Gun Rights Versus European Style Gun Control

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

Many Americans look to Europe for guidance on a great many things. After all, most of us trace our ancestry to somewhere over in that part of the world, at least in part, and Europe is where our culture evolved from, so it sort of makes sense.

Which is probably why so many gun control advocates like to point to Europe as if it's some kind of a guidepost for us.

The reality is that the United States may have been colonized by Europeans, but we've changed a great deal over our more than two centuries of independence. There are now serious differences on a deep, cultural level, particularly when it comes to things like guns.

Over at, they took a look at some of these differences.

European vs American Gun Culture-

The Czech Republic has an adult population of approximately 8,720,000, with roughly 314,000 individuals (3.6%) holding gun licenses and owning approximately 1 million firearms.

In comparison, data estimates (nobody can really know) the adult population of the US at around 259,000,000. While it's challenging to determine the exact number of gun owners and firearms in the US because of the lack of universal gun registration (although that is the gun-control advocates goal), estimates suggest that about 45% of Americans own guns, totaling around 82,880,000 individuals owning an estimated 494,000,000 firearms.

Implementing European-style gun control laws in the US would be challenging both practically and legislatively. The sheer number of gun owners and firearms in the US would make it difficult to enforce similar restrictions. Besides a scheme like this requiring universal background checks, confiscation and privacy concerns are obvious.

Additionally, the monetary costs from an enforcement standpoint would blow up many state budgets. The US Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms for self-defense, which the Supreme Court upheld in landmark decisions such as the District of Columbia v. Heller.

While we can talk all we want about our rights, the truth is that we're often dealing with people who do not accept the underlying premise--that our rights are inherent in our existence and that the government has no just authority to restrict those rights--so we need to be able to frame our arguments differently.

The truth is that even if there was a chance of passing European-style gun control, the practicality of it is a different matter entirely. You simply cannot disarm a population that doesn't want to be disarmed.

Especially when we have more guns than people--a fact often held up so as to disturb people but that I happen to think is absolutely amazing.

Yet the truth is that it can't happen here, not without a lot of changes in legal precedence that I don't see happening in the near future.

In addition to Heller which, as noted above, distinctly found a right to self-defense and that the right to keep and bear arms is, in fact, an individual right, we also have Bruen, which created the text, history, and tradition standard to determine the constitutionality of gun control laws.

European gun control isn't going to be consistent with either of these two Supreme Court decisions.

So while many push for this particular flavor of gun control, they might as well demand that the moon ferrets descend from on high to deliver their wisdom to the masses. They have about equal odds of actually happening.

That's not to say that anyone should rest easy. There are plenty of ways they can screw over our rights without resorting to full European-style gun control. After all, they've done a pretty good job of it over the years without ever going quite that far. There's no reason to believe they won't keep doing it if we let them.