The common ground of peace and armed citizens
by Scotty Boman
In addition to being a libertarian activist, I am also a peace activist. In the course of attending meetings, rallies, and protests, I have noticed confusion by some anti-war activists who favor laws designed to prohibit, or severely limit, private gun ownership. Some have suggested that it is hypocritical of me to advocate both non-violence and gun rights.
The most absolute approach to non-violence is pacifism; but can a pacifist support gun rights? The answer can be found in a careful analysis of core moral principles. Pacifism is a philosophy most notably promoted by Jesus Christ, as described in the canonized gospels. These teachings have been adopted by well known twentieth century activists such as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. To sum it up in a few words, pacifists oppose violence as immoral, regardless of any provocation or defensive justifications. A pure pacifist is willing to be killed or allow others to be killed rather than take up arms to defend one’s self or family.
The other moral code at issue here is the non-aggression principle. This philosophical standard builds on premises developed in the enlightenment movement, which appears to have influenced writers of the United States Constitution. Continue reading