Those who’ve known me for a while (especially on Facebook) will probably know that I’ve been in favour of gun control as a measure to curb gun violence.
I’ve changed my mind.
This will probably come as a surprise to a few people, but I want to explain the reasons why I, as an anarchist, can no longer in good conscience support gun control.
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Gun control perpetuates state violence.
One reason that governments embrace gun control is that the control is only ever directed at the citizens; it never applies to the state. Police forces will always be exempt from gun control laws. As such, gun control keeps power in the state while taking it from the public.
State power breeds inequality, as does any institution where a handful of people hold more power than the vast majority of the people. As long as power inequality exists, all other inequality will continue (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc).
Gun control takes away rights.
This isn’t about the Second Amendment of the American constitution. Well, not specifically. Gun control takes away the right of the citizen to own and use a firearm as they see fit. Whether it is for hunting, target practice, or hobby collecting—or, heck, even self defence—gun control restricts the freedom of those pursuits. We should be advocating for more freedom, not less.
Gun control doesn’t solve the problem.
If the idea behind gun control truly was about reducing gun violence, it should be working. The thing is though, it’s not.
Take Chicago and Washington, DC, for example. Both communities implemented handgun bans (1982 and 1976, respectfully). Following those bans, over time, murder rates actually rose in those communities instead of fall.
Same goes for England and Wales. And Ireland. Australia has a ban, too, and has not seen a significant reduction in their murder rate.
Even Canada isn’t immune to gun violence. If Canada were part of Europe, it would rank 4th in gun violence (after France, Germany, and Italy). That’s despite it’s gun control laws. (And we haven’t even touched on the fact that 80% of firearm-related deaths in Canada are suicides.)
The problem isn’t guns. It’s murder. And people don’t kill because they own a gun. They kill for various other reasons. To lay stake in a drug war, for example. Or because of revenge. Or rage. Or medication side effects. Or oppression.
Gun control doesn’t address any of that. It’s a bandaid solution that doesn’t target the underlying cause of violence.
I predict that decriminalizing all drugs, for example, would have a much more positive effect on gun violence than gun control does.
I predict that reducing stigma that prevent people (specifically men) from seeking help in dealing with things such as rage, revenge, and jealousy would have a much more positive effect on gun violence than gun control does.
I predict that improving mental health care would have a much more positive effect on gun violence than gun control does.
I predict that reducing systemic oppression would have a much more positive effect on gun violence than gun control does.
Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t switched sides. For that matter, I’ve given up taking a side. I just now see this seemingly dichotomous debate through a new paradigm.