Human beings have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force.

In a moral and civilized society, people interact exclusively through persuasion. Force has no place in social interaction. What removes force from consideration is the firearm – as paradoxical as that sounds. When I have a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You must use reason.

There are plenty of people who believe the gun a source of “bad force equations.” These people also think we’d be more civilized if guns were removed from society, because firearms make it easier for the armed mugger to do his jobs. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many. This is the opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can make a successful living only in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

The fact the gun makes lethal force easier favors the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun at my side means I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I am afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit actions of those who would interact with me through reason, but only the actions of those who would do so by force.

It removes force from the equation. This is why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

Hap Gallin, West Sumner

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