Sunday, February 8, 2009

On Diarming Citizens, Back In 1764

"The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons."

Cesare Beccaria
Of Crimes and Punishments
Edward D. Ingraham translator, 1819; first published 1764
Chapter 40

Makes perfect sense to me. More sense than the more modern left-wing suggestion that you just let the criminals do what they’ll do, and hope that they don’t hurt/maim/rape/kill you in the process.

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