Evan Klim's Rebuttal to
‘Individual Sovereignty and the Case Against Gun Control’
Evan Klim (Democratic Socialism)
Katherine Revello (Classical Liberalism)
This is a response to the article titled “Individual Sovereignty and the Case Against Gun Control.” This article was challenging to respond to, but I find that exploring points of view other than your own helps in the galvanizing of ideas.
In this article, Katherine wrote that gun control violates the principles that a citizen’s right to use property as he or she pleases. This is true: gun control does violate this principle for citizens who are looking to use guns for sport and/or defence. However, in the United States, more than any other country in the world, guns are used by its own citizens to infringe on people’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Accordingly, I argue that pragmatic measures need to be put in place to ensure the right to life trumps the right to own something built to wipe out a room of people in seconds.
Following each mass shooting, attitudes have changed towards gun control, as the majority of Americans believe something needs to be done to protect innocent civilians from terrorists or individuals with mental health issues. The problem is that the government is not serving the people who elected them. If they did, perhaps gun violence would be less prevalent in the United States. Of course, there will always be individuals with violent politics who will brush “aside reason and regard for the law,” but that doesn’t mean that laws are completely useless in preventing crime. After all, laws are experiments: sometimes they work, sometimes they fail. In the event of the latter, the hope is that lawmakers can learn from their mistakes to ensure they do not repeat themselves.
A note on the remark that “Firearms are not a universal bad or universal good; nor do judiciaries make a prima facie determination about individuals who use them.” It is true in a relativist sense that it is impossible to say that something is a universal good or bad and that you cannot make a judgement on all individuals who use guns. However, I think it is ridiculous to believe that all individuals who own guns are law abiding citizens. The FBI has compiled information on individuals who commit mass shootings in the United States. The report illustrates how these individuals do share similar characteristics that can be warning signs for law enforcement. Of course, not every single white man with mental health issues will buy a gun and shoot up a public place, but if measures were put in place like a mental health check, this might work to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people while also giving troubled individuals the resources needed to deal with their interpersonal issues. Yes, it is unfortunate that imposing gun control projects guilt onto individuals, which means that individuals will have to jump through hurdles, but if this means people will not have to try and dodge bullets, hurdles sound fine with me.