In a saddening statement, the Humane Society has decided to oppose the basic right to defend oneself and one’s family. The Humane Society’s reasoning is that poachers use guns, and therefore all law abiding citizens should be left without the right to carry a gun for self defense in national parks. The problems with the Humane Society’s reasoning are discussed below:
1. Poachers (like all criminals) ignore laws
As I have discussed in the past, criminals ignore laws, including gun control laws. A person who is willing to commit a serious crime such as poaching won’t care about a gun possession charge any more than the criminal willing to commit murder will fear Chicago’s handgun ban. The Humane Society admits this fact in their own statement, saying “At least four grizzly bears were killed this year by people carrying loaded weapons in violation of the existing regulation.”
2. Banning guns from everyone isn’t a reasonable response to the actions of a few poachers
In its statement, the Humane Society mentioned that at least 4 grizzly bears were killed this year by national parks visitors that were unlawfully carrying a gun. Now the Humane Society doesn’t discuss whether any of these shootings were in self defense, but for the sake of argument, lets say that they were all wrongful shootings of grizzly bears. Why should the millions of national parks visitors be denied the right to have a gun for self defense, just because 4 criminals misused guns to poach wildlife? That would be like banning cars because some people drive drunk. Or like banning dogs because some people engage in dog fighting. The fact is that criminals will commit their crimes, and we need to hold them personally responsible for their action, rather than punishing law abiding citizens for the actions of a few criminal poachers.
Self defense is the most basic right, and restricting it in the name of stopping poachers is ineffective and wrong. It is ineffective for the simple reason that those who commit the crime of poaching do so without regard for the more severe laws the protect wildlife, so they won’t fear a gun possession charge. It is wrong to restrict self defense because the actions of a few criminals don’t justify taking away a basic right like self defense from millions of law abiding Americans. The Humane Society’s goal of preventing unlawful poaching is a noble one, but their means toward this end are simply wrong.