“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” So said Sun Tzu in his well-known work, The Art of War. Sun Tzu’s ideas about war and combat have been applied to many areas of modern life, but how do they apply to the idea of gun control?
With many putting forth so many opinions about the topic of gun control, it can be easy to get confused or caught up in emotional arguments. We have seen countless examples, acts of terror and mindless violence, that serve as fuel for the fire of emotional appeal. “Keep us safe! Don’t put deadly weapons in the hands of criminals!” the people cry, pointing at the tragic shootings that have taken place in this country. But, there are some key misunderstandings about what gun control is, and what it would, or would not, accomplish.
What many don’t seem to grasp is that gun control would not have that much of an impact on the crimes and massacres that keep occurring. We would like to think that we could live in a perfect country, a country with no guns and, subsequently, no shootings. Perhaps even no crimes. But, that’s not what gun control would achieve. What the government wants to do is place limitations on the citizens, increasing its power and decreasing the peoples. They don’t want to rid the country of guns. And even if they did, that wouldn’t solve the problem either. There are many examples of countries where guns are restricted to the point of being outlawed, and crime is still a major issue.
But, what is perhaps the most common point made is that, even if legislation and restrictions were to be placed on law-abiding citizens, limiting their ability or right to own guns, that doesn’t mean that the lawbreakers will follow those laws. In fact, the opposite effect would occur, as the Crime Prevention Research Center has shown us. Laws, by nature, incite law-breakers. They work like scales, and increased power on one end of the scale tips the balance. In recent American history, we saw the rise of two major underground trade empires; the prohibition act laid the foundation for modern organized crime, and the existence of “illegal” drugs created the infamous drug empire that has infiltrated our country today. By examining both of these black market empires, one can see that restricting and especially outlawing something only creates a higher demand for that thing, and it will be traded and obtained whether legally or not. This is even seen in underground gun trade, in this country and in others. Creating laws banning guns will do nothing to stop lawbreakers from getting their hands on weapons.
Now, what gun control would accomplish would be to further restrict our personal freedoms, and the liberties we enjoy as made clear in the second amendment. And, a stricter gun ban could become what many Americans fear: an abolishment of the second amendment. While this is an extreme scenario, it is a scenario that has become a nightmare for many staunch gun owners. But, their point is a valid one, in that the ownership of the gun itself is in many ways more important than if and how that gun is used. As Sun Tzu says, a battle is best won when we can subdue an enemy and not fight. Practically, by carrying a weapon, we have the ability to deter or eliminate a threat without firing once. But in the grander scheme of things, the reason gun ownership is so important is that it protects us from our government. It allows us to protect ourselves, to win the battle of home and self-defense, without fighting. Gun ownership protects us not because we fire the gun, but because we can. And that is why it’s important to battle these legislations. By retaining control of our guns, we defend ourselves and our neighbor both practically and politically. Don’t give the lawbreakers power at the law-keepers expense.
For Further Discussion:
The CATO institute discusses myths surrounding Gun control.
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