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Guns are a vital hedge against authoritarianism

It’s very common to hear the defense of the right to one’s own arms as a hedge against authoritarianism dismissed. “It can’t happen here” is the usual sentiment. An American president once had more than a thousand citizens jailed in opposition to what became known as World War I. Another, a veteran of the other’s administration, had large numbers of citizens interned and deprived of property on ethnic grounds. Both were known as “progressives.”

In dealing with mass murder, there is always a call to restrict firearm ownership, a democratic principle and political right of free peoples. Little note is ever made of how political such calls are. A Latin nightclub in New York City was attacked with a simple container of gasoline in 1990, killing 87 people. Coverage quickly faded. No guns, no single-story news cycle.

Try finding a link between crime and legal arms of any type in FBI crime data. Mass killings have been carried out in many countries, on scales from hundreds to tens of millions, the victims already “protected” by restrictions against their own gun ownership. Authoritarians always see to that. When the serfs gained the right to their own property and weapons, they became citizens, and no longer property themselves.

Dan Hoffman

Buffalo