Quote of the day—Jeff Snyder

The essence of the “weapon of choice” argument is that, because criminals and madmen use these guns to commit crimes, the law- abiding must give them up. But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow.

By criminalizing an act that is not wrong in itself the purchase and sale of a firearm the ban violates the presumption of innocence, the principle that insures that government honors the liberty of its citizens until their deeds convict them. By completely banning the sale of assault weapons to prevent crime before it occurs, the law effectively and irrebuttably presumes that all who want such a weapon are no better than murderers or madmen, forever ineligible to acquire these firearms.

Obviously, a law which restricts the liberty of the innocent because of the behavior of the guilty, that rests on principle that the conduct of criminals dictates the scope of liberty the law will allow to the rest of society, in no sense “fights” crime. It is, instead, a capitulation to crime, born of a society in full-bore retreat from crime, a society fearful of and desperately accommodating itself to crime.

Jeff Snyder
August 25, 1994
The Washington Times, page A19.
Who’s Under Assault in the Assault Weapon Ban?
[H/T to Craig in the comments.

This same argument can be used against almost any law that presumes to “prevent crime” rather than punish acts which injury others. I’m specifically thinking of I-594 in Washington state but the application is far broader.—Joe]


6 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Jeff Snyder

  1. “…to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless…”

    That’s probably the best argument ever.

    And could there be a more deliciously evil system than one that puts the criminals in charge, while the innocent either stand back and let it happen or they actually support it? Now we’re not so innocent, are we? One way or another, we’re helping to build the system that will destroy us.

  2. I had this conversation with one Joan Peterson, in the comments of her blog. It was some years back, so it’d be next-to-impossible to find the right link at this point.

    She got fed up (but not to the point of banning) and asked what I’d propose to end “gun violence”. I listed some ideas, all focused on the people who break laws, and allowing maximum liberty to those who don’t.

    Her response, no kidding, was that my ideas wouldn’t prevent any “gun deaths” because they were all “punitive in nature” instead of preventative; they focus on punishing bad behavior after the act.

    This is part of their thinking. To them, it’s unreasonable to punish bad people after they act badly. They want to prevent the bad act, which is honorable enough, if impossible. Their methods, however, punish everyone, even before they’ve done anything wrong, which by nature hurts the law-abiding more than the criminals – who, at least, have earned their punishments.

    And the saddest part is, this is not a problem for the gun grabbers.

    • The name of their organization reflects this, “The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.” An organization demanding mandatory chastity belts to prevent prostitution would be laughed at and ignored but somehow when it is a constitutionally protected right a lot of people think it should be accepted as “common sense”.

      • Our problem is we’re dealing with people who have deep-seated emotional problems. It’s the personality type, we’ve all met socially, that’s overbearingly sweet and accommodating on the outside, but on the inside they’re judgmental, enraged, frightened animals on the verge of lashing out in a hate-filled rage.

        Besides combating them on their own turf, which is manipulation and force, our only other choice is to address the emotional problems directly.

        To do that, you have to completely and utterly ignore their assertions and rationalizations (for they are nothing but diversionary tactics) and get right to the subject, which is their insecurity, fear, judgment and hate.

        They understand FULLY the concept of liberty and rights, as I proved beyond all shadow of doubt years ago, and they know very well how to assert it when it suits their purposes, so don’t be confused or frustrated by their diversions and acts of coyness. Look at the man behind the curtain, and not at the dazzling specter he’s controlling from within his little booth. He may have actually convinced even himself that he’s the Great and Powerful Oz, but that doesn’t make it so.

  3. Don’t forget, these are the same people who believe that it is a fool’s errand to attempt the same prior restraint with regards to alcohol.

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