Journal of Libertarian Studies

Guns for Protection, and Other Private Sector Responses to the Government’s Failure to Control Crime

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Several years ago, in an episode of “All in the Family ,” Archie Bunker proposed a possible solution to the airline highjacking problem. He suggested that the government should arm all the passengers. Potential highjackers, fearing for their lives when confronted by a hundred or so armed adversaries, would no longer carry out these crimes. Archie pointed out that all the government would have to do is pass out the guns as the passengers boarded and collect them at deplaning, rather than use the elaborate x-ray and metal-detecting apparatus currently employed to discourage highjacking. More recently, the city council of Kennesaw, Georgia, passed an ordinance requiring all citizens to own a gun in order to deter crime in the community. Both of these instances were obviously meant to be jokes, the first as part of a television situation comedy and the second as an attempt to point out how equally ridiculous is the Morton Grove, Illinois, ordinance, which prohibits the ownership of all handguns. Nevertheless, these two occurrences highlight the issues that will be addressed in this essay.

Volume 8, Number 1 (1986)


Benson, Bruce L. “Guns for Protection, and Other Private Sector Responses to the Government’s Failure to Control Crime.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 8, No. 1 (1986): 75–109.

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