Gun control was not a contributing factor
June 23, 2022
To The Eagle:
A contributor’s recent claim of a strong correlation between public disarmament and mass exterminations requires some perspective. Important determining factors, most notably, what sorts of political regimes committed those atrocities, and who their victims were, deserve scrutiny.
All the countries he’d listed were ruled by brutally repressive autocracies and dictatorships. Entire populations were not disarmed but specific minorities within them, were. The Christian Armenian minority of Turkey, German Jews, educated upper class Cambodians and Chinese, Guatemalan and Soviet dissidents, Russian Kulak landowners and African Catholic supporters of the political opposition, were all specific minorities targeted during the aforementioned massacres.
Those communities became social and political scapegoats, murdered after being deemed threats to the ruling clique because of their dissident politics, resistance to property seizures, religious affiliation, social class or cultural origins.
In all of the cited instances, the gun control laws used to disarm specific groups of citizens had been enacted years or even decades before those regimes committed their opportunistic genocides. Though a greater access to weapons might have put targeted populations in a better position to defend themselves, they would not have been able to prevail over the greater number of better equipped, better trained government forces determined to annihilate them.
That writer’s primary source seems to have been "Little Gun History” from 2017. Its review by numerous scholarly sources, cited extensively by David Emory of Snopes, concluded that, based on the historical evidence available to us, ‘gun control’ per se, though a contributing factor, was neither the cause, nor a reliable predictor of impending genocides, whereas the presence of a brutal dictatorship most certainly was.
‘Gun control’ is not, in fact, synonymous with ‘gun confiscation,’ or ‘gun prohibition.’ The regulation of guns in the interest of preserving public safety and welfare is just as important as the public’s “right to bear arms.”