Only guns that don't should be banned.

 

Certain kinds of gun ownership are a direct consequence of those timeless individual rights the article mentioned, until technology evolves to allow for at least equally effective and at least equally affordable non-lethal alternatives. Only when a ban on handguns prevents NO ONE from defending themselves, can the government finally ban them. Until then, it's a criminal act and the ultimate violation of the right to life of people who end up dying as a result of it. It is a criminal act even if it saves more people than it kills. 

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