Libertarianism on Guns and Peace


Libertarians often get labeled as being supportive of two different views, both of which also contradict each other. In terms of foreign policy, non-libertarians often imply that libertarians are  pacifists who seek a utopia without conflict. In regards to domestic policy with specific respect to guns, non-libertarians will imply that libertarians are supporters of violence due to their support of personal gun ownership and skepticism of government control.

Does it make sense to be a violent pacificist? This is the worldly view of libertarianism.

It also doesn’t make sense.

At the heart of the libertarian philosophy is the nonaggression principle. Libertarians do not believe in acts of aggression, hence opposition to the Iraq invasion and occupation. Iraq did not attack or directly threaten the safety or interests of the United States of America. Similarly, libertarians do not promote theft, intimidation, or even murder under that principle.

imgresViolence like what occurred in Orlando is not condoned by libertarians because the victims had committed no act of aggression against the attacker, neither did they threaten the safety or interests of the aggressor. The shooting was unprovoked, which is a violation of what libertarians stand for.

Those murdered or injured at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida had gathered with their partners to enjoy life and be together. While not on a scale of this magnitude, murder does unfortunately happen. Even in America, murders occur because of race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

For this reason, self-defense is necessary.


The tragic massacre in Paris showed us why gun control, while done by well-meaning individuals trying to prevent crime, doesn’t work. Bans on items like marijuana, cocaine, and others drugs show us the problem with such policies. Instead of taming crime, it actually creates additional crime with the development of a black market. With specific regard to guns, limiting ownership only affects law-abiding citizens who wish to defend themselves. Terrorists will not allow legal inconvenience to stop them from achieving their goals.

Thus, the response should be in favor of promoting responsible gun ownership.

Periodically, there will be a story in the news of a child shooting a house invader with a gun and defending his family. The Crime Prevention Research Center has provided a number of examples of that. On the one hand, a child having access to a gun presents a safety concern. But what if the child, like these ones clearly were, is taught responsibility instead of being sheltered from a young age?


A gun isn’t a toy. When a trigger is pulled, the consequences are very real. If that gun is aimed at another human being, there is at best injury and at worst, a life lost. These are outcomes libertarians don’t promote, as it violates the principle of nonaggression.

But what if humans were widely taught to respect a gun, not misuse it, and only utilize it when absolutely necessary?

What if the victims at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris had been allowed to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense purposes? It would be hidden, as to not cause alarm. When the terrorists appear and start squeezing their trigger, a responsibly trained gun owner could stop the terrorist and prevent a massacre.

In the end, libertarians aren’t unrealistically utopian. Do libertarians want peace? Libertarians want an end to war and bring forth a reasonably peaceful world. Unfortunately, in an imperfect world, it’s not realistic, as there will always be bad people ready to commit horrific acts. Thus, self-defense is necessary. Promote responsible self-defense to stop aggression.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.

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