Modest Proposal: If You Take Away Guns, Promise To Protect

The Second Amendment is not unclear: Congress may not make any law restricting gun access. The fact that they have banned automatic weapons is already an unconstitutional exercise of raw, unauthorized power.

I don’t know if the latest hysteria over guns is really going to result in a substantial change in our gun laws or not. I sometimes wonder if the current hysteria is really designed more to distract us from the fact that we know almost nothing about the Sandy Hook Massacre. I’ve noticed that Google News has become useless to me for new confirmed facts about the Newtown shooting because almost all my search terms only get me pages of editorials screeching for gun control. Ironically, this anti-gun screed is quite helpful in reminding readers that we really know nothing about why the murders took place.

But since I see a lot of articles claiming there must be “compromise” on guns, I’d like to play along and just point out a substantial “compromise” that no one is offering.

If people are not allowed to arm themselves then shouldn’t our armed enforcers be held legally liable if we are wounded or killed?

What many people don’t seem to realize is that the courts have repeatedly denied that police have any binding, enforceable duty to protect people from criminals. Gunowners Of America has a fact sheet that documents how the courts have ruled. It isn’t reassuring.

Here is an example of the legal reasoning:

“The trial judges correctly dismissed both complaints. In a carefully reasoned Memorandum Opinion, Judge Hannon based his decision … on “the fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.” … The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists. Holding that no special relationship existed between the police and appellants … Judge Hannon concluded that no specific legal duty existed.”

Got that? The police are only obligated to protect “the public” and since no individual nor even a group of individuals count as “the public,” they have no standing to redress the harm that comes to them when criminals hurt or kill them.

So when people complain about how our country is “the Wild West” because of widespread unregulated gun ownership, they are missing the point. The so-called “Wild West” was a place where people owned guns because they knew no one would protect them. From a legal point of view, we haven’t changed. No one is legally obligated to protect us from harm. We pay taxes that support the police. We obey laws that make us more helpless. Nevertheless, the people we pay and obey have no real obligations to us as compliant tax-payers. They have no relationship with us that will stand up in court. As the GOA’s document makes clear, even when someone can show negligence and failure on the part of the police to do their basic duty, one still has no standing to sue for any resulting deaths or damages. A citizen simply does not have standing to make that kind of demand.

To repeat, I am not promising to give up my gun in exchange for such a legal obligation on the part of federal, state, and local police. But I am saying I would at least know that the powers that be that want to disarm us are serious about protecting us. It would be a serious offer of a compromise.

As it stands now, it is obvious that the “powers that be” simply want to make us more exploitable than we already are.