The W-88? That’s perfect for home defense.

Often when I discuss victim disarmament gun control with its supporters, I am confronted with the question. “Do you think we should allow people to own machine guns, F-16’s or even nuclear weapons?”

I always answer “Yes, of course”. To me, the question is not how deadly the weapon, but how its owner wishes to use it. If someone wants to waste their time and money building a superweapon that they will then use peaceably, or just admire in a glass case, it is no skin off my nose. After all, so long as they don’t attack other people with them or damage other people’s property, they have a perfect right to enjoy themselves however they wish.

Are there people who wish to own F-16’s and nuclear weapons so that they can kill people? Definitely – members of the Armed Services Committees in Congress, for example. But, without tax-payer funds how many of them could really afford to commission such weapons? Even with economies of scale, an F-16 costs something like $10,000,000 to build and about $5,000 per hour in fuel and maintenance to fly. Additionally, firing the weapons systems can cost up to $1,000,000 per sortie. If forced to work productively to earn their keep, how many of people would have the free time to design, build and practice with such weapons? How many of them would settle for the reduced mayhem of a cruise missile when they can kill a larger number of people with a cheaper and more reliable low-tech truck-bomb made out of fertilizer?

Let us be realistic: without government demand for them, I don’t think nuclear weapons or even F-16’s would exist. They are expensive to build, and of limited use. They require a significant amount of industrial infrastructure, including hundreds of factories,hundreds of engineers, and thousands of workers to build, maintain and support them. In the absence of significant consumer demand for these superweapons, all those resources would be invested in other more profitable ventures, like the flying cars we were supposed to get by the year 2000.

I honestly think the legality of the ownership of squad weapons or fighter jets or ICBMs is irrelevant. A dedicated, would-be mass murderer will have an easier time killing a bunch of people with rifles, hand-guns or homemade bombs than with an F-16. It is far better that we allow these weapons to fail on the market place than to outlaw their ownership.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.