Militia Myths: Why Armed Populations Don’t Prevent Tyranny, But Often Lead To It

gun-control[1]

Constitutional Fallacies: Part III

Myth

It’s something we’ve seen happen time and time again in history — with Stalin, happened in Cambodia, and then of course, the Third Reich.  No one saw that coming until it was too late. – Joshua Boston

Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns, Fidel Castro took the guns, Hugo Chavez took the guns!  And I am here to tell you, 1776 WILL COMMENCE AGAIN IF YOU TRY TO TAKE OUR FIREARMS!!! – Alex Jones

Gun control has no place in a free society. The body of research is growing which shows that before the genocides of this century have been carried out by rogue governments, they first disarmed the target population. – Larry Pratt

A government that intended to protect the liberty of the people would not disarm them. A government planning the opposite most certainly and logically would disarm them. And so it has been in this century. Check out the history of Germany, the Soviet Union, Cuba, China and Cambodia. – Charlie Reese

One of the arguments that had been made against gun control was that an armed citizenry was the final bulwark against tyranny. My response had been that untrained, lightly-armed non-soldiers couldn’t prevail against a modern army. I had concluded that the qualitative difference in firepower was such that all of the previous rules of guerilla war no longer applied. Both Vietnam and Afghanistan demonstrated that wasn’t true. Repelling an armed invasion is not something that American citizens are likely to face, but the possibility of a despotic government coming to power is not wholly unthinkable. One of the sequellae of Vietnam was the rise of the Khmer Rouge and slaughter of perhaps a million Cambodian citizens. Those citizens, like the Jews in Germany or the Armenians in Turkey, were unarmed and thus utterly and completely defenseless against police and paramilitary. An armed minority was able to kill and terrorize unarmed victims with total impunity. – Paul Hager

Overview of Pro-gun Arguments

dictators

  • A well-armed population has the power to stop tyrannical governments. Our country was founded by such a battle, where a well-armed population succeeded in stopping tyranny and founded a government of the people.
  • Governments will inevitably abuse their power, and we must be ready to overthrow the government as a last resort to protect liberty.
  • Without guns, we are powerless to prevent government overreach.

Reality

It is worth noting at the outset that this fear of tyranny suddenly arising belies a fundamental misreading of how authoritarian regimes actually come to power. Namely, it assumes a false dichotomy between “the people” on one side and “the government” on the other. Government is not some foreign entity imposed on the people, which would only arise from a foreign country conquering the United States (not going to happen). Rather democratic government is derived from the people. A tyrannical government could only arise in the US with a majority of the population supporting it due to some economic or military crisis: in reaction, say, to a heavily armed minority attempting to enforce its will on the rest of the country. Government does not just “suddenly” become tyrannical. The debate should just end here. However, given that this a blog dedicated to thoroughly debunking myths, I will delve deeper.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The founding fathers were wrong.

Blasphemy, I know. Yet the idea that Militias are in anyway necessary or good for a free State has no historical justification, especially in the modern era. Militias (especially unregulated ones) are overwhelmingly detrimental to the existence of a free society, and at best are impotent in its defense. A historical analysis reveals that Militias are typically the gateway to tyranny, not the safeguard against it. A heavily armed population has little to no bearing on preventing tyranny.

Pro-gun arguments typically follow at least one of four paths:

  1. Our own Revolutionary War shows militias are effective at protecting liberty.
  2. Militias promote liberty.
  3. Armed populations deter tyrants while unarmed populations are defenseless.
  4. Disarming a population is the gateway to genocide.

All of these arguments are false. Let’s first look at our own Revolutionary War.

The idea that militias are the bulwark against tyranny typically begins in a faulty reading of American History. The Revolutionary War was not won by Militias, but rather the Continental Army with considerable help from the French. While it is probably an exaggeration to suggest that the Militia was completely worthless during the War, that is far closer to reality than the myth promulgated by some pro-gun advocates. And the Militias that did significantly contribute to the cause were organized by the states and represented a well-disciplined, cohesive fighting force that mirrored the Continental Army, not the minutemen of lore.

Moving to the modern era, Militias have a terrible history of creating tyranny, even when fighting against foreign powers. Militias that have been successful in warding off foreign aggression overwhelmingly opposed democratic rule. A few examples are Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cuba, Somalia, Iraq, and southern Lebanon; in none of these countries did the militias promote a free State. Add to this list countries where militias have ripped apart society in tribal states or civil war (such as Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Colombia, and the Palestinian Territories) and we can form an even clearer picture of militias. For a more immediate example, one only has to look at the bewildering array of militias (more than “1,000” according to Robin Wright) currently fighting in Syria to see how little they promote democratic values and how ineffective they tend to be on the battlefield. While there may be an example of victorious militias replacing tyranny with freedom since the industrial age hiding somewhere in an obscure footnote of history, the rule that militias are detrimental to preserving freedom holds.

An astute reader will note that all of the examples I am providing are from poor countries or societies that never had a well-established democratic tradition. And this is true. While it is typically wise to refrain from comparing countries in different socio-economic strata, there simply aren’t any wealthy, free societies that use militias for self-defense. Every democratic country, with the exception of Costa Rica, has a standing army to defend it, not militias.

For examples closer to home, we can easily see that the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi elements, and the Black Panthers (all of which are or were unregulated militias) have done little to promote a free society. Perhaps the best example in America of the influence militias have on society is “Bloody Kansas” during the 1850s. Pro-Northern and Southern settlers, armed to the teeth, streamed into Kansas in order to sway whether the state became free or slave. The constant skirmishes killed 56 settlers, out of a total population of 8,000. It is safe to conclude that the sudden explosion in the number of armed men did not contribute to a democratic process.

However, gun advocates claim, armed populations never have the chance to stop tyranny as they are disarmed first. There are many cases though where this is demonstrably untrue. Yemen is currently the second most heavily armed country in the world (per capita), and it is currently a battlefield between a Western dictatorship and various Jihadist organizations who have no love for a free State. Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries are heavily armed, with what can only be described as tyrannical governments. Iraq before the 2003 US invasion is perhaps the best example. Saddam Hussein falls under any definition of a tyrannical dictator, yet the Iraqi people were very heavily armed with a gun culture mirroring that of the US. How armed a population is appears to have no empirical bearing on how free that society is.

Along with reversing the likely causality, the idea that gun control leads to genocide is a pure example of post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”). Oftentimes, the argument gun advocates advance is as simplistic as: name a dictator, claim he supported gun control. The entire process of determining which dictator did what quickly devolves into an exercise of historical whack-a-mole. As there are dozens of dictators various gun advocates claim used gun control to disarm and then murder people, I will only focus on a few of the main tyrants. Regimes that haven’t engaged in genocidal acts (such as Cuba and Venezuela) will be excluded. Yes these countries have stiff gun control, but so does nearly every modernized country in the world, including England, Australia, Canada, France, Switzerland, Israel, etc.  While Nazi Germany is not one of the examples provided by the widely circulated “A Little Gun History,” it is often the first alleged case of gun control leading to tyranny and genocide that gun advocates advance.

Hitler took the guns

If only to affirm Godwin’s Law, the most frequently used example of gun control leading to genocide is that of Nazi Germany. At a superficial glance, gun advocates do appear to have a point. After all, didn’t Hitler praise gun control? Hitler clearly lays out his beliefs here: “This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

However, like many widely circulated pro-gun quotes, this attribution is fake. There is no evidence that Hitler actually made these remarks. In reality, Hitler was relatively pro-gun. Most of the strict gun control was implemented by the Weimar Republic in direct response to rising street violence and to prevent an armed coup from either the Nazis or Communists. And to a small degree it was successful, as it prevented Hitler from seizing power by armed insurrection. The “gun control” law implemented in 1938, when the Nazis were fully in power, actually loosened restrictions on gun ownership. If the “armed populations prevent tyranny” maxim held, the Germans could have removed Hitler from office with relative ease.

When presented with these facts, gun advocates typically reply that their theory still holds, as Hitler did do his utmost to prevent Jews (as well as Gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs, communists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses) from owning weapons. Therefore, if they had been armed, genocide could have been averted. However, the notion that small groups of armed Jews could have succeeded where the entire Polish and French armies failed is completely inane. It took the combined might of the US, Britain, Russia, and our allies to finally defeat Hitler and his allies. Comparing this reality to the Red Dawn narrative of armed resistance gun advocates offer highlights how little merit the “guns prevent tyranny” hypothesis has. The few instances of armed resistance such as the Warsaw uprising were quickly annihilated.

Stalin took the guns

The hypothesis that a heavily armed Russian population could have stopped Stalin and communist rule completely overlooks the massive civil war (1917-22) that culminated in the triumph of communist forces. Lenin and Stalin didn’t need gun control. They simply annihilated any domestic threats to their rule. As Omer Bratov, a historian from Brown University, explains about Stalin, “the very idea of either gun control or the freedom to bear arms would have been absurd to him. His regime used violence on a vast scale, provided arms to thugs of all descriptions, and stripped not guns but any human image from those it declared to be its enemies. And then, when it needed them, as in WWII, it took millions of men out of the Gulags, trained and armed them and sent them to fight Hitler, only to send back the few survivors into the camps if they uttered any criticism of the regime.” It also defies logic that where the military might of Nazi Germany failed, scattered bands of Russian resistance could have somehow succeeded.

The Turks took the guns

It is true that the Ottomans/Turks seized the weapons of many Armenians. But the Turkish government also took the Armenian’s right to speech, property, livelihood, etc. Anything the Turks could take, they did. Seizing their weapons was simply one of many tools used by the Turks to carry out genocide, not the cause. The idea that a better armed Armenian population would have stopped the genocide is naïve. Although some Armenians were able to hold out versus the government (with the help of the Russian military or French naval forces), most batches of armed resistance were annihilated with artillery bombardment and overwhelming military force. As the Armenian National Institute explains, while the armed resistance was noble, it was ultimately the International awareness and pressure on Turkey that saved the remnants of the Armenian population.

Mao took the guns

Like the Russian case, the idea that Mao’s gun control allowed him to commit genocidal acts completely overlooks how Mao gained power in the first place: a massive civil war. If guns could have stopped Mao, they would have then, not at the height of his power. It also overlooks the fact that any type of gun laws would have had only a negligible influence of gun ownership as the vast majority of Chinese peasants (those bearing the brunt of Mao’s disastrous policies) were too poor to even consider owning a gun. Gun policy shouldn’t enter any meaningful discourse on Mao’s rule.

Guatemala took the guns

The rationale for Guatemala’s wanton slaughter of the Mayan population was to eliminate the threat of Marxist rebels by removing their support base. Guatemala’s genocidal acts were a response to an armed threat, not an opportunistic assault to take advantage of a recently disarmed population as some gun advocates suggest. The tactics to remove this armed resistance, unfortunately, involved the slaughter of unarmed civilians, and was spurred by decades (if not centuries) of pent up racial tensions. It was the presence of armed resistance, not the absence of it, which led to further atrocities.

Idi Amin took the guns

The Ugandan case is a prime example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy in action. Gun advocates point to a 1970 Uganda law that restricted firearm ownership and regulated the types of weapons a citizen could own as the gateway to genocidal acts beginning in 1971 under the rule of Idi Amin. Had the population not been “disarmed,” the people of Uganda could have stopped the reign of terror. However, this analysis completely overlooks two very basic facts. First, the gun law implemented in 1970 was mostly an extension of a colonial firearms law dating back to 1955, meaning the number of gun owners would not have changed substantially. Second, the idea that the gun law was stage one of genocide is not viable, as the law was implemented in 1970 and Idi Amin did not seize power and begin killing people until 1971.

Pol Pot took the guns

The claims of Cambodian gun control leading to genocide is, like the Uganda case, a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy that conveniently ignores the fact that there was a massive five year civil war from 1970-75 in which the Republican forces protecting the “one million educated people” were decisively defeated. As Robert Spitzer, the author of “The Politics of Gun Control” states the idea that gun control led to genocide in Cambodia and the other countries mentioned represents “a cartoonish view of the complex events” and the people touting these ideas “don’t know comparative politics, they don’t know international relations, they haven’t studied war.”

Conclusion

Even if the gun advocates’ deeply flawed reading of history was accurate, applying the lessons from these countries to the US is foolish. None of the above countries had well established democratic traditions at the time. Most of these nations were suffering from battlefield defeats or economic catastrophe. In no way do these scenarios bear any resemblance to the US. Even if gun control was the gateway to genocide in these countries (which was definitively not the case), such analysis overlooks the vast host of causal socio-economic and political factors that led to these tragic events. Extrapolating these flawed conclusions to domestic gun policy, in the words of James Madison, “must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism.”

Takeaways:

  • Militias were largely ineffective in our own Revolutionary War.
  • Militias in the modern era have overwhelmingly fostered tyranny, not liberty.
  • Liberty and the degree of gun ownership in a society are uncorrelated.
  • Even if they were positively correlated, the idea that gun control leads to tyranny is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
  • Even if this thought process wasn’t fallacy ridden, the historical examples gun advocates supply don’t hold up under closer scrutiny.
  • Even if the historical cases displayed what gun advocates contend they do, the argument would still fail as applying the lessons from the examples to the US overlooks massive cultural and socio-economic differences.

Related posts

  • We welcome all coherent, respectful comments. Since it is impossible to provide thoughtful commentary on something you haven’t bothered reading in full, comments where this is readily apparent will not be posted. We review all comments before they appear, so there will be a delay even if it meets the preceding criteria. Although we do not typically respond to comments and have no time to engage in prolonged debates, we will attempt to answer questions about our data or research.

  • John Wayne

    You know who wasn’t allowed to own guns? Slaves. Gee I wonder why.

    I wonder why all kings, emperors, rulers, tyrants have always disarmed their people when they have came to power and then absolutely tortured their populations.

    Yeah, you are right tyranny doesn’t just come in suddenly, most are blind idiots who don’t see it coming and how give up their right to own and bear guns and when the tyranny gets in place, they have no way to remove it, because they were blind moronic idiots who gave up their freedoms in the fake name of security and got absolutely raped when Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc… decided to show their true colors.

    But who are you, who is government to decide that you can and can’t own certain products, whether its guns, drugs or tanks?

    Are you god, is government god to be able to decide for everyone what they should own and how to behave? Last time I checked you weren’t and you should be the nobody that you are, the idiot that you are and not infringe upon people’s rights.

    • This comment was allowed to be posted to provide an example of what doesn’t qualify as coherent and respectful. Please refrain from comments like the above.

      • Paris sharifie

        No it is a good comment. Why are the police allowed to use and own “military weaponry” and the populace does not? Creating an unfair advantage for “law enforcement”

        • Alice

          Do your research.. in countries where gun control is implemented, the police does not use and own “military weaponry”. And even the second point is wrong (please actually read Devin’s text) because the police represents the people and they have given them the right to exercise power in a democratic process. It’s just part of the executive branch…

  • Why is a country like Switzerland, with so many deliberately armed citizens, not on the map with so many gun crimes? Explain to me, with your psychological knowledge and study of history why an armed people can go without hurting one another as much as the United States? How is this possible?

    • Thank you for the question. We plan on dedicating a full post to the gun myths surrounding Switzerland (and Israel). While the following link doesn’t provide the full study (which costs money I believe), it provides a good enough summary explaining the situation in Switzerland: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267868/

  • Evan

    The first link, from the Smithsonian, doesn’t really support the point it is linked from. The source even concludes:

    “The militia had its shortcomings, to be sure, but America could not have won the war without it.”

    This is a far cry from the author’s declaration that the militia was close to worthless.

    • The point of the link was to show, as the sentence (and paragraph) stated, that the militia was not worthless, but that the picture-book idea that the war was won by minute men and small unorganized militias is much further from the truth.

  • Carlos Rodriguez

    My take is that disent is not allowed.

    • As long as you meet the bare minimum requirements mentioned in the first comment, you can respond with any dissent you wish.

  • Pingback: How Gun Advocates’ Blind Focus on “Freedom To” is Destroying Lives by Ignoring Our Right to “Freedom From” | Armed With Reason()

  • mikee

    I respectfully submit the story of the Battle of Athens, in which a hastily armed militia of common citizens stopped an attempt to steal an election, here in the US.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_%281946%29

  • legaleagle_45

    The Blog wrote: “•Militias were largely ineffective in our own Revolutionary War.”

    Without the militias we would not have won the Revolutionary War. Militias acted as a holding force which allowed the Continental Army time to organize, train and be effectual. It was militia forces which captured Fort Ticonderoga providing the Canon used to defeat the British in Boston. The militia was effectual in denying the British control of the countryside and access to provisions which be supplied therefrom. The militia was essential to the victory at Saratoga, Cowpens and the practical defeat of Cornwallis at the Battle of Guilford Court House

    They also provided a thorn in the side to British regulars who could never rest easy. They were quite effective as against Loyalist militias and they were quite effective in unconventional warfare as against British troops. The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive victory for the militia as were the guerrilla tactics of Marion and others during the Southern Campaign The ranks of the Continental Army were filled primarily with former militia men.

    What the militia was ill prepared for was conventional European style battles against well trained professional soldiers…No one really disputes this as the refrain was always “no standing armies in peacetime”. Professional armies had their place in times of war, including the Revolutionary War and no one disputes this.

    The Blog wrote: “•Militias in the modern era have overwhelmingly fostered tyranny, not liberty.”

    Incorrect, unless you believe the National Guard has fostered tyranny in the USA? The Swiss militia has fostered tyranny in Switzerland? A true militia is one composed of ordinary people who train only part time while maintaining their civilian occupations and residences. The groups you describe such as the Viet Cong, were not Militia but instead were paramilitary forces. The militia is composed of your friends, neighbors and relatives and can not be used as an instrument of tyranny by persons of illegal ambition. It is the peoples voice in our military organizations in much the same way as a jury is the peoples voice in our system of justice. The guard against corrupt judges and prosecutors and on rare occasions will ignore the law in order to insure justice.

    I doubt if your really know what was meant by the term “militia” in the colonial era. I suggest you read up on it including the legal aspects thereof outlined in Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 1, Chapter 13.

    The Blog wrote:•Liberty and the degree of gun ownership in a society are uncorrelated.

    Funny, you cited no authority for that. The converse is actually correct.

    “Although exceptions can be found to support both sides of the civilian firearms debate, countries with higher rates of civilian firearms ownership rates tend to have more political freedom, more civil liberty, more economic freedom, and less corruption. ” “Is there a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations” available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1090441 .

    • Without the organized state militias that operated much like the continental army we couldn’t have won the war. While unorganized militias did play a role in some of our victories, they predominately played a role in our most catastrophic defeats.

      The US Army has not fostered tyranny in the USA. The Swiss Army has not fostered tyranny in Switzerland. If by militia you mean heavily organized, regulated, and trained (by the government) groups of men and women that are nearly indistinguishable from regular military units, feel free. This is the definition of militia the gun control movement has been trying to push for more than the past decade, and what the founders meant when they plopped “well-regulated militia” into the 2nd Amendment (of course history has taught since then that standing armies are much better at preserving freedom than militias (which is why all free nations bar one have them)). This is not how the overwhelming majority of gun advocates think of a militia. Their fantasy of a militia is almost exactly what you describe as “paramilitary” groups, which is what I am mostly arguing against in the post. Incidentally, the Viet Cong was composed of friends, neighbors and relatives. Just because a term has a noble ideal should not obfuscate the ugly truth about most of them, and trying to define a militia as a body that can do no harm (and labeling those that do harm as paramilitary) is just silly.

      Funnily enough, I did cite an authority on the “Liberty and the degree of gun ownership in a society are uncorrelated,” more specifically the UN Small Arms Survey. When you actually look at the data, you get a graph that looks like the one in the following article, which could easily serve as the definition of uncorrelated: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/owning-guns-doesnt-preserve-freedom/275287/

  • legaleagle_45

    I wish I knew how to “respond directly to your comment… oh well

    State militias are supposed to operate like an army. Again I advise you to learn exactly what a militia is… start with understanding the legal aspects of what a militia was…

    “The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.”
    —John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

    Then look at the limitations on the use of the Militia both under our Constitution and under the common law. You might discover that the militia system actually did a pretty good job at what it was supposed to do and expected to do and that the real reason why we moved away from the militia system had more to do with expansionist designs rather than real defense imperative.

    A private paramilitary group is NOT a militia as the framers of the 2nd understood it.

    You should also learn the historical context. A professional army of the era was more akin to a mercenary force. which owed its allegiance to whomever paid them. That is why they were considered the “bane of liberty”. Imagine the uproar if the US decided to save money by outsourcing its defense needs by disbanding the US Army and hiring Blackwater?

    This outlook on the professional army changed with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, with nationalism becoming much more of a force in the formation of armies than paychecks. However, most historians agree that if George Washington had wanted it, the Continental Army would have marched on Congress and installed Washington as King in the aftermath of victory in the Revolutionary War. Such a possibility would be unthinkable in the USA today.

    The continental Army played a prominent role in some of our catastrophic defeats as well… So your point is that the Brits had a much better army than we did? Yes they did. The fact remains we could not have won the war without the militia. That is a fact.

    Finally, it is not the “UN Small Arms Survey” which you cite. It is an extrapolation of the Geneva based Small Arms Survey.. by a researcher at Rice University making associations with gun stock levels and some issues used by a totally different organization also not connected to the UN and entitled “the Freedom House index”

    The conclude NOT that they are “uncorrelated” but that “[t]he relationship is observable, but minor.”.. and this is from your link!

    That the Small arms Survey is not a UN agency:

    “The Small Arms Survey is an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.”

    http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/about-us/mission.html

    • You can reply directly by clicking the “reply” text that comes to the right of the name at the head of the comment.

      I apologize for the error on saying UN Small Arms Survey, I was thinking of a treaty when I wrote it and misspoke as a result

      I would advise you to actually read what I wrote, instead of trying to invent places where we disagree. We disagree on plenty of things from the sounds of it, but the founder’s definition of militia is not one of them. I am mostly arguing against those who think the founders intended a militia as defined in modern times (which most definitely includes paramilitary groups).

      And our victory in the war was much more a result of the continental army and the massive amount of help from the French (and their standing army and navy). Fact. Plus, you are conflating professional and standing armies. There was a difference ( for example British regulars were a standing army, Hessian mercenaries were professional), and the founders feared both. And you are right, the views of militias did change, as everybody began to recognize standing armies were superior in basically every way to militias.

      As the vice-president of Freedom House (incidentally where the study you cited got some of their data) states: “I don’t see any trend,” said Arch Puddington, vice president of research at Freedom House. “Press freedom, the freedom of expression, is a pretty good indicator of the direction a country is going in — if leadership is circumscribing the freedom of expression, the likelihood is that they’re doing other unworthy things as well.” But a link between an armed citizenry and democratic realities? “That’s baloney.”

      • legaleagle_45

        I do not denigrate the contributions of the Continental Army, or the French Army (which was not a factor until Yorktown) or the French Navy (which was not a factor until Yorktown).— French aid was indeed a factor,.

        What I object to is the denigration of the militia. Were they comparable to the British Army? Of course not, no one presumed they were. They were civilians who only trained part time, one could not expect them to be on the same plane as the best army in the world. However, they were quite competent in their role and the Revolutionary War would not have been won without their contributions.

        The whole purpose of a militia is as a civil defense force. Enforce the laws,, put down insurrections and to act as a holding force until regular troops could be assembled. That was the initial purpose of the militia system adopted in the latter half of the 800’s by King Alfred the Great. That is the purpose employed by the colonies and into the founding era.

        The primary reason we moved away from the militia system was not due to the fact that a professional army was “better” than a militia. In some respects it was, in some respects it was not. The real reason we moved away from the militia system is because of imperialistic ambitions. A militia can not be deployed outside of the countries borders. That is not a problem unless you are driven by Manifest Destiny and want to conquer foreign territory in Canada (War of 1812) or Mexico (Mexican American War) or obtain Colonies (Spanish American War…

        So now we have two studies… one linked by you and one linked by me. Your link describes it as a minor correlation, my link describes it as a correlation. Is one causative of the other? Probably not. What probably exists is what is known as a “linked correlation” where as a consequence of liberty a country will trust its citizens with arms. Or as Madison stated:

        “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

      • John McNab

        So…you wouldn’t expect the VP of Freedom House to claim that “Press Freedom” is the biggest indicator of a country’s moral foundation, Devin? There couldn’t possibly be any bias on his part…? Nah.
        You’ve cherry-picked many stats to support your argument. As a fairly neutral party, while not expecting to see this posted (an not because he seems to have the last word), LegalEagle_45 wins.

  • John Jasper

    Your article makes a solid case against the myth of the armed population preventing tyranny. Although I hadn’t reached this level of knowledge on the subject, I had already come to the conclusion that any attempt to defeat the tyranny of, say, the US Government through armed rebellion would quickly end in the annihilation of the rebels. If not slaughtered in the first encounter with the well-armed and -trained military and police forces, most would be rounded up after the fact thanks to CCTV and Licence plate recognition systems and dealt with individually.

    The only alternative strategy seems to be a slow education of the masses that would hopefully undermine the support for the tyrannical system but in the interim, the slaughter of innocents continues with the regime change chessgame being waged in Syria, Ukraine, Venezuala, etc at the moment following their terrible successes in Libya and Iraq.

    So my question to you, how can we stop the current tyranny and depose the murderous politicians, spies, police and military who run the country?

  • Another ally that we can refer to about the lack of effectiveness of a militia in the Revolutionary war. George Washington. (This will put the pro-gun patriotic types into confusion, trying to disagree with the founder of a free America)
    From Wikipedia (With references in Wikipedia)
    He [George Washington] developed a very negative idea of the value of militia, who seemed too unreliable, too undisciplined, and too short-term compared to regulars. On the other hand, his experience was limited to command of at most 1000 men, and came only in remote frontier conditions that were far removed from the urban situations he faced during the Revolution at Boston, New York, Trenton and Philadelphia.

    His [Washington’s] constant reiteration of the point that well-disciplined professional soldiers counted for twice as much as erratic militias (clearly demonstrated in the rout at Camden, where only the Maryland and Delaware Continentals under Baron DeKalb held firm), helped overcome the ideological distrust of a standing army.

    • legaleagle_45

      Many professional military people, such as Washington, had a disdain for the militia and greatly preferred a well trained professional army. Further, it was universally believed that a well trained professional force was superior to a militia of similar size and armament

      However, and with that said, the Revolutionary War could not have been won but for the contributions of the Militia… in fact the Revolutionary war would not have been fought but for the existence of the militia. There was no Continental Army at Concord and Lexington. It was a militia under Ethan Allen which captured Fort Ticonderoga and delivered the canon to Washington forcing the British to leave Boston. They outperformed the Continentals in some areas such as asymmetrical warfare which deprived the British of the countryside and made provisioning very difficult and expensive. The militia also made crucial contributions at both Saratoga and at Cowpens.. The defeat at Camden was not so much the fault of the militia but of Gates who forced a confrontation well before his newly formed Continentals and untested militia was properly prepared.. How could a militia not equipped with bayonets fend off a bayonet charge?

      The fact is the militia served its purpose in the Revolutionary War and beyond. The primary reason we moved away from the militia system is not because it was ineffective, it was because we wanted to become an imperial power and a militia could not be forced to serve outside the country… as we learned during the War of 1812.

  • BrettA

    I love reading debates like these, it’s great reading well thought out arguments. I’m Australian (from Ireland) so have a very different context (starting point) when looking at the gun control discussion. For some reason I’m always drawn to the happenings in Ireland when people talk about this issue.

    Where after the initial take-overs of government buildings in Dublin and the rounding up of the ‘rebels’ that happened shortly afterwards. The militia groups (IRA and others)formed and fought a long and torturous war against the might of the British Empire – later the UK etc. The militia groups initially struggled due to a lack of arms. However once several boats of arms and munitions were obtained the situation for the Police and government (British controlled) became untenable. The militia groups never really wanted to confront the might of the British army as they knew it would be a very one sided affair. What having arms allowed them to do ,very successfully, was to wage a quasi guerrilla war of hit and run on there terms.

    In it’s day the British Empire was a superpower and at the start of hostilities in and around 1916 in Ireland they had a large army available to deploy. The simple fact is, if the population is armed it is very difficult for government to function or exert control. Police, government and army personnel live in communities, in houses and have families they are not separate from this. If the community is armed and have reason to act these groups can never sleep safely again. In this way as noted in previous comments the militia groups denied control of the ground to a superior military, simply because they would never know what blade of grass was going snipe them. It restricted government forces to only traveling in large groups. It denied the police from operating at all in these areas as police could not live in the community and the army can not defend everything all of the time.

    A common thread through a number of comments appears to be that Militias would be easily destroyed by conventional military forces of a governing authority. If they were to enter into direct and open warfare, indeed this is the overwhelming outcome. That’s not how militias operate, if it was, almost all mid eastern conflict would have been over in days. In recent times militia groups, if well equipped, have demonstrated an ability to threaten the stability of sovereign states even with military aid from places like the US and Russia deployed against them.

    Armed militias hide within communities and decide when and where to act capitalizing on the weaknesses of police and military. It’s no fairy tale, it’s nasty, bloody, horrible work, shooting off duty police while they do the lawn on Sunday Morning, taking out the Military Officer when he is dropping off his dry cleaning, fire bombing the house of judges and political staffers and shooting them as they run outside. These things are why governments fear armed populations, for if they give them cause, these bad outcomes are possible so long as the population are indeed armed.

    In saying these things the problems an armed population presents is that ‘they’ can decide when to act in the above mentioned manner. That is usually not a problem if people largely agree that government is working or not interfering in their lives too much. Most people do just want to get on with their lives and not have to bother about Government except for filling out a tax form or paying a ticket. Some however could decide they just don’t like the local police or the sate governor and then do something about it. It’s the risk you face with an armed population. However as demonstrated in recent events armed militias can destabilize government and in the case of Ireland gain considerable ground.

    Looking at the impact of armed populations within a US-centric context may limit the debate.

  • Mauro Giller

    Hi I´m from Brazil. The Socialist Government (PT) of Brasil made a huge campaign to dissarm the population when they took power in the beggining of the 2005. The Federal law was partly acomplished. A normal citizen over 25 years old can have a gun at home, but under many restrictions and tests. The Criminality raised a lot after these restrictions. Because the population surrendered their guns to the government for a Simbolic price. in the year of 2012 we had more than 50000 assassinations in the Country. Crime rate went up att fast spped, especially crimes by teenagers associated with drug traffic. I think disssarming the population made things worse, there is a new generation of psicopaths that can kill you when you stop your car at red signal just to take your car or your wallet.

  • Joe Jackson

    “However, the notion that small groups of armed Jews could have succeeded where the entire Polish and French armies failed is completely inane. It took the combined might of the US, Britain, Russia, and our allies to finally defeat Hitler and his allies.” Poor Straw Man. As is, “A well-armed population has the power to stop tyrannical governments.”. Fantastic, you’ve probably found a few people that adhere to such a stringent example!!! Let’s get real now….Additional Armed Jews would’ve added to the resistance against Hitler. How history could’ve been slightly to significantly different, couldn’t know, but with surety, less innocent deaths. Please, go a little deeper with your thinking before trying to fit your agenda. I’d hardly call your conclusions “wins”. And it remains, armed individuals & groups have reduced casualties in scenarios of oppression, and increased fatalities in the pools of bad actors. You’re going to need something a little more powerful. Conclusion, NOT SOLD.

    • Henry

      Amen. Malone labe.

  • wow, this article is nonsense. ……

    “A tyrannical government could only arise in the US with a majority of the population supporting it due to some economic or military crisis: in reaction, say, to a heavily armed minority attempting to enforce its will on the rest of the country. Government does not just “suddenly” become tyrannical.”

    except, most people do not vote or are not allowed by the government to vote, when 51% vote in a government, the true reality is that the majority of the population did not vote for that government. You are just supporting mob rule.

    • Nobody s suggesting it suddenly becomes tyrannical ….. it has slowly been creeping towards tyranny successively under both Democrats & Republicans.

      • “it has slowly been creeping towards tyranny successively under both Democrats & Republicans.” – Isn;t that the point though? America has more guns than anywhere else in the world, yet that simple fact hasn’t stropped the casual erosion of our rights, such as the patriot act and internet spying. Yet their are nations with fewer weapons that have not allowed such laws the pass. My conclusion would be guns and tyranny are not related what so ever. You can easily have a tyrannical government with a heavily armed population and vise versa.

        The reality is an armed population is irrelevant to stopping tyranny. Tyranny often comes about through ideology and apathy, it doesn’t matter how many guns the population have if they are either ideologically driven (through concepts like the war on terror) to support the erosion of their own rights, or just far too apathetic to get off their ass and vote or actively oppose what is happening.

        Also understand im neither pro nor anti gun, it is what it is in America and i personally believe it’s a cultural issue more than political issue, but this nonsense that guns prevent tyranny has no logical or historical backing and is pretty far removed from reality.

  • People often draw a false comparison between white supremacist hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or Neo-Nazi’s and the Black Panther Party. There never was a black equivalent to the KKK in America. The Panthers advocated for the expansion of democratic freedoms to all people regardless of race, whereas KKK and Nazi ideology is defined by racial racial exclusion, a denial of the benefits of American democracy to non-whites and Jews.

    • legaleagle_45

      The closes black equivalent would be the Nation of Islam under Elijah Muhammad Neither they or the KKK would be considered a militia by the framers of the 2nd Amendment. Those are private para military groups, not militias.

      “The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.”
      —John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

  • Gil

    A similar canard goes along the lines “the Japanese were too afraid to invade the U.S. (sometimes Australia too) mainland because everyone owned guns and knew how to use it.” Actually the U.S. was indeed attacked (and Australia too) and the Japanese Army weren’t afraid of men with guns because that’s what you’re going to get when you start a war. If anything if the U.S. had not standing army nor a way to form one because the masses believed in notion nothing but men with guns will save the day then the Japanese army would little trouble getting the U.S. out of their way. In fact with the amount of retaliation the U.S. military brought upon the Japanese Army fighting yokels with farming rifles would have been a cakewalk could they somehow have defeated the U.S. army.

    • Jak

      Attack and invade shouldn’t be used interchangeably. While it is true that Australia and the US were indeed attacked by Japan, the mainlands of said nations were never invaded. That being the case, we don’t know what would’ve become of a Japanese invasion of the US, as we can’t play “what if” with history.

  • I’m much more concerned about the tyranny that could befall America at the hands of all these rabid overly armed right-wingers. Americans do not need protection from their government they need protection from right-wingers who think they are the real American patriots when nothing could be further from the truth. The 2nd amendment was created to avoid a standing Army in our country yet giving the government something to protect itself from the radical elements within society. And of course the slave patrols in the south.

    Today, the radical elements within society is the rabid right-wingers who wish to impose a theocracy upon the rest of us if they ever do get control of the country. Which is not as far fetched as it sounds. At any rate even if the right-wing did try to overthrow the country, which some years back Grover Norquist plainly stated that his objective goal was to reduce the size of government until it could be drowned (murdered) in the bathtub. This is a clear statement of anarchy and\or intent to overthrow the government of the United States.

    They are the tyrants America needs protection from.

  • Arch Stanton

    Yes, Japan was afraid to invade the united states. They figured(wrongly) that an attack on a US base would cripple our Pacific Fleet and allow them to expand their empire in the Pacific. The US Congress and the people had, until Pearl Harbor, been adamantly isolationist in their views on involvement in war.
    Tell me Skip, why is it that the right to keep and bear arms is specifically included in the Bill Of Rights. Your argument seems to suggest that the 2nd Amendment was specifically created to protect the government from right wing gun nuts.
    Government is given powers with which to act. Rights are recognized as protections from government that the people enjoy. Also, your liberal use of ‘right wingers’ comes across as ranting.

    • “Your argument seems to suggest that the 2nd Amendment was specifically created to protect the government from right wing gun nuts.”

      That’s because that is the history of the second amendment.

      Think Shays Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion and so on.

      People killed in the U.S by guns last 50 years. 15,000,0000

      Tyrannical governments put down in the last 50 years 0

      • legaleagle_45

        Neither Shays’ Rebellion nor the Whiskey Rebellion would be considered “right wing”. Shays’ Rebellion was quite similar to the Occupy Protests. People were having their homes and family farms foreclosed upon due to economic crisis. The “rebels decided to “occupy” a court house where the foreclosures were being adjudicated so as to stop them. It scared the bejabbers out of the establishment who rushed in to crush it.

        Why is it that the USA has by far the most firearms per capita of any country in the world, yet we are considered one of the most stable governments in the world as well. After all, if firearms in the hands of individuals are a destabilizing force which promotes tyrannical power grabs, it would seem the US should have had plenty already.. The 2nd acts primarily as a deterrence to such activity.

        BTW, Japan never had any intention of invading the continental USA. The logistics of such an operation would have been impossible for them to pull off. The fact that the Japanese choose to invade Kiska and Attu in the Aleutians does not contradict this in any manner. Those islands had very little population and were otherwise undefended. Attu had a total population of 46 at the time of the invasion and the only people on Kiska consisted of a 10 man weather station.

    • Gil

      The Japanese Army couldn’t have been that afraid because a brazen attack against the U.S. got them into the Second World War. The notion the Japanese Army were afraid of, say, a 50 million strong militia but unafraid of the U.S. military beggars belief. It’s akin to being afraid to burglarise a home because the guy living owns a gun but totally confident in shooting at cops in a police station.

      Conversely, if the 2A was solely about the individual then why even mention the “well-regulated militia” or “free state” at all? Why engage in such redundancy? If the individual has unrestricted right to own firearms and carry them openly without restrictions then who cares if some people might group up into militias?

      • legaleagle_45

        The Japanese assumed that a series of quick and decisive Japanese victories in the Pacific would lead to a negotiated peace within a year. This was what Midway was all about. The idea was to draw out the remaining USA carrier force and destroy them, effectively eliminating US Naval power in the Pacific and directly threatening the Hawaiian Islands with possible invasion. The Japanese were not idiots, they knew that they could not invade and conquer the USA… They were having enough problems defeating the Chinese.

        The 2A was initially a series of related rights and declarations, as most of the amendments were— the 1st covers religion and free speech and free press for example– all related to freedom of conscience.. No right is absolute Gill

        Private ownership and use of arms facilitates the capacity of the free state to form a well regulated militia in an emergency.

        [W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.
        —Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

  • Arch Stanton

    Gil- you seem to switch between ‘attack’ and ‘invade’ a lot. They are not the same thing. Japan bet that crippling the US ability to wage war in the Pacific would allow them to expand their empire and some sort of truce or peace could be negociated by an America that was too pacifist to question their right to rule the pacific. If Japan really wanted to they could have invaded Hawaii(at the time it wasn’t part of the USA) after Pearl Harbor. It was strategically unsound and would have left them exposed and kept them from other goals.
    Japan’s peak armed forces during the war was 6 million. Good luck with occupying the USA(population 200 million) with that kind of manpower.
    The militia was, by definition, “every able bodied man between the ages of 15 and 45”. It is not the National Guard or the Reserves of anybody else. It is the PEOPLE. Modern definition would expand the age parameters and include women as well.
    ‘Well regulated’ is defined as trained and armed.
    The Bill of Rights is a document that protects the rights of the individual from government abuse. That is very clear and recent Supreme Court cases affirm this.

    • Gil

      Yeah Japan didn’t invade the U.S. mainland because they weren’t interesting in conquering the U.S. but getting them out of the way so they could continue with their imperial quest throughout Asia. However if they afraid of American with guns is bunk because they did the one thing that would send angry Americans with guns after them.

      Certainly Allied soldiers found out the hard that the Japanese soldiers were no slouches when it came to fighting and suffered heavy loses to them. To think that hick farmers with their rifle would succeed where trained soldiers failed is just safe armchair reasoning by yokels who will never have to prove their wishful thinking in practice. After all, this site already shows militias leave a lot to be desired in real life.

  • Arch Stanton

    Skip- your math is off. Also, your insistence that the 2nd amendment is to protect the government FROM the people and hiding it inside the Bill of RIghts is the funniest thing ever. Seriously, you should try standup.

    • Arthur

      US Constitution

      Article I, Section. 8:

      The Congress shall have Power To … provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions

      Article II, Section 2:

      The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States

      • legaleagle_45

        It would seem odd that the framers would provide more power to the Federal Government and then choose to lie about it in the “Preamble to the Bill of Rights”:

        “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

        By the way, please note that it is referred to as the “militia of the several states” — primarily a state institution which can be called into federal service for 3 and only 3 reasons— 1.) To execute the Laws of the Union; 2.) Suppress Insurrections; and, 3.) Repel Invasions. When not in federal service, it is an entity controlled by the state . The President is only Commander and Chief of the Militia when the militia is called into federal service:

        “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States”

        When not in Federal Service the militia is a state controlled institution used by them for various purposes, such as to respond to natural disasters, riots and the like. See, Maryland vs. United States, 381 U.S. 41 (1965).

        For your information, most scholars (on both sides of the issue) reject your view that the 2nd was to protect the government FROM the people. Instead they view the 2nd as a check on the powers granted in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15-16

  • I suppose this all means people would be safer from the threat of a tyrannical government if they did NOT own guns and could not shoot back. But, such is the anti gun logic.

    • No the logic is understanding where tyranny actually comes from. It seems as though you have a theory that “tyranny” never has mass public support and that militias with guns couldn’t possibly become tyrannical themselves. The danger is in ideology, and gun ownership becomes an entire irrelevance if the majority of the population support the tyrannical ideology.

      Take the nazi example and the idea that widespread public gun ownership would have changed the course of history. The Nazis enjoyed widespread public support, the Jews made up just 1% of their population. Had there been a policy of widespread gun ownership, then sure it may have empowered the Jews to an extent, but it MUST have also empowered the 90% of nazi supporters who also have guns, so in this situation how could they have possibly come off any better? The Jews had all their rights stripped from them, they faced the might of militised secrete police force and organised army which took down, france, poland and czech the gun ownership was in no way a defining moment. The defining moment was when this toxic nazi ideology became a dogmatic and accepted belief in mainstream german society, thats where the real danger lies. Once that happens it doesn’t matter how many guns are in the general population. I think you seem to be separating tyranny and people, which is to entirely misunderstand how these things arise.

  • greg mooney

    The term “well regulated milita” refers to our armed forces, not a small bunch of wild eyed fanatics.

    • legaleagle_45

      The term well regulated is an adjective which modifies the noun militia. A militia is in contradistinction to our “armed forces” as that term is employed in US law. See, 10 U. S. C. §§ 331-333, which distinguish the “militia” from the “armed forces”. A militia is a military force composed of civilians who train part time while retaining their civilian occupations and homes. They are sometimes referred to as “weekend warriors” by members of the armed forces, who are full time members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Being a member of the well regulated militia is not a prerequisite, a limitation or a condition for the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms because such right belongs to the people, not the well regulated militia.

  • William ashbless

    Then why, Greg Mooney, is that particular phrase contained inside the Bill of Rights?

  • I don’t see much substance in making claims simply by using the word “milita”.

    Comparing a jihadi militia in Syria to a libertarian-esque milita in the U.S. is like comparing a a sea urchin to a dog– they are both animals, but that about where the similarities end.

    The effect a militia has on a country/area is completely dependent on its ideology and practices.

    An ISIS militia in Iraq wants to go jihad, behead infidels, and impose their view of what society should be, and although this is subjective, I think the average person in western civilization would agree that the ISIS worldview isn’t great.
    Whereas in the U.S. we don’t have too many of those groups, and the few we do have are usually pretty quickly ” busted”.
    As far as the vast majority of US militas (civic minded, pro-Constitution, libertarian, etc) aren’t the type of people. Beheading infidels, committing genocide, or putting in place a fascist regime just is not in the ethos of U.S. militia men and women.

    Anyone can cherry pick a sample of how militias lead to tyranny, I could give you an equal longer list of examples of militas being used to fight tyranny in the last 100 years or so.

    So let’s just say that militias can be effective in bringing about social and political change (which you agree to having read the article).
    Then it is imperative to look at the ideology of militias in an individual country. In the case of the U.S. I would have to say this is an overwhelming positive ideology.

    Gun control does not lead to tyranny, it is a product of it. Either way it doesn’t make an armed and WILLING (key word) population any less valuable in that situation.

    Also I would lime to point out that the Warsaw Uprising was not “quickly” defeated.
    The Poles fought in close-quarters combat for 63 days with no real outside support.
    (And one of the big problems there was a LACK of weapons).
    Using the Warsaw uprising as an example seems a bit unfair, since the plan was to capture the city and then link up with the Red Army. Unfortunately the Red Army halted their advance for over two months so they could roll in and establish a communist regime. The uprising was never intended to liberate the city indefinitely without outside support, which is the portrayal that I got out of what you wrote. Even despite the lack of outside support the uprising was a serious problem from the Germans (one of the greatest military powers in history… Just a reminder). Heinrich Himmler even said “This is the fiercest of our battles since the start of the war” as he was begging the army for reinforcements.

    Militias are generally a guerrilla force, they fight the battles that they know (or in some cases, think… Humans make miscalculations) they can win and do not engage in combat when they will be easily defeated. The whole point is to fight in a way which renders many of the advantages of a professional force useless.

    There are many examples in the modern era of irregular forces winning over professional well armed forces. The question of winning a war doesn’t just come down to success in direct engagement, it is a very complex issue which has many military, political, and social aspects.

    TL;DR: Militas are relevant, and can (and in the case of the U.S. most are) used to effect a positive change.

  • Jordan

    Just to point out an apparent oversight by the author: all the dictators that started with a civil war were on the revolutionary side, and were statists looking for a communist or socialist utopia, the American militia movement is not pro-government (ie, they despise all forms of large government), this is the fundamental difference between America and the rest of the world, the gun owners here cherish freedom, where the communist revolutionaries imagined a world free of freedom. To suggest that the armed citizenry of the US would go down the same route as russia, china, cuba, etc. Is to ignore the political leaning of the American gun owners/militias. Another oversight is that without the colonial militias, the continental army never would’ve existed, the militias started the war, and were the ground forces until the continental army get strong enough (which is why things didn’t work out so well at first).

  • Lincoln

    I am a pro gun, combat veteran Marine that has watched this once great nation devour itself over the past couple decades. For me, this article is beyond offensive with its very clear message: just give up, it’s too late”. However, I disagree. The ONLY reason our government has not yet made the move to completely pacify the populace is because of our 2nd amendment rights. Unfortunately, the folly of liberated Americans is in our belief that we can simply stop tyranny with weaponry; we cannot simply use our weapons against a broken system we hope to restore: this defeats itself. The gun is metaphorical leverage rather that physical threat. In a proper assembly by the masses the gun becomes a consequence of tyranny, but In violent revolt tyranny becomes the consequence of the gun. Furthermore, IF the people were victorious the standing system would have to be replaced, which defeats the whole purpose of the battle: to protect the liberties we hold so dear. In closing I believe guns are potentially violent, dangerous, and scary, but it depends on the owner, their intentions, and their surrounding company. MOLON LABE AND SEMPER FI!

    • Mort

      Well said sir

  • Reggie Wanker

    As others have noted the whole debate over the merits of a militia compared to a professional army is somewhat of an apples and oranges comparison. The sheer propaganda value of private citizens having the ability to resist a standing army, even if often ineffectively, cannot be underestimated. It is interesting to note that, until very recently, the U.S. government has never really opposed the right of the common citizen to be better armed (individually) than those serving in the military. At the end of the Revolutionary War, privately owned rifles were far more accurate than the standard issue smoothbore muskets of the military, and pistol ownership was common among citizens whereas they tended to only be issued to officers in the military. In the 1860s, the U.S. army still had a single-shot muzzle loading rifle as its standard issue, while civilians commonly owned lever action Henry rifles (15 bullet capacity) and Spencer carbines (7 bullet capacity). It wasn’t until the development of the Garand rifle in the 1930s that the U.S. had standard issue rifles that were on par with weaponry commonly possessed by many citizens. The development of standard issue “assault rifles” with the capacity to fire on full automatic didn’t come until the development of the M16 in the 1960s. Contemporary logic used to argue that citizens shouldn’t have firepower equivalent to the military ignores nearly 200 years of historical precedent for citizens having greater firepower. I’m only talking about personal firearms, but unless I am mistaken, it wasn’t until well into the 20th century that efforts were made to restrict private ownership of artillery pieces and crew-serviced machine guns. I’m not arguing that people should be able to own everything from RPG’s to ICBM’s, just noting that the U.S. government has historically been rather tolerant of citizens well beyond organized militias possessing a lot of firepower.

  • If you look at the complete picture you have to take into account the danger of a heavily armed govt. These are very dangerous as the 200+ million killed by govts in the 20th century attests to. Are militias perfect? No, of course not, but I’d trust my neighbors with law enforcement & defense before I’d put my trust in any govt minions under some distant capitol’s control.

    Not to mention that a militia based defense makes aggression overseas impossible. The War of 1812 illustrates this. The American militias that invaded Canada performed poorly while the Canadian militias defending their homes did very well. If you truly want defense don’t have a standing military establishment. Aggressive war is usually launched by a standing force not militias.

  • JFK

    Aside from the fact you are negating absolutely nothing in this article you’re actually introducing another myth. You think it was a Canadian militia that marched down to Washington and burned the whitehouse? That was the British army and patently no American militia was able to stop them.

    As for Canadian militias that’s where the myth comes in.

    “In British North America (which would become the Dominion of Canada in 1867), the War of 1812 was seen by Loyalists as a victory, as they had successfully defended their borders from an American takeover.

    The outcome gave Empire-oriented Canadians confidence and, together with the postwar “militia myth” that the civilian militia had been primarily responsible rather than the British regulars, was used to stimulate a new sense of Canadian nationalism.

    John Strachan, the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, created the myth, telling his flock that Upper Canada had been saved from the dangerous republicanism of the American invaders by the heroism of the local citizenry.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812#Canadian

  • JFK, you have quite the active imagination. I know full well who burned DC. Please have a real discussion per the rules the author laid down.

    Wikipedia clearly backs up my point:

    “In contrast to the American militia, the Canadian militia performed well. French Canadians, who found the anti-Catholic stance of most of the United States troublesome, and United Empire Loyalists, who had fought for the Crown during the American Revolutionary War, strongly opposed the American invasion.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812#Invasions_of_Upper_and_Lower_Canada.2C_1812

    The value of militias is more in their ability to fight as guerillas. It was here that the American militias made their contribution to the Revolutionary War. Comparing them to regular units is a mistake that leads to the wrong conclusions. An example is given in:

    The Dutch-American Guerrillas of the American Revolution

    ABSTRACT

    Guerrilla warfare is thought by many to be a circumstance of the latter half of the twentieth century.

    This is an erroneous conception. The art and strategy of guerrilla warfare have been with mankind for a large portion of its history. Ancient Egypt and China both have recorded techniques of guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla techniques are recorded in the Bible and are described, sometimes at length, by many ancient historians such as Polybius, Appius, Plutarch, Flavius Jose phus, Herodatus and Tacitus.

    Guerrilla warfare played an important role in our own revolutionary war with England. Countless small encounters between American colonists, using their own personal arms, and bands of English soldiers or Tories occurred throughout our War of Independence.

    These brought home the point to King Goerge and his soldiers that his rebellious colonists, armed to the teeth, made the job of quelling the rebellion highly costly and very unlikely to succeed.

    Prof. William Marina, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, is a leading advocate of the school of thought that considers the American Revolution as a classic example of a successful guerrilla war. He has written an insightful essay on part of the guerrilla struggle against the British here in colonial America.
    http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=1489

    It is this ability to resist govt, any govt domestic or invading, that makes statists leery of militias. Thus the distorted histories trying to downplay their importance & effectiveness.

  • JFK

    I fail to see where my post didn’t qualify as “a real discussion’ unless anything that disputes yours isn’t a real discussion?

    What you’re telling me is that you think an untrained Canadian militia on home soil a couple of centuries ago had some success against an untrained American militia and that means what?

    Then you go on to proclaim that another bunch of untrained militias centuries ago had some modicum of success against I don’t know what because you’re not specifying.

    Tell me what you think would happen to a bunch of civilians with basic weaponry like handguns faced by a space age military machine deploying satellite and drone surveillance and communications while being backed up by predator drones, missile firing helicopters and jets, tanks, artillery, special forces to name just a few of the horrors that would be inflicted on them and their handguns.

    And I’m the one with the active imagination? I’m not the one proposing that a bunch of untrained civilians with some guns would mean anything to such a force. It wouldn’t be a fight it would be a slaughter.

    Let’s look at a more recent example of what happens when even an actual professional army comes up against such a force. Desert storm mounted to eject the Iraqi army from Kuwait in 1991.

    148 US soldiers killed in action,
    145 non-hostile deaths
    467 wounded in action
    Total: 292 killed

    Iraq, 20,000–35,000 killed
    75,000+ wounded
    300,000 deserted or captured

    And these Iraqis were NOT a militia. They were an actual army and they were slaughtered in their tens of thousand in barely 100 hours. THAT’S reality not an active imagination.

    • JFK, your active imagination starts with the idea that I think that Canadian militias burned DC. It continues with the idea that militias were untrained. This is far from the case in the examples I cited, one of them being clearly from the Revolutionary War, though you pretend otherwise.

      More imagination is that I think that we deploy “…a bunch of civilians with basic weaponry like handguns…”. Please stop putting words in my mouth. You’re being way too obvious in creating not even a straw man but a caricature of my argument & knocking that. A well regulated militia isn’t a bunch of guys with handguns. In today’s world it’s trained troops with the usual infantry weapons & other electronics.

      When it comes to Iraq you strangely help make my point for me. The Iraqi army performed horribly. So you establish that standing armies are often incompetent. It was the guerilla war that followed that drove the US out of Iraq. (See my links in previous comments for citation on guerilla war & militias.) Just like in Vietnam the mighty, technological US was defeated by guerillas. So stop pretending that a regular army can defeat a major power like the US.

      • JFK

        Ah I see so now in the US there is a well trained militia with all the usual infantry weapons & other electronics who are more than a match for the US army and their half trillion dollar budget.

        All the US armies command infrastructure, unmatched communications and surveillance, drones, missile firing helicopters, jets, tanks and all the rest of the usual infantry support is a waste of trillions because hey you can round up a bunch of toms, dicks and Harry’s who can kick their ass. Is that right or am I putting words in your mouth again? Here are YOUR words.

        “In today’s world it’s trained troops with the usual infantry weapons & other electronics.”

        So tell me where is this army of citizens with “the usual infantry weapons and other electronics”

        And why does anyone bother having an army at all when you have hit on the idea that armies get their asses kicked by toms, dicks and Harry’s with some vague undescribed assortment of weaponry.

        Tell us what’s “the usual infantry weapons & other electronics”?

        They have the usual drones to support them? The usual central command, surveillance and communications structure enabled by satellites. The usual tanks? The usual missile firing helicopters and jets? The usual shoulder fired missile launchers? Where is all this?

        You see what this forum is about is the typical let’s say Tom who buys a handgun of which there are MILLIONS in the US which are being used to murder tens of thousands of people at an ever increasing rate way off the charts in comparison to any other high income country. In fact this is a headline from just today.

        US murder rate soars in 2015 – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-3412024

        But you’re telling me that aside from that there is an entire army out there equipped with everything to decimate the US army who wouldn’t have a look in.

        And incidentally the Iraqi army did NOT perform horribly. They were annihilated by a technologically more advanced enemy but you’re telling me they should just have deployed a bunch of some vague imaginary Rambo types with vague imaginary weaponry.

        Describe this guerrilla war to me. Give me any kind of description of this mighty hi tech army which would destroy the US army. You’re frankly wandering off into Hollywood Rambo type fantasy then claiming any valid ridicule of this fantasy is where imagination comes into this?

        Now we have all out guerrilla campaigns waged by who and what? Please be more specific about all this imaginary waffle. Yes I can say that too and I believe I’m saying it with considerably more validity than you are.

        And also when does this imaginary army start destroying the entire US army? Who gathers and commands it to get destroying? What’s the trigger? Because among other things I think you’re missing the opening of this article. Let me remind you what it says.

        QUOTE:

        “It is worth noting at the outset that this fear of tyranny suddenly arising belies a fundamental misreading of how authoritarian regimes actually come to power.

        Namely, it assumes a false dichotomy between “the people” on one side and “the government” on the other. Government is NOT some foreign entity imposed on the people, which would only arise from a foreign country conquering the United States (not going to happen).

        Rather democratic government is derived FROM the people. A tyrannical government could only arise in the US with a majority of the population supporting it due to some economic or military crisis: in reaction, say, to a heavily armed minority attempting to enforce its will on the rest of the country.

        Government does not just “suddenly” become tyrannical”

        END OF QUOTE:

        Are your imaginary Rambos the “heavily armed minority attempting to enforce its will on the rest of the country”?

        So now your imaginary guerrilla war for unknown reasons against a democratically elected government chosen by the majority of the people would be fighting not just the hi tech US army but the majority of the people too. And presumably if the minority can build a Rambo army the majority can too who would be supported and supplied by the actual US army and US government.

        See how my fantasy can usurp yours with ease?

        But go ahead. Give me YOUR version of the fantasy. How your imaginary Rambos have everything required to beat the US army and the majority of the US population. This will be interesting.

        • Oh JFK, if you don’t even know what the usual infantry weapons are then why are you making all this noise in public? One thing that is obvious is that you don’t understand the difference between guerrilla war & conventional war. The US military does well fighting other conventional armies. It performs poorly against guerrillas. In the real world Guerrillas in Iraq & Vietnam defeated the US. Not to mention the Soviets in Afghanistan.

          BTW, if the US had a militia based defense rather than the huge military it has it wouldn’t have been able to aggress against Iraq, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc in the first place. The world would be a much more peaceful place if people would reject the idea that we need standing armies. These are said to be for defense but actually enable offense.

          • JFK

            So presumably you’re going to just maintain that some militia somewhere in the US is armed to the teeth with “the usual infantry weapons & other electronics”?

            I DID give examples of what the typical infantryman has and has in support. Drone and satellite surveillance, comprehensive command and communications plus supply infrastructure. Predator drones, missile firing helicopters and jets, shoulder launched missiles, tanks and much more.

            So tell me where your militia has all this surveillance, communications and supply infrastructure along with some stash of drones, missile firing helicopters and jets, shoulder launched missiles, tanks and much more.

            All I see is Hollywood style fantasy and further than that when you and your fantasy army take on the government and US army you’re also taking on the majority of the US population who ELECTED this government.

            And for this unsubstantiated fantasy you want to maintain a murder rate off the charts in comparison to ANY other high income country such as those in Europe where no one seems to be suffering from this fantasy.

            US murder rate soars in 2015

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34120247

            In addition to that “More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.”

            TOTAL, 1968-2015

            1,516,863

            http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/

            And all that to maintain a fantasy that has never happened before and is so unlikely as to be frankly bizarre. I suspect YOU’RE the problem here AND the tyranny mentioned in the article.

            “A tyrannical government could only arise in the US with a majority of the population supporting it due to some economic or military crisis: in reaction, say, to a heavily armed minority attempting to enforce its will on the rest of the country”

            That’s exactly what’s happening right now. A minority tyranny enabling more deaths than all wars in US history to maintain a ludicrous fantasy.

          • JFK, I asked you to stop putting words in my mouth. Presumably nothing. Militias have a long history which you either ignore or are ignorant of.

            Forget Rambo already. The idea is to have an armed people & a disarmed govt. It’s not a matter of fighting the govt but of not giving it the power to oppress & conquer. We start by educating people so they call for the abolishing of policing as we know it today & disbanding the military. No, not so there’s nothing but so that militias, private security, & community groups can take their place.

            Now for one of my favorite canards, the idea that the US has a high murder rate & that guns are the cause. Neither of these things are true. The US murder rate is below the world average. It’s lower than many European countries like Russia & other countries with large ethnic Russian populations. The US is mostly a very safe & peaceful place with pockets with problems. For example, where I live we haven’t had a murder since 1997. http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Royersford-Pennsylvania.html We have guns, there are nearby areas where one sees armed hunters going in & out of the woods near the towns. Yet somehow we don’t kill each other.

            BTW, western Europe had a low murder rate before it had gun control. If anything it proves that gun control isn’t necessary for a low crime rate. What are important are social dynamics. Prof Roth of OSU (a liberal) explains it well in this presentation http://nij.gov/multimedia/presenter/presenter-roth/Pages/welcome.aspx

            & just for the halibut is something I did countering a gun rights haters march http://theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/2014/07/countering-gun-rights-haters-on-street.html

          • JFK

            What in the world does a “history of militias” have to do with current realities and that’s aside from the fact that the US doesn’t HAVE a militia. And I’m not the one ignoring anything. The military has a history of horse charges. You think that makes horse charges.

            YOU are.

            So let’s dispose of this one thing at a time because you’re all over the place. You said.

            A well regulated militia isn’t a bunch of guys with handguns. In today’s world it’s trained troops with the usual infantry weapons & other electronics.

            OK in todays world where is this militia in the US? Where are these “trained troops” based? Where is the the command centre? The supply depots? The communications aparatus? All the “usual infantry weapons & other electronics”

            All I see is a bunch of civilians toting guns with the highest murder rate among the high income countries of which Russia is not one and neither are the eastern European old soviet bloc countries.

            Enlighten me.

            And just to remind you of current reality.

            US murder rate soars in 2015

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34120247

          • When did I ever say there are militias now? If you understood basic English you’d know that I’m not saying we have any. I’ve made it clear that we need to develop them to repalce police & the standing military.

            “The military has a history of horse charges. You think that makes horse charges.” Incoherent gibberish. Thank you for discrediting yourself.

            Please continue to ignore my evidence of the US’s low murder rate. After all, if it’s in the main stream media that the murder rate is soaring then it must be true, right? If you believe that your naiveté is breathtaking.

            Lastly, what’s your alternative to my ideas, more of the same? Let’s continue down this road of imperial wars & a police state. It’s working so well (sarcasm).

          • JFK

            OK now we’re getting someplace, there is no militia there is only a nation awash with civilian guns which need to be regulated because now you’re just stepping into bizarro world when you say the US has a low murder rate. We’re supposed to be talking about equivalent high income countries, not the dregs of the planet.

            Taking data from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for 2012 Liechtenstein has the lowest murder rate per 100,000 population with a rate of 0.

            So with Liechtenstein at number 1 the US comes in at number 108 on a list of 218 nations. And just beating the USA to the 107 spot is Niger. But don’t despair at being beaten out by Niger. Coming just below the US at the number 109 spot is Latvia and just below that at 110 is Yemen. So clustered around the US we have Niger, Latvia and Yemen and you think that’s impressive?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

            You haven’t introduced ANY evidence of the US having a low murder rate for me to ignore. I have introduced evidence of an extraordinarily high murder rate in the US in comparison to other high income highly developed countries which YOU’RE ignoring. Must I do it again?

            Total US murders in 2013 = 16,121
            Deaths per 100,000 population: 5.1

            Total murders by gun = 11,208
            Gun murders per 100,000 population = 3.5

            http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

            That’s NOT a low murder rate. The following IS.

            Total UK murders in 2013 = 619
            Deaths per 100,000 population = 0.9

            Total murders by gun = 0

            http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

            So, again, I’m stating that just barely beating Latvia and Yemen is NOT a low murder rate any advanced nation should be proud of and neither is being beaten by Niger.

          • & your evidence that the US has a higher murder rate than a cherry picked group of nations because it has more guns is….oh, that’s right, you’ve presented no evidence, you only keep repeating a mantra. But if guns are the problem than how is it that were I live there hasn’t been a murder since 1997? Oops! Looks like I just presented evidence of my point, that social dynamics are what matters, for the 2nd time. (You may as well lie & deny that I present evidence again.) To repeat since you’re so determined to ignore:

            ‘BTW, western Europe had a low murder rate before it had gun control. If anything it proves that gun control isn’t necessary for a low crime rate. What are important are social dynamics. Prof Roth of OSU (a liberal) explains it well in this presentation http://nij.gov/multimedia/presenter/presenter-roth/Pages/welcome.aspx

            ‘My recent article “Islands, Churches, and Guns” was met with a ridiculous criticism that gun rights advocates have left unrefuted for far too long. Namely, the idea that it’s only legitimate to compare the US murder rate to that of other developed countries. When one does compare the US to that cherry picked group the US looks, for the most part, bad. This false point is why gun rights haters try to limit the comparison. The problem with that limited comparison is the fact that many very poor countries are also very peaceful. Gun rights haters would have to be able to show that virtually all affluent countries are very peaceful and that virtually all poor countries are very violent for their limited comparison to make any sense. That would indeed make the US an outlier. Fortunately for gun rights they can’t meet the above conditions. There are many poor countries with high murder rates. The table below shows that there are at least 36 poor countries (that’s over 18% of the 195 countries that exist in the world today) with a murder rate under 5 per 100,000. This puts them in the same category that the US and most of Europe is in. This tells us that a country’s level of development or poverty is irrelevant to the murder rate.’
            http://www.theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/2015/06/murder-rates-why-comparing-united_29.html

            By stating that the US is far from #1 in its murder rate you make my point for me. If guns were the cause of the problem we would have the highest murder rate in the world. As you point out we don’t. There’s actually a negative correlation between rates of gun ownership & murder rates. Within Europe places with lower rates of gun ownership have higher murder rates. See http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf#page=39&zoom=auto,-55,701

            You may now lie again & say I present no evidence.

          • JFK

            First point is that you don’t want to compare the US to nations of comparable development which is absurd because the reality is that comparing like to like is the very basis of statistical analysis. If that isn’t understood then once again we have indisputable evidence you have absolutely nothing credible to say.

            Multiple factors influence rates of violence and it is not just important but absolutely essential to control for those to isolate the impact any single factor has. This is, quite literally, THE most basic element of statistical analysis, and until this concept is understood it is impossible to have a reasoned debate or afford you even a shred of credibility.

            And saying that “But if guns are the problem than how is it that were I live there hasn’t been a murder since 1997? Oops! Looks like I just presented evidence of my point” is meaningless.

            I have a great grandmother who lived till she was 103 and who smoked like a chimney for the last 85 of those 103 years yet died of old age and never got lung cancer. Oops! Looks like I just presented evidence that there is no connection between smoking and cancer.

            Isolated anecdotes do NOT constitute evidence in any type of academic debate.

            A quote from an article which I will link to perfectly illustrates the vacuous nature of your misunderstanding of statistical analysis.

            “Unsurprisingly, the United States does indeed have a lower homicide rate than countries in the middle of civil war, run by despots, or struggling with crippling poverty. Should we really be patting ourselves on the back though that our homicide rate just barely beats out Yemen, number 109 on the list, and the fifth most dangerous country in the world? Should we be bragging that our country has less per capita murder than Somalia or Zimbabwe — countries that are literally run by warlords?”

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evan-defilippis/better-than-somalia-how-to-feel-good_b_6717972.html

            Then you claim that Western Europe always had a low murder rate even before gun control. Yes indeed but the important factor you’re not grasping is that Western Europe ALWAYS had a very low level of gun prevalence in comparison to the US.

            And just a minimum of research quickly reveals that citing Kates & Mauser as evidence to support your narrative is comical to the extent that ANYTHING else you have to say on this issue becomes suspect since it’s apparent you do no research beyond finding something that supports a narrative you desperately want to believe but never bothering to research it’s validity.

            This link debunks only some of the catalogue of errors you blindly accepted with ZERO attempt to research the validity.

            https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1264/2013/06/Kates-Mauser.pdf

            So there you have it, I lied about NOTHING and no one accused you of lying. What you are indisputably guilty of is ignorance of statistical analysis and a proven tendency to never research ANYTHING which provides a narrative you want to hear.

          • I’ve read Hemenway before. Just another gun rights hating fanatic trying to sound like he’s debunked something when all he does is make noise. One gun rights hater quotes another & fools fall for it. Sad really.

            Yes I know that rates of gun ownership are & were lower in Europe than here. Yet there were times that the US had a lower murder rate than most of Europe. Even now there are European countries with few guns & murder rates higher than the US. Again, you fascinate on guns while ignoring the role of social dynamics. That’s why I use were I live as an example. It’s not an anecdote, it’s very representative of the US. Most of this country is very safe. Look at the dynamics of the dangerous areas to understand why there are many murders there. Despair, welfare, aggressive policing, the war on drugs. The argument that gins are the problem falls apart because the areas in the US with the most guns actually have lower murder rates. We have more access to guns than the people in nearby Philadelphia yet they have the murder problem. How do you explain that?

          • JFK

            So let me get this straight, aside from the fact that you patently haven’t even read the data I sourced your proof of your narrative is that YOU say it’s true and that’s that. ZERO evidence beyond what YOU say. THAT’S what’s sad really.

            Then despite the fact I just described to you how valid statistical analysis is obtained you still haven’t grasped that and want to claim the following.

            “Even now there are European countries with few guns & murder rates higher than the US”

            Since I already established how valid statistics are derived and the only European countyries which can be credibly compared to the US are the countries of Western Europe show me ANY of those nations which has a murder rate higher than the US. I know you can’t because I know there are no Western European nations with a murder rate even half that of the US.

            Are you lying or misled by someone else who is lying? You NEVER try researching this babble?

            So repeatedly you appear to just pull nonsense out of thin air as you go with NOTHING to support it when in fact there is a vast amount of data easily found to prove otherwise. This as another example.

            “The argument that gins are the problem falls apart because the areas in the US with the most guns actually have lower murder rates”

            Seriously, do you just make this up? Are YOU deliberately and knowingly lying?

            Reality: Where there are more guns there is more homicide

            “Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide”

            http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/

            THAT derives from actual valid research not the opinion of you or some gun industry shill who couldn’t give a hoot about you aside from getting money out of you. How do YOU explain THAT?

            Conspiracy? Everybody but the gun manufacturers who simply want to sell guns regardless of the consequences are for some baffling reason just lying? Do you have any idea how tenuous your credibility is becoming?

            Now if you said to me look I like guns and if my obsession costs countless thousands of lives well as long as it’s still legal to have guns so be it because I will still have guns I would believe that.

            All this other nonsense you’re bringing here is just that. Vacuous unsupportable nonsense.

          • JFK, you haven’t established anything but that you fall for gun rights haters’ lies. There are more guns in the peaceful rural & suburban areas than in the cities. Yet it’s in the cities that most murders occur. Do you deny this?

            Studies like Protection or Peril have been debunked many times over. The author cherry picked houses where murders occurred in the dangerous parts of 2 cities. http://jpfo.org/pdf03/gun-facts-6-2-screen.pdf#page=17&zoom=auto,-55,760 It was a phony study made to obtain a predetermined result for propaganda purposes.

            Then there is:

            “Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture is a discredited 2000 book by Michael A. Bellesiles on American gun culture. The book is an expansion of a 1996 Journal of American History article that uses falsified research to argue that guns were uncommon during peacetime in the early United States and that a culture of gun ownership arose only much later.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_America

            Here CNN has to back away from Everytown’s lies about school shootings http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/11/us/school-shootings-cnn-number/

            I could go on but you get the idea. Stop listening to these liars.

            When it comes to comparing the US to other countries the only one who has established anything is me establishing that you want to cherry pick the countries to compare the US to to make a false point. Since there are also many poor countries that have low murder rates & the US murder rate is far from the highest, it’s only legit to compare across the globe. What we see is that the US murder rate is below the world average. Even Robert Muggah, no gun nut to be sure, says the US isn’t dangerous:

            How to protect fast-growing cities from failing
            https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_muggah_how_to_protect_fast_growing_cities_from_failing

            All you do is keep repeating this mantra that US guns cause a high murder rate. You still haven’t explained why that is. You still haven’t explained why some parts of the US are more violent while most of it is very peaceful. How do you explain that murder isn’t evenly distributed across geographical & ethnic lines if it’s all just about guns? I’ve already linked to Prof Roth’s work on social dynamics. Go back & look at it.

          • JFK

            Well straight away you’re STILL not grasping the methods of deriving statistical data. Comparing like to like as in comparing the US to ALL the countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan etc is NOT cherry picking.

            Are you grasping this? It’s already been repeatedly explained that comparing like to like the very basis of statistical analysis. The reality is YOU’RE cherry picking. Picking any cherry which bears no resemblance to US society and which STILL places the US in an unflattering light at that.

            Tell me guns and murders aside which countries does the US most resemble? Yemen, Somalia or Zimbabwe??? Because these are an example of the nations YOU’RE cherry picking to say the US has a lower murder rate than.

            Or murders and guns aside is it more like Canada, Australia, UK?

            Because the US has a murder rate off the charts in comparison to those last 3 nations and before you can be given any credibility at all you have to grasp the very basics of statistical analysis which so far you aren’t.

            So are you grasping this. Take guns and murders out of the equation momentarily and tell me which of these 2 sets of 3 nations is the US most comparable to.

            Number 1 – Yemen, Somalia, Zimbabwe

            Or number 2 – Canada, Australia, UK

          • You’re still not explaining the uneven distribution of murders across geographical & ethnic lines in the US. You’re idea that it’s all guns falls apart as soon as you have many more safe vs dangerous areas. It’s not about guns it’s social dynamics. There are boatloads of scholarly literature on the subject (much of it written by anti-gun professors). You should look into this work. I’ve posted links to some of it, stop ignoring it.

            “Yemen, Somalia, Zimbabwe” Now you cherry pick the worst of the worst to compare to. I’ll tell you what all counties have in common, they’re human societies. Social dynamics apply to them all therefore the comparison of all to all is valid. That’s why a poor country like Malawi can have a low murder rate despite its poverty while Russia can have a high murder rate despite being more affluent than Malawi. Level of development is irrelevant. Stop this cherry picking already.

          • JFK

            There is nothing to explain till you express an understanding of statistical analysis then explanation progresses from that point. YOU have to explain you understand that when conducting analysis on such issues that like must be compared to like. You’re still not getting that you’re the one cherry picking nations.

            We MUST compare the US to nations which are most alike in societal development and third world nations are NOT valid comparisons. THAT’S cherry picking.

            An analogy. Let’s presume I was considering the merits of a heavyweight boxer. Drawing up statistics on how good he is. If he were fighting only lightweights and had 20 straight first round knockouts do you seriously imagine I could then say this guy is the best heavyweight in the world on current form?

            Of course I couldn’t because to get a real analysis I would have to compare heavyweights who were fighting other heavyweights. ‘like for like”

            In addition to failing to grasp the basics of statistical analysis you continue with this mantra that it’s not all about guns when that’s exactly what I’m trying to establish. It’s NOT all about comparing gun prevalence it’s about comparing other factors such as socio-economic conditions of nations which is why trying to compare Yemen etc to the US is a non starter.

            So you get that? We must compare like to like? If you aren’t grasping this basic component then you’re incapable of making any comment on this toipic.

          • Yes, I see where you’re going with this but ultimately you make my argument for me. Agreed on your point about statistical analysis. One doesn’t compare, for example, chimps & humans. My point, the one you don’t see, is that the level of affluence of a whole country is not a relevant factor. If you want to compare like to like then compare middle class parts of the US to middle class parts of western Europe. In that case you’ll see the numbers are quite similar despite the greater number of guns here.

            A difference between Europe & here is the way policing is done. While drugs are, for the most part, illegal on both sides of the Atlantic the Europeans aren’t constantly raiding houses & sending people away for long stretches for drugs. Sentences are much lighter & the policing softer in Europe. Since most drug enforcement is targeted on poor minorities it’s no wonder that more of them go to jail & then suffer from having a record that prevents them from getting ahead. This almost guarantees recidivism. Add to that welfare destroying the family & poor education & it’s no wonder there’s more murder in poor minority areas. Which BTW have fewer guns.

            This is my point that it’s not guns but social dynamics. western Europe & the US may have similar per capita income figures but they also have very different social dynamics. Again I ask you to check out Prof Roth’s presentation “Why is the US the most homicidal nation in the affluent world? http://nij.gov/multimedia/presenter/presenter-roth/Pages/welcome.aspx

          • JFK

            So now you have agreed that the US cannot be compared to the countries clustered around it on the table listing nations by murders per 100,000 population. Countries like Niger and Yemen which have similar murder rates to the US.

            It can only be compared to similarly developed high income countries and in comparison to ALL of them the US has an enormous murder rate. So considering the US is so alike to these other countries with far lower murder rates what can the be the reason for it?

            Well if you want to talk about deprivation as a cause the US isn’t much different from the rest of the highly developed countries and I’m going to use the UK as an example for multiple reasons.

            One I have lived there. Two it has some of the strictest gun regulations in the world and three it has a very similar poverty rate to the US.

            Population living below national poverty line (%)

            US = 14.5%

            UK 14%

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty#Countries

            The US figure is from 2013 and the UK figure from 2006 which is 2 years before the 2008 global financial crisis so if anything I expect the UK figure to have increased but we can see from those figures that there is no startling difference.

            Which indicates that since poverty is also remarkably similar within the two countries there are other factors to be included.

            You have previously tried to put the enormous US murder rate down to ethnic diversity which again STILL cannot explain the enormous difference between UK and US murder rates and as a UK example I will give you London.

            London is an enormous city even by global standards and has a population around 8.63 million.

            London actually has a larger population than both Scotland and Wales combined which sort of makes it almost a nation all on it’s own and London has a diversity not too far behind that of the US. At the last census 4 years ago London was over 40% non white and that figure will have increased since that census.

            It’s often currently generally accepted that London at this moment is only around 50% white so within that city you have a similar diversity to that within the US yet the London murder rate is 1.1 per 100,000 which is close to one fifth that of the US yet London STILL has a murder rate very similar to the UK as a whole and a lower rate than some other far more racially homogeneous areas of the country.

            Thus ethnic diversity cannot explain the enormous difference between US and UK murder rates and neither can poverty as has already been illustrated.

            How about rape statistics between the two nations?

            You are 1.02x more likely to be raped as a female in the US than in the UK.

            A minuscule difference between US and UK rape rates.

            Knife crime? The greatest number of ALL UK murders involve the use of a knife but most people actually survive a knife attack as I myself have. Though I wasn’t stabbed I fought him off with a handy piece of wood.

            Take note that would have been impossible if he had a gun and I would likely be dead. Just one example of why so many survive knife attacks aside from the fact you can outrun a knife but not a bullet.

            You are 1.27x more likely to be knifed in the UK than in the US. Again not a great deal of difference.

            Now let’s look at a significant difference and obviously guns are a significant difference. You can pass an entire lifetime in the UK and never see a gun as even the police don’t carry them.

            And keep in mind most UK murder involves a knife and most US murder a gun.

            You are 35.2x more likely to be shot dead in the US than in the UK.

            Hardly surprising since the US is literally awash with guns having as many guns as people and guns are rare in the UK plus buying a gun in the US can be as easy as buying a car. Probably easier.

            But as I have illustrated above guns are really the ONLY significant societal difference between the US and the UK.

            All other crime stats aside from guns are remarkably similar and that’s extremely similar across the board for all of the highly developed high income countries.

            The ONLY significant difference between US and UK cities is the prevalence of guns which leads to this.

            Total number of murders entire UK comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2013/2014 = 619 and ZERO of those murders by gun.

            http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

            Total number of murders in US 2013 = 16,121 and 11,208 of those were by gun.

            http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

            Take those US gun murders away and the US murder rate falls by almost 70% which is a startling figure.

            And having lived in both the UK and the US I can reliably inform you that Americans are not intrinsically any more violent than the British are. In my experience possibly even slightly less so.

            I can guarantee you that if the British had a nation awash with guns as the US is and could acquire them as easily as just about any other product their murder rate would skyrocket.

            It would easily match the US rate and perhaps even surpass it because the UK is far more densely populated than the US is.

            You’re talking about a small island with over 63 million people which is a shade smaller than either Michigan, Wyoming or Oregon and considerably smaller than others.

            Texas is equal to 2.86 UKs and has less than half the UK population yet Texas alone has more than twice as many total murders than the UK does.

            And Texas has a very high incidence of gun ownership. Not much “protection” going on in Texas is there?

            Yet the NRA would argue that even MORE guns is the answer which has to be about as insane as it gets and is one of the reasons I can’t take the likes of them or you seriously.

            If guns were any protection the US should have the LOWEST murder rate among the advanced nation NOT the HIGHEST by far.

            The ONLY significant difference between the US and the UK aside from the UK being vastly more densely populated which on it’s own would tend to lead to a higher murder rate is that the US is awash with guns and the UK is not.

            Aside from the fact that it’s just sheer common sense All neutral academic studies point to the fact that guns are THE major factor in the enormous US murder rate.

            The only people who try to dispute that with frankly frivolous arguments are those who have a financial or other interest.

            Those you try to brand “gun haters” are NOT gun haters. They are murder haters and that’s exactly what I am and what the authors of this site are.

            I have never once seen the authors of this site say they want guns totally banned UK style as I personally would but they don’t.

            All they are saying is that this enormous murder rate is undeniably gun driven and that guns have to be more strictly regulated. No sane person could argue against that. There is a slaughter of epic proportions taking place and SOMETHING has to be done.

            They want change while you apparently are willing to accept the status quo with 88 dead by gunshot every single day.

          • Well, JFK, you were making progress but you’re now backsliding. I actually said that the level of affluence of a country is irrelevant so I stand by my point (as expressed in an article I wrote http://www.theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/2015/06/murder-rates-why-comparing-united_29.html ) that comparison worldwide is valid. Did you really not understand what I wrote or are you deliberately lying?

            “Well if you want to talk about deprivation as a cause the US isn’t much different from the rest of the highly developed countries and I’m going to use the UK as an example for multiple reasons.”

            I never said that poverty causes anything. Matter of fact, I previously mentioned Malawi as a very safe place despite its poverty. Did you forget or is this another lie?

            You’re wrong when you say that “…guns are really the ONLY significant societal difference between the US and the UK.” As I keep pointing out (& you keep ignoring) there are differences in the social dynamics in the 2 countries. You keep trying to reduce the issue to numbers when the answer is on the human side. Please listen to Prof Roth’s presentation linked above. (Roth is an anti-gun liberal but he goes where the truth takes him. He sees that guns aren’t the cause of the problem & clearly shows why.)

            “You have previously tried to put the enormous US murder rate down to ethnic diversity…”

            Lie or hallucination? No, I never said that diversity was the cause of anything. I asked you to explain why the murder rate varies across ethnic lines in the US if the only issue is access to guns. I’m still waiting for the explanation.

            BTW, I grew up in Puerto Rico & lived 7 years as an adult in Venezuela.

            PR has very strict gun control & a murder rate much higher than the mainland US. See http://www.guns.com/2015/06/22/judges-ruling-threatens-upheaval-of-puerto-rico-gun-laws/

            Venezuela recently banned gun ownership & now has the second highest murder rate in the world. These are examples of the failure of gun control. It fails because it does nothing about the social dynamics that drive murder.

            This article might help you see that there’s no relationship between gun ownership rates & murder rates:

            15 nations with the highest gun ownership
            http://www.deseretnews.com/top/2519/0/15-nations-with-the-highest-gun-ownership.html

            Would you care to explain why countries with 1/2 or 1/3 the rate of gun ownership as the US don’t have a murder rate 1/2 to 1/3 of ours?

          • JFK

            And now you’re simply doing the same thing all over again. Venezuela? Malawi? You still don’t grasp these are not comparable countries? You may as well throw in Gotham City if you still don’t understand how valid statistical analysis is conducted.

            NO reputable academic study would do such a thing. Perhaps that’s why you don’t understand this issue? Reputable studies don’t produce what you want to hear so you never look at them?

            Instead of reputable studies you think I should regard something YOU write as a valid study? Something concocted by other people I have never heard of and who are not obviously associated with any reputable body?

            You realise such obfuscation has been seen before?

            Around 50 years or so ago we saw the same type of denial of undeniable reality when the tobacco industry didn’t like the reality of indisputable data coming out of places like Harvard which showed an undeniable link between smoking and cancer.

            They recruited various misfits to produce spurious “evidence” it wasn’t true and that’s exactly what the gun industry is doing right now and that’s all you are bringing here.

            Where does it stop and actual academic studies start coming into the equation?

            You truly imagine that if there was even a shred of credibility to this nonsense that guns aren’t a problem that the gun industry wouldn’t pay the likes of Harvard to research it and prove it?

            It never crossed your mind the very fact they aren’t doing that is illuminating evidence all on it’s own that something stinks here?

            Once again, neutral studies coming from reputable bodies are the the ONLY valid data we can draw anything from and by it’s very nature has to include data drawn from comparable countries.

            Since these comparable countries are a relatively exclusive group that limits it some extent. NO South Americans, NO Africans, NOTHING outside a specific class of nation is of ANY value.

            The following as an example comes from Harvard University. In case you aren’t aware of this Harvard University in the 2014 to 2015 rankings is rated the number 2 university in the entire world.

            You think that carries more gravitas than you or any of these people you mention I have never heard of?

            I’m actually pretty confident that if you could produce an establishment with anything like such a reputation you would be claiming it as concrete proof that guns are not a problem but since it doesn’t well what?

            Gun haters eh? Everybody who disputes your narrative is just a liar but anyone who proposes some muddled up babble which everything you have produced I have looked at amounts to just has to be right?

            Harvard study conclusions.

            1. Where there are more guns there is more homicide

            Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries.

            Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

            2. Across high-income nations, more guns = more homicide.

            We analyzed the relationship between homicide and gun availability using data from 26 developed countries from the early 1990s. We found that across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.

            3. Across states, more guns = more homicide

            Using a validated proxy for firearm ownership, we analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across 50 states over a ten year period (1988-1997).

            After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

            4. Across states, more guns = more homicide (2)

            Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and homicide across states, 2001-2003. We found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide.

            This relationship held for both genders and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanization, alcohol consumption, and resource deprivation (e.g., poverty). There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm homicide.

            http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/

            So tell you what. You go find a study produced by some reputable body which doesn’t even MENTION Venezuela, Malawi, Timbuktu or whatever then we can talk about it.

            I somewhat doubt you will do that because this is nothing but the tobacco industry scenario all over again. I presume you accept smoking and cancer ARE linked and are aware of what the tobacco industry did in an attempt to deny it.

            They didn’t turn to Harvard to prove it.

        • legaleagle_45

          QUOTE:

          “Namely, it assumes a false dichotomy between “the people” on one side and “the government” on the other. Government is NOT some foreign entity imposed on the people, which would only arise from a foreign country conquering the United States (not going to happen).

          Rather democratic government is derived FROM the people. A tyrannical government could only arise in the US with a majority of the population supporting it due to some economic or military crisis: in reaction, say, to a heavily armed minority attempting to enforce its will on the rest of the country.

          Government does not just “suddenly” become tyrannical”

          END OF QUOTE:

          Incorrect. A tyrannical government can arise in a democracy in the event of a military coup, or something similar– such as a president who refuses to step down at the end of his term by proclaiming a “national emergency” and then declaring himself “El Presidente for Life.’ Democratic governments sometimes can and do suddenly become tyrannical —

          It is usurpations of power, especially at the federal level, which concerned the framers and it was to that possibility that Madison penned his Federalist #46:

          QUOTE:

          “Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. ”

          END OF QUOTE

          Could a coup occur here— indeed it could the Business Plot in 1933 is a cautionary tale of how it might occur: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

          Would it succeed… not to likely in the USA. As General Butler told the plotters according to his testimony in front of Congress:

          QUOTE:

          “[M]y interest is, my one hobby is, maintaining a democracy. If you get these 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of Fascism, I am going to get 500,000 more and lick the hell out of you, and we will have a real war right at home..”

          END QUOTE:

          Where do you think General Butler would get those 500,000 more?

          A coup is quite unlikely in the USA because it would inevitably fail. As the coup was required to use harsher means to suppress resistance, opposition would grow, large segments of the armed forces would either refuse to obey orders to fire upon civilians targets or would actually defect to the opposition. 4 dead in O-HIGH-O became a rallying cry that ended a war. What do you think would happen if the government bombed Sacramento?

          Yep fantasy– not going to happen. And the reason it will not happen is because:

          QUOTE:

          “To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of

          END QUOTE:

          Madison was a master of checks and balances… this was one of them. You should read up on the concept of “force multipliers” and the impact of a supportive civilian population upon a partisan uprising.

        • JFK, I can’t reply directly to your comment below so I’m putting it here.

          I see so if it’s from Harvard it’s got to be true. Who is the one uncritically accepting things just because they like the conclusions? The article you linked to is a review of literature by another gun rights hating liar. He doesn’t link to anything. I’m not going to just take his word for it.

          You want some articles. Let’s start with “The Crime Drop in America” http://www.crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/CrimeDrop.pdf This study clearly shows that factors other than availability of guns drive the murder rate. It shows how cities have higher crime rates & that African-Americans have the highest crime rates. It also shows how crime rates declined without going after guns.

          This article I present not for the conclusions reached but because it clearly shows how there is an opposite relationship between gun ownership & gun deaths. Rural & suburban areas with more guns are safer than urban areas with fewer guns. Firearms Localism http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/firearm-localism

          “GUNS, CRIME, AND ACADEMICS: SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE GUN CONTROL DEBATE” http://www.law.gmu.edu/assets/files/publications/working_papers/07-45.pdf is about the ineffectiveness of gun control & academics who lie about it.

          • For starters, the link JFK provided contains the names of the studies. While links are easier, it is not difficult to copy and paste the study name provided into Google, and then click on the resulting link. Though I completely understand that doing so might burst your genetic fallacy bubble and force you to actually read something you disagree with. Just leaving it at “run rights hater” is so much simpler and requires so little thought.

            By your own construct of social dynamics your argument over which countries to include in a rigorous analysis is incoherent and internally contradictory. What do poorer countries typically lack? Political stability, a legitimate government, fellow feeling, and a legitimate status hierarchy. What to affluent developed countries share? The above factors. It is bizarre that you use the slideshow repeatedly as proof of your point, when it completely undermines your rationale for including poorer countries in a rigorous international comparison. If societal factors are important, we should then only examine the countries that are closest to the US on this factor, which means rich developed countries (thus coming as close as possible to ceteris paribus conditions, which then allow us to isolate the effect of firearms).

            Your continued insistence that affluence has nothing to with rates of homicide or violence is utterly wrong and appears to be based on a single slide show you clearly didn’t study too carefully (or if by some miracle you are right you should take your findings to the Nobel committee immediately as this would be one of the most shocking and groundbreaking discoveries in the social sciences). Further, affluence is highly correlated with social factors (which you seem to cling to in isolation), which is why most serious academics control for various socio-economic factors when studying violence.

            What you are repeatedly failing to grasp is that JFK is not arguing that guns are the only factor driving violence. In the real world there isn’t just one cause that results in one effect. Are social dynamics important? Absolutely, which is why when academics are looking at the potential influence of a different factor, they do their best to control for social dynamics. However, believing that social dynamics is THE factor behind violence and homicide more specifically is breathtakingly naïve. Same goes for urban versus rural. In developed nations, cities are more dangerous than rural areas, with or without guns. So academics control for population density/urban factors. There are a plethora of factors influencing violence, including the ready access to firearms. There are dozens of studies in our database that clearly demonstrate the link between firearms and homicides.

            But wait, I forgot. Any study that disagrees with you is produced by a gun rights hater, which therefore makes it invalid… *facepalm*

          • legaleagle_45

            Hi Devin… Try this. Throw out the USA as an outlier and then do a study based upon “gun density” (privately owned firearms per capita) as compared to homicide rates and crime rates. For example, there is a study of all European nations for which data was available demonstrates, countries with lower levels of murder also tend to have higher levels of gun ownership. Don B. Kates & Gary Mauser, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide: A Review of International Evidence”, 30 HARVARD JOURNAL OF LAW & PUBLIC POLICY 651 (2007). “[N]o statistically significant relationship between guns and murder rates.” Jeffrey Miron, Violence, Guns, and Drugs: A Cross-Country Analysis, 44 JOURNAL OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, 615.”[N]no significant correlations (of gunstock levels) with total suicide or homicide rates were found.” Abstract to Martin Killias, et al., “Guns, Violent Crime, and Suicide in 21 Countries,” 43 CANADIAN J. OF CRIMINOLOGY 429 .

            Now why would the USA be outlier? Well one reason is that are ethnically, racially, religiously, linguistically and culturally much more diverse than the predominantly homogenous Western Europe and Japan. One of the largest factors in US crime is criminal gangs which tend to form along ethnic and racial gangs. The FBI National Gang Threat Assessment Report, gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90 percent in some jurisdictions crime is associated with gang activity and an astounding 37% of urban homicides are associated with inter-gang warfare (note that this is not merely “gang related homicides” but homicides arising from conflicts between competing gangs).

            Other countries do in fact have criminal gangs.. Germany reports 11 criminal gangs operating within their borders. England reports 125 criminal gangs… Meanwhile, Chicago alone reports over 600 criminal gangs operating within their boundaries divided into warring alliances termed the “Peoples Nation” and the “Folk Nation” . There are Russian Gangs, Latin Gangs, Asian Gangs, Motorcycle Gangs, Black Gangs, Italian Gangs, Polish Gangs… all of these impact crime much more than gun laws…

            An example from California is in order. San Jose is a city of almost 1 million people. It has a homicide rate of 3.8/100,000– remarkably good for a city of that size and some would credit California’s strict gun laws… However, 40 miles up the I-680 Freeway lies Oakland, California. Same gun laws, a population of only about 400,000 but a homicide rate of over 22/100,000.

            Some also credit Canada’s strict gun control laws for their low crime rate… yet a closer look at the states which adjoin Canadian Provinces and Territories and comparing the two with their respective homicide rates leads to some interesting results…

            Alaska 3.1
            Yukon 5.94

            Washington 2.7
            British Columbia 2.65

            Idaho 1.4
            British Columbia 2.65

            Montana 2.9
            British Columbia 2.65
            Alberta 2.59
            Saskatchewan 3.5

            North Dakota 1.5
            Saskatchewan 3.5
            Manitoba 4.67

            Minnesota 1.4
            Manitoba 4.67
            Ontario 1.36

            Michigan 6.2
            Ontario 1.36

            New York 4.0
            Ontario 1.36
            Quebec 1.12

            Vermont 1.1
            Quebec 1.12

            New Hampshire 0.8
            Quebec 1.12

            Maine 2.0
            Quebec 1.12
            New Brunswick 1.60

            Source of US stats: FBI Uniform Crime Reports
            Source of Canada stats: Statistics Canada
            All stats 2009 and stated in homicides per 100,000 in population.

            Now how about suicide and international comparisons? After all, 2/3rds of all firearm related casualties are the result of suicides.

          • JFK

            The gang argument has already been disposed of on this website at the following link.

            http://www.armedwithreason.com/do-we-have-a-gang-problem-or-a-gun-problem/

            As for European nations with more guns supposedly having lower murder rates the British have probably the strictest gun regulations in Europe and in comparison to the US an extremely low murder rate.

            UK murder rate in 2013 =0.9 per 100,000 population

            http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

            US murder rate 2013 = 5.1 per 100,000 population

            http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

            And the chances are that rate may be exceeded in 2015.

            US murder rate soars in 2015

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34120247

            As for diversity the US is no more diverse than London which is only around 50% white and has a murder rate of 1.1 per 100,000 but in London guns are extremely difficult to come by and possession of even a single round of ammunition with no gun to put it in can see you locked up for 5 years.

            Even criminals think twice when such strict regulations are in force.

            Regarding suicide deadly means are a significant factor and it doesn’t get much more deadly than a bullet to the head.

            When the UK switched the domestic gas supply from coal gas which is deadly and accounted for a full half of all British suicides to non poisonous natural gas suicide by gas obviously then fell to zero but the overall suicide rate fell by 40% and stayed that way ever since.

            Numerous studies have proven available deadly means is a key factor because suicide is largely an impulsive act.

            http://www.armedwithreason.com/more-guns-more-suicides-the-vicious-relationship/

  • Careful JFK, remember our little discussion on the legal definition of murder for the purposes of crime statistics and the UK.

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  • Tim

    I think you have created a very interesting opinion. I’ve found reading it very helpful in understanding another side of this debate. I can say thank you, for providing us thinking about this more deeply more perspective upon how folks like you are thinking. I can’t agree with much of it, but how you developed your explanations of everything is really very good. Good fiction is always stimulating.

    • JFK

      I would agree that the article is extremely interesting and informative but must deem your comment basically worthless at best. Not a single thing to dispute ANYTHING contained in this article. Comments with zero content are NEVER stimulating and don’t actually qualify as comment at all.

  • Jim

    During the early years of this country, Americans did not like the idea of a large standing army…to much like England, I suppose. Militias were extremely effective on the frontiers and during the Revolutionary War. It was only after the lackluster performance of militias during the War of 1812 did the United States decide to have a large, federal military. Understanding this, one can understand the Second Amendment. A militia at that time was any white male between the ages of 18 and 45, I believe. In the period language, well regulated means nothing more than “to work properly.” Too many people don’t take it in its historical context and think that it has something to do with the modern meaning of the word.
    Can a “militia” stop a tyrannical government, or stop a foreign invasion? At first, the obvious answer would be that it would be impossible to stop the technology of modern militaries. But looking what is going on in the Middle East makes one stop and think. Remember, our armed forces are sworn to protect the Constitution, not the powers that be. Like it or not, the Second Amendment is the protector of the Bill of Rights.

  • Your stance is very interesting one, and I applaud your ability to dissect this debate from this standpoint, as most debaters usually ignore the aspect of the militia. I do disagree with you however. You stated in the article that the Continental army and the help of the french were the main forces in the Revolution. However, let us recall how much trouble the Continental army had. Lack of any leadership, false promises, and ceiling high list of desertion the army as a whole was almost humorous. And, before the formation of said army, was it not the militias that safeguard the colonies? That brings me to your next point, in which you described those countries in which militias are forcing decline in economic and social growth, and you are right. However, in the United States, and according to the Constitution, the Militias are to serve their respective states, and in no capacity, without authoritative action from the President would a Militia respond in another state. You look at Militias as a national concept, but that is from what the fathers intended. The militia is hands down the most important concept that was discussed during the ratification of the first ten amendments. In fact, if you read James Madisons notes from the Constitutional Convention and post ratification, when the framers discussed the second amendment, it had almost nothing to do with the individuals right to bear arms, it was all about the militias, since in those times, it was a responsibility of all men to enlist in their militias. Militias to the founders was the best way to continue the separation of powers. I believe it was President Jefferson who said, If you give a king an army, he’ll be sure to find a war to fight (sounds like the times we live in today…). What is funny, is most founding fathers admitted to how unorganized the militias were, but to them, the ability for men to remain armed and have the ability to form together to put down insurrections, but also to continue to challenge the government. Every founding father believed that all delegated powers originate from the states or the people thereof. And many founding fathers knew that the ability for citizens to collect and bear arms in defense of free state would be the ultimate line drawn between the government, and the people. Your argument is a good one, however you have forgotten some basic principles in which our government was instituted, which is the power of the states to protect individual liberties (even the federalist said that!! lol)

    I, like Alexander Hamilton, wish we would have never had a bill of rights to begin with
    cheers

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  • gzuckier

    Note that the Second Amendment has never in the over 200 years of the USA been used to actually oppose government tyranny or tyranny by others; whether the victims were Native Americans, free blacks, striking miners and their families, Japanese Americans, college students demonstrating peacefully, black kids trying to attend federally integrated schools, etc. (with the possible exception of Cliven Bundy, oddly enough). Nor, obviously, has the threat of such armed opposition done anything to stop the government from such action.

    • JFK

      I’m guessing the government don’t think a hick and a handgun is much opposition in the age of drone warfare. It might also be noted that an armed population who had many military class rifles didn’t stop the tyranny of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

      The US military did that and Saddam with a million man army who had tanks, artillery and missiles with a command and communications structure to support it was wiped out in about 3 weeks or so. That’s reality not Billy the kid type fantasy.

    • Jim

      Actually, if you think that armed civilians have never stopped tyranny in this country, you should probably Google the 1946 Battle of Athens.

  • Ken Terry

    The author is correct when he states that, in all of these cases, a well armed militia would probably not have sucessfully resisted the tyrants. But he misssed the point that an unarmed populace is much easier to subdue (and a more inviting target) than an armed one. No i don’t believe that the US government is likely to come gunning for me. But then, neither did the German jews when their guns were taken. And yes, the author failed to mention that when German gun laws were relaxed for the general population, the right of “lesser peoples” to posess guns was recinded. Read that as gun confiscation, which the author denies happened, and the targeted population was subsequently decimated. I appreciate the fact that the author acknowledges that the constitution does say we can be armed, and that he simply disagrees with the Founders. The deceitful twisting of logic and language to make the constitution say otherwise is frustrating, to say the least.

    • JFK

      What are you talking about? German Jews? As far as i’m aware no ones guns were taken yet let’s say they were. You reckon that some civilian Jews with some guns would have fought off the Nazi war machine which the entire British and French armies could not?

      And that’s logical reasoning but the author of this article is illogical without by the way ANYTHING to suggest what’s supposed to be illogical? I find both lines of reasoning illogical in the extreme.

      And you say you don’t think the US government is coming to get you and that some bunch of civilians with guns probably couldn’t fight off a professional army toting drones, satellite surveillance, missile firing jet aircraft, tanks, artillery etc but somehow there is still a rationale to have guns?

      Even more illogical.

      • legaleagle_45

        Nazi Germany did in fact disarm Jews and political opponents. In fact, one of the more famous incidents occurred when Einstein’s house was raided by authorities looking for illegal weapons.

        https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19330320&id=5iIxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7-EFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5757,2654791&hl=en

        • JFK

          Every nation disarms what are considered to be enemies of the state, criminals etc. The point here is that the Nazis did in fact legislate more relaxed gun laws than were operated by their predecessor the Weimar Republic.

          And more importantly all of that had exactly zero bearing on the holocaust.

          • legaleagle_45

            What the Nazi regime did was legislate the status quo– many of the gun laws passed by the Weimar Republic were required by the Versailles Treaty and were intentionally ignored by governmental officials. The restricitions imposed by the Nazi’s were primarily ex-legislative. Hitler did not care about laws or statutes– he used the registration rolls to systematically disarm his potentiasl enemies– Obviously, one who can justify the Night of The Long Knives as “necessary to save Germany, was not concerned with the nicieties of the law.

            I believe that while it may not have had zero bearing on the Holocaust, it would not have prevented the Holocaust. At best it would have made it a tad more difficullt to achieve. A good article on this view is found here:

            http://guncite.com/gun_control_gcnazimyth.html

          • JFK

            I’m considering that since the entire military might of France supported by the British expeditionary force was subdued in 6 weeks I hardly think some Jewish civilians with handguns would have made any difference at all worth talking about. They would have been dead all the quicker if anything and perhaps even some who ultimately survived the holocaust would have been dead.

            Not a single life would have been saved by some Jews with guns and the oft quoted gun lobby babble on this issue is truly simple minded.

          • legaleagle_45

            Eisenhower described the French Resistance as be worth an “extra 6 divisions.” during Operation Overlord… and they were initially equipped with single shot liberator handguns with one bullet airdropped from Britain.

            The Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 was armed with homemade and smuggled weapons.. They held out for about a month against the German Army before the uprising was crushed, however between 100 and 200 escaped and joined partisan groups surrounding Warsaw and survived the Holocaust.

            So, you are wrong to state “not a single life would have been saved by some Jews with guns and the oft quoted gun lobby babble on this issue is truly simple minded.”

          • JFK

            Well if you want to say a handful of lives might have been saved let’s go with that. But i’m not wrong in saying that a bunch of civilians with guns trying to take on a fully equipped modern army would be annihilated and THAT’S what the simple minded gun lobby babble is about. They propose that the US army is intimidated by some group of Tom, Dick and hicks with guns.

            I find it almost comical to envisage some fantasising bunch of Billy the kid wannabes and their guns being eyed by satellites and drones they can’t even see watching and waiting to either send in tanks/artillery and/or missile firing aircraft or the drone itself to mention but a few possible scenarios.

            It’s truly one of the most absurd suggestions from the gun lobby amid a sea of fantasy and absurdity and it frankly smacks of conspiracy nut craziness at best.

          • legaleagle_45

            What I am saying is that some would have been saved and the the insurgency would have disrupted the Nazi War effort some what– but certainly not decisevly.

            As for a fully equipped modern army taking on a bunch of civilians with guns— You are correct, they would not stand a chance, which is why the Iraqi insuregency was defeated in hours, the Afghan resistance was defeated in a few days and the Viet Cong were eliminated in a few weeks… oh wait, never mind.

            You are underestimating force multipliers. If the insurgency has broad support amongst the population they could succesfully defeat a more professional force. Imagine if you will a military coup in the USA, opposed by 70% of the population,… With each strike against a civilian target, support for the insurgency would grow. Military units would disobey orders and some would defect to the insurgency… The Coup would not be able to survive for over a week. 4 dead in O-HI-O helped end a war. Imagine what would occur if they bombed Boise.

            Would a coule of hundred civilians with guns pose any problem— of course not, but 15 million armed civilians with the support of the people to give them shelter and material would. Which is one of the reasons the US has never had a military Coup attempt– it would not stand a chance of success. You might wish to review an incident called the “businessmen’s plot”. The plotters backdown when they realized an armed opposition force could be easily assembled to resist them.

          • JFK

            You’re now just wandering further into conspiracy fantasy. If this, if that, if invisible magic sky fairies were real that would be so wonderful.

            The percentages of people joining ANY resistance movement in ANY country during WW2 for example was a tiny fraction of the population because people know they and their families will be slaughtered and this was an actual foreign army invading their country.

            An enormous number of your imagined 15 million would likely be dead and their families in no time with the rest getting a dose of reality and wanting out of it. And those people who did resist in WW2 knew that entire nations were still opposing the Nazis and planning an eventual liberation.

            And let’s spin your fantasy out a little further. You have 15 million people and some guns opposing the entire fully equipped US army and the REST of the 300 million population and you think this scattered, unorganised, no supplies bunch of likely typical conspiracy nut crazies with some guns are going to take on the 300 million Americans and their fully equipped perfectly organised and supplied army which can strike ANYWHERE at ANY TIME day or night?

            And just in case that fantasy ever spins out which it never has in the entire history of the nation you want to support a situation which has already resulted in more people being killed than in ALL American wars in the nations history?

            “More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.”

            http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/

            That’s apparently what you support “just in case” some imaginary and highly unlikely scenario ever plays out? See to most people in equivalent high income countries that sounds insane.

            The following is reality not fantasy. UK murder rate per 100,000 = 1.0

            US murder rate = 5.01

            Let’s fantasise and imagine the US could ever match that and think on how many lives would be saved and families not devastated in THAT scenario.

            And oddly the UK people like it that way and don’t sit around fretting about imaginary tyrannies which have never troubled them before waiting to take them over which they should prepare for by scattering guns around like candy then sitting back watching their population being slaughtered in the thousands every year without fail.

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  • Jim

    Seems like you forgot the Soviets in Afghanistan… Many of the Mujahideen were armed with muskets…but they did pretty okay against a modern military.

  • Bruce Reynolds

    This is a very interesting read, but like so many other similar takes on history it totally fails to take into account the deterrent factor an armed populace has, be they an army, a militia, or an individual.

    Take the Jewish example. In the writer’s view, armed Jews would have no chance of taking down the Nazis. There is no doubt that is true. But the point the author misses is would they have needed to if they had been armed before they became the targets of the Nazis? Would the Nazis have been so quick to demonize and attack the Jews if the Jews had had the ability to fight back? That is the real question here.

    The US and the Soviet Union never fought the long predicted and feared WWIII. Why? Because of the deterrence factor. Both sides knew the risks involved were too high to take the action. That’s a take on a grand, global scale, but the same behaviors persist on a smaller scale. In the 1980s, the state of Florida passed a law allowing residents to keep a loaded gun in their car. Shortly after that there was a huge increase in the number of carjackings outside airports. Once some of the offenders were caught it was discovered the reason for the change in their behaviors was the law allowing drivers to be armed. At the time, all rental cars at airports had a particular letter at the end of the tag number, and the thieves knew tourists flying in wouldn’t have guns, so they targeted the only vehicles they knew for sure wouldn’t contain an armed driver. It didn’t matter that maybe only one in 10,000 drivers actually had a gun, that threat was enough to cause the thieves to stop robbing anyone who wasn’t a tourist.

    So the larger question to ask is not if armed militias would have stopped any of the atrocities mentioned once they had started, but rather if a well-armed populace, capable of forming into militias, could have stopped the atrocities and their perpetrators before they ever started? I think that the fact that all of these abuses of power have started after a population was largely disarmed is very telling. So while a case can be made that armed militias are not readily able to stop abuses of power once they have occurred, I believe an equally valid case can be made that their presence, or capability to be present, provides a powerful deterrent effect to them starting in the first place.

    • JFK

      So what you’re saying is that the US alone is populated by paranoids who think they need a Mad Max style society just in case something that has never happened in almost 250 years and which no one else in any other advanced high income country ever gives a passing thought to comes to light.

      And just in case this thing that has never happened before which the other high income countries never even consider comes to light you’re happy to maintain a murder rate off the charts in comparison to these other high income countries and envision armies of frankly gun toting hicks fighting with the most sophisticated military machine the world has ever seen which has a policy of bumping off opposition remotely. A machine that wiped out 100,000 heavily armed fully equipped Iraqi soldiers in around 4 days during desert storm with the loss of a dozen or so soldiers largely by friendly fire.

      Well good luck with that fantasy and the off the charts murder rate but it would appear other countries strangely prefer a low murder rate and dealing with unpopular government with a vote. Seems to be working since their murder rates are indeed low in comparison to the US and some fantasy tyranny is about as likely as a zombie apocalypse.

      So the larger question would seem to be are people who entertain such far out fantasies even fit to be given deadly weapons. You see everyone knows their fanaticism isn’t really about this “tyranny” bullshit it’s about a gun obsession which appears to be full blown insanity viewed from other nations who prefer vastly lower murder rates to pandering to fringe nuts and is in fact regarded by many even in the US who own guns and are on the side of reason as the most absurd and most embarrassing argument of the fanatical paranoid faction.

      And to humour this faction more people are shot dead every single day than the UK experiences in an entire year and even US police are gunning down hundreds a year for fear of being shot by one the hundreds of millions of guns freely available to every Tom, Dick, hick and crazy while the UK can pass years with police shooting no one at all and zero police being shot either despite the fact they don’t even carry guns.

      That’s an example of the view from the outside who see irrational insanity on a massive scale.

      The following is absolute reality not improbable fantasy.

      UK murder rate per 100,000 = 1.0

      US murder rate = 5.01 and around 3.5 of that due to guns.

  • Brian

    You should do an article about what it would actually look like if the every single gun owner in the US (not counting active military or police) took up arms against the government.
    Assuming the government employees don’t turn sides, that’d be a really short fight. Hunting Rifle vs. M1A2, my money is on the tank every time.

    We built up our military to be unbeatable, so why do we think we could beat it? If the government wants to control you, blowing up Twitter for help is a better recourse than blowing up anything else.

    • Jim

      Google: “Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan” and see how a small armed populace does against a super power. And if we were actually facing tyranny, most of our armed forces would be the first in line the protect the Constitution…those take the oath very, very seriously.

      • JFK

        YOU need to google reality instead of some right wing babble you want to hear. The Soviets SLAUGHTERED Afghans on an enormous scale.

        Soviet Forces: 14,453 killed (total)
        9,500 killed in combat
        4,000 died from wounds
        1,000 died from disease and accidents

        THAT’S what you find so impressive? A total of 14,453 in TEN YEARS which is in itself less than are killed by guns in the US EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

        Now let’s look at the cost to Afghans in a nation which at the time of the Soviet invasion was only around 27 million.

        Mujahideen: 75,000–90,000 killed
        75,000+ wounded (tentative estimate)

        Civilians: 850,000–1,500,000 killed
        5 million refugees outside of Afghanistan
        2 million internally displaced persons
        Around 3 million Afghans wounded (mostly civilians)

        And THAT was inflicted by an army that was NOT on home soil and had nothing like the technology available to the modern US army. A vastly scaled down version of what would happen to the US population.

        And all that’s aside from the fact that trying to justify a murder rate off the charts in comparison to ANY other high income country on the basis of some fantasy “tyranny” that has never happened before and which no other population in high income countries even thinks about is bizarre to the point of being insane..

  • At the end of the day… I believe if you want to own a gun and if you don’t it’s your choice.. Your choice period!

    • JFK

      No one here is arguing against choice what they’re saying is that for some people it cannot be a choice, period. You think convicted criminals should have that choice? And it’s not good enough to say that there are already checks for such cases in place because if there are then they’re not good enough.

      UK murder rate per 100,000 = 1.0

      US murder rate = 5.01 and around 3.5 of that due to guns.

      • You might actually have a point except the murder rate in the UK is higher now than before the gun bans… but don’t let a simple fact like that get in the way of a perfectly asinine agenda.

        • JFK

          I have to bluntly say that you have no point at all. First of all the murder rate in the UK is not higher than before the gun ban and I’m presuming you saw that in some gun nut blog or other and simply accepted it with no research. The following is from an article written in 2012.

          Last year saw the lowest murder rate since 1983 and a fall in overall crime, according to figures released today by the Office of National Statistics.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9411649/Graphic-how-the-murder-rate-has-fallen.html

          And further the reason you have no point at all is that even if the murder rate had been higher it’s entirely irrelevant to guns. Even before the UK gun ban guns were a rarity in the UK and gun murder negligible.

          And further again even if the murder rate were higher which it patently isn’t would you seriously suggest that if they were to litter the country with guns US style that would make their murder rate lower? If that’s what you think that’s absurd.

          The US has more guns than people and the murder rate is off the charts in comparison to the UK so guns don’t lower murder rates there do they? Why if they did the US should have the lowest murder rate among ANY of the advanced nations.

          It DOESN’T, it has far and away the highest rate.

          But don’t let indisputable reality get in the way of a beloved fantasy. And then again I take that back. Please DO try to conduct just the slightest research before making these irrational claims and think beyond what you would like reality to be to what it actually is.

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  • Nicholas Tana

    This article is very interesting and I very much appreciate you having written it. What is also interesting is how few if any of the commentators are willing to conceded their points for or against it and almost see it as an all or nothing argument. I’ve found some very solid argument on both sides. The comments, however, do little to change the opinions of those involved in the debates. It reminds me of a shoot out in which nobody really wins. I think most of what you have written in the blog, however, is very true. I’d like to add that I also think as long as we in the U.S. maintain a culture of violence and guns is the way in which we choose fight for freedom or to defend it, we will continue as a nation to be physically “fighting” for freedom, and not really ever experiencing or living it. Real revolutions have always been fought with ideas and guns have been an after thought.

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  • An issue I think that doesn’t get mentioned enough is the perspective gap between most (not all, but most) pro-gun and anti-gun people that makes the issue so intractable and makes both sides stand with stalwart conviction on talking points that their opposition sees as irrelevant if not insane and makes them question the honesty and authenticity of said opposition.

    Most (not all, but most) law-abiding gun owners live in rural or small-town areas, sometimes the suburbs. However, the vast majority of gun-related crime happens in densely populated urban areas. This has a profound effect on how different the perspectives involved are.

    One side is full of people who have lived in an environment where guns are nigh-ubiquitous, and nobody gets shot. The other side lives in an environment where the only time anyone hears about a gun is when somebody gets shot.

    One side looks at a gun and sees a simple tool, harmless until and unless it falls into incompetent or malevolent hands. The other side looks at a gun and sees a potential tragedy, not if it will be used to commit violence but when.

    One side sees ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ as an obvious truism. Why can’t the other side see that? They must not be listening, we must just say it louder then.

    The other side sees ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ as dodging the very important issue of Gun Violence, which is one of the most horrible of horrible things. Why can’t the other side see that? They must not be listening, we must just say it louder then.

    When it comes to the subject of guns, the main problem is that there is a lack of objectivity and empathy on both sides. People tend to express this issue in a polarized way that suits their polarized opinion without even budging to understand the other side.

  • Tommy

    This approach is extremely interesting and informative. Unfortunately it is not fully honest with history and missing the point that unarmed populations have always been at the mercy of democide. See information here:https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/MURDER.HTM. As for as populations failing to overpower criminal government formation and murderous actions… why, that’s a perfect argument for a better armed and trained populous. To hear the anti-private ownership crowd, ending the second amendment would lead to a safer citizenry. That is absurd logic. Billions are spent on weaponry by the United States in fear of threats vis-à-vis other nation states. But a homeowner having a home defense weapon to protect his family is unwise? That is not only illogical it is the height of hypocrisy. Last few years the news has been rife with the fact that our government, under this “peaceful” anti 2nd amendment administration, has bought billions of rounds of the “horrible” ammunition for “horrible” guns to be placed in the hands of bureaucratic agents in the Social Security Administration, The Department of Agriculture, the Post Office, Homeland Security and even good old NOAA. No sir, you may keep your arguments to disarm us; your “reasoning” is faulty and possibly immoral in the face of human welfare, freedom and security.

    • JFK-1

      So you’re saying that any nation which does not scatter guns around the population is a nation where the citizens are all in great danger and totally unprotected. Prime target for huge murder rates since they can’t defend themselves.

      I think you just made that up for reasons unknown. EVERY US citizen is in far greater danger of being murdered than British citizens who do NOT have guns.

      Total number of murders entire UK comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2013/2014 = 619 and ZERO of those murders by gun. Total murder rate per head of population of 1.0 per 100,000

      http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

      Total number of murders in US 2013 = 16,121 and 11,208 of those were by gun. Total murder rate per head of population of 5.01 per 100,000

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

      THAT’S the perfect argument for gun control and it’s not an opinion. It’s an indisputable statistical fact.

      • Flounder2760

        the problem with quoting the UK’s gun control efforts is that the stats arent the same.

        there are a lot more murders in metroplitan areas above 100k people in population.

        compared to the UK the U.S has a lot more of these areas and larger.

        and although that does skew the numebrs on deaths per 100k people in UKs favor having less concentrated areas where more then 100k people congregate as populations.

        the UK statistics also show that in the rate of violent crime is something on the order of 300+% more per 100k people then in the united states.

        what does that look like you might ask?

        it looks like this murders per 100k U.S: 9-10 varies UK: 1-2 also varies

        violent crimes per 100k U.S: 300ish UK:1200 ish

        now it may sound poorly thought but i think about this all the time.

        violent crime statistics never consider the lives lost as a result of trauma from violent crimes which is often mental.

        rape victims that later commit suicide aren’t counted in murder statistics..

        it really does make you think on the nature of using statistics like these to say “I’m right and your wrong!”.

        would i prefer to live in a country with with on avg 9 more murders per 100k people or would i rather live in a country that’s more regulated but victimizes 900 more people violently per 100k people than my country….

        decisions decisions..

        the sources i used for this while im too lazy to post links is the fbi statistics and the UK home office stats….read them and linked them quite a lot a few years ago during the aurora colorado shooting year and the sandyhook shootings…

        bibliography
        https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/violent-crime

        this isnt the one i remembered linking before but it looks liek murder rates are about half what i thought
        https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/murder

        for the UK numbers i used to have a link for the home office stats but iv forgotten it so we shall use this.

        http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

        according to this source my number on the UK shootings is a little ballooned but generally on target. Also interesting to note is that less then 10% of the murders in that source were by guns.

        there is the national statistic office report on violent crime and murder respectively.
        http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/2015-07-16#violent-crime
        thought according to these stats the violent crime in the UK excluding murder (cuz they combine them for some reason) is only roughly 200% more then the US per capita.

        so with this wall of text out of the way i must ask you not to rely on statstics but to instead keep a clear mind and look for your own data in your own areas(towns-cities-states)

        and find out if those stats actually are indicative of you and your’s

        • laercio Oliveira

          Well, how Switzerland fits in this context? I say lots of guns in citizens hands and a rate or homicide with use gun very close to England/Wales? According to UNODC & Small arms survey, it was 41 to 57. By the way, Sweden, where guns are commons too, they got 37 gun related murders in the same year (2014).

          • JFK-1

            I’m guessing you made up the Switzerland thing or simply heard it from someone else and didn’t bother researching it. Switzerland has NOTHING LIKE a gun homicide rate approaching that of England/Wales

            Switzerland has a gun homicide rate of 3.08 per 100,000 population in comparison to the UK which has a gun homicide rate of 0.23 per 100,000 population

            That’s a rate over 13 times higher which is NOT approaching that of the UK.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

          • Laercio Oliveira

            I am not relying in wikipedia, but in more formal and trustable sources of wich data are used by international organizations, as i have citated.
            I suggest you visiting: http://crimeresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Homicide-rates-across-all-countries.jpeg
            Justo for example…

          • JFK-1

            Well if you want to play the links game and don’t realise that those who edit wiki generally use “more formal and trustable sources of which data are used by international organizations” and since what you have provided is so tiny I can’t even see it here is a “more formal and trustable sources of which data are used by international organizations” which says exactly the same thing as wiki does.

            In Switzerland, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

            2011: 3.04
            2010: 3.10
            2009: 3.60
            2008: 3.40
            2007: 3.86
            2006: 3.81
            2005: 4.01
            2004: 4.29
            2003: 4.59
            2002: 5.40
            2001: 5.58
            2000: 5.32
            1999: 5.41
            1998: 6.46
            1997: 6.03
            1996: 6.32
            1995: 6.09

            http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/switzerland

            In the United Kingdom, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

            2011: 0.23
            2010: 0.26
            2009: 0.24
            2008: 0.28
            2007: 0.21
            2006: 0.35
            2005: 0.27
            2004: 0.26
            2003: 0.27
            2002: 0.28
            2001: 0.26
            2000: 0.40
            1999: 0.36
            1998: 0.34
            1997: 0.32
            1996: 0.42

            http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-kingdom

            And incidentally any attempt at all to deny that the US has a catastrophic gun issue and that ANY other high income Western nation has anything approaching that problem is frankly ludicrous.

            US police are shooting dead hundreds more people annually than the total of British murders by ANY means and US police themselves are being shot dead every year at a rate it would take Britain centuries to match.

            Entire years pass with NO British people shot dead by police and NO police shot dead. Again, any attempt to deny this is a catastrophic death rate due to lack of gun control is ludicrous.

          • Laercio Oliveira

            I agree with you in some aspects but que gun related crime problem is not only centered around gun control only. It is a matter of culture, habits, behavior, economics and nation historic formation. Take the example of Brazil. There is a rigid gun control law since 2003 that banned the right of carry gun in streets. You must be seven years older than the legal civil responsability age to purchase a gun, just after undergoing gun knowledge and practical classes and by the end a psychological exam. All legal guns are registered and civils are allowed only to buy limited number of guns and of restrict calibers. No handguns over .38 or rifles over .44-40 can be legally purchased. Civil guns in the country has been controlled since 1940. But… see what happened: gun related crimes have rised since gun control increase, many of them now employing assault rifles that come to country through international weapon traffic (mainly from Asia). Robbery in streets also have augmented, perpetrated by drugged armed with knives sticks and even fireguns. This is directly related to the end of carry gun right. The outlaw now knows that will not face a same level reaction by the victim. Gun control sole works to restrain crime? For us, No!

          • JFK-1

            So you want to compare the US with Brazil now? But NOT the UK because it has a tiny gun homicide rate and is actually a far more comparable nation on many levels including economically.

            Why not throw in Somalia to make the US look even better? You should really read the article at the following link to get a grip on what type of nations it’s reasonable to compare.

            You’re making the typical dance we see from people who want to trumpet that guns are good no matter how many people are killed so let’s compare ourselves to anything at all even if it’s third world.

            http://www.armedwithreason.com/better-than-somalia-how-to-feel-good-about-gun-violence/

        • JFK-1

          So people shouldn’t rely on statistics? Is that only when the statistics don’t suit them? You want an example of a city over 100K? Alright in the UK let’s take the daddy of them all. London which has a population over 8 million.

          A BBC article from 2014 says the following.

          “The number of homicides in London could fall below 100 in a year for the first time in more than 40 years, according to the Met Police.

          There have been 93 homicides since January 2014, compared with more than 200 from January to December in 2001.

          With a 2014 average of two a week it is “unlikely” there will be more than 100 by the end of the year, police said” http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-30577385

          Does THAT skew the UK statistic? A city of 8 million with a total murder count below 100?

          You think that would be even lower if London were littered with guns US style? Or would it be higher?

          Believe me the British aren’t any more placid than anyone else is. It’s sheer common sense that the lack of implements designed to do nothing but kill makes it harder to kill.

          And incidentally “violent crime” in the UK can be almost anything. If I were to push someone or merely verbally abuse them then THAT’S “violent crime” and goes on to the statistics.

          You try incorporating such as THAT into US statistics and imagine what the “violent crime” figures would look like.

  • Doug

    I feel like a lot of what you said was accurate but I don’t agree with your article. I don’t think your argument is solid in regards to what can happen in the future. Nobody can predict the future but preparedness is never a bad thing and to have tools necessary to get a job done before a job starts is always best. I am a contractor so I know this all too well.

    As you mentioned in your peice, tyranny doesn’t happen all at once. Our government is already overstepping its boundaries on a regular basis, seemingly small things.The firearm community is specifically being targeted (as you know). Weapons are never the problem, It’s been said numerous times, mental health is the largest issue here and everywhere else, it always has been. It takes a weak mind and a lot of hate to do what Hitler did; to hurt innocent people for being different is a disgusting act. Perhaps it might make more sense to shift your focus less on gun control and more on mental health.

    • Robert W. Sotis

      You are attempting to use reason with low IQ commie scum who produce this propagnada.

      • jamesofthecommons

        Robert; your comment is a prime example of projection; in that you have made accusations based upon neither reason nor fact. The author of this article, whether you agree with him or not, did indeed utilize reason in his attempt to dispel the myths surrounding gun control and government tyranny. You sir, should consider why it is that you have accused this author of being, what in reality, you are. That said, there is a correlation between having an impaired mind and the ability to objectively introspect ones personal failings and weaknesses. I suspect that you will go about your affairs as usual, entirely unable to better your self. I suppose that for your sake, it is good that you are too dim witted to fathom your own intellectual inferiority. Have a good day.

        • Doug

          If you truly feel he is “dim witted”, would it not be better to use words you think would have a better chance of getting through to his dumb brain successfully? Or are you trying to prove to him that you are superior intellectually so you have to show off?

          It is easy to equate the government trying to take control of its people to communism. While in theory communism doesn’t seem so bad, in practice, large scale, it has some inherent problems.

          • jamesofthecommons

            Doug; I refuse to justify my reply to Sotis to you.
            Perhaps you are attempting to show off your moral superiority over me ?
            People like Sotis prevent society from making needed advancements, and they do so quite proudly. Why have you chosen I wonder, to question my stance against Sotis, instead of challenging Sotis on his clearly nonsensical, not to mention, insulting comment ?
            As for the issues of government tyranny ,mental illness and gun control. Allow me to make it clear to you that I am personally opposed to still more gun control laws. That said, my opposition to more gun control laws is not based upon the errounious belief that an armed populace is an effective deterent against government tyranny. I am against still more gun control laws, simply because I do not believe we need to make it harder for persons to defend themselves against criminals whom will be determinend to get guns regardless of what laws are passed. Now having said this, I do realize that there are gaping holes in my argument. This admitted to, I still do not believe that any individual should be required by law to risk facing an armed criminal, unarmed. I also believe that the right of self defense is an inherent right which at least should extend to all persons; even criminals whom have paid their debts to society and mentally ill persons whom are not known to be an immediate threat to others or themselves. As you are aware there are many people in our society whom have been branded as criminals unjustly, by unjust laws. We also know from experience that both persons whom have been branded unjustly as criminals, and the mentally ill have been the targets of vigilante,and or mob violence. Just as these two groups are sometimes the targets of undue retributive action, so to are persons whom rightly have already been punished by society for real crimes against society. Once a person has paid a valid debt to society, I see no reason to continue to deprive them of any of their rights.
            Statistics indicate us that on average, mentally ill persons are no more likely to commit violent crimes than the non-mentally ill. This being the case the argument that mental illness is a more pressing issue than gun control, is simply not a valid argument. Again though, I am not one to argue for more gun control; I am however compelled to call into question both the arguments, for and against gun control; and that is the purpose of my comments in regards to this article.

          • Doug

            Well, everything you just said sounds 100% reasonable. I was under the impression you were not for the people. I too know my logic is not flawless but I am passionate about keeping our rights.

            Also, sorry Sotis but some of the things you are commenting, are indeed, rash. I read a lot of your comments and you seem to be on a bit of a mission. That being said Sotis has every right to his opinion but I do not agree with it entirely.

            I don’t like Hilary or Trump personally, it’s going to be a tough choice when comes time…

            Anyway, although it may have seemed like we were arguing, I still enjoyed your perspective and your approach.

            I still do believe in what I was saying but im sure there is still much to learn about the subject as there always is.

          • Anthony Hall

            Just because he doesnt agree with sotis doesn’t mean he has to back your views or the way in which you communicate them.

    • jamesofthecommons

      Doug; what do the tools used by a contractor have to do with the issue discussed in this article ? What does it mean to feel as if an argument and the information provided to support that argument is accurate ? If the future can not be predicted, then how can you determine what tools will be needed for future jobs, or for that matter, what the future jobs will be ? If the future can not be predicted then indeed preparing for the future becomes a matter of speculation ! The thing is Doug, that we humans can fairly accurately predict the future by closely examining what has happened in the past. The author has stated that any close examination of past tyrannical governments, proves that an armed population is not an effective deterent against tyranny. Do you have information indicating otherwise ?
      You have stated that the firearm community is specifically being targeted. Polls show that many, even most, firearm owners are in favor of gun control measures intended to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the severely mentally ill. Would you say that the firearm community is targeting its self ? Do you not believe the
      polls ?
      Do you believe criminals and the severely mentally ill should accsses firearms as easily as sane, law abiding citizens ?
      You have stated that maybe the author should focus more on mental health issues and less on gun control. You also have stated that weapons are never the problem and mental health is the largest issue. You know Doug, I do not think that anyone has ever been killed by the hallucinations, delusions or obsessions of a mentally ill person ! Well wait, maybe there was that one time when they pulled that skull shattering hallucination out JFKs head ? Do you remember that; my memory fails me occasionally ?
      One last thing; if you take the tools of trade away from a contractor, said contractor will not be able to preform his/ her job without at least some difficulty. Would you agree with that asessment Doug ? I am sure you would; Now suppose we make it more difficult for known criminals to accsess the usual tools of their trade; one of those tools being a firearm; what do you suppose the result will be Doug ?

      • Doug

        “If the future can not be predicted, then how can you determine what tools will be needed for future jobs”

        That’s why it’s best to be prepared.

        Not sure why me having experience with using tools on a daily basis can not be related to firearm possession. A gun is a tool, most people in the United States use them for target practice, hunting and for self defense correct?

        Without the police agencies and our military our country would be more easily taken over by force, correct?

        Do you think violent criminals are mentally ill? If so, then mental illness is a major cause of gun deaths, correct?

        Do you know what schizophrenia is? Temporary insanity is a real thing, social issues, drug abuse, etc. There are many paths that lead to violence, the one key ingredient is us. People.

        How many times have you heard a gun is an inanimate object, do you agree with that?

        There is such a ball of confusion when it comes to what should be done. I don’t disagree with background checks, other than the mild inconvienience, they don’t directly negatively affect me. What bothers me most about registration and all the paperwork side of gun ownership is I am now a somewhat of a target.

        The same can’t be said for those who obtain firearms without paperwork.

        Also, where will the line be drawn in terms of what the exceptions are, cause at the current state of things if you get reported for yelling at someone, that can be means for confiscation, at the very least temporarily. What will the exceptions be?

        How mentally ill do you have to be to become part of the DENIED list?

        I know of quite a few Americans with the depression diagnosis. Will those people be denied? After all they are more likely to hurt themselves and since we add those numbers to the gun violence statistics we should make it to where those people can’t get ahold of firearms too.

        My point is, as you have likely already gathered, is what is next after the background checks are stricter? Some might call it the domino effect.

        This boiling down again to problems that exist in our society, and always have to a degree. Just more media coverage and more population overall.

        How often do you catch yourself fantasizing about killing a bunch of strangers or your boss or family? Have you ever had a bad day and just thought, the only solution is to kill everyone I see. I would venture to say, you have not. I would also venture to say that if you were to go in to get checked for a mental disorder, you would most likely get something pasted on your forehead. Why do you suppose the prescription drug industry is so successful?

        What’s funny about your response is you start off by saying “what do the tools used by a contractor have to do with the issue discussed in this article?”

        And then you end your response relating firearms to tools.

        And the answer is you go out and get them, or you make them, or you use whatever the next best thing is.

        The article is clearly a peice written by someone who is anti-gun.

        What percentage of people in prison, specifically violent criminals and drug addicts do you think would be considered mentally ill?

        The most dangerous thing known to man, thus far, is the human brain. That should be our focus.

        You take away everything we have made in the history of human life and you still have violence. You take away human life altogether and you still have violence, in abundance.

        I don’t want to hurt anybody but I also don’t want to give away my rights and if you haven’t noticed the progression of things, then you are just as blind as you are implying I am.

  • Anthony Hall

    DONT BUY INTO THINGS SOOOOO QUICK!!!!!
    QUESTION EVERYTHING!!!!! THIS the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race riots in which the government backed the murder of so many innocent people. Private civilians bombed these “coloured” civilians from airplanes. They “detained” and confiscated the the weapons of 6000 civilians to “protect them”. The government did this. Our elected officials and everyday people from a certain ethnic group did this to these “Americans”.
    History shows us what governments will do to its own people. And the tyranny is execepted by the majority as needed to protect their safety. They willingly buy into and In most cases played a part in these genocieds and see them as acceptable and just or just

    All these leaders took the weapons of the masses and targeted ethnic and political groups. Using false flag incidents. I’m not saying this was. I’m saying to make sure to look deep before running into the streets fighting cops and the government. You may be falling into the plan. It’s not as crazy and tinfoil hat like to think that there are hidden agendas, they have popped up throughout history.
    The German Reichstag was set on fire by the Nazis to manipulate the masses to give Hitler total control and to eliminate any political opponents so the Nazis could have no opposition to the atrocities committed and to validate their reason to wipe out anyone they wanted in the name of National Securify for the fatherland.

    Armenians
    Congolese
    Ukraine, former soviet blocks
    Rawanda
    Balkans
    Indigenous peoples world wide.
    China, several times. Recent Mao and the Japanese.
    Tibet
    Cambodia
    Disarmed and targeted
    Nazi Germany and throughout Europe
    South and Central America
    Cuba
    The Philippines, and again under the leadership of Duarte.
    African Slave trade.
    American expansionism world wide in the form of coups and regime changes for their own business and military agenda.
    And the list goes on and on.

    You call the people who actually listened to their history and geography teachers Crazy cause that’s what the people wanting us without any form of protection or education want.
    Is what they called the whistle blowers of the holocaust. The further we get from it the more seemingly intelligent people now ask if it really happened, denial. Just like people calling people crazy for speaking up and asking questions. They are in denial that our governments would turn on us
    Gen. Smedley Butler who blew the whistle on the 1933 “wallstreet” or “bankers” coup against Rosevellte was orchestrated by Businesman/banker/polotican Prescott Bush, father of George H W Bush with the backing of the top wallstreet money men who wanted to install a government similar to the one that they admired in Germany that was rising up. The Nazi party. They tried to enlist the help of a popular general Smedley Butler and the help of 500,000 WW1 vets. Butler blew the whistle and the story has been hidden since. These same people and their agenda has been in total control since ’63
    Don’t jump so quick to conclusion.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/999bf4573497454d8addf1c504602ba4a677e643ebb7aa89d3b842ffe92fa688.jpg

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