In the course of endeavoring for reasoned debate, I often find people who either do not understand the word reasonable, or simply can’t be bothered with reason. These days, they’re often referred to as internet trolls. People who love to use hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, and sometimes, just plain old personal insults to make their point.
In making the case for why the Armalite AR-15 should not be subject to some sort of ban, one of those folks asked me a question that was clearly born of hyperbole with the intent of destroying my arguments for why one should be allowed to own such a weapon. On the face of it, it’s actually a poignant question, but the tone of his asking it suggested he wasn’t interested in an answer; he felt the question was redundant, rhetorical, and had proved his point with no further dialogue needed.
The questions is often used by gun control zealots, and always given with the same smirky attitude that defines the fringe of any party who aren’t interested in debate, but merely getting you to agree with them. The question was this:
If you can have an AR-15 legally, why can’t you have a nuclear weapon?
After which, he snidely said, “yay, nukes for us all!” This of course being the point I knew he wasn’t interested in an answer.
When he first asked the question, I realized I’ve heard this before, and if I truly believe in ultimate liberty, then why would I not support allowing citizens to own a nuclear weapon? Being someone who strives for consistency in my beliefs, how do I reconcile this question without violating my ideology of liberty?
I’ve made it clear that I am not an anarchist, I am a libertarian. A person who believes in limited government, not a total lack of it. For me, the roles of government are defined as people employed by the populace to protect our rights. In my opinion, anything the government does outside that realm is oppression. This responsibility of government I’ve enunciated is where his argument falls apart.
I personally own an AR-15, and have easily shot thousands of rounds through it at a shooting range and other safe environments. No one has ever died, nor even been hit by a bullet fired from my gun. As such, I can make an argument that I can own and use an AR-15 without being a harm to anyone by virtue of having done so repeatedly. The only person at risk is the guy who thinks my TV should be his TV and has no qualms about attempting to make it so.
However, while I am not a nuclear physicist, I am pretty comfortable in claiming that I could likely not detonate a nuclear weapon without likely threatening the rights to life, liberty, and/or property of another. So the line is pretty simple to me as to what weapons should be legal versus those that must be banned.
If the weapon is one that can be used without harming others, you should have the right to own it—period. If however, that weapon or item is a danger to society with little to no ability to be used without harming someone, it must remain illegal as it is a threat to the rights of another. If you could own a piece of property so remote and isolated from the world that you could detonate an H-bomb on it without risking anyone’s life but your own, then frankly, I’d be OK with it.
So there you have it, a logical answer to a question many assume has no reasonable answer, and consistency in my beliefs about liberty are still in tact. Next question!