What If All the Guns on Earth Just Disappeared?
'Think that'd usher in peace and non-violence? Hardly.
Note to Readers: I can understand how I might be accused of being lazy, insofar as my last post here was a re-print of an essay I wrote back in 2014. And I suppose I’ll have to plead “Guilty,” because today’s post is also a re-cycling of an earlier essay, in this case one I wrote in 2020 and which was published by World Net Daily; it was inspired at the time by a sign I saw displayed at a pro-gun ownership rally in Richmond, Virginia, which declared “Making good people helpless won’t make bad people harmless,” and by an incident in NY State in which household members were attacked by a man wielding a machete. I think it’s worthy of being published again.
What If All the Guns on Earth Just Disappeared?
There is a myriad of positions taken when it comes to the topic of who should or shouldn't possess guns, and if and how such possession should be regulated. One major point raised by those who oppose more stringent gun laws is that laws are, per se, for the law-abiding, and that criminals are, per se, people who view laws with disregard and contempt.
So more stringent gun laws serve to limit access to guns only by people who respect and obey laws, leaving criminals to continue to access guns via theft (which is how a great many criminals obtain guns) and illegal channels, and to continue to use those guns for criminal purposes, and with a larger pool of potential victims who, by those very laws, have been rendered disarmed and therefore vulnerable. This is why it's said that "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."
But what if all firearms -- every single one in existence -- could somehow, magically and universally, be rendered non-existent? No guns in the hands of citizens, no guns in the hands of police, no guns in the hands of criminals, and, while we're at it, no guns in the hands of soldiers, regardless of what cause they're fighting for!
What if even criminals, with all their criminal resources and networks, could not obtain firearms, laws or no laws, simply because there were no firearms anywhere for them to obtain? Wouldn't that be a good thing? Can't people from across the entire spectrum of attitudes about gun ownership agree to what a wonderful, civilized thing that would be?
Actually, I think there are many, even among the most ardent and vociferous advocates and defenders of the Second Amendment, who would embrace this (admittedly hypothetical) notion and think that humanity would be better off if all firearms could be made to disappear.
Well, I'm here to tell you that it would definitely not be a good thing, not for humanity and not for civilization. And I'll tell you why.
The elimination of firearms will not make the world a more peaceful, less violent place. Quite the contrary! Those persons who would seek to intimidate or to physically harm or kill another person (and whether driven by greed, lust, jealousy, hate, zealotry or mental illness) will still do so. But the tools they employ (be they blades or sticks, hands or fists or whatever) will require a degree of physical size and strength to be wielded as weapons and a degree of physical size and strength to defend against.
Until the advent of firearms, the advantage in combat always went to the bigger and stronger, with the smaller and weaker always at a disadvantage. The invention of firearms was a watershed moment in human history because it changed this equation, and put the smaller and weaker (and that includes the frail and the elderly!) on equal footing, no longer at the mercy of those who happened to be bigger and stronger.
Do we really want a world in which our sisters, mothers and grandmothers, for example, have to depend on being able to muster the physical strength required to attempt to resist a larger, more powerful attacker?
Sure, little David defeated the much larger and stronger Goliath by employing a shepherd's sling, which uses centrifugal force to hurl a projectile with much more energy (and therefore much further and faster) than it could be thrown with just the strength of one's arm.
But even that sling (which was, conceptually, a precursor of the firearm, in that it was a projectile weapon employed from a distance) wasn't the equalizer that a firearm can be. That's why a popular version of "All men are created equal" tells us that "All men are created by God. But it was Samuel Colt who made them equal!"
Historical note: Samuel Colt certainly didn't invent the firearm. But he was an innovator who did perfect the revolver, and the mass production thereof (including the concept of interchangeable parts), so that just about anyone could afford to own, maintain, carry and defend oneself with one. Remember that a handgun is just that: despite the two-handed grip now favored by most pistoleros, a handgun can be effectively employed even by a person who has only one hand! (My own favorite firearms innovators would include John Moses Browning and Dieudonne Saive, with honorable mention to John Garand, Eugene Stoner, Uzi Galil, Gaston Glock and, grudgingly, Mikhail Kalashnikov.)
Firearms changed the entire relationship between predator and prey, at least when the prey is human (and whether the predator is human or otherwise). Through the ages, humans defended against marauding animal predators like tigers and polar bears with little more than sharpened sticks. Such defensive weapons required physical strength to employ, and often required every able-bodied person in the village to meet the threat, and there were still casualties incurred before the attack was stopped.
The universal elimination of firearms would make every corner of the world like the home in Monsey, NY, in which, this past December, a single machete-wielding attacker was able to terrorize and do grievous bodily harm to a whole houseful of people. And that's only one among many tragic examples.
So, my answer, to anyone who thinks it would be a boon to mankind "if only all firearms could somehow vanish", would be "Be careful what you wish for!"