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Monday, November 24, 2008

Lemieux: A question of state power

This week, Pierre Lemieux returns to the issue of gun control. The occasion is a debate between Pierre and Jeet Harr, from the Coalition for Gun Control. You can see Harr's contribution to the debate here.

For his part, Lemieux argues that firearms and freedom are inescapably linked.  He writes: "The gun control issue transcends right and left, uniting on one side those who mistrust state power and, on the other side, those who want more of it."

Before I started reading Lemieux's columns, I tended to believe that the link between guns and freedom was historically recognized in only a few places, like the United States and Switzerland. In his column, Lemieux points out again that the right to bear arms is a long-standing feature of Western political morality. It hasn't always been specifically enumerated as it is in the U.S. Constitution, but it's been there -- in common law and otherwise.

Drawing on empirical research, Lemieux makes the case that restrictions on peaceful gun ownership do nothing to diminish crime. Instead, these restrictions just make us more vulnerable to the true enemies of liberty: violent criminals and scheming politicians.

To prohibit ordinary individuals from owning efficient instruments of self-defence, while cops and politicians’ bodyguards are more and more powerfully armed, is not exactly a paragon of civilization.

Lemieux cites a case in which two innocent men were killed in Toronto, deaths that could have been prevented had the state not prohibited them from possessing the tools of self-defense.

Personally, I know one left-liberal who is not nearly as anti-gun as some of her compatriots. The reason? She once had to pull a gun on an ex-boyfriend in self-defense. It was her father's gun. Had she lived in Canada, who knows what would have happened to her?

Read Pierre's column in its entirety here.

Posted by Terrence Watson on November 24, 2008 | Permalink


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Well written, Mr. Lemieux.

Gun control is about forcing people to surrender their individuality and personal sovereignty to the State.

In order for people to be truly free, they must share equally with the government the ability to dispense lethal force in defense of themselves, their families, and their communities.

I live in New Hampshire, a state with some of the most gun rights-friendly laws in the world, and we were just ranked the safest of all 50 states.

Posted by: Bruce | 2008-11-24 2:28:03 PM

Bruce, I agree.

Jeet Harr has missed the pointe entirely it seems. If he wants public safety, then there are better ways to force it. Motor vehicle accidents kill a man every 4 hours in Canada and a woman every 8 hours. Non firearm Homicides kill a man every 28 hours and a woman every 2 days.

Homicides by firearms kill a man every 2 days and a woman every 5 days.

So if Mr. Harr really cares about public safety, he should perhaps want to ban automobiles.

Posted by: TM | 2008-11-24 5:46:44 PM

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