Gun Control: An International Perspective

The District of Columbia justifies its complete ban on handguns and functional firearms (even for self-defense), which is being challenged in the Supreme Court, as being consistent with the gun laws of most foreign countries. But this is untrue, as international legal scholars explain in a court brief. Most Western European countries permit a much larger number of people to possess functional firearms than the District does. And unlike the District, they permit such firearms to be used for self-defense in the home.

The District’s total ban on functional firearms is similar, however, to the gun laws of many totalitarian regimes, as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) note in their brief. (Not all regimes that ban guns are totalitarian. For example, the United Kingdom does so, and its government prosecutes and imprisons homeowners who shoot burglars in self-defense. That has led to an epidemic of home invasions by burglars even when residents are present).

As the JPFO notes, complete disarmament of the civilian population preceded genocide in several countries ruled by despotic governments, such as the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I.