No Link Whatsoever At Country Level Between Private Handgun Ownership And Liberal Democracy

For those who need to know…

The idea that, in the modern world, a country full of people with private handguns, shotguns and AR-15s in their households is more likely to remain a liberal democracy than a country whose citizens lack such weapons is frankly ridiculous. Worldwide, there is no correlation whatsoever at the country level between private handgun ownership and liberal democracy. There are no cases of democratic countries in which nascent authoritarian governments were successfully resisted due to widespread gun ownership. When authoritarian governments come to power in democracies (which is rare), they do so at the ballot box or with heavy popular support; where juntas overthrow democratic governments, as in Greece, Brazil, Chile or Iran, popular gun ownership is irrelevant. Once authoritarian governments take power, if they decide they don’t want citizens to own guns, they take them away, easily crushing any isolated attempts at resistance. When, on the other hand, authoritarian governments are overthrown in military uprisings (as opposed to peaceful revolutions, which are more common), the arms that defeat them come from defecting soldiers or outside aid. Widespread gun ownership among the common folk may conceivably have been an important obstacle to centralised government control in 17th-century Britain, just emerging from feudalism; but since the universalisation of the modern nation-state in the 19th century, the degree of force that governments can bring to bear has overwhelmed any conceivable popular defence of localised rights and privileges by companies of yeoman musketeers. To stack up against police, the National Guard or the US Army, private gun enthusiasts would, at a minimum, have to be packing an arsenal that would be illegal in any state in the union, even Arizona.

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