Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Gun Ownership and Prisoner's Dilemma

Gun ownership is a situation of what is known in psychology as prisoner's dilemma. It is better for everyone when nobody has guns; but when some people have guns and others don't have guns, the people without guns put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. A person can go to Texas, where guns are easy to get, and go to a liberal state where guns are hard to get, and then he can shoot up a school or kill his neighbors.

The solution is either for nobody to have guns or for everybody to have guns. In Europe, we see examples of both. In Switzerland, where everyone is required to have a gun, violent crime is low. Same is with Netherlands, where guns are illegal. In America, where some have guns and others don't have guns, violent crime is through the roof.

I do not believe that it is realistic in America to ban guns everywhere. This means that, in order to stop being a hotbed of violent crime, liberal states should allow people to carry guns as well. By banning guns they put their citizens at a competitive disadvantage. A gangster, a mafiosi, a lunatic or a domestic abuser can go to Texas or Alabama and buy a gun. Then he can come back home to a liberal state and shoot everyone.

While I usually vote Democratic, I support gun ownership. I have no interest in hunting, and I am not a violent person; but gun rights are simply rational. If some people have guns and others don't have guns, then the people without guns are helpless against the people who have them. The liberal states sell their citizens short by embracing gun control when Texas or Alabama does not. The person intent on murder or violence or intimidation can get a gun elsewhere then bring it home.

Probably the most aggressive constituency in favor of unlimited gun rights are the country people. This is not just due to them wanting to hunt or take part in militias; it is also due to realities of country life. If the nearest police station is three hours away, people need to have guns to defend themselves; and in these situations gun rights are again simply rational.

The liberal cities do not suffer from this problem; but they suffer from a different problem. The law-abiding people are against having guns, but the gangsters and Russian and Italian mafia are not. This way the law-abiding people are put at a competitive disadvantage against the gangsters and the mafiosis; and violent crime in these places is through the roof.

If violent people can get guns, then so should non-violent people. If they do not, they put themselves at the mercy of violent people and become in no position to make their values count in society. Anti-gun legislation in liberal states sells their citizens short; and it is only when the non-violent law-abiding liberals are free to get guns that they can stand up to the bullies and scoundrels that make a wasteland of their beautiful cities and treat the non-violent idealistic people who live there as cannon fodder.


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