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Ear to the Ground

A Leftist’s Argument Against Gun Control

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Posted on Dec 18, 2012
Allan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Carson of the Center for a Stateless Society wants school shootings to end. But he’s skeptical of the fixes offered by mainstream voices on both the right and left. He’s not crazy about firearms, but neither does he like the idea of “the same state responsible for warrantless wiretapping and the NDAA regulating the public’s access to weaponry for self-defense.”

Carson argues that the root of America’s problem with gun violence lies in culture, beginning with a broad, unquestioning acceptance of military solutions to social problems. Aggression begets aggression. Violence begets violence. Absent a reworking of cultural values, Carson says, authoritarian solutions to the gun problem are likely to do more for the creation of another facet of the police state than to reduce violence between Americans.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Kevin Carson at CounterPunch:

I doubt the level of gun violence in the United States has much to do with the kinds of gun laws that are in effect. This country would have a high rate of gun violence regardless of the laws on the books, just because of our culture. There’s a lot of truth in the liberal arguments against America’s “gun culture.” The United States has more gun violence than other Western countries for the same reason it has a culture of flag-worship and “supporting the troops” unequaled anywhere else in the West, for the same reason Christian Zionism is such a powerful political force in our country, and for the same reason a large plurality of our population actually believes the earth is 6000 years old.

… Second, I expect strict gun laws to be about as effective as the post-9/11 “counter-terrorism” police state, the Drug War, or the strict digital copyright regime in actually reducing the activity they’re ostensibly intended to reduce. Strict gun laws will hardly put a dent in either gun ownership or gun crime. In the places touted as examples of the benefits of gun control, like Europe and Japan, levels of gun ownership and violence were already far lower than in the United States even before such laws were passed.

But third, what strict gun laws will do is take the level of police statism, lawlessness and general social pathology up a notch in the same way Prohibition and the Drug War have done. I’d expect a War on Guns to expand the volume of organized crime, and to empower criminal gangs fighting over control over the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s. I’d expect it to lead to further erosion of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, further militarization of local police via SWAT teams, and further expansion of the squalid empire of civil forfeiture, perjured jailhouse snitch testimony, entrapment, planted evidence, and plea deal blackmail. In short, a War on Guns will take us even further in the direction of a society handed entirely over to violent criminal gangs, and the biggest gang of all: The criminal beasts of prey in uniform.

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