The Drug War Leads to Gun Control

A fundamental principle of interventionism holds that one government intervention inevitably leads to more interventions, in order to “fix” the problems of the previous interventions. At the end of this road lies omnipotent government and the loss of freedom.

A good example of this phenomenon is being provided by a group called the Binational Task Force , whose co-chairman , Robert C. Bonner, is former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The group, which also includes two former U.S. ambassadors to Mexico, wants to reinstate the assault-weapon ban that was enacted during the Clinton era.

Guess what the group cites as its justification for such gun control: the drug war. Yes, that war that everyone admits has failed to achieve its objectives despite 45 years of vicious warfare. The task force is saying that reenacting the assault-weapons ban will reduce the drug-war violence that now pervades Mexico.

If I were a believer in extra-terrestrial life, my question would be: What planet are these people from? Do they honestly believe that gun-control intervention is going to alleviate the horrific consequences of their drug-war intervention? Can anyone really be that stupid?

Not likely. My hunch is that these people are simply looking for new excuses for gun control and are latching onto the war on drugs to advance that agenda.

Let’s restate some important principles that are involved here.

The drug-war itself is the root cause of the drug-war violence in Mexico, the United States, and elsewhere. If there were no drug laws — that is, if drugs were legalized — there would be no drug gangs, drug cartels, and drug-war murders, assassinations, robberies, bribery, and the like. All the violence associated with the drug war would disappear for the obvious reason — there no longer would be a drug war.

The black market inevitably attracts an unsavory producer, one who has no reservations about employing violence and political corruption to expand his market share.

Making drugs illegal doesn’t cause consumers to stop desiring drugs. Making them illegal simply makes it more difficult and more expensive for the consumer to acquire them. Thus, oftentimes poor drug users resort to robberies, muggings, and thefts to acquire the money to pay the exorbitant black-market prices for the drugs they seek.

Rarely does this happen in a free and open market. Competitors compete against each other on the basis of such things as quality and price. Generally, prices are within reach of most everyone.

After all, when was the last time you saw Al Capone type of gangs distributing beer? When was the last time you saw a wino mugging someone to get the money to pay for a bottle of wine?

Prohibition-related violence disappeared with the repeal of Prohibition. That’s precisely what would happen if drug prohibition were repealed.

The statist notion — the notion being advanced by the Binational Task Force — is that by reenacting the assault-weapons ban, drug gangs in Mexico would no longer be able to acquire the weaponry to initiate drug-war violence.

That’s ludicrous. For one thing, the drug gangs can acquire weaponry from all over the world. For another, the assault-weapons ban didn’t really ban assault weapons — it simply required modifications of them, such as shorter clips or no bayonet. People could still acquire AR-15s, AK-47s, SKSs and other assault rifles.

What the statists fail to recognize — or perhaps not — is that a fierce war on guns — that is, one waged like the war on drugs — would do nothing more than produce the same type of violence, if not more, than that produced by the war on drugs.

The solution to the failure of interventionism is not more interventionism. The solution is the repeal of interventionism. Americans would be wise to reject the statist recommendations of the Binational Task Force. Contrary to what these people say, it’s not possible to fix their failed war on drugs with a war on guns or with anything else. The only way to end the drug-war violence is by ending the drug war.

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