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Let's Cut the "Law-Abiding Citizen" Crap

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If laws and regulations aimed at preventing crime are seen as an affront to "law-abiding citizens," then civilization is impossible.


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WikiCommons: Guns per Country per Capita by By Miketwardos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Tonight, President Obama is expected to talk about his administration's efforts to curb gun violence, highlighting the survivors of several tragedies. One of the favorite - and most ridiculous - arguments against gun control by the gun lobby is that it is somehow an affront to "law-abiding" citizens, to ask for any restrictions on the sale and use of lethal weapons.

I have always found that argument puzzling. After all, all laws are aimed at those who are prone to break the law, and hurt their fellow citizens. Those of us who are not so prone accept those curbs in a variety of areas, knowing that they protect us from the criminal and unstable among us. Carried to its logical extreme, the argument can only be seen as a call to anarchy. I thought it would be interesting to translate the "law-abiding citizen" line to other areas of life. Such as:

Why do law-abiding citizens have to obey speed limits? Shouldn't law enforcement leave them alone and trust them to drive safely?

Why do law-abiding citizens have to submit to security checks at the airport? We should just prosecute terrorists after they attack, and leave the rest of us alone.

Why should law-abiding doctors and pharmacists have such restrictions on the prescription of controlled substances and other powerful drugs? Can't they and their patients be trusted to use their judgement?

Why should law-abiding food companies be required to test their products and disclose their ingredients? Why can't we just punish those few "bad apples" after people get sick from tainted food? (I realize that, in this case, many would argue that there is already too little regulation in this area.)

And finally: Why should law-abiding rape victims and other women be subjected to non-consensual invasive medical procedures (which are themselves legally classified as rape), before they choose to avail themselves of a constitutionally protected procedure?

The gun lobby needs to adjust its righteous indignation meter.
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Amy Fried is the author of "Escaping Dick Cheney's Stomach." She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, and has been an advocate for church-state separation and other civil liberties issues. She writes on women's issues, media, veganism (more...)

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You assume, very twistedly, that governm... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 6:18:22 PM
Obviously, when an individual is under the false i... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 6:35:11 PM
So, are you guys equating disagreeing w/the NRA w/... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 9:43:06 AM
You are not merely disagreeing with the NRA in thi... by Ned Lud on Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 10:40:10 AM
1) Your argument is akin to that lived by Joe Repu... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 12:31:05 PM
Government and corporate power today are the same ... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 6:49:54 AM
I agree w/you that gov't is in bed w/corporations;... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 10:21:46 AM
Guns: I think if there is only gun you would p... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 12:35:03 PM
No, thanks. I would, however, like to support comm... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 1:17:06 PM
Interesting take. The problem, however, is that du... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 2:38:28 PM