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Is There a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations:

That's the title of a Working Paper that I've co-authored with Howard Nemerov. Abstract:

There are 59 nations for which data about per capita gun ownership are available. This Working Paper examines the relationship between gun density and several measures of freedom and prosperity: the Freedom House ratings of political rights and civil liberty, the Transparency International Perceived Corruption Index, the World Bank Purchasing Power Parity ratings, and the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. The data suggest that the relationships between gun ownership rates and these other measures are complex. The data show that (although exceptions can be found) the nations with the highest rates of gun ownership tend to have greater political and civil freedom, greater economic freedom and prosperity, and much less corruption than other nations. The relationship only exists for high-ownership countries. Countries with medium rates of gun density generally scored no better or worse than countries with the lowest levels of per capita gun ownership.
Comments are welcome--particularly by commenters who read the article, rather than wasting time on troll battles on other issues.

Nathan_M (mail):
It's an interesting paper. One question it left unanswered for me was how much the correlation you found has to do with wealth. While there were some exceptions, such as Yemon and the UK, it generally seemed like the richest countries had the highest levels of gun-ownership. It would be interesting to see what the relationship is between gun-ownership and freedom among countries with similar levels of economic development.

Also, I wonder why you chose to use guns per capita rather than gun-owners per capita. From the "Guns Cause Freedom" section of your paper, it would seem likely that ten people with one gun each would contribute more than one person with ten. Is gun-owner per capita data not available?

I wish law professors would team up with economists or statisticians for papers like this. This is an interesting paper, but I think it would be a lot more illuminating with more sophisticated statistics.


[DK: wealth-causes-guns is almost certainly an important factor. I'll rephrase to make this more explicit. Household gun ownership rates aren't available for the full panel; I'll add a footnote which agrees with your point that such data would be useful.]
2.20.2008 2:03am
steve_roberts (mail):
Hi,
I think the statistics treatment is weak to non-existent. My advice is to look at (or get a statistician to look at) calculating some non-parametric (ie no assumptions as to distribution) statistics such as rank correalation, which would give a numerical fix on an association between high ranking on guns per head and high ranking for freedom for example.

Causation is of course a whole different issue. A priori you might think that in a lawless society people will hold guns because they need them, in an orderly one they will be allowed to hold guns because they trust each other with them. Bearing that in mind, I would seriously suggest that pooling Switzerland with Angola is not putting like with like, and therefore not likely to tell us much


PS Typo P6 'keep her gun' for 'keep his gun'

HTH

steve_roberts
2.20.2008 4:23am
wekt:
I think a scatterplot of corruption vs firearm ownership would have been nice, rather than just using quartiles.

Like this: firearms-vs-corruptions.png


[DK: Thanks, we'll do this!]
2.20.2008 6:23am
Mike M. (mail):
I might consider expanding the scope to include all arms, at all times. There is a good argument to be made that whenever there is a relative equity in fighting power, liberty flourishes. Classical Greece is one of the best examples. Where there is disparity, liberty is strangled.
2.20.2008 7:57am
PersonFromPorlock:
Just a suggestion: the data would be more easily compared if you'd converted the various indices used to the same base, probably 100, running in the same direction; i.e., high number = most.
2.20.2008 8:24am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Does the small sample set influence the results? For many countries, I would think high levels of corruption would tend to make it less likely that data on gun ownership exsits. Think of failed third world states where everybody owns a gun.

I second the questioning of the methodology of guns per capita rather than gun owners per capita. Approaching the data with that angle may misread causal relationships.

Free countries produce more wealth. That relationship is undisputed. In wealthy countries, gun ownership isn't just pragmatic - some people will own more than a self defense handgun and a hunting firearm - they'll collect. The collector with twenty guns doesn't promote freedom to a greater extent then the guy with one handgun in the nightstand.

Free society -> wealth -> more guns per capita.

If you want to argue that the causal factors can be switched (or that it is a mutual feedback loop) such as:

Gun ownership -> free society

Then your argument would be stronger if your start point was gun owners per capita.
2.20.2008 8:30am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Mike said:

I might consider expanding the scope to include all arms, at all times. There is a good argument to be made that whenever there is a relative equity in fighting power, liberty flourishes. Classical Greece is one of the best examples. Where there is disparity, liberty is strangled.

I'm no classical scholar, but I would think that the Spartans would have had a very high number spears per capita. Of course, the helots had no spears and wouldn't have considered Spartan society particularly free. If we considered spear owners per capita, the lower level (the helots were the majority) of spear ownership would, under the model we are discussing, explain the inequities of Spartan rule.
2.20.2008 8:33am
markm (mail):
Nathan: My impression is that countries with more individual and economic freedom plus the rule of law tend to become far more prosperous in the long run, and obviously (if gun laws are held constant) prosperous people can buy more guns, among other things. There are statistical analysis techniques that would isolate the freedom-to-prosperity and prosperity-to-guns correlations and subtract that out to see if there's a freedom-to-guns correlation independent of prosperity. I don't have time to read David's full article to see if he attempted to do this, and anyway I'm not enough of a statistician to evaluate whether it was done correctly - and a sample of only 69 might be too small for statistical significance from such an analysis.

There's also a definite historical correlation. In the late middle ages, the English crown came to depend mainly upon professional armies armed with derivatives of peasant weapons (longbows and pikes), in distinction to the knights who militarily dominated France and Germany, and English peasants were far more free than on the continent. Ancient Greece and the Roman Republic both depended heavily upon slaves and noncitizen artisans with few rights, but their armies were formed mainly from citizens that brought their own weapons, and these citizens were relatively free. Their philosophers and leaders often explicitly recognized that their freedom depended upon the citizens as a whole being militarily dominant, as contrasted to nations where a separate military caste existed and kept oligarchies and tyrannies in power where the military didn't directly rule.
2.20.2008 8:41am
JB:
I agree with most of the comments so far. What with wealth leading to freedom, corruption making it hard to count guns in many poor, unfree countries, and causation flowing both ways, it will be very hard to construct strong statistics about this.

It'd be great to take a historical sample, but Freedom House wasn't publishing in 480 BC or 1350 AD, and for times when you'd think we had good data, the Michael Bellesiles controversy reminds us that we really may not.
2.20.2008 8:58am
martinned (mail) (www):

In other nations, such as the Netherlands, a long history of democracy, respect for the rule of law, and clean government may result in people believing that they have no need for guns as a safeguard against tyranny.


Hear, hear!

We asserted our right to toss out the tyrannical king in 1581, and have had very little need for guns since. Result: 0,020 guns per capita. (Which actually sounds pretty high to me.)
2.20.2008 9:01am
John Neff:
A few comments about other relevant factors
1) Many of the privately owned firearms are used for hunting. So that the availability of hunting grounds is a factor as well as game management factors.
2) Most farms and ranches have at least one firearm for varmint control so the ranching and farming economies are somewhat related to gun ownership.
3) The number of police officers per capita is also a factor because if the response time of the police is very long people will arm themselves for self-protection.
4) If the criminals are commonly armed the public will respond by arming them selves.
2.20.2008 10:07am
Kevin P. (mail):

martinned from the Netherlands:
We asserted our right to toss out the tyrannical king in 1581, and have had very little need for guns since.


What about that amicable disagreement with your neighbors in the 1940s? You remember, that one where they arrived uninvited and didn't leave? And they pinned some stars on some of your citizens and took them away for some reason?

Oh, I remember now. You are correct, you didn't need any guns. You just helplessly depended on the guns of the British and the barbarian Americans to get the Germans out.

Guns: Only needed by benevolent European regimes!
2.20.2008 10:24am
Michael B (mail):
Immediately, thoughts concerning conceptions of freedom and a responsible relation to guns come to mind. Recalling, for example, that exactly three entities (that I'm aware of) incorporate a kalashnikov on their flags and symbols: Hezbollah, Fatah and Mozambique. Then there are other entities, were they to adopt a flag, that likely would incorporate a kalashnikov, such as the Camorra in Naples and similar global crime syndicates. (Mozambique's was Marxist inspired.)


[DK: Very interesting. I added a footnote to mention this. Mzmbq has made big strides towards democracy lately, although the other two entities remain despicable.]
2.20.2008 10:31am
rarango (mail):
Agree with the comments re gun owners (vs guns) as the appropriate measure. I suspect many gun owners have more than one weapons, esp if they are hunters who pursue both birds and big game.

Also agree that the statistical treatment could be a bit more sophisticated: even a simple Chi square/cross tabs might have been useful. Agree with the commenter who suggested using a statistician on your team. Medical journals often take that approach.

Finally congratulations on moving beyound correlation and formulating some causal hypotheses. Good paper, and I enjoyed reading it.
2.20.2008 10:43am
Michael B (mail):
martinned, your view of history is blinkered and not just a little. Too much of Europe has been content (using a purely pejorative sense of the term) with placing its head in the sand even when its problems were in its own backyard (the Balkans) and including its own front yard (Hitler's Germany).

No matter what Hollywood's latest offering suggests, or the zeitgeist in broader terms, reality, a responsible view thereof, demands real world choices be made - either/or's if you will - and not aesthetic choices and delectations, via head-in-the-sand and memory-hole "strategies" on the one hand and via sheer incompetence and misanthropy on the other hand.
2.20.2008 10:47am
x (mail):
It's my understanding that in the Sadam days there were a heck of lot of firearms among the populace. That's now been reduced to where each household may have only one AK47. Sadam's Iraq was not, as I understand it, particularly free.
2.20.2008 10:48am
Ben P (mail):

Oh, I remember now. You are correct, you didn't need any guns. You just helplessly depended on the guns of the British and the barbarian Americans to get the Germans out.


To be fair, the French had guns ( Rather a lot as I recall and it didn't help them much.


These figures are interesting, but I'm doubtful that they provide us with any meaningful conclusions. Both of the problems have been adressed, the problem of causation, (the scatter plot was illuminating in that respect) and the problem of third world nations that have very high gun ownership rates.


I'm generally against gun control because I'm not convinced it does any good. But that cuts both ways, I'm equally unconvinced that gun ownership is somehow a cure for society's ills. There's just to many other factors in the equation to get any conclusive results, and that leaves us better not regulating than regulating.
2.20.2008 10:53am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

@Michael B: And your suggestion is that the Dutch people should be armed so that they can stop the next Hitler? We have faith in the ability of our laws, our customs and in our tradition of 400+ years of democracy to stop tyranny from ever returning to our country, and what exactly would gun ownership here do against problems elsewhere?
2.20.2008 11:00am
Kevin P. (mail):

martinned:
We have faith in the ability of our laws, our customs and in our tradition of 400+ years of democracy to stop tyranny from ever returning to our country


All of your laws, customs and tradition failed 60 years ago. But your faith is touching.

Perhaps those cynical faithless Swiss had the right idea.
2.20.2008 11:02am
Ben P (mail):

Perhaps those cynical faithless Swiss had the right idea.


Work with whoever has the guns because you can make money off it?
2.20.2008 11:06am
Kevin P. (mail):

x:
It's my understanding that in the Sadam days there were a heck of lot of firearms among the populace.

Please provide a reliable citation for this claim that relies upon some substantive data like surveys, registration records, firearm sale or import statistics, etc. I have spent a lot of time looking for this and have not been able to find any. My understanding is that like many things in Saddam's Iraq, all the privileges were limited to the Baathists. If you were a Baathist, you could own what you wanted. If you were not a Baathist, not so much.

In 1991, the Kurds armed themselves, and with the aid of our no-fly zones that neutralized Saddam's advantage in the air, were able to fight on the ground and keep Saddam out of the Kurdish north.
2.20.2008 11:07am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
When Holland got shirty about the Gulf War, a veteran of Arnhem observed that, next time the Germans found the lines at the golf tees taking too long and decided to conquer Holland some Sunday afternoon instead, Holland was on its own.

The number of gun owners holding even a couple of dozen guns is different from number of guns, of course. But if things get really bad, the owner of several dozen may pass some out to his neighbors who were less prudent. Or have them taken by somebody who owns only one firearm but gets it out and pointing in a relevant direction first.

I'd be inclined to count numbers of guns if the scenario is big-time fighting, rather than gun owners.

And anticipating that count might be more of a deterrence than counting the number of owners.
2.20.2008 11:08am
MDJD2B (mail):

@Michael B: And your suggestion is that the Dutch people should be armed so that they can stop the next Hitler?

One thinks more of Theo van Gogh, Pim Fortuyn, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The first two were killed for political reasons by people who took advantage of martinned's gunless society. The third fled to the US because she feared for her life.

If everyone were like martinned, nobody would need guns for protection. We can't base policiy on the assumption that everyone is as nice as us.
2.20.2008 11:12am
Tony Tutins (mail):
You may want to do a sidebar on countries that have recently limited/eradicated gun rights, like Australia and the UK, and see if they have truncated other freedoms. Ever since I received an issue of Granta magazine with huge amounts of one article blacked out, I realized that the UK restricted speech and press freedoms as well as gun rights. Here's one pointer I googled.

My belief, based on conversations with locals, is that a confounding factor for low gun ownership in Europe is the general belief that "Guns r' bad." The VPC-type position that gun ownership makes one a potential killer is widely held. Schoolteachers influence their students against owning guns.
2.20.2008 11:14am
x (mail):
By the way, I tried to follow the link to read the paper, and all I could see was the Abstract.
2.20.2008 11:17am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Download the entire paper by clicking on one of the sites, e.g. Stanford Law School.
2.20.2008 11:25am
Kevin P. (mail):
MDJD2B, good point on Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Here is an interesting press release on her move to the US (PDF)

It looks like the 400 years of gun-free democratic traditions were not sufficient to protect her life. She has moved to gun-crazy America.
2.20.2008 11:28am
Michael B (mail):
"And your suggestion is that the Dutch people should be armed so that they can stop the next Hitler? We have faith in the ability of our laws, our customs and in our tradition of 400+ years of democracy to stop tyranny from ever returning to our country, and what exactly would gun ownership here do against problems elsewhere?" martinned

I was addressing a set of cultural phenomena, not an individual by individual choice; I'm not arguing we should force guns upon Mennonites (in the U.S.), for example. I wouldn't care to endulge any type of reductionist view, in the pejorative sense of the term, but it is in fact a societal and cultural set of views that warrants and that needs to be addressed. Hence the earlier note concerning Hezbollah and Fatah and Mozambique and the Camorra. By contrast a too "pacifist," or naive view (or whatever the better term might be), such as is reflected in western Europe. By contrast again, the U.S., which certainly has subcultures that need to be addressed, but not at the expense of the broader culture's responsible relationship to the set of issues involved. Baby vs. bath water; and this issue reflects something that is in fact elemental in its relation to better conceptions of freedom.
2.20.2008 11:46am
Elliot Reed (mail):
How much would the results be impacted by the use of regional dummy variables? The high-firearms-ownership countries look to be disproportionately (though by no means exclusively) Western European. Very few Western European countries appear at the bottom of the ownership ratings (the Netherlands is an exception) but a lot of former Warsaw Pact countries (Romania, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia) do. I haven't read the paper in full yet but I don't see anything about controlling for region. What would the results be if we grouped the countries into something like "Western Europe, Warsaw Pact, Middle East, Asia, Oceania, Americas"?
2.20.2008 11:58am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

I assure you, Ms. Hirsi Ali has access to whatever security arrangements are necessary while she is here in the Netherlands. Her move to the US has less to do with security, and more to do with a fat pay check.

As for Fortuyn and Van Gogh, they were surprised by their attackers in the same way as many famous and not so famous assassinations in the US occurred. They never stood a chance.

Also, I hardly see how gun ownership would have helped prevent the German invasion in 1940. Small country vs. Big country = no chance.

@Richard Aubrey: The Gulf War has to do with the deployment (or not) of our armed forces. No one is arguing there is no need for an army.

@Michael B.: I'm sorry, I don't follow. Maybe it is my haphazard grasp of the english language.


P.S. Let's be careful not to stray too far off topic. I realise I brought it up myself, but at least I was responding to the article.
2.20.2008 12:02pm
Cold Warrior:
I gave the paper a quick read.

Interesting topic, but I've got to agree with some other commenters. This calls for rigorous statistical analysis, not merely the descriptive stats used in this version. Something on the order of a factor analysis. Without any controls for other variables (development level, literacy rates, per capita GDP, etc.), it is nearly impossible to even suggest any causation.
2.20.2008 12:14pm
Michael B (mail):
Well, I acknowledge there are unexplored assumptions within my cultural note. I believe them to be valid, but I do admit they're inherent and unexplored. Otoh, there are assumptions within your own view as well that are likewise unexplored. Beyond that, I'll leave it alone.
2.20.2008 12:16pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Also, I hardly see how gun ownership would have helped prevent the German invasion in 1940. Small country vs. Big country = no chance.

The Nazis avoided invading similarly small Switzerland, perhaps because their military consisted of every male citizen between 18 and 45. Although a mountainous country is harder to invade than the flat Netherlands, the Swiss armed citizenry model seems to be working well for the island country of Singapore. Madison would seem to be correct in saying A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.
2.20.2008 12:42pm
alias:
To those having trouble downloading the paper, SSRN makes you register and sign in, presumably because they don't want professors inflating their download counts by downloading their own articles.

It's really annoying. If you're not registered or signed in, you can keep clicking the download buttons all day and nothing will happen.
2.20.2008 12:53pm
x (mail):
I thought they avoided invading Switzerland because they could stash ill gotten loot in Swiss banks and thus Switzerland was useful as it was.
2.20.2008 1:01pm
x (mail):
Stanford law review worked fine.
2.20.2008 1:03pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):

The data show that (although exceptions can be found) the nations with the highest rates of gun ownership tend to have greater political and civil freedom, greater economic freedom and prosperity, and much less corruption than other nations.

I suspect that toaster ownership tends to be higher in countries with more freedom and prosperity and less corruption. I don't know whether good data on toaster ownership is readily available. Toasters could serve as a sort of control group to explore whether guns have some causative role in addition to just being consumer goods.
Article is still useful though.
2.20.2008 1:11pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The Nazis avoided invading similarly small Switzerland, perhaps because their military consisted of every male citizen between 18 and 45.

Like Sweden (who sold the Nazis iron ore), the Nazis didn't invade Switzerland because it was in their interest not to invade. The Swiss acted as a money launderer for the Nazis and hid their ill-gotten gains (and funded many a Nazi war criminal in South America after the war from bank accounts set up during the war). To pretend it was their Army alone that kept the Nazis at bay is ridiculous.
2.20.2008 1:13pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I bet Somalia has a very high rate of gun ownership (along with a lot of other African basket cases). What does that do for your pet theory?
2.20.2008 1:16pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Martinned.
The war in question was Gulf 1, 1991, and the vet was referring to a smart-ass mayor of some nowhere town in Holland who thought he had something useful--and anti-US--to say about it.
My father was shot in several countries straightening out some of Europe's ideas. Holland was the first place.
Don't mention it. Not that you would.
2.20.2008 1:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I think toasters are part of Anglo-American culture; that toasters are scarce in countries where bidets are popular, and vice versa. Try TV sets.
2.20.2008 1:21pm
x (mail):
Kevin P

For links, start with the footnotes in the paper.

Also try these. (I'm having trouble with links, so
squeeze out the spaces and paste the text)

http://www.lewrockwell.com
/north/north165.html

http://www.cdi.org/friendlyversion
/printversion.cfm?documentID=941


Note that the later link includes this: "the Iraqi government has provided AK-47s to leaders of Sunni and Shi'ite tribal leaders for dispersal." So it wasn't just Sunni.

Christian Science Monitor; no word on Sunni/Shia http://www.csmonitor.com
/2003/0310/p01s03-woiq.htm
2.20.2008 1:28pm
frankcross (mail):
I don't think you can geopolitically compare Netherlands with Switzerland. The Nazis also avoided Sweden, was that because of gun ownership? And Singapore? How does that support the theory?
2.20.2008 1:33pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
You also lump in countries where gun ownership is strictly for sporting purposes (e.g., Western Europe) as though the majority of gun owners in Europe even conceive of their firearms as a means of self defense. In most of Europe using a firearm for self defense, let alone to overthrow the government, is not considered a legitimate use by an ordinary citizen, and would not cross the mind of an average German to use it in such a manner (and gun regulations in those countries are sufficiently intrusive to ensure that guns kept in the home are practically worthless for such purposes).
2.20.2008 2:00pm
Kazinski:
Martinned is right, having guns wouldn't change anything. It is having guns and the fortitude to use them that makes the difference. The Dutch soldiers had guns at Srebinica, and an assignment to protect the Bosnian civilians there. But the Dutch didn't have the guts to use their guns and allowed about 3000 men and boys to be rounded up and murdered by the Bosnian Serbs. The least the Dutch should have done is turned over their guns to the Bosnians so they would have had a fighting chance.
2.20.2008 2:22pm
Dennis Nicholls (mail):
I think David's article is good considering the rotten data on guns he has. This will always be a problem - in many places a truthful answer to the question of personal gun ownership may send you off to the gulag.

But is it a fair consideration to debate the number of gun owners vs. the number of guns. Many people, once they buy that first gun, end up buying quite a few. I have a Type 03 FFL and as a licensed collector have quite a few guns. Most are obsolete historical rifles which I've collected because I'm interested in military history.

Another problem with any article like this is that it's also difficult to segregate 'private citizens' from 'government agents'. Into which bin would you put Somaili warlords?
2.20.2008 2:48pm
Dennis Nicholls (mail):
PS on page 6, last sentence of first paragraph: did you mean "comply" rather than "apply"?


[DK: Thanks. Fixed.]
2.20.2008 2:50pm
Smallholder (mail) (www):
I'm not sure if arbitrary aardvark was being serious or not, but I do think the toaster (or t.v. or computer or microwave) control group would help assess the causal relationships at stake.

Is it:

toaster ownership -> free society

or

free society -> more toasters

When framed this way, I think I'm in favor of free society being the root of toaster ownership and can see gun ownership being analogous.
2.20.2008 3:22pm
Student:
Possible typo (confusing to me anyhow) on page 8: "Another reason could be that the owner wants to maintain his privacy; he might fears that the survey data might be given
to the government, and if gun confiscation became a policy in the future."

In response to the earlier post about the number of guns in Iraqi households under Saddam: I can confirm that in 2004 the number of guns per Iraqi household was quite high. My knowledge is limited to Anbar province (mostly Sunni and lots of former Baathists). I personally don't think a post-invasion data-set really proves anything though because I was there in 2003 when the army dissolved. From what I saw people took their small arms home with them, or abandoned them and the locals picked them up and stashed them. Either way a huge number of small arms made their way into civilian hands in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.

With respect to the paper's overall conclusions:

As a layperson I don't think I'd put much weight in any conclusion from your data set. There is just too little data, too much variance in data collection methods, and too many unknowns. To your credit you spend half a dozen pages explaining this, but acknowledging there is a huge possible range of error doesn't make the error any smaller.


[DK: Thanks for spotting the confusing sentence; I fixed it.]
2.20.2008 3:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
This is all very interesting.

Whenever a topic comes up on VC that I am really interested in, such as climate change or same sex marriage, I will often point to stats or charts or other forms of research. Invariably, people who are against those things will say, c'mon Randy, we all know that you can cook the books to say anything you like, so I don't believe for a minute anything that you produce to support your argument.

I only wish the same sort of skepticism were allowed when you produce stats that support your contentions of gun ownership. Fortunately, some of you do have it.
2.20.2008 4:25pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Martinned:

You may think you're free but if your government decided you weren't, you couldn't do anything about it. So you're not really free, you just have permission to act like you are.
2.20.2008 5:09pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Randy—it's a pretty awful human temptation. I remember a study where people were shown two (fake) studies on the death penalty, one finding that it reduced crime and one finding that it didn't. People consistently decided that the study that supported their preexisting position was convincing one, but the other was full of holes.

I think the issues with Kopel's paper are due mostly to the generally shoddy of statistical analysis by lawprofs.
2.20.2008 5:51pm
federal farmer (www):
Regarding guns vs. toasters, I seem to recall patriots in this country using guns to secure their freedom.

I don't find any historical evidence of any country being freed by the use of toasters.

Feel free to provide relevant links.
2.20.2008 5:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
I also seem to recall that it was a virtual civil war in the southern colonies, with citizen killing citizen.

I also seem to recall that France played a mighty big role in securing our freedom, and it likely would not have occured without their help.
2.20.2008 6:06pm
Student:

I also seem to recall that it was a virtual civil war in the southern colonies, with citizen killing citizen.

I also seem to recall that France played a mighty big role in securing our freedom, and it likely would not have occured without their help.


Much better if those pesky citizens had been unable to resist at all.

What you say about France is true, but it is also true that a few ragged colonies were able to maintain an action against Great Britain for over three years without any significant help at all. Great Britain at the time was easily the most powerful nation on earth. This accomplishment ought to count for something.
2.20.2008 6:38pm
Jmaie (mail):
Apparently Martinned has not seen Red Dawn...
2.21.2008 12:29am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

@Richard Aubrey: Just to straighten one thing out: My compatriots and I are very grateful to the WW II allies for saving our necks. As it turns out, flooding half the country worked fine as a defence in, say 1672, but not so much in 1940. (The Swiss have mountains, big difference.)

As for Srebrenica: I don't know of any precedent where UN peace keepers ever opened fire on anyone. I must admit I've thought about what I would have done in those circumstances, but even ignoring the blue beret issue, given the relative manpower, an order to shoot would have been tantamount to suicide.
2.21.2008 8:35am
Jones (mail):
Simply insanity,absolutely interesting! http://www.spymac.com/details/?2345831
2.22.2008 6:46am
Howard Nemerov (mail):
As far as countries which have recently banned civilian firearms ownership (UK and Australia) both have seen dramatic increases in violent crime and UK has documented a doubling of "gun crime." Both countries are, in my opinion, seeing reduced personal liberty, as both are in the process of dismantling double jeopardy, and Britain has decided to stop arresting violators, under certain circumstances, of about 60 violent and property crimes, which reduces the recorded crime numbers. (I have plenty of source data; just ask.)

We acknowledge in the monograph that there are exceptional countries in our data, but exceptions do not prove a rule. Most importantly, ever since I went from supporting civilian disarmament to being a pro-rights advocate, and throughout all my writings, I maintained that all the data I have collected across time and space does not conclusively prove that more guns are better. I don't love guns and only own one personal protection tool. My main point is that gun control theories and schemes are proven to not work as advertised, and that according to the legal precedent of innocent until proven guilty, firearms and gun owners do not deserve the lambasting they get in the press. Implicit in there is the idea that if the anti-rights people persist in pushing their agenda, this only proves that their means and goals are suspect, which again swings the benefit of the doubt in favor of pro-gun-rights.
2.22.2008 9:09pm