Big apple, small arms

The United Nations is holding a Small Arms Review Conference in New York from 26 June – 7 July. Aussie researcher Philip Alpers will be attending, and tells me he’ll be posting updates on his Gun Policy website.

But the conference hasn’t gone unnoticed by the National Rifle Association, which is taking the Cheney approach (shoot first, ask questions later), and has set up a stopungunban.org website. Here’s a snippet:

This 4th of July, while you and your family celebrate the 230th Anniversary of the founding of our great nation, there’s one party you won’t be invited to…

…And that’s the party that Kofi Annan is throwing at United Nations headquarters in New York — using your tax dollars — for nearly fifty dictatorships, six terrorist states, governments that endorse execution based on religious faith, and a multitude of other nations from around the globe.

You see, this party isn’t to honor your freedoms — but to conspire to take them away. That’s right. Over our 4th of July holiday, while taps is played at Arlington National Cemetery to honor Americans who have sacrificed their lives for freedom…

[By the way, the elipses are theirs – don’t they leave you with a sense of the unsaid message between the paragraphs?]

According to the Conspirators section of the website, Australians make up 3/11 of the “leaders of the international gun-ban movement”, not to mention that the Mastermind, Rebecca Peters, is one of ours.

America’s an extraordinary country. Only in such a big cosmopolitan place could you have people campaigning against taking AK-47s out of the hands of African kids.

By the way, did the NRA ever respond to Slate’s 2003 challenge to say whether it opposed the ban on assault weapons in Iraq?

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7 Responses to Big apple, small arms

  1. Patrick says:

    You appear no less one-sided than the NRA. I am content, in geographically blessed Australia, to have strong gun rules, and glad that we have few enough guns. I am convinced that there is some difficulty with the right to bear arms in a developed democratic society.

    But I am absolutely certain that there is a moral right to resist despotic government, and have no doubt that, as the NRA gleefully point out, these governments are the most eager to disarm their citizens.

    A case, perhaps, of sauce for the goose, poison for the gander. But if it be sauce for both, it is the right to bear arms that must be the sauce, for manifestly it’s absence is poison for the goose.

  2. avocadia says:

    Whenever I encounter the resisting tyranny argument, I think of the various meat-grinder civil wars in African kleptocracies. I think of how they lend a mocking counterpoint to the notion that any popular revolution against some notional tyrant won’t also be accompanied by a popular counter-revolution. Then I think of the Ukraine.

  3. Patrick says:

    I don’t think the argument is couched so much in revolution as in simple self-defence. The various meat-grinder civil wars you speak of generally begin with a small group, armed either by a pretend government or a pretender to that status. A lot less meat would be ground, imho, if a lot more of it was possessed of the means to shoot first and not merely run away.

    The problem is that there is no effective, nor legitimate, monopoly on force. Property rights cease to mean much when you can be attacked the next day, and without property rights, poverty, misery and their attendant ill-fortune rule supreme.

    In the African example the biggest problem is that the vast majority of people might not actually be able to afford a gun (but I’ll bet they could, in places like Zimbabwe/Darfur/DRC/Togo at least (I’d add SA but everyone there already owns a gun)).

  4. Andrew Leigh says:

    Patrick, theoretically the guns/crime thing could go either way. But the best empirical paper on this is Mark Duggan’s Journal of Political Economy paper More Guns, More Crime.

    But wait, you’ll say, John Lott has a paper by the title “More Guns, Less Crime”. There’s a long debate about Lott’s credibility, but the simplest answer is that his paper wasn’t published in the JPE, one of the world’s top economics journals.

  5. Patrick says:

    I’ve explicitly excluded developed countries from the above argument, so I doubt his paper about the US will change my mind in a hurry 🙂

  6. Mark says:

    Look, it’s obvious. Some countries are more civilised and educated than others, and in those people have to have guns to overthrow the despots who are always seeking to sneak up on them (despite their civilisation and education).

    Uncivilised, uneducated people shouldn’t have guns. No siree. You have to at least attend four years of primary school before you’re responsible enough to know how to use one properly.

  7. NY Traveler says:

    So thats how far it has come? People protesting for taking the guns out of the hands of children?
    I never understood trigger-happy gun-owning rednecks.
    Even here in California I am surrounded by gun crazyness. Almost 50% of the people I know own weapons and why? To defend themself against some imaginary enemy. Well they don’t realize that they are actually more in danger of hurting themself by accident with their guns, than being shot on the street by some imaginary dark figure.
    Try talking sense into these guys? No way.

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