Harry Browne on Gun Control

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Gun ownership will makes neighborhoods safer

Q: From your party brochure: “widespread gun ownership will make neighborhoods safer.”

BROWNE: Well, we have gun-toting people roaming the streets. They’re called criminals. They have no regard for gun laws whatsoever.

Source: Third Party Debate on Meet the Press , Oct 22, 2000

Any gun regulation gives politicians power to do anything

You might be able to imagine the perfect law that allows just the right people to own just the right types of guns, while prohibiting other citizens from owning inappropriate firearms. But remember, you’re only imagining such a law; it will never be a reality. Any apparent middle ground between the two actually gives the politicians the power to do as they please. And such decisions will be made on the basis of who has the most political influence. So attempts to limit gun ownership do more to promote the political interests of well-connected people than to reduce crime.
Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.182 , Sep 9, 2000

Enforcing 20,000 existing gun laws is useless & dangerous

Browne noted that “The NRA & Republican politicians have recently urged that today’s 20,000 gun-control laws be enforced-no matter how bad those laws. Libertarians know that those laws are, at best, useless-and, at worst, highly dangerous.”

“Instead,” urged Browne, “we need to recognize that those 20,000 laws are a principal cause of the current violence in society. They have made people much less safe-by disarming innocent citizens and thereby encouraging armed criminals to take advantage of us.”

Source: Press Release “The Non-Sense of the Senate” , May 20, 2000

Gun restrictions are unconstitutional

Browne would repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns by law-abiding citizens. He says, “The federal government has no constitutional authority to restrict gun ownership in any way.”
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Well-protected politicians misunderstand need for guns

Most of us care only about the rights and freedoms that affect our own lives. People who don’t own guns can easily believe that reducing gun ownership will save lives without inconveniencing them in any way. Politicians are particularly prone to this attitude. Most of them work in buildings with heavy security; many of them have armed chauffeurs and armed escorts. So they don’t feel imposed upon when restrictive gun laws prevent average citizens from defending themselves.
Source: “How to sell gun rights” authored by Browne , Nov 21, 1999

Your home is safer if there are guns in your neighborhood

Although you hear about unusual accidents in which guns have killed children, you don’t hear of the thousands of commonplace events in which a home containing children was defended from an intruder by a gun owner - or even defended by a child with a gun. Nor do you hear about the criminals who were deterred from entering a neighborhood where they didn’t know which houses might contain guns. Your home is safer if some of your neighbors happen to have guns.
Source: “How to sell gun rights” authored by Browne , Nov 21, 1999

Criminals are not affected by gun-control laws

Criminals rarely buy guns [legally], because they don’t want guns traced back to them. They buy their guns in the underworld or simply steal them. The number of criminals nabbed by gun laws is microscopic compared to the number of innocent citizens who were prevented by waiting periods from buying guns. Like most laws, gun control hurts the innocent far more than the guilty. And since the criminals will have guns no matter what, the more the innocent are deprived of owning guns, the less safe you are.
Source: “How to sell gun rights” authored by Browne , Nov 21, 1999

Don’t let politicians decide our need for assault rifles

How can politicians know that “no one needs an assault rifle”? If you were a store owner during the LA riots and a mob was about to enter your store to destroy your life savings, which would you have wanted in your hand-a revolver, or an assault rifle? Giving politicians the power to decide what you need and don’t need is to force you to live your life according to THEIR needs and circumstances-making you vulnerable to any whim that strikes the politicians during a period of temporary hysteria.
Source: “How to sell gun rights” authored by Browne , Nov 21, 1999

Tragic events do not justify new gun laws

From time to time the press reports a tragic event in which a child is killed in a gun accident. It provides an opportunity for politicians to pass stricter gun laws. But the rarity of a gun accidentally killing a child makes it newsworthy. The death of any child or adult is a tragedy. But if the death of a child from a gun accident justifies taking away freedoms from people, why doesn’t the death of a child from an auto accident justify laws that would keep children away from cars?
Source: “How to sell gun rights” authored by Browne , Nov 21, 1999

Repeal all gun laws; Bill of Rights is “literal”

Repeal all federal gun-control laws, so that citizens can defend themselves against predators. The Bill of Rights is a literal document; the Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing laws relating to common crimes.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Prosecute crimes, not possession of weapons

Gun control laws inconvenience the innocent while providing no deterrent to criminals. The latter rarely patronize gun shops, endure waiting periods, or register their firearms. They buy their guns in the underworld, or they simply steal them.

But innocent citizens who obey the laws are left defenseless-and become safe targets for criminals. Gun control laws don’t reduce crime, but passing them gives politicians another soap-box opportunity to pose as crime-fighters. Conservative politicians act tough by repealing the Bill of Rights, while liberal politicians act tough by outlawing weapons. Neither action reduces the crime rate. But both undermine our freedoms.

If guns kill people, so do knives, cars, baseball bats, and icicles. None of these things should be outlawed. But more of the people who misuse them would be prosecuted if the police, the courts, and the prisons weren’t overloaded dealing with victimless crimes-including gun control violations.

Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by Harry Browne, p.135 , Jul 2, 1995

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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016