How Gun Rights Harm the Rule of Law – The Atlantic

Second Amendment activists are redefining the public sphere, and with it, American democracy.

What good is it to carry a gun in public if you are not also legally protected when using it in self-defense—or perceived self-defense? How are guns supposed to deter criminals if gun owners are legally hindered from wielding their weapons? Stand Your Ground removes these legal barriers so that people can better protect themselves.

But this also has social consequences. Thanks to Stand Your Ground, citizens must now fear their armed neighbors in addition to prospective criminals. … In a Stand Your Ground society, it makes sense to suspect your neighbor—and fear the worst.

In addition to pushing Stand Your Ground laws, the NRA fought universal background checks. Their premise—that it will not stop hardened and determined criminals from accessing guns—ensured that criminals could have easy access to guns at gun shows or from unscrupulous arms dealers.

In pushing this agenda, the gun-rights movement mistakenly urges supporters to think that public order rests upon overt shows of force. In a democracy, however, peace is founded on rule of law.

an armed and potentially violent public only goads the government into action and force. Law enforcement knows that gun owners may use their weapons recklessly, and prepares itself accordingly. … an over-armed society makes government bigger, more intrusive, and more aggressive in carrying out its vested duty of maintaining order. It goads government, and the law enforcement officials who work for it, towards arbitrary shows of power and force.

Source: How Gun Rights Harm the Rule of Law – The Atlantic