An Anarchist Case Against Gun Control

Many states and cities in the United States have very restrictive laws against handgun ownership and use, under the pretext that such laws keep handguns out of the possession of violent aggressors. In fact, these statutes commonly do nothing of the sort. Their primary effect is to disarm peaceable individuals and leave them at the mercy both of hoods and cops. Aggressors, who are already violating various laws by killing, raping, robbing, etc, will not necessarily be deterred from using guns by criminalizing their use as well. If they were afraid of laws they would not be attacking other people to begin with. Gun control laws make the lives of human predators easier, by depriving their potential victims of an effective means of defense.

The other people who benefit from gun control are the police. Without an armed populace they can freely stop, search, and harass peaceable people, invade their homes, order them from and search their vehicles, and confiscate their property without any fear of reprisal. In order to combat such state-sponsored terrorism, wholesale abolition or evasion of gun control laws and widespread ownership of guns is crucial. While individual possession of firearms may deter routine traffic stops and harassment of peaceful people on the street by cops, it is important that any larger-scale attempt at armed self-defense against police or other agents of the state involve more than just a few individuals. If small groups try to defend themselves against police attacks, they can expect military-style assaults on their homes, as was demonstrated in Philadelphia in the MOVE bombing and in Waco in the attack on the Branch Davidians. Only a coordinated neighborhood- or community-wide response has a chance of preventing or resisting such an offensive.

Laws regulating handgun possession and use have helped keep people from fighting against their social and political oppressors. Bans on sales of cheap handguns, so called Saturday night specials were instituted historically to keep weapons out of the hands of peaceable poor people, who often were not able to afford more expensive guns and rifles. This at one time left southern black people at the mercy of the KKK, and workers of all colors no defense against the thugs hired by business owners during strikes and industrial actions. Related militia laws helped destroy the Lehr-und-Wehr-Verein armed organization in Chicago in the 1800s, a group organized to defend against police attacks on rebellious workers, which included anarchists among its members. While it is certainly easier for poor people in the United States to afford more expensive handguns than was once the case, modern attempts to outlaw cheaper weapons, despite protestations of concern for the safety of the user, will make it harder for those most in need to purchase a gun, rendering them much less safe than they would be if they were free to defend themselves.

Credit: Chris Cararra, “An Anarchist Case Against Gun Control