With two questions and a real-life example that you’ve never even considered, I believe I can demonstrate reasonable and due cause for individual gun ownership of hand guns and even semi-automatic rifles.
Do you believe a person should have the right to defend themselves?
No is an acceptable answer. But to live out the realities of that world is infinitely complex. In order to stay focused on a pro-gun conclusion to this thought experiment, let’s assume you answered “yes”.
Again you can answer “no” here. If you’re committed to answering “no” for this question, or the next, there is likely no justification for any individual gun ownership in your society. And that’s fine with me.
Do you believe a person should have the right to defend their property?
If yes, then let’s proceed.
Defense can be objectively defined by framing the act as one that neutralizes a force against themselves, their property.
Neutralize is the operative word, a commensurate, opposite, response.
In the real-world neutralize does not play out as a precisely equal and opposite measure. Neutralize does not necessarily mean a sword should be defended by a sword, or a gun by a gun. And neutralize certainly doesn’t justify the use of an atomic weapon against a moving rock. That would go beyond the limits of defense.
The word is sufficiently flexible and allows for multiple solutions developed by the common man.
As an engineer, my day job has brought me across many construction sites and into many construction meetings over the years. Recently I was a fly on the wall in a regularly scheduled monthly meeting for a large municipal school district. Over the last decade this school district has been systematically replacing dozens of their aging facilities.
At this meeting, the project manager for a construction team managing the build of another new school led with a somber appeal that they can’t continue to build like this.
Theft is a small percentage of every project. Tools, generators, wires, pipes, gutters are often stolen from construction sites. A small percentage of theft is a part of doing business in this industry.
But this particular project was experiencing so much theft, the project literally could not be constructed under the current conditions.
The construction site was a new location in a densely populated, crime ridden area.
Night after night, even on Christmas Eve, thieves would come in and steal what-ever they could pry off the building. This included removing every piece copper wire and pipe that came out of the ground, repeatedly.
We’re not talking about mere vandalism. This was theft with a magnitude that prevented completion of the project.
Representatives of the school district wanted to understand the situation. The project manager went on to say that the site was continuously lit with flood lights. This was not their first rodeo, they’ve built other buildings for this district before. And though they considered running night shifts throughout the winter, ultimately he did not feel comfortable putting his crew in the position to be in that area overnight.
What the stakeholders concluded was that overnight security needed to be dispatched. The police department was already contacted, but simply this city police department did not have the budget or extra staff to continuously watch a construction site, that’s simply not their only responsibility. This issue was justly unexpected, and unfunded.
The stakeholders first considered an unarmed guard. But all parties were concerned that an unarmed security guard was in potentially fatal danger. Dogs were also considered, but one, they surmised, would not suffice, and multiple becomes a logistical nightmare. The manager was in the construction business, not the kennel business.
An armed guard, for a cost of $90,000 was the solution.
Now this guard was only armed with a pistol, as the threat was estimated to be a few teenage thieves that may or may not be armed.
The stakeholder successfully defended their property with a private citizen and a gun from there on out.
How does a semi-automatic rifle fit into this example?
Property can be reasonably defended from three unarmed teenagers with a pistol.
But what about three teenagers armed with pistols?
Three teenagers might not arm themselves to steal your copper pipes. But what if the property you seek to defend is a jewelry store positioned in the midst of a riot?
Seem far-fetched? The two-minute video below summarizes how one group of men defended their Koreatown shopping plaza from looters during the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
Sure riots don’t happen all that often, but how about a hurricane, or nature driven threat that motivates otherwise law-abiding citizens to loot?
Often groups most vocally opposed to individual gun ownership are the most vocal proponent of natural disaster based doomsday scenarios (variations of climate change), the exact type of natural events that would motivate otherwise law abiding citizens to steal each other’s property, even lives.
How many men with pistols can you fend off from your family’s supply of emergency food, water, and shelter? What would you need to neutralize that attack?
Life for many people translates to property. I’m no longer taking extremes here. Property is paid for in time, energy, circumstance, and only represented in dollars. Good or bad, our property is a tangible reflection of our lives.
Believe me, as a guy who has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and wants to live out of a van, I understand the whole “it’s just possessions” argument. But for many people, and in some ways myself, property can be extensions of themselves. And should the situation the merit, if you believe an individual has the right to defend themselves and their property, they should also have access to a gun, even a semi-automatic rifle.