There are few things more fundamental to freedom than the right of self defence. If freedom means anything it is the right to defend ourselves against those who would hurt us or our families, or take our property.
The problem is, the nanny state is increasingly ambivalent about whether we can be trusted with that amount of freedom. Authoritarians would prefer the police provided protection so that we don’t need to do it ourselves. Indeed, the minute anyone acts to catch a criminal or prevent a crime they are at risk of accusations of “taking the law into their own hands”. If two or more people act jointly, they are just as likely to be called “vigilantes”.
Nonetheless, the law recognises a right of self defence. If we or our families are attacked or our property threatened, we are entitled to defend it without committing a crime.
However, that right is pretty meaningless if we are denied the means of self defence. Healthy strong males may feel confident in their ability to deal with most situations with their bare hands, but the elderly and most women would not share that confidence. Yet the law denies us all the right to possess a weapon solely for the purpose of self defence. Under John Howard’s gun laws, no state may issue a licence for a gun for the purpose of self defence. It is illegal to carry a knife for self defence, or indeed any other weapon. The only weapons we are permitted to use are those that happen to be available, as a result of other factors, when the attack occurs.
In the USA, 41 states now allow concealed carrying of firearms under a “shall issue” permit system. That is, the authorities are compelled to issue a permit provided the applicant passes a background check and general safety course. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, perhaps millions, now have permits. Many are people who would never be able to defend themselves in a physical confrontation.
Despite claims by anti-gun zealots in state after state that the introduction of permits would result in an increase in violence, the evidence overwhelmingly contradicts this. In every state, as shown in numerous studies, permit holders emerge as the most lawabiding people in the community. There is even some evidence pointing to a decline in certain types of crime.
I would like to collect as many scholarly articles and studies on this topic as possible. I will create a separate page on this site where each one can be listed, so that everyone can study this seriously misunderstood topic for themselves.
To kick off, here is an article from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis showing that after 5 years of concealed carry permits, statistics clearly show permit holders are not associated with an increase in crime.