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A Voice from Fly-Over Country
February 15, 2013

"Stop Crime: The Government Doesn't Like Competition"
by Robert L. Hale
fitzgerald griffin foundation

"Stop Crime: The Government Doesn't Like Competition" — seen on a bumper sticker.

MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA — Our right to keep and bear arms is again under attack. This time the attack is lead by the President of the United States. When bad things happen, opportunistic people use the crisis to move their agendas forward. Not surprisingly, then, the president has announced it is time for comprehensive gun control legislation.

Isn't the purpose of government to protect us? Aren't laws designed to stop bad things from happening? Actually, laws only provide for action after they are broken. Laws do not stop those who ignore them; laws only influence those who respect them.

Guns are, at times, used in bad ways. Accordingly, the only way to protect us from illegal use is either to limit access to them or to prohibit their ownership in the first place. Of course, knives, cars, belts, and many other items are also used in bad ways, but mention of these has been missing from the current discussion.

Limits on access to and ownership of guns are the goals of every despot; they are also the goals of peace-loving liberals. The latter believe that a well-armed, well-trained government — but not citizenry — should have guns, and the government will see to our safety and security.

Won't laws limiting gun ownership make us safer? The real question is, safer from whom?

 

Wouldn't a disarmed population be a dream for criminals?

Criminals are criminals because they ignore the law. They do not care if guns are illegal. If they want them, they will get them. Similarly, the deranged will act irrationally, with any tool available, whether legal or not.

   

Criminals are criminals because they ignore the law. They do not care if guns are illegal. If they want them, they will get them. Similarly, the deranged will act irrationally, with any tool available, whether legal or not.

Wouldn't a disarmed population be a dream for criminals?

Has making recreational drugs illegal been widely successful? How about "drug-free zones"? Has outlawing drinking and driving stopped alcohol-related auto accidents?

We know that towns and cities across America with higher rates of gun ownership have lower rates of crime than towns and cities with lower rates of gun ownership. Could there possibly be a connection?

When guns are limited, confiscated, or outlawed, only criminals and the government will have them. Until now, Americans had little or no reason to fear their government. That is no longer true. Since 9/11, the growth of America's internal police force, the amount of surveillance of non-criminal citizens, the interception of our private electronic correspondence, and the invasion of our financial records are unprecedented.

We Americans need to fear our own government and its demonstrated inability to reduce crime. Our courts refuse to protect us from government invasion of our privacy or to stop government from forcing us to purchase what we do not want. Crime rates continue to increase despite an explosion of new laws. Internal moral controls — not laws — serve as our best protection; yet the government is relentlessly pushing such controls from the public square.

Even for those who do not fear the government, how many are really comfortable trusting their safety, their lives, and their financial well-being and that of their family to government control and more laws? The government's track record should give us pause as we consider disarming ourselves and trusting the government to protect us.

Currently, the proposed federal gun control policy is designed around limiting the types of guns that citizens can own, issuing permits, tracking ammunition purchases, inspecting guns, and otherwise intrusing into the lives of America's gun owners. Gun control as proposed will dramatically increase "red tape" for honest Americans and give us larger and more costly federal agencies. Will this approach stop those who ignore the rules?

It is likely that the government's gun control initiatives will be just as effective as its operation of the post office, the welfare system, the medical system, the border, the use of illegal drugs, the federal budget, the public infrastructure, and the education of our children. When only the government and criminals have guns and ammunition, the rest of us better figure out how we will actually protect ourselves. Government has an established and increasing record of failure. Entrusting our safety to an entity unable to stop 15 million people from illegally crossing our borders seems foolish and dangerous.

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A Voice from Fly-Over Country is copyright © 2013 by Robert L. Hale and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved.

Robert L. Hale received his J.D. in law from Gonzaga University Law School in Spokane, Washington. He is founder and director of a non-profit public interest law firm. For more than three decades he has been involved in drafting proposed laws and counseling elected officials in ways to remove burdensome and unnecessary rules and regulations.

See a complete biographical sketch.

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