More Guns, More Shooting

As best I can tell, stringent restrictions on firearms ownership are neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve drastic reductions in the incidence of violent crime in the United States. So given that many people feel very strongly about gun ownership, I’m inclined to say that law-abiding citizens should be able to buy guns with ease. But the occurrence of spree killings in one of the states with the most liberal gun laws in the union ought, at least, to undercut the theory that such laws will actually reduce crime via spontaneous crime fighting by well-armed citizens. But via Nick Beaudrot I see at least one Arizona State Rep doesn’t see it that way:

“When everyone is carrying a firearm, nobody is going to be a victim,” [Jack] Harper [R-Sunrise] continued. “The socialists of today are only one gun confiscation away from being the communists of tomorrow.”

So on the one hand, that’s nuts.

On the other hand, while it’s clear that strident pro-gun rhetoric played absolutely no role in this shooting (Rep Giffords was, herself, a pretty pro-gun politician) this is the kind of thing people like me are talking about when we talk about irresponsible rhetoric. If you actually believed that the political party you didn’t vote for was likely to turn the United States into a communist dictatorship, then you’d probably conclude that armed resistance was appropriate. You’d be especially inclined to believe that if you thought that your partisan opponents’ proposed restrictions on gun ownership were the key stepping-stone on the road to serfdom. I’m pretty sure that’s not actually what Jack Harper means. But given that he almost certainly doesn’t mean that, he ought to think more seriously about whether he really wants to say it. Again, the killer in Arizona doesn’t seem to have been inspired by this kind of thing. But given that we’re not teetering on the brink of totalitarianism, officials in positions of responsibility probably shouldn’t run around the country saying we’re teetering on the brink of totalitarianism.