July 10, 2015

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My change in view was in part effected by the combined realization that just such an armed populace”€”300 million guns and counting”€”is not just going to be respected but also feared by its government. This is a foreign concept to us in the U.K., but it is worth bearing in mind that the U.S. government is guilty of more interference in the rights of people, both its own and those around the world, than any other in the past half century. This is a consequence of being the sole Great Power of that period, and not necessarily to be wholly regretted. However, there is reason to hedge against that”€”other people do, why shouldn”€™t their own?

And make no mistake about it, this is not complete paranoia. The U.S. government has handed over $4 billion worth of military equipment to its domestic law-enforcement agencies in the past two decades, and it was only after serious protest last month that President Obama proscribed the possession of tracked vehicles (including tanks), grenade launchers, and heavy machine guns by the local police.

So yes, in an ideal world, guns wouldn”€™t get into the hands of the criminal or the crazed, just as one hopes the intoxicated or intemperate won”€™t get behind the wheel, but they do. Trusting your government to license automobiles simply makes sense; trusting them to license one of the few checks and balances on their authority that the political establishment itself doesn”€™t control”€”well, that has begun to seem to me like another matter altogether.


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