This really should be the end of the gun control debate in the United States.
— Randy Barnett (@RandyEBarnett) October 8, 2023
Over the weekend, Georgetown Professor Law Professor Randy Barnett reacted to the reports of terrorist attacks and slaughter in Israel with the tweet above regarding the never-ending debate over gun control in America. After hundreds of defenseless citizens died and thousands were injured, Israel relaxed its regulations on civilian gun ownership.
Professor Barnett’s point is exactly right, but I’d like to build on it a bit to show why this really should be the end of the gun control debate in this country…even though it won’t be.
According the the latest reports, at least 700 Israeli civilians were murdered over the weeklend by Hamas terrorists. That figure is likely to go up as the fog of war clears and a proper counting of those lost can happen, but we can use it as a reference point for now. As far as we know, the 700 isn’t counting IDF forces who responded and were killed in subsequent combat, but is mostly made up of murdered civilians.
Israel is a much smaller country than the US, with a population of under 10 million people. Seven hundred killed in a country of 10 million would be the equivalent of about 24,000 people being killed in an organized terrorist attack on America. That’s the weight of the damage inflicted on Israel. It’s like they had eight 9/11s in about 24 hours.
The magnitude of the slaughter in Israel, with a population of only 7 million Jews, is massive and growinghttps://t.co/zNkpbWztj8
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) October 8, 2023
So let’s bring it back to gun control. Israel foolishly does not have a right to bear arms, meaning there could be no immediate resistance to the Hamas invaders. They had free reign to slaughter men, women, and children until IDF could respond.
Let’s assume that gun control in Israel has actually saved a handful of lives over the years (a charitable assumption). It certainly hasn’t saved 700 lives, especially when you factor in the many murders by terrorist sympathizers that could have been prevented or mitigated by armed Israeli citizens.
The Israeli city of Ashdod is under fire.
800 people died in Israel at that moment.
— Jürgen Nauditt 🇩🇪🇺🇦 (@jurgen_nauditt) October 9, 2023
What does this mean for the US? Well, let’s be brutally honest. The main reason the gun control industry has any momentum here is due to mass shootings.
There are certainly some household and domestic dispute and murders done with guns, as there are some people killed in the crossfire by criminals shooting at each other. But for the most part in the US, if you don’t engage in gangs, the illegal drug trade, or other criminal activity, gun-related crime is extremely unlikely to affect you. That’s why several very pro-gun states that have low gang/drug crime also have homicide rates akin to European countries. The fact is, in most of the US, you are quite safe from gun-related crime if you aren’t a criminal.
Mass shootings, however, change that calculus because even though they are rare, they can affect innocent people almost anywhere…schools, grocery stores, concerts, movie theaters. If it weren’t for mass shootings, the gun control movement would basically be dead outside of the most hardcore Democrat bastion cities.
The gun control industry very blatantly take advantage of mass shootings to push their authoritarian gun control policies while people are still reeling from the tragedy and susceptible to liberty-eroding “solutions” that never deliver the promised results.
That’s the sole reason there are laws in some states banning so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” AR-15s and the like are rarely used in more routine sorts of crimes, but they have been used in some high profile mass shootings to inflict unspeakable horror.
In southern Israel, militants going door to door killing the citizens! pic.twitter.com/Dy8dpWHbFq
— 🇺🇸ProudArmyBrat (@leslibless) October 7, 2023
The reason we have the right to have such weapons, though, is as a bulwark against tyranny and in case we ever go through what Israel is going through now. A handgun or a shotgun just isn’t nearly as effective against well-armed killers as a semi-automatic rifle is.
Remember the figure I cited earlier of an equivalent attack if scaled to our country’s size – 24,000 dead. That’s just the initial attack and doesn’t include everything else that follows. According to the Mother Jones’s database, if you add up every single mass shooting in the US combined since 1982, you’d have 1,128 fatalities. Many of those were carried out with just handguns, but for this argument assumes all the perpetrators used semi-auto rifles.
Israel had well over half that number of fatalities inflicted on it in a single day. And of course, if we had Israel’s population size, our 1,128 mass shooting fatalities would fall to about 34 total dead. The fact of the matter is, a domestic tyrant or a foreign invader can inflict more damage on us in mere minutes or hours than all the losses we’ve ever had from all our major mass shootings combined.
Some may say in response to this that it could never happen here. We don’t have a Gaza equivalent on our borders. It is less likely here thanks to the natural moat around most of the country, and relatively friendly neighbors. I hope such a day never comes.
That said, I categorically reject it-can’t-happen-here arguments with this sort of “end of history” assumption built in. Things can go bad here. We’ve had a 9/11. If we’re fortunate, nothing similar to the Hamas incursion will happen in our lifetime or our children’s. But we are the caretakers of a right passed down since antiquity and codified into our Bill of Rights as the Second Amendment. We do not have the moral right to surrender it. And some day, we may be glad we didn’t.
Konstadinos Moros is an Associate Attorney with Michel & Associates, a law firm in Long Beach that regularly represents the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) in its litigation efforts to restore the Second Amendment in California. You can find him on his Twitter handle @MorosKostas. To donate to CRPA or become a member, visit https://crpa.org/.