After the hate crime against Christians perpetrated by a transgender shooter in Nashville in March 2023, there was the usual outcry to ban firearms.
Days after the killing spree, activists staged an insurrection at the Tennessee State Capitol calling for tougher gun laws. This despite the fact that many in favor of gun control politicized the violence and called for more of it.
However, the most jarring of all the gun-ban reactions to the Nashville attack was, to my mind, one posted by Claire Yost, a staff sergeant with the United States Army. S.Sgt. Yost, wearing her army uniform, posted a video in response to the Nashville incident arguing that guns should be banned because their “sole purpose” is “destroying” whatever they are aimed at.
Many have pointed out that S.Sgt. Yost’s political statements made while in fatigues are a clear violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and could be grounds for initiating a court-martial against her. (Perhaps the feds can get around to doing that after they have caught the pro-life pregnancy centers firebombers who have thus far outwitted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by operating under the cover of darkness.)
It is true that the argument about banning weapons is disturbing when it comes from someone who has sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. Let us not quibble over paperwork. What is truly astonishing about the video is that someone who works for the United States government would be in favor of outlawing guns. The logic simply does not hold.
In the first place, governments never really outlaw guns. They monopolize them for organized killing on a scale beyond the reach of even the most depraved solitary citizen. Citizens with guns prevent governments from committing mass murder. Therefore, guns aren’t outlawed by governments; they’re merely concentrated in the hands of those who make the law (while those who break the law don’t, by definition, obey gun laws anyway).
Related to this first point is a second, even bigger, one. Namely, the question whether to ban something is a moral question. It is an “ought” question, which entails moral reasoning. Therefore, and because a ban requires an agent to do the banning, we must ask whether the United States government has the moral authority to do what S.Sgt. Yost proposes.
The short answer is, “No, it does not.” Details follow.
The United States is run by a notoriously belligerent government. There are some three and a half million people working for the Department of Defense, a worldwide weaponized cabal. Millions more are also liable to be drafted (euphemistically called “selective service”) depending on how badly the Pentagon gets us involved in foreign wars. The United States government maintains a base network planetwide. Apart from this active and potential belligerency, the United States government has a lucrative side business as a prolific gunrunner.
There are more than five thousand nuclear warheads in the Pentagon’s arsenal. The United States’ deployment of atomic weaponry—against a defenseless civilian population consisting heavily of women, children, the disabled, and the elderly—spurred an arms race that continues to this day.
Between 1957 and 1975, the United States government dropped more than seven million tons of ordnance on the heads of people in Indochina. These numbers do not include clandestine killings or the mass chemical attack on civilians and soldiers—North Vietnamese, South Vietnamese, American, and others—in the form of Agent Orange.
The United States government turned the American economy into a ward of the belligerent state during World War II. More than one and a half million tons of ordnance, much of it made by workers co-opted by the war-state, was rained down from American government equipment in Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s war.
One can keep winding the clock back as one wishes and yet still not arrive at a point at which the United States government has the moral authority to ban guns. The United States Army committed genocide against various native tribes (perhaps S.Sgt. Yost can find her regiment mentioned in the historical records) and war crimes against Southern civilians.
The United States federal government has since been at the cutting edge of assassinations, chemical warfare, nuclear blackmail, mass starvation, environmental annihilation, war on false pretenses, the establishment and maintenance of puppet governments, pandemic-inducing gain-of-function bioweapons research, social upheaval, and the construction of global gulag archipelagoes. Death by drone strike hits random, often innocent, targets at the pleasure of the commander in chief of the United States’ armed forces.
Nor does this federal belligerency know any distinction between abroad and the “homeland.” FBI agents swarm the homes of pro-life Christians, while mechanized police units are known to terrorize and attack noncriminals when the units show up at the wrong house. The federal government has a long track record of killing women and children. The federal government engages in smear campaigns and “all-of-government” fake-news attacks on those who expose such treachery. It must not be forgotten that the United States federal government authorized, by judicial fiat, the extermination of more than sixty-three million (unarmed) Americans.
Without guns, Americans would be susceptible to the horrors visited upon the disarmed peoples whom the American government, and other governments, have murdered en masse. Without guns in patriot hands, the American “homeland” would be as convenient a strafing target as weddings in Yemen and Afghanistan.
S.Sgt. Yost may want the government she serves to disarm Americans. Unfortunately for S.Sgt. Yost, that government has no moral authority to do this. The only truly moral course of action in the face of so murderous a regime is for every citizen to keep his or her firearms and to keep buying more.