Lab e1: Gun controls

Gun controls

Who cares, what are you talking about? 

Interview with Marco, a pioneer traveller to the OboxPlanet

Interviewer: Marco, you’ve explored the OboxPlanet, a society without states and with no state gun laws. Does that mean people are afraid of gun violence?

Marco: No. When I try to explain gun laws on Earth, it usually leaves people scratching their heads. They will ask something like “Wait a minute, so you’ve got this group called the state who can snatch your guns and keep all the firepower to themselves? What if they go rogue?”

Interviewer: Interesting point. But are there no gun rules at all?

Marco: Some communities and some businesses have their own restrictions, plus there’s one overriding golden rule: only use guns if you’re defending yourself, and keep it reasonable. Example: If somebody brakes into my place and threatens my wife, I shoot the bum, that’s ok. But if it’s just some poor soul digging through my trash for a snack, shooting him isn’t appropriate. It’s a rule that has been developed and refined throughout centuries of judges saying, ‘Hey, let’s keep it fair.” It is essentially the process of our Roman law and our common law.

Interviewer: How common is it for people to own guns, and what do they use them for?

Marco: In everyday life, having guns is like having knives or a baseball bat at home on Earth. People use them for sports, even at school, and most folks have one or more guns. Insurance companies offer gun courses and discounts because knowing how to handle a gun can keep you safer from burglaries or worse.

On OboxPlanet, most people own firearms and almost all of them have a standard certificate that they can handle them. Some carry them with them all the time, others not. Very few care.

On OboxPlanet, guns are popular for recreational purposes. As far as carrying guns, every property owner can make whatever rule he wants on his own property. Most people don’t care. Some shopping malls require a certificate of proficiency but almost everybody got such a certificate way back in school. The standard question for deciding on a rule is: imagine, you think about robing a bank. Would you rather have that everybody in there has a gun or does not have a gun?

Generally, there is very little gun violence on the OboxPlanet for several reasons.

One is that the state is an institution with the monopoly on the use of physical coercion, at gunpoint, if necessary. On the OboxPlanet, this whole idea that any group of people have the right to use guns to get their way, is inexistent. Gun violence, except in defense, is always wrong, the whole culture on the OboxPlanet is more contract- and peace-oriented.

With increasing wealth, the temptation to get from others by illegal coercion tends to decline. There are fewer bad apples in society who want to use violence to “get their share”. This reduces violent crime generally, to the point that many people on the OboxPlanet don’t even bother to have a gun ready for self-defense.

What experiences on Earth, past and present, help us understand life on the OboxPlanet?

There is much debate on Earth whether outlawing guns leads to a more peaceful society and research claims that the findings are inconclusive.

Be that as it may, there is one thing we invite the reader to ponder:

There seems to be a tendency that the more controlling a state, the more it wants to disarm its citizens. The Swiss keep their military rifles, including ammunition, at home, while in the former communist states, there were practically no private firearms. But why should the state care, as long as people use their firearms defensively? If history can teach us one thing, it is that you can only disarm the innocent. The bad guys have always had guns and will always have them. And to establish “gun free zones” like schools is like advertising a shooting range for the bad guys.

Now it’s your turn:

Without the war on drugs, without foreign policy and meddling in others affairs, without wars and people many times richer: do you see the need for personal arms? Would you arm youself?

Things we could learn and implement from the OboxPlanet:

Disarm the criminals, not the innocent.

Let communities decide on gun laws or better: abolish all gun rules

Prof. Richard Epstein likes to refer to Israel. There, off-duty military and police personnel may carry guns or are even required to do so, depending on the security situation. He suggests that this could discourage some mass shootings by mad people or at least allow for a quicker reaction. 

Some illustrations:

John Stossel, The Right to Bear Arms