A pet peeve of Manuel Lora‘s and mine is the tendency of many pro-gun activists to forget about property rights. On the issue of whether business owners should be forced to permit guns on their parking lots, the high ground belongs to some leftists and the American Bar Association, which has “condemned the parking lot law as a violation of property rights at its annual meeting in 2007.”
Surely, as Lew Rockwell noted, amidst all the predictable furor after the Virginia Tech massacre last April, the question of whether guns should or should not be permitted somewhere would, in a free society, be a property-rights question. It would not be guns everywhere, imposed on people who oppose them on their own property, nor guns nowhere, as the totalitarian gun controllers imagine. The conservatives, while (in general) far better on gun rights than the mainstream left, has never fully understood this entire issue. Indeed, for left and right, it is another “culture war” issue — a question of whether guns are “good” or “bad” and should be promoted or shunned in society. Thus do most rightwingers extend their favoritism of guns to their position on the state’s military and cops. Thus do they cheer when federal money goes to shooting ranges. For them, the issue has never been completely about human rights or checking tyranny (why should it, when on nearly every issue they betray human rights and invite tyranny?).
Unfortunately, even a lot of libertarians oversimplify this issue by turning it into a question of subculture or lifestyle, rather than of seeing it as a property-right issue, as all political issues are. There are some great freedom advocates who unfortunately have a rightwing lifestyle deviation on guns. Thankfully, Ron Paul, hero of the right to bear arms and control your own property, has been excellent on this, understanding that the feds should butt out completely. The 2nd Amendment means every single federal gun law should be scrapped. It doesn’t mean Wal-Mart or a small business should have to allow Bazookas and hand grenades onto its turf.
Again, I recommend readers see Lew’s piece on this.3:15 am on January 17, 2008 Email Anthony Gregory