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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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The Bizarre Mindset of Gun-Controllers


Just consider the latest shooting episode in Alexandria, Virginia. An angry and disgruntled leftist, James Hodgkinson, takes a handgun and an assault rifle to an Alexandria ball park and starts shooting a group of Republicans who are practicing for a baseball game. Hodgkinson begins shooting at them. The group is not able to fire back because none of them has a gun. Two armed security guards, however, begin firing back at Hodgkinson. Three Alexandria policemen show up around 12 minutes later and exchange fire with the shooter. Hodgkinson is shot dead, but not before he has wounded several people, including the security guards and police officers.

The conclusion drawn by gun-controller? Gun control. If there had been gun control, they say, this wouldn’t have happened.


That is one bizarre mindset.

Let’s see. This is what the gun controllers are saying: If it had been illegal to own a handgun and an assault rifle in Virginia, Hodgkinson would have said to himself: “I can’t go and murder tho se people because it is illegal for me to own these weapons.”

That’s what passes for rational thinking among the gun-control crowd.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, if a person is going to violate laws against murder, he is going to be more than willing to violate a law that says it’s illegal to have a gun.

The gun-controller’s fallback position is: Gun control will eliminate all guns from American society. Therefore, no one will be able to get guns to kill other people.

Oh, you mean, like drug laws, which were supposed to eliminate all drugs from American society? If guns were made illegal, only murderers (and the government) would have guns because they would be able to buy them on the black market, just like with drugs. In fact, if you like the violence associated with drug laws, you would love the violence that would come with a black market in guns.

What the Alexandria episode actually demonstrated was the importance of gun ownership as a means of self-defense against murderers.

Let’s start with the obvious: With gun control, most law-abiding people are not going to carry a gun for self-defense, especially since it’s a felony offense. It’s just not worth the risk. The chances of encountering a murderer (or rapist, robber, etc.) are small. While the risk of getting caught with an illegal concealed weapon are also small, if a person is caught it’s a virtual certainty that he’ll be sent to jail for several years. Most people aren’t going to take that chance.

The murderer, on the other hand, doesn’t give a hoot if he’s convicted of illegally possessing a gun. Why should he? If he’s willing to incur a murder conviction, a conviction for illegal possession of a gun is of no importance to him.

That means that a gun-control law disarms the law-abiding citizen, not the murderer. As a practical matter, it destroys the natural right of self-defense that people have against murderers.

A mass murderer will normally choose areas where people are disarmed, such as schools. These are often called “gun-free zones” because it is a felony offense to possess a gun in such areas. The mass murderer knows that he will probably be able to kill lots of people before he is taken down, given that no one can fire back and that it will take time for the cops to get there. One rarely hears of a mass murderer going on a killing spree at a gun show.

While the Alexandria park where those Republicans were practicing for a baseball game isn’t a gun-free zone, Washington, D.C., is. Why is that relevant? Because the victims had come from Washington into Virginia. Since it’s illegal for them to carry guns with them in Washington, they naturally wouldn’t have been carrying them into Virginia. That might explain why all of them were unarmed and found themselves cowering in the dugouts and anywhere else they could hide, anxiously waiting to see if the shooter was going to approach and kill them all.

Except for one thing: There were two armed security guards present, who immediately began returning fire. Naturally, the shooter had to focus his attention on them. It wouldn’t be very wise for him to have calmly approached the dugouts to shoot the people hiding there with two people shooting directly at him.

Several minutes later, three Alexandria police officers showed up and began exchanging fire with the shooter, ultimately bringing him down, which is precisely what government should be doing (as compared with, say, busting drug users and drug dealers, which it shouldn’t be doing).

While the armed security guards had come from D.C., they had the legal authority to carry concealed weapons in both D.C. and Virginia. They demonstrate the value of people in all jurisdictions to be free to keep and bear arms.

In a society based on gun ownership, people are not required to own guns or carry guns. That’s optional. But for people who choose not to carry weapons, it’s in their interests that others be free to do so. When a mass murderer suddenly appears, all of the would-be victims are going to be very happy that there are one or more people firing back at the would-be murderer.

The fact is that without those two armed security guards, Hodgkinson would undoubtedly have killed lots of people that day. All he would have had to do is walk over the dugouts and started shooting at point-blank range. It would have been virtually impossible to miss. The armed guards prevented that from happening by firing back.

That’s not to say that gun-controllers are entirely irrational. None of them has a display on the outside of his home that says: “This is a gun-free house.”

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.