An Armed Society Is a Polite Society

Guns are a taboo subject in many countries throughout the world, and they are covered negatively in the media.

In most countries, firearms are banned, or at least licensed to an individual who can provide a good reason to be able to possess a firearm for purposes such as: target shooting, pest control, hunting, gun collecting, self-defense etc.

Nevertheless, there are three countries that have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms; those countries are: Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States; the latter being the only one that doesn’t include restrictive conditions on its citizens keeping and bearing arms. Mexico and Honduras do allow their nationals to own firearms, but there are restrictions and authorizations necessary in order for people to do so. For example, Guatemala only allows its nationals to own firearms if they are not banned by law, and Mexico only allows people to be armed at home - subject to statutory authorization in Federal law.

In the United States of America, the right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment to its Constitution, a right that has its origins in English Common law and the 1869 English Bill of Rights, which was an act of Parliament that did not create a new right to keep and bear arms, but rather eliminated that restrictions imposed by King James II: who was a Roman Catholic that disarmed protestants while arming Catholics at the same time; which was in contravention to the law. Therefore, the 1689 Bill of Right ensured that protestants could keep and bear arms for their self-defense, and it also concluded that the power to regulate access to weapons rested with parliament, and not the monarch.

After the declaration of independence in 1776, the Second Amendment was one of the first amendments to the United States Constitution, and it is still in force today. Meanwhile, the English right to keep and bear arms from the 1869 bill of rights is no longer legally protected, even though it technically exists and has not been revoked.

Today, the United Kingdom has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world and one has to go through several hoops in order to be able to obtain a firearm. Despite all of these restrictions, the United Kingdom has one of the highest crime rates in Europe with stabbings increasing over time. In 2017, the city of London overtook New York in terms of crime, thus demonstrating the state in which the capital city finds itself in. After its ban on handguns following the Dunblane massacre in 1997, the country saw a spike in crimes committed with handguns until five years later when its police force increased their personnel by 18%; which is a significant increase: as a result crimes plummeted - but crimes were lower before the ban went into effect.

Switzerland on the other hand practices universal conscription, and until 2019, required personnel to keep firearms inside their homes in case of an invasion; however, a national referendum had overturned this long-standing tradition after the E.U. urged Switzerland to adopt stricter gun control. Nevertheless, Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, and it is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world.

The United States obviously does have a higher gun crime rate than other countries, mainly because it is easier for criminals to access these types of weapons; nevertheless, according to FBI statistics violent crime has gone down by 49% in the United States during the period 1993-2019. Even when compared to other countries such as Brazil and Mexico, the United States has homicide rates that are far lower than those countries previously mentioned: both nations have homicide rates that are six times higher than that of the United States. Brazil passed a statute on disarmament in 2005, and this did not stop the crime epidemic that sweeps the nation to this day, nor has it prevented unauthorized access to firearms. Across the world, what can be seen is that gun control laws don't reduce overall crime - they make it worse.

Dr John R. Lott Jr. is a well known gun rights advocate who authored More Guns, Less Crime; The Bias Against Guns; and Freedomnomics, his findings show that allowing people to carry concealed firearms reduces crime in the United States. Despite receiving criticism for his research methodology, many academics have praised his research; namely: Bruce Benson from Florida State University and John O. McGuiness of Cardozo School of law.

In 2003, the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote that his research concludes that more permissive gun laws don’t result in more crimes and it has provided an important contribution in establishing that these laws wouldn’t have led to carnage as people had feared previously. Lott also published a study in 2001 alongside his colleague John E. Whitely confirming that safe storage of firearms not only did not reduce juvenile suicides, but it also did not recude accidental gun deaths either. This among other scholarly articles published by Lott have come under scrutiny from other academics, claiming his research is biased and baseless due to errors in methodology; even though his research is well backed up by other studies and research on the subject.

Dr John R. Lott Jr. has without a doubt caused controversy and deep divides within academia, but gun ownership does reduce overall crime and makes societies safer. In the United States, those states that have more gun restrictions have higher crime rates; whereas those states which have fewer gun restrictions have lower crime rates. Plano is actually one of the safest places in the world, with roughly 96% of its population owning weapons - there is practically no place for any mass shooter to commit any atrocity. According to a Crime Prevention Research Center study: between 1998 and 2015, around 96.2% of mass shootings had occured in gun free zones.

In recent years, Europe has been witnessing an increasing number of public mass shootings, in Norway, France, the United Kingdom, and other terrorist attacks are taking place as well: these can be linked to the E.U.’s open border policy and increasing immigration trends. The November 2015 Paris terror attacks were the most tragic and devastating attacks in France’s post-World War Two history. One hundred and thirty-one defesenless people were executed by islamist terrorists who were armed with illegally obtained Kalashnikov’s. Nowadays, gun crime and crime in general are becoming commonplace in Europe, the Charlie Hebdo massacre and other countless terrorist attacks are affecting the socio-political environment of Europe.

Despite these worrying trends, the European Union has in fact made it harder for law-abiding citizens to own firearms with the adoption of the new Firearms Directive in 2017. E.U. citizens face greater challenges in obtaining firearms for sport, let alone self defense. Meanwhile, criminals and terrorists are allowed to do as they please and take advantage of these laws, which only harm the law-abiding citizen and do nothing to deter criminals - because criminals don’t follow laws.

Overall, governments are afraid of their citizens owning firearms for self-defense because they can protect themselves from those that would wish to abuse them. More often than not, tragic events are being used by governments to push false narratives in order to strip citizens of their rights - the citizens that they are indeed supposed to protect. Throughout history tyrannical governments have always wanted to disarm their populations first, then take away their rights and property later down the line when they have no recourse to resist.