Almost anything could be used to commit murder. We do not need a law against owning guns any more than we need a law against owning cars.
The philosopher Thomas Aquinas argues that great care should be taken before creating new laws: “Wherefore … in establishing new laws, there should be evidence of the benefit to be derived, before departing from a law which has long been considered just.”
In the United States, there is zero evidence indicating that gun control laws benefit society or prevent mass murder. No law—save concealed carry laws, which actually permit people to bear arms—reduces murder rates.
Profs. John Lott Jr. and William Landes conducted a landmark study analyzing all multiple-victim public shootings in the U.S. between 1977 and 1999 showing that: “While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce ‘normal’ murder rates, our results find that the only policy factor to influence multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws.”
Evidence does show that mentally ill people commit violence. But mentally ill people do not always use guns.
They use their own hands (think Erika Menendez who said she pushed a man in front of New York City subway train because “I thought it would be cool”). They use knives (think the female blackjack dealers who broke into a stabbing fight at the Bellagio last month). And they use hammers: FBI reports show that more criminals used hammers (496) than rifles (323) to commit murder.
Sometimes the “madmen” are politicians who become dictators. We need guns to protect ourselves from our own government should it become a dictatorship that rejects natural human rights. As Ayn Rand illustrates in her novel, Atlas shrugged, a dictator only finds safety in “the sphere of violence.”
The best thing we can do to prevent mentally ill people from resorting to violence is to love them. By smiling and sharing kind words with sad, lonely, depressed or impoverished people, we could prevent them from becoming violent.
From now on, we can proactively prevent violence by keeping our promises, spending time with our children and showing kindness to everyone, including strangers. And since we cannot prevent all evil in the world, we need guns to defend our natural right to life.