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Article posted Dec 18 2012, 9:02 AM Category: Commentary Source: Jacob G. Hornberger Print

Those Government Gun-Free Zones

by Jacob G. Hornberger

It's no big surprise. A gun massacre brings out the gun-control crowd, which loudly demands that gun control be imposed on the American people, as if that would have prevented the massacre in Connecticut.

It's really a shame to have to trot out the same arguments exposing the fallacies of statist thinking, but, alas, it must be done.

First, murderers don't and won't obey gun-control laws. If they don't comply with murder laws, they're not going to comply with gun-control laws.

Duh!

The people who comply with gun-control laws are peaceful, law-abiding types who are now denied the right to defend themselves from the murderers. Why do peaceful, law-abiding people obey gun-control laws while murderers don't. Because the former don't want to be convicted felons, while the latter don't care.

After all, don't forget that it was illegal for the shooter in Connecticut to carry guns onto school property. No doubt much to the surprise of statists, he didn't say, "Golly, even though I want to murder all those children, I can't do it because it's illegal for me to carry my gun onto school property."

Duh!

Second, gun-control laws won't eliminate guns from society, any more than drug laws have eliminated drugs from society. Given the millions of guns in existence, along with continued manufacture of guns all over the world, all that gun control would do is convert the business of owning guns into a black-market enterprise. That means gun gangs, gun cartels, robberies, muggings, and all the other things that come into existence with a black market. If you like the war on drugs, you'll love the war on guns.

Let's now address a more fundamental issue, one that statists can never consider given their inability to think outside the statist box in which they have been born and raised.

The Connecticut massacre took place in a public school or, to put it more accurately, in a government school. That's a place where parents are forced by law to send their children. If they don't send their children into this governmental system, they are arrested, charged, and incarcerated. They might even have their children taken away from them for "incompetence" or "abuse."

Sure, there are two alternatives for parents -- private schools and homeschooling. But for the vast majority of parents, those are not viable options. Private schools, which have to secure a license from the government to operate, are too expensive, especially for a vast number of families that also are required by law to pay school taxes even if they decline to send their children into the public-school system. Other parents do not feel competent to homeschool or are unable to do so for other reasons, such as the need to have two incomes.

So, that leaves a large segment of families being forced to send their children to these state institutions from the time they are six years old.

Along with the regimentation and indoctrination that comes with the government being in charge of children's education comes another distinguishing characteristic: These institutions are mandatory gun-free zones. That is, teachers and principals are prohibited by law from carrying a gun onto school property. I'd be willing to bet that there is a 99 percent compliance rate because most teachers and principals don't want to be convicted felons and they want to keep their jobs.

So, consider the situation: The state forces parents to send their children into state institutions in which there are already gun-control laws -- that is, laws that make it illegal for people to carry weapons onto the premises. The peaceful and law-abiding people obey the gun law. The murderer, knowing that everyone is defenseless, doesn't obey the gun law.

Now, obviously most parents aren't going to even question the horror in this. That's because public schooling is a part of their lives. They went to public schools. So did their friends. For them, public schools mean "freedom," even though they have a hard time explaining how it is that public (i.e., government) schooling is a core feature of communist and socialist countries like Cuba, North Korea, and China.

So, does that mean that the solution is to let public-school teachers and administrators carry guns to school? Not for us libertarians. We have no interest in telling the state how to run its schools. For us, public schooling is an inherently immoral and destructive institution. It should be dismantled completely, in favor of a total free market in education. See The Future of Freedom Foundation's book Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families by Sheldon Richman.

A free market in education would put families, not the state, in charge of their children's education. Some people would choose schools that are not gun-free zones. Others would choose schools that are. The same principle of freedom of choice would apply to a vast array of other things -- schools that are general in nature and others that specialize in things like music, religion, math, liberal arts, or science. Some parents would choose to have their children be educated without schools.

But the point is that in a free market, people are able to get what they want, as compared to having the state force it upon them and their children. As things stand now, most families have no effective choice at all -- the state forces them to send their children into a gun-free institutions where their children are defenseless against murderers.

As the gun-control debate gets ramped up once again, there's another thing to consider: the permanent culture of violence that the U.S. military empire and national-security state have brought to our nation. For decades, we have heard about how U.S. forces abroad have killed wedding parties, families, old people, and, yes, children. Oftentimes, there is the standard expression of regret by U.S. officials, but a callous mindset of conscious indifference to human life has, slowly but surely, been inculcated into the American people, at least with respect to Muslims and Arabs.

Consider, for example, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children whom the U.S. government killed with its 11 years of brutal sanctions against Iraq. When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright was asked by "Sixty Minutes" whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were worth it, she responded that yes, they were indeed "worth it."

That mindset was really no different in the invasion of Iraq. When the bogus WMDs failed to materialize, U.S. officials said that their new primary objective was to bring "democracy" to Iraq. So, rather than exiting the country after failing to find those bogus WMDs, they stayed, killing countless more Iraqis. The mindset that justified the continued killing and mayhem was the same that undergirded the sanctions -- that any number of deaths of the Iraqi people was considered "worth it" -- worth the political goal of establishing "democracy" in the country.

How can that mindset of callous indifference toward the sanctity of human life not be transmitted to the American people, especially given the faith that so many Americans place in their federal officials?

For more on this, see my January 2011 article "The Banality of Evil," which was written in the wake of the Arizona shootings and which applies just as well today.

Finally, let us never forget the primary reason that gun ownership is so important. It is an essential prerequisite to a free society because it enables people to oppose the tyranny of their own government. History has shown that when the military and the police have a monopoly over the ownership of guns, freedom doesn't exist long in those societies. People must obey whatever edicts are issued by government officials and they must submit to whatever government officials do to them. As Judge Alex Kozinsky put it in his dissenting opinion in the case of Silveira vs. Lockyer, giving the government a monopoly over the ownership of guns is a mistake that people can make only once. It becomes too late to make it again because the deprivation of liberty becomes permanent given the inability of people to violently resist it. As our American ancestors understood so well, the right to keep and bear arms is the best insurance policy against tyranny.

This is what so Americans just cannot comprehend. Just today, in an editorial the Los Angeles Times extols China -- yes, that brutal communist regime in which the government has a monopoly on the ownership of guns -- for its gun-free society because Chinese children were able to survive a recent massacre in which the person used a knife, as compared to what happened in Connecticut, where no one survived the gun onslaught.

That editorial is amazing. For one thing, as I stated above, there is no way that the U.S. government could possible eradicate guns from society, as the Chinese tyrants have done, at least not without imposing the same type of horrible police state that the Chinese communist dictators have imposed on the Chinese people. More important, who wants to live under a brutal communist regime, one that is able to maintain itself in power precisely because people lack the means to violently overthrow it?

The Connecticut massacre is just one more sign of the aberrant welfare-warfare system that statists have foisted upon our land. The solution to the woes brought upon us by statism is not more statism. The solution is freedom, which is what libertarianism is all about, including the right to own guns, the right to educate one's children without state interference or control, and the right to live in a free, peaceful, and prosperous society rather than a warfare-state empire.
_
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.





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Comments 1 - 9 of 9 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 18 2012, 6:33 PM

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121216 Its a difficult mess your in with your guns.Does the 'right to bare arms' also cover some wiz kid who managers to produce a dirty bomb, surely in a free market, uranium ought to be freely available and he/she should have the right to have it handy for defensive purposes of course. Maybe the kid can arm himself/herself with a bio-chemical weaponry too. Such complex dynamics
are a certainty in a AL world, I wonder what the solutions might be.
Chris

Posted: Dec 18 2012, 6:49 PM

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As is psychopathic criminals immune from prosecution control weapons far more dangerous than dirty bombs, and they've used them on civilian populations. I'll take my chances with a wiz kid.
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 18 2012, 11:58 PM

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65110 The right to "bear arms" will slowly be transformed into the right to "bare arms" by Smiling Gun Control Guy...

Hopefully Americans will wake up in time to avoid it.
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 19 2012, 12:07 AM

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65110 Everyone write to the politicians who can stop this, and let your voice be heard.
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 19 2012, 12:01 PM

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9885 Death comes along with that black market shit too, Death! So if you like death then you'll like the plans they have set! If it was regulated , then we should be fine! Don't cause a petty life taking war over the petty shit! Must be my English, I know!
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 19 2012, 9:40 PM

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121216 Chris offers no solution just a preference, which ofcourse he is entitled to have.
Mine will not be with wiz kids who might biochemically kill all at school or a dirty bomb to wipe out an entire shopping mall, town perhaps even city. Gov't's do bad things but at least i have some sort of redress with them, I have none with such pyscho kids. And importantly the more guns there are the more likely they are to be used. I'm not liking to live with some nuke kid around the corner, I know nothing of but can at a whim take out my whole street or suburb.
Chris

Posted: Dec 20 2012, 7:00 AM

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Guess what, you do live in that situation already, prohibition doesn't stop crimes from being committed, it just makes them against the law and punishes them after the fact. I too could give you false promises of protection like the state does, but it'd be a lie, and in fact just like the state's false promises of protection it would make your life more in danger because you wouldn't take steps to protect yourself.

In a market economy your concerns would actually be listened to rather than pandered to, threats could actually be addressed rather than empty promises of protection given by the same people robbing you blind and threatening your life daily. There are myriads of ways to deal with threats of violence and even insure yourself against any such scenarios, few of those are pursued in our socialist utopia because the government's false promises give people the impression they're being protected from such fantasy scenarios as you one you just dreamed up. You're not being protected from such scenarios, you're just being told you are, just like this school shooting, the government had elaborate protection plans, they were all worthless and no one was the wiser until their kids are shot up. Now, even after the fact, many are clamoring to the same people who let their kids die begging them to take away even more of their rights "to protect them."
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 22 2012, 1:01 AM

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121216 Chris because my Gov't made ownership of firearms illegal, unless you pass a strong regulation tests, I don't have to live with anything like the concern you must live with, in fact I have never had to be concerned about a gun crime, ever. No car jacking at gun point happens here and if theres road rage its typically only ever fists that get used. So its not from any socialist utopia dreaming that I argue.
And pretty much all other first world nations peoples with similar Gov't policies feel the same. (and you can be sure that norweigian guy really is a supporter of Libertarian dreams so please don't bring him up) Its really only the USA that sticks out with the right to bare arms. That righteousness may have been founded upon the realities of cowboys but now only the DREAMINGS of libertarians and loonies seem bent on it.
Anonymous

Posted: Dec 22 2012, 1:08 AM

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121216 Actually once I was scared in Italy because of some bullshit Gov't policy there that allowed for PRIVATE security guards to be armed with machine guns outside a private residence. Problem for me was a need to sneak in to see a lover. Boy was I lucky those private guards didn't catch me.
Comments 1 - 9 of 9 Page 1 of 1


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