Jun 15 • 1HR 6M

Dave Kopel on Guns and Tyranny

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Dave Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute in Colorado and a leading attorney on Second Amendment issues. He is the author of Aiming for Liberty: The Past, Present, And Future of Freedom and Self-Defense, Colorado Constitutional Law and History, several other books, and countless articles. This is the Self in Society Podcast #28.

Time Markers
00 Intro
1:06 U.S. violence in context
6:39 Homicides by government
8:15 Civilian gun ownership as protective against mass-murder by government
11:08 Interlude: Some personal connections
11:44 But some governments are better
13:44 Governmental violence in Europe
15:24 Worrisome signs in the U.S.
18:17 Armed racial nationalists as a threat to the country
20:41 Bad governments get guns to bad people; Sudan and Venezuela
23:03 The German example; gun-owner registration lists
24:36 The French example
25:14 What’s behind the global rise of authoritarian movements? What is nationalism?
27:58 The Russian example
30:12 The murders of Hitler, Mao, and Stalin
31:00 The Victims of Communism Museum
31:15 Deficiencies of American history education; the evil of Communism
33:16 The Cuba example
34:16 The Marxism of Antonio Gramsci
36:24 Ideological takeover of American schools
38:04 Guns for personal self-defense
43:02 Police responses to crimes
44:45 Armed teachers
49:49 The movement against armed self-defense
50:55 The Second Amendment and individual rights
53:09 Background checks and gun-owner registration
59:25 "Assault" guns
1:04:45 Wrap-up

Kopel’s web site links to his many works. See also his bio page at the Independence Institute.

Kopel discusses his recent article, “Guns Kill People, and Tyrants with Gun Monopolies Kill the Most” (which he summarizes at Volokh). Here is the abstract:

What are the relative risks of a nation having too many guns compared to the risks of the nation having too few guns? Comparing and contrasting Europe and the United States during the twentieth century, the article finds that the United States might have suffered up to three-quarters of million excess firearms homicide over the course of the century—based on certain assumptions made to maximize the highest possible figure. In contrast, during the twentieth century Europe suffered 87 million excess homicides against civilians by mass-murdering tyrannical governments. The article suggests that Americans should not be complacent that they have some perpetual immunity to being subjected to tyranny. The historical record shows that governments planning mass murder work assiduously to disarm their intended victims. While victim resistance cannot necessarily overthrow a tyrannical regime, resistance does save many lives.

Recently Kopel discussed his book on the Colorado Constitution with Jon Caldara.

Kopel discusses William English’s paper, “2021 National Firearms Survey.”

During the discussion Kopel mentioned Antonio Gramsci. We discussed the Victims of Communism museum. I wrote down my thoughts on nationalism in a 2016 article. I quoted Wikipedia on international homicide statistics. I also quoted the Texas Tribune and a union poll about arming teachers. And I mentioned Robert Zubrin’s article about the Russian authoritarian mystic Aleksandr Dugin.