People should be able to protect themselves and their country from oppressive governments
By Stephanie Bogart, Contributor
We don’t hear much about the protests over in Hong Kong anymore, but like many people I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about them—more specifically, about their gun laws.
As of right now the right to private gun ownership in China is not permissible by law, meaning no civilians are allowed to acquire or possess firearms. Police in China didn’t even carry firearms until 2014, and at first admitted they were afraid of using them. Now, police are using these firearms against protestors while the protestors have little to nothing to protect themselves against the oppressive police and government.
In a world so polarized about gun laws and many people calling for anti-private gun ownership regulations, we should look to China as an example… and not follow in their footsteps of strict laws and no private ownership. Governmental institutions should not be the only ones able to carry firearms—and the results of these protests should show us why.
Advocates of gun ownership often make the argument that they need something to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their property. They also argue they need to have a form of protection in the case that the government or other authoritative institutions become tyrannical, and I think these arguments should be re-considered now. I’m not saying this will ever happen in Canada or even the US, but I do think it is important to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
In the case of Hong Kong’s situation, we see these protestors with no way to stand their ground while the government attempts to control these protests with force. Sometimes, this force includes using weapons against unarmed civilians. The Hong Kong protestors are in a battle with their own government—a battle they can only do so much to protect themselves from.
Another argument that may be presented is the idea that the majority of gun deaths would disappear if all privately-owned guns were to be outlawed. This is not believable. A PolitiFact article assessing the validity of the claim that in the US “most gun crime is committed by those who illegally possess guns,” the website deems that, while counting for some discrepancies from state to state and relatively old data, the statement is true and backed up by experts. (For those concerned that the website has a right-wing bias, the fact is that the organization has actually been accused of having a liberal leaning.)
If the playing field was a bit more leveled in Hong Kong, it would be a completely different situation. We can look to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 when troops with assault rifles fired at protestors—leading to possibly hundreds of deaths of civilians. We’ve seen what happens when civilians are left unarmed against tyrannical governments, and to ensure events like these don’t happen again, the right to own firearms need to be protected. Regulated and ensured that they are in the right hands of course, but mainly protected.
The protests don’t have to convert you into strictly pro-gun or anti-gun, but we should think how different the outcome would be if these people had the right to possess firearms. Would the government act as violent and oppressive as they are now? Possibly, and possibly not, but civilians should at least have a chance to protect themselves against these violent forces and be unyielding, matching the force of their oppressive government. Some might make the argument that firearm ownership of civilians would only exacerbate the violence with the protests, but if the protestors already had a way to protect themselves, maybe none of this would’ve even started.
Gun laws should be all or nothing. Either guns should be allowable to be purchased by anyone, civilians or cops—through rigorous testing and regulations, of course. Or, there should be no ownership of firearms… period. When you allow law enforcement and government authority to carry firearms and not the civilians, there will always be a potential for abuse of power, so the freedom to bare arms should be protected.