I’ll let the author speak. It is a six page article. Read the whole thing as a must read. One I wish Kirsten Powers would take the time to do so.
This is the last part of it.
As mentioned earlier, even much of modern, democratic Europe was under dictatorial control relatively recently. A hypothetical 80-year-old retiree shuffling today around the house in which he was born in Potsdam would have lived under four governments without ever having called a moving van or packed a box. Two of those regimes (Hitler’s Nazi state and the East German Communist government) would have been among the more evil governments to ever give a secret policeman a leather trench coat, and one (the Weimar republic) was chaotic and inept.
That retiree’s contemporary in his family home in Marseille would have lived under the tottering Third Republic, the collaborationist Vichy regime, the Provisional Government, the unstable Fourth Republic, and the Fifth Republic.
And both of them would, today, be eyeing the rise of the yet-unproven European Union.
The past century has seen the emergence of the bloodiest regimes ever to exist on the planet. During the 20th Century, the People’s Republic of China slaughtered over 76 million people, the Soviet Union murdered roughly 62 million, and Nazi Germany put another 21 million in the ground.
The Nazi regime rose out of a functioning—though deeply flawed—democracy, so even regular elections are an uncertain barrier to tyrannical rulers.
But even a perfectly stable democracy is no guarantee against the future. Not content to engage in mass murder within their own borders, totalitarian armies have exported mayhem to neighboring countries.
Those are only the headliners. According to R.J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii and author of Death by Government, autocratic regimes with a variety of ideologies, or no ideologies at all, shed blood around the world, raising the overall death toll inflicted by governments to 262 million over the course of the 20th Century.
Democratic regimes weren’t nearly as bloodthirsty as their authoritarian counterparts, though they did commit atrocities—especially in their colonial holdings. They also had a nasty habit of being invaded and occupied by their jackbooted neighbors.
Given that track record, why would even the inhabitant of a stable democracy, who is perfectly happy with the current political set-up, have any confidence that the government perusing firearms registration records ten years down the road will bear any resemblance to the government gathering those records now?
Keeping a few unregistered guns may well look like an insurance policy against a future that could all too easily resemble the past.
The United States has been happily free of dictators, purges, and occupation, but it doesn’t take a large dose of paranoia to look back over history and wonder if this one country is necessarily a permanent exception to the troubles that have engulfed the rest of the planet.
And even if America never proves to be Weimar Germany with weaker beer, or to have the border integrity of France’s Third Republic, elected officials, like those in New York and California, do their reputations no favor when they violate promises that registration records will never be used to ease confiscation schemes.
That said, the underlying point of all of this evidence of extremely well-armed scofflaws around the world is this: the scofflaws’ motivations don’t matter; agreement with their reasoning doesn’t matter; sharing or even respecting their values is entirely irrelevant. All that matters is that, from one country to the next, across barriers of language and culture, government officials in even the most benign, stable democracies that have attempted to disarm their subjects, or to limit the weapons available for legal ownership, or even to do no more than track gun owners and register guns, have run into overwhelming resistance. Mass defiance has crippled registration programs, hobbled confiscations schemes and made a mockery of licensing programs.
Given a choice between complying with restrictions on firearms ownership and defying the law, a clear majority of people in most jurisdictions have chosen rebellion. The tighter the law, the more obvious the rebellion, to the point that the vast majority of firearms in civilian hands in Europe are owned outside the law.
If history is any judge, that’s probably a good thing. But even if you don’t agree, this is a world in which civilians are well-armed, and intent on staying that way.
This is a great job explaining a very complex problem.