Channeling his inner Orwell, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker claims that gun control will make people “free.”
On Rachel Maddow’s show, Booker told the MSNBC host that the gun violence taking place in Newark, New Jersey (the city he is formerly mayor of) is inspiring a “culture of fear.”
For him, freedom can be restored in these areas by simply passing gun control. Booker has become the “gun control candidate” of the 2020 election cycle by unveiling a comprehensive gun control package. His bold gun control plan includes popular gun control schemes such as universal background checks, gun licensing, and opening up gun manufacturers to lawsuits.
Booker has every right to be concerned about the violence taking place in cities like Newark. America’s urban centers still have many problems with issues of public security. However, government response to these problems is not necessarily the correct answer. Above all, one that involves curtailing the freedoms of countless law-abiding people should be a non-starter.
Being denied the right to defend yourself and your loved ones are as anti-freedom as it gets. It leaves the law-abiding at the mercy of unscrupulous governments and criminals.
Even when the government makes an effort to stay within its proper role, it cannot always be relied upon to adequately defend others. Often times the police are minutes away in situations which require split-second decision-making. In fact, under the Supreme Court decision Warren v. District of Columbia, police are not obligated to protect individuals.
So, the solution cannot solely focus on the government. Truth be told, adding more laws should not be entertained in these scenarios. True freedom involves making autonomous decisions. Some people will arm themselves, some won’t. When we have actual freedom in matters of public security, certain forms of defense options will emerge such as personal defense, private security, or even community watches.
Instead of turning towards more government, Booker should look at revitalizing civil society or building proactive non-state alternatives to addressing the issue of public security. For most problems, there’s usually a non-state solution. Gun violence is not exempt from this.