by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“My whole adult life, opponents of private gun ownership have insisted that an individual right to keep and bear arms was outmoded because it is better to rely on the police,” Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett recently remarked. “In multiple ways, in 2020 that argument has been completely demolished.”
He is correct on both counts. The argument that only the police should have guns was once standard. It has now become unfashionable, as everyone is expected to accept the premise that only criminals and rioters should have them.
The anti-gun Left — and even a newly resurgent gun-toting Left involved in or near to the recent riots — is being swept by a movement to rein in and defund the police as well. Given that crime isn’t going anywhere (except up), the problem that arises from this set of circumstances should be obvious.
Democratic lawmakers’ accession to the woke mobs’ unreasonable demands in this regard is having predictable consequences, and not just in the form of rioting. After decades of steady gains in public safety, the homicide rate rose rapidly — up 23% in New York and 39% in Chicago so far this year — and that is in spite of stringent lockdown measures in some of these places that should have theoretically kept people away from each other.
With the defund movement, the state’s ability to protect people is being demonized and exposed as ineffectual. It illustrates a fundamental truth that, fortunately, most people don’t have to think about, at least if they live in safe, affluent neighborhoods: At any given moment, your safety really is in your own hands. Usually, no one else can protect you if someone wants to do you harm.
Even in good times, the police are usually minutes away when seconds count.