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Will You Be Safer If Guns Are Banned? Part 2

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Gun prohibition threatens your safety and your life. Prohibition will make it much more difficult for you to defend yourself and your family from predators. Prohibition will create a violent black market dominated by criminal gangs. And prohibition will result in many police assaults and murders of innocent Americans.

Gun-control laws will make our streets safer for violent criminals. With an estimated 200-700 million guns now in the U.S., an unpoliceable 12,000 miles of borders and coastline, and the world’s largest stock of precision machine tools, criminals will always be able to buy, steal, or make guns and ammunition.

As the experience of New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities with severe restrictions on guns demonstrates, banning guns only disarms the law-abiding, not the predators. When you disarm peaceful citizens, crime and violence explode.

Gun prohibition will foster a violent black market. Self-preservation is the most basic human drive. When Americans cannot buy guns and ammunition legally to protect themselves, they will buy them illegally.

America’s experience with alcohol prohibition and the war on drugs shows us what to expect as guns are banned: lucrative and lawless black markets in guns and ammunition will develop, dominated by violent criminal gangs. Black-market gun profits will give organized crime enormous power. Thousands of people will be murdered in shoot-outs between rival gun gangs, with innocent victims often caught in the cross fire. Police, courts, and politicians will be corrupted by huge gun profits.

Black-market guns and ammunition will become more lethal (no one is going to risk going to jail to buy a .22 or a pellet gun; besides, you will need a machine gun to protect yourself from the gun gangs). There will be many accidental deaths from defective guns and ammunition manufactured in underground workshops.

The enormous violence and destruction created by gun prohibition will lead to public outcries that the government “do something.” The government will respond with warrantless searches of cars, schools, office buildings, and homes for guns. Trial by jury will be severely restricted for most gun offenses. Hundreds of new prisons will be built to house millions of Americans arrested for possession of guns and trafficking.

Gun prohibition will increase police assaults and murders of innocent Americans. Gun prohibition will ultimately require gun confiscation and a war on guns, which will surely be even more bloody than the war on drugs. The violence we have witnessed between police and drug dealers is nothing compared to the violence you will see when police try to confiscate people’s guns.

The gun confiscations have already begun. According to The Washington Times , “The 3rd Police District [has] adopted a policy of observing and questioning anyone who even gives the appearance of carrying a weapon.” CNN News reports that in Boston, police publicly strip-search “suspicious” teenagers, searching for drugs and guns. The Police Foundation has called for random use of metal detectors on the streets to identify anyone who might be carrying a gun. Van-mounted magnetometers and other scanners are being developed to search homes and buildings.

In Chicago, Housing Authority chairman Vincent Lane has organized door-to-door searches of public-housing apartments, without warrants, looking for drugs and guns. In Waco, Texas, “suspected firearms violations” was the justification the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms used to attack the compound of the Branch Davidians — with machine guns, poison CN gas, and tanks. At least 86 men, women and children were either shot to death, suffocated, or burned alive.

As gun prohibition intensifies, we can expect many more such attacks. In Washington, D.C., Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelley has requested that President Clinton call out the National Guard to patrol the streets. Ross Perot told Texas Rangers that police should cordon off entire inner-city communities and conduct door-to-door searches for illegal drugs and firearms. In a recent speech in California, President Clinton endorsed police “sweeps” for illegal drugs and guns.

The war on drugs has established the legal precedents for expanding such paramilitary attacks. Dr. Arnold Trebach, founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, describes this scene of military occupation by the DEA in Northern California under the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP):

The residents of [Trinity County] were considered so hostile to law enforcement that Mr. Ruzzamenti [of the DEA] had said it was necessary “to virtually occupy the area with a small army” for several days each year while eradication activities took place.

Residents were stunned and frightened to suddenly see strange men in combat uniforms, carrying military weapons, simply take over the entire area. “Many of these troops pointed their rifles at us, and one man was waving a .45 pistol at us when they went by. They were shouting ‘War on drugs!’ ‘War on drugs!’ and they took our pictures and some said they would be back.” (Arnold Trebach, The Great Drug War , pages 198-199.)

The image of paramilitary SWAT teams invading our homes and confiscating our guns is abhorrent to everything America stands for. Yet, that is precisely where gun prohibition is leading us.

Many of America’s 65 million gun owners are not going to meekly surrender their guns. Millions consider gun ownership their inalienable right, and they will fight to preserve it.

The bitter irony of gun prohibition is that laws intended to reduce violence could spark the bloodiest violence in our history. We must stop gun prohibition now, before it is too late.

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    Jarret Wollstein is a director at The International Society for Individual Liberty and co-founder of the original Society for Individual Liberty in 1969. He is the author of 28 books and special reports, including Surviving Terrorism and Shadow Over the Land: The Government's War On Your Liberty and the author of 300 articles and speeches.