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Confiscating private guns was Hitler’s path to tyranny

carrollmp020910_optBY MICHAEL P. CARROLL
COMMENTARY

Last week's shooting in Arizona produced an entirely predictable torrent of leftist commentary deploring the easy availability of firearms. ""If only there were fewer guns,'' the confiscationists lament, ""this might not have happened.''

Also last week, a plainclothes Baltimore police officer, responding to a report of a disturbance at a night club, met several of his uniformed colleagues. The encounter ended with the plainclothes officer and a bystander dead, and four others wounded. Curiously, this terrible accident produced no leftist demands to disarm the police.

Consider: If we limited automobile use to "professionals," we'd all be much safer. We'd likely save about 40,000 lives each year. DWI would be vanishingly rare. Indeed, we'd likely be a lot healthier, as we'd be compelled to walk or ride bicycles (assuming that government doesn't think they're too dangerous). If safety is the only concern, how can one oppose such a proposal?

But, of course, safety is not the only concern. Use of these tools — cars and guns — provides a huge societal benefit, so measuring only the costs related to accidents or crime makes no sense. Let's be clear: the ubiquity of firearms is not the problem. If availability alone caused carnage, Switzerland would be awash in an ocean of blood, as every adult male serves in the militia and possesses a fully automatic "assault" weapon. Murder rates there are substantially less than in Great Britain, where few people own guns.

And no law which permits private ownership of firearms would have intercepted the Tuscon shooter; he had been convicted of nothing and had no public record of mental illness. Only a universal and 100 percent effective ban would prevent (private-sector) criminals and nuts from getting guns. Not only is that an impossibility, but to keep weapons from lunatics and criminals, the left would disarm everyone.

Except governmental agents.

So, we would all become "safer" by becoming defenseless.

When evil knocks at one's door, it tends to arrive heavily armed. History provides very little evidence for the inherent goodness of men. Much more common than the nutcase shooting at congresswomen is the rapist preying on your daughter. Against a knife wielding assailant, what chance does she have? Should law-abiding citizens stand defenseless against the criminal? Some 2 million times each year, Americans use firearms in their own defense. That's a lot of nonvictims who would become victims — and, perhaps, corpses — if the confiscationists prevail.

But more crucially, an armed populace is the greatest bulwark of freedom. Our framers understood that, and envisioned a society akin to Switzerland, in which every citizen is armed and responsible for his own defense and that of the state. Our own revolution against a tyrannical government was commenced by extra-governmental militiamen wielding their privately-owned assault weapons. Those who study history, politics and war know that entrusting a monopoly on force to small bands of disciplined young men trained to take orders without question is a horrible idea.

But, again, the left trusts government implicitly and regards the possibility of the descent of American government into tyranny as nothing more than the paranoid fantasy of screwball militia wannabes. We paranoid militia wannabes sincerely hope they're right, but wish to be prepared in case they're wrong.

What seems to us unthinkable, outrageous, and, perhaps, paranoid, is, by historical standards, an everyday occurrence. Examples of free, advanced, civilized countries spiraling into tyranny abound. Germany elected Hitler, who seized all private firearms to consolidate his murderous tyranny. Communists imposed their hateful ideology on disarmed people around the world. Indeed, the one inevitable quality of every tyranny throughout history is a disarmed populace, impotent against the destruction of its freedoms.

Put simply, the question presented is: do we trust the American people? Or do we believe that only the wise salons in government possess the requisite maturity and discretion to wield force and can be trusted to keep us "safe?"

Hubert Humphrey — that notorious conservative Republican and defender of right-wing militia kooks — supported an armed populace, because, he said, just because it hasn't happened here doesn't mean it can't. Madison, Washington, Adams and the rest of the Founding generation agreed. And history repeatedly proves them correct. Only those willing — and able — to fight for freedom get to keep it.

No, the Redcoats aren't marching on Lexington (to seize privately-owned firearms, as it happens). But who, in Berlin in 1925, could have predicted Berlin in 1935? A firearm is like a first aid kit: you hope you never need it, but it behooves you to keep it handy and know how to use it should the necessity arise. Jefferson would approve, and, as between his counsel and that of Barney Frank or Keith Olbermann, whom do you trust?

Michael P. Carroll, a Republican from Morris Township, represents the 25th District in the New Jersey Assembly.

 
Comments (4)
4 Saturday, 22 January 2011 15:57
Jim used to live in NJ
Sorry but you two missed the point entirely.
Michael Carroll is not trying to scare everyone into avoiding any gun regulation. He never states this.
Nor is his logic about guns and Switzerland flawed. He notes that despite all the Swiss weapons present, there is not a violence problem. He makes no comment about how they are controlled and regulated, as does Norman quite succinctly.
And the "arsenal" of the Mass Militia was quite likely made up of private weapons. Did the government supply these? No.
History in American Revolutionary Massachusetts, Switzerland, and pre-world war 2 Germany are merely examples he cites regarding gun control.
His point is that the Left's usual cry for eliminating guns from common citizens does not make sense from a Constitutional, an historical or a practical point of view.
His opinion may be 'disturbing' to a left wing ideologue, but not to anyone interested in a Govt of the people, by the people and for the people.
3 Thursday, 20 January 2011 12:28
Norman S.
It is true that each adult male in Switzerland has an army-issued weapon - an automatic rifle for the enlisted, a semi-automatic pistol for officers, and some medical and postal workers. An amount of ammo is provided, and sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unauthorized use takes place. When a persons service is completed they can keep their weapon, but it must first be officially converted to a semi-auto or single shot before it is returned to the owner.

For non military to carry a gun in public you must have a permit and in most cases it is given only to those working in specific occupations, such as security. You must have a background check and not be "psychiatrically disabled". A permit allows ownership of three guns.

For purchase of guns from private citizens a permit is not required, but the seller must check for some form of official ID from the buyer and confirm the buyer meets the governmental requirements, often through a background check. The seller and buyer must fill out a contract that lists the names of both seller and buyer, the weapon details and serial number, and the contract must be kept for ten years by both buyer and seller.

Sale of ammo is regulated in many different ways and often requires the recording of the purchaser's name and other personal information, depending on your status as military, former military, police, etc.

Sales of automatic weapons are generally forbiden, with exceptions requiring buyers register with local police and pass other testing and storage requirements.

This would suggest that the writer's claims about availability of guns in Switzerland and the lack of gun violence is not based in fact. Had the writer truly known about the nature of Swiss gun laws I doubt he would have even brought up the comparison, as it suggests a simple template for reasonable gun laws.
2 Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:45
Norman S.
If the writer was my elected official I would be very concerned. His lack of basic logic and reason, on top of his bizarre ideas about world history and guns laws in general, are really quite disturbing.

First, no one is confiscating anyone's guns. It's not happening now and it won't happen in the future. Not in this country.

Comparing the availability and use of cars to guns is just simply a illogical and false comparison. Mentioning guns in Switzerland is also ridiculous (I'll post the very reasonable Swiss gun laws in the next post.)

"Only a universal and 100 percent effective ban would prevent (private-sector) criminals and nuts from getting guns." Well we know this is not true. Gun checks stop criminal from getting guns thousands of time each year. But if the writer know anything about guns or public safety he should know that already.

The idea here is really to scare the public into believing that ANY regulation of guns will make us Nazis? But the real debate that is happening now is about what we as a society think is reasonable. Most of us, gun owners included, agree that a 30 shot clip in not necessary for self defense, and access to automatic weapons should be restricted. The vast majority of gun owners agree with common sence ways to limit gun access to licensed and trainer owners, and weed out criminals and those mentally unfit. But people like the writer here will do their best to make it seem like it's an all-or-nothing fight, and all guns must be legal with no exceptions. Or else we'll become Nazis. Right.
1 Thursday, 20 January 2011 08:08
Cliff Moore
The Redcoats did not march on Lexington to seize private weapons; they marched on Lexington to seize the arsenal of the Massachusetts Militia, weapons stockpiled against Indian attacks, which had occurred during the living memory of many Massachusetts residents. And by the way, the raising of militias went by the wayside many years ago. The only remnant today are the various National Guards. Few Americans would see a return to the sheriff deputizing pool hall drunks of the sort commonly found in the real West (or the not-so-old deep South, for that matter), out for summary justice. Well, maybe Sarah Palin.

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