Ban Coercion Instead

News of school and mall shootings has understandably set many on edge and led to calls for policies on both sides of the equation. While those opposed to the ownership of certain types of firearms have come up with their share of coercive and unreasonable policies, those in favor of gun ownership have come up with equally coercive and unreasonable policies of their own.

Recently on, a columnist wrote about why legislators should work to ban gun-free zones, not only on the public level (which is understandable and even laudable), but on the private level, too.

Girls Just Wanna Have Guns is ostensibly a right of center and conservative page, given the reverence that the columnists have for God, firearms, and America.

The author suggests banning gun-free zones to prevent future shootings from happening due to the deterrence factor of private citizens being legally armed. While this has basis in fact, it has no basis in what should be a cornerstone of conservatism, at least on the domestic level, a respect for private property rights and for the owner of a property to determine what is done with their land without having the heavy hand of government interfere.

Furthermore, my interest is piqued by this quote, which seems contradictory given the author’s thesis:

“In panic we suggest extremes like banning firearms, which would without doubt, be as effective as the current ban on drugs, or the previous ban on alcohol.”

In panic, the author is suggesting an extreme: banning the right of businessmen to have at least one choice given the multitude of codes and regulations legislating what a business must and mustn’t do on national, state, and local levels. Given that the current war on drugs and Prohibition weren’t effective even with state-initiated violence and the risk of prison time, would the ban on gun-free zones even be effective? In a sense, the author is both arguing for a government prohibition while citing how government prohibitions don’t work.

While not on the same par as eminent domain, the same course of logic that supporters of eminent domain resort to is present in the argument for banning even a privately enforced gun free zone.

Gun free zones on the private level should not be banned; there are certain ways to make the practice untenable, just as Chick-Fil-A’s support of groups seen as intolerant was made untenable. Instead of urging for a ban on gun free zones, the author should instead boycott and urge her readers to demonstrate against businesses that have such policies. The NRA, an organization that has been cited in changing the balance of power in the halls of The Capitol, could do much to change the policies of businesses if they put enough time and money into such a campaign.

I stand for markets, not coercion. While I’m a gun owner, I still recognize the right that an individual business owner has to voluntary association. I avoid businesses that have gun free zone policies. I don’t seek to ask someone else to intervene with force on my behalf, just as the author shouldn’t do. You can’t stop one form of violence by initiating another form of violence, even if it’s on the governmental level. Don’t ban gun free zones, ban government coercion.


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