The Gun Has Served Hero and Villain Alike
by John Glatthar
At the beginning of every episode of the History Channel’s excellent Tales of the Gun series which ran from 1998 - 2000, this brief statement scrolled on the screen:
“The gun has played a critical role in history. An invention which has been praised and denounced, served hero and villain alike, and carries with it moral responsibility. To understand the gun is to better understand history.”
So true. Today, some people vilify and denounce firearms as if they are living entities possessed of evil spirits. In their never-ending quest for ever more pointless, futile, counter-productive, and unconstitutional gun laws, the anti-gunners find it easier to dupe uninformed voters when the product or behavior they are trying to ban is deemed by them as “bad.” Basically, gun laws make guns bad because someone says guns are bad.
The problem with gun laws is that they are malum probibitum, which is defined in law school as “an act which is immoral because it is illegal; not necessarily illegal because it is immoral.”
Malum Prohibitum contrasts with malum in se, defined as “an innately immoral act (or object in the case of guns), regardless of whether it is forbidden by law.” In other words, that which is bad, in and of itself.
History abounds with strong examples of the dichotomy of malum in se and malum prohibitum:
Example of acts in the historic timeline that were malum in se:
· Slavery was legal
· Freeing slaves was criminalized
· Racial segregation was legal
· Protesting racism was criminalized
· The Holocaust was legal
· Hiding Jews was criminalized
Examples of acts which were (and some still are) malum prohibitum:
· Possession or use of cannabis sativa (marijuana)
· Possession of papaver somniferum, the opium poppy plant
· Manufacture or sale of alcohol (Prohibition era 1919-1933)
· Possessing a firearm magazine with a capacity exceeding x number of cartridges
· Possessing a concealed firearm without a permit
· Possessing a rifle with a pistol grip and a removable magazine
One could fill a phone book with such examples of malum prohibitum acts. None of these are intrinsically evil acts and none of the physical things listed are evil, either. All are deemed to be bad (mal) by some person or group of persons, usually, but not always, a legislature.
They may argue, “no, we are not proclaiming the “thing” to be bad, but rather the harm that may ensue by “someone” using (abusing) the thing.” Someone might use the thing for criminal purposes, they argue. A rational person does not ban an object because someone, on some future, unforeseen day, might harm others with that object. If they were consistent in thought and in logic, hundreds of common, everyday objects would be banned, including kitchen knives. So are they inconsistent and hypocritical when they focus attention on, and vilify an inanimate object, such as a gun? Yes, very much so.
Recall the opening statement that “…the gun has served hero and villain alike.” You could substitute the word “common man” for the word “hero” and the statement would be even more accurate, for average citizens have used firearms for self defense, hunting, and recreational use in far greater numbers over time than have newspaper “heroes.” Read some stories here.
I would encourage everyone to take time to watch the History Channel’s “Tales of Gun” series on the web. I watched the series years ago when it first aired, and watched the episodes again on DVD recently. The episodes are fascinating, for they explore far more than just technical aspects of gun making, which might not appeal to everyone. Instead, they explore the rich history of the era in which those guns were developed and used.
Perhaps after watching the series in its entirety, anti-gun people might develop an appreciation for the gun’s role in history. Perhaps they might come to no longer view guns as objects to be vilified or banned. Perhaps they might even come to realize that they play an important, beneficial role in society. Ah, but perhaps I hope for too much.
At Semper Firearms Training we encourage you to buy a good firearm, get trained in how to use it, and continue your firearms training as part of a defensive lifestyle.
Please be sure to watch these two important videos and to send the links on to a friend:
- Good Guys With Guns: http://www.good-guys.us/premiere/
- Innocents Betrayed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN0Xi8no6us
Images courtesy of Oleg Volk
Semper Firearms Training
9732 Pyramid Hwy #409
Sparks, NV 89441
9 am to 7 pm Seven Days a Week
We are a training school, not a retail store
Images courtesy of Oleg Volk