When motivating for the individual, natural rights to life and property always proceed from an argument from rights and not from a utilitarian, outcome-based position. After all, individual rights are not predicated on an optimal statistical outcome.
With respect to the Second Amendment right of self-defense: Ample empirical data exist of a statistically meaningful correlation between a well-armed citizenry—i.e., in middle-class neighborhoods as opposed to in gangland—and lower crime rates, in aggregate. New Hampshire is an example of a heavily armed, low-crime state.
Moreover, the benefits of a well-armed population redound to the non-carrying crowd. David Kopel is one of the most respected 2nd Amendment scholars in the country. About these “free riders,” Kopel writes the following in the Arizona Law Review, Summer 2001, Symposium on Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America:
American homes which do not have guns enjoy significant “free rider” benefits. Gun owners bear financial and other burdens of gun ownership; but gun-free and gun-owning homes enjoy exactly the same general burglary deterrence effects from widespread American gun ownership. This positive externality of gun ownership is difficult to account for in a litigation context (since the quantity and cost of deterred crime is difficult to measure), and may even go unnoticed by court–since the free rider beneficiaries (non-gun owners) are not represented before the court.
In other words, the unarmed owe the armed among you a debt of gratitude. We substitute your safety. Read on.
However, what if this were this not the case? What if, for some weird, wonderful, unlikely and inexplicable reason, arming yourself, commensurate with your right to defend your life, increased the aggregate crime rate in your community? Would this hypothetical empirical data somehow invalidate your inalienable, individual right to protect your life, loved-ones and property?
No! It would so do only if you accept that, de facto, you do not posses an inherent right to life and property.
… a right that can’t be defended is a right in name only. Inherent in the idea of an inalienable right is the right to mount a vigorous defense of the same right. If you cannot by law defend your life, you have no right to life.
By logical extension, Britons are bereft of the right to life. Not only are the traditional ‘Rights of Englishmen’—the inspiration for the American founders—no longer cool in Cool Britannia; but they’ve been eroded in law. The great system of law that the English people once held dear, including the 1689 English Bill of Rights—subsumed within which was the right to possess arms—is no longer. British legislators have disarmed their law-abiding subjects, who now defend themselves against a pampered, protected and armed criminal class at their own peril. Naturally, most of the (unnatural) elites enjoy taxpayer-funded security details. …