Gun Control and the Government

In the United States, the story is always the same. Some maniac (examples of whom, we might add, will be always found regardless of gun ownership rights) walks into a public building such as a school or shopping mall, opens fire and kills anything from a handful to tens of individuals. Then comes the usual tirade of arguments from the “gun control” advocates on the one side, crying out for more government control of private gun ownership in response to these heinous crimes, batted back by pro-gun ownership rhetoric from the likes of the NRA and the remainder of the gun lobby.

On a strictly theoretical level, gun ownership is no different from the ownership of any other homesteaded or voluntarily transferred physical good. A gun is simply a piece of matter like a pen or a wristwatch, and so the mere possession of it endows nobody with the right to interfere with you. Rather, it is the use of a gun (or, indeed, any one of these other items) to invade the person or property of another that is unethical, unless in self-defence. State control of gun ownership is therefore just as unethical as government invasion of any other piece of private property, whether it be a house, a car, your wallet etc.

If an individual in possession of a gun appears to be acting “suspiciously”, it is possible for people to become more concerned or agitated than they otherwise would be if the said individual was unarmed. Nevertheless, in the absence of any reasonably clear threat of an attack by the gun owner, the proper response to any subjective fear on the part of anyone else is for that person to arrange his own property in such a way as to repel the attack in the event that it occurs. Gun ownership per se warrants no special consideration.

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