by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“Only the cops need guns” simply could not live forever alongside, “The cops are racist and will kill you.” And so, at long last, the two circles of the Venn Diagram have filed for an amicable divorce. In the end, the differences proved irreconcilable.
At least, they proved irreconcilable without descending into farce. I have been told more times that I can count that “if you want to own an AR-15, you should join the army or the police.” Oh, really. Why? So that I can be pulled back when the rioting starts, lest I inflame those wielding bricks and Molotov cocktails? So that I can be called a fascist, acting in the service of a dictator? So that I can be part of the problem? In light of the new fashions, these old injunctions look rather silly, don’t they? “You don’t need 15 rounds; you’re not a cop! Also, the police are corrupt from top to bottom, and should probably be abolished.”
Pick one, perhaps?
In The New Republic, Matt Ford argues that the police were a mistake per se. They have, Ford writes, “become the standing armies that the Founders feared.” As it happens, unreconstructed small-r republican that I am, I have more sympathy for this idea than many might expect. But I’m sure as hell not going to entertain it at the same time as I subordinate my unalienable right to bear arms to the personal prejudices of the bureaucracy and commentariat. Don’t call the cops! Also, wait three months for a gun permit! Again: Pick one.
In any case, the idea that the existence of police officers in some way negates the right to bear arms has always been a ridiculous one.