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Schwartz Excerpt: Gun Control vs. Self-Defense

The following excerpt is from an article by Peter Schwartz in the November 15, 1980 issue of The Intellectual Activist, entitled "Guns and Knee-jerkism." In the article, Schwartz criticizes liberal views on gun control.

Now, it is conceivable that outlawing guns would result in a net reduction in the number of deaths. But even if true, that fact would not justify placing restrictions on gun ownership, any more than does the certainty of reducing deaths warrant imposing a ban on razor blades or bathtubs. It is a collectivist viewpoint that regards all of society as one giant unit and then weighs the "cost" and "benefit" to respective appendages. Gun control would harm certain individuals unfairly. It would deprive the rational person of a weapon he would use only for self-defense [...]. What could be more unjust?

[...] People have the right of self-defense and, therefore, the right to own guns. And the less adequate is the state's police protection, the more crucial that right becomes. (This does not, of course, mean that anyone ought to be permitted to carry any weapons he wishes. The government should certainly intervene when there is evidence that there exists a threat to innocent people -- for example, when someone carries a howitzer down the street, or when a minor or a convicted violent felon tries to buy a gun. But a gun in the hands of a normal adult does not in itself constitute a threat, and the government has no right to step in.)

Omissions from the text are shown with bracketed ellipses. All other punctuation and spelling is from the original.


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