To the editor:
Re: Jack Bradcoe’s recent letter in the Capital News (Jan. 15) headlined The Need to be Ready for In-house Tyranny.
Bradcoe’s assertion that liberty depends on easy access to firearms echoes a political theory almost as old as the U.S. Constitution itself.
But research on the subject quickly shows that his argument is entirely without merit.
Comparison with other democracies in western Europe and east Asia reveals a good number of systems much less corrupted than the U.S.
None of the other advanced industrial democracies are in any danger of becoming tyrannies, despite their tight gun regulations. Liberties are not lost through martial law and open “unscrupulous authoritative aggression” by governments, as Bradcoe put it, but rather through gradual erosion—undermining the principle of presumption of innocence, invasion in private affairs, election fraud, etc.
Civil rights activists will be able to point to a number of such troubling changes in our country and abroad. But gun advocates, self-declared guardians of our liberties, do nothing about it—unless their gun privileges are affected. Did gun owners voice protests when several hundred peaceful demonstrators were illegally detained in Toronto during the G20 meetings?
Ironically, in such cases we will likely find gun owners actually siding with the government of the day. A tyrannical government comes knocking not wielding guns, but instead carrying the law. And gun owners don’t oppose them, but instead invite them in.
And a final point—the argument that liberty depends on easy access to firearms implies that effective opposition to a tyranny is not possible unless citizens are armed.
That claim is nonsense because it ignores the fact that many of the revolutions during the latter part of the 20th century were entirely peaceful—East Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bulgarian revolution or the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, all in 1989. If arguments of gun rights advocates had any merit, those revolutions would not have been possible without armed revolutionaries.
Jens Gessner, Kelowna