Why Licensing Is Inherently Evil


The basic, default condition in a “free” society must, of course, be “freedom”. “Freedom” is the ability of the individual to conduct their lives, and exercise their rights, as they see fit, without let or hindrance from the State or others. The role of the State is to maximize the level of “freedom” for its citizens.

“Crime” occurs when one person contravenes the rights of someone else, thus causing them “harm”; laws that establish and proscribe punishments for these kinds of acts are “malum in se” laws – acts that are bad because they are inherently bad. Laws that restrict or deny the free exercise of your rights are inherently bad; these laws are “malum prohibitum” laws – acts that are bad because the State says they are bad.

Protection of the rights of the individual is the only reason for passing a law. Having committed a crime is the only justification for the restriction of your rights.

All “licensing” laws are “malum prohibitum” – bad because the State says it is bad. The mere fact of my owning a gun in no way infringes upon the rights of anyone else.


What is “Licensing”?

At its very base, licensing (from the Latin “licet”, to permit) is “lawful excuse” to contravene a law – in other words, it is “permission” from the Government to commit a “crime”! I can think of nothing more repulsive than a system that sets something up that would normally be lawful as being “illegal”, except when those in power give you their permission to commit that illegal act. Since the Federal Government may only make criminal law, this cannot be a simple “regulatory” infraction, like a Provincial Statute – this brings the full force of the Criminal Justice System to bear on the transgressor. If the State can allow you to break this law, give you permission to commit a “crime”, then it cannot be all that bad of an act in the first place. This deplorable situation serves to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.


There are several “evil” components to “licensing”:

Proof of Law-abidingness

In a free society, the default condition must be that citizens are considered to be law abiding, until, by their own actions, they prove that they are not. Requiring a license forces those who are law abiding to prove their law-abidingness to the State, even though they have not done anything “dangerous” to date. If they had, they would be in jail, or have a criminal record. This is “guilty until you prove yourself innocent”, “prior restraint” and “reverse onus,” which are all contrary to the principles of fundamental justice.


Permission to exercise a right

Rights are actions you can take dependent upon your own free will, exercised when and as you wish. They cannot be taken away from you arbitrarily, and if they are taken away from you, it must be on a case by case basis, with some overwhelming justification for doing so, i.e.. having committed a criminal act. This is called “due process”.

If the State requires you to take some course and pass some test in order for you to be allowed to perform some action, it ceases to be a right, and becomes a privilege. This becomes a blanket prohibition on that act, which you, as a law abiding citizen, must first ask permission of the State to perform. Any impediment to the free exercise of your rights is an infringement.


Collective Responsibility

Since the “justification” for this infringement of your rights is “public safety”, in that some other people have in the past, and may again in the future, commit some crime with a gun, the law abiding citizen has their rights stripped based on the criminal acts of others, not any criminal act performed by that particular individual.

This is contrary to the principle of fundamental justice that states that innocent persons should not be punished for acts they did not commit. “Personal responsibility” must be the cornerstone of any system of justice. “Collective responsibility” is against the Geneva Conventions.


Acts as a barrier to gun ownership

Some people who might otherwise desire to own a gun, and who might need to own a gun for personal protection or feeding themselves, would be barred from owning one because of the costs incurred by the requirement to have a license, or an objection on privacy or other rights issues to having to fill out a Government decreed form.


Arbitrary State-imposed standards

Giving the State the authority to require that individuals acquire a license so you may exercise your right also gives them the authority to impose arbitrary standards to obtain such a license. These standards can be changed at any time, which could include the prohibition of certain activities as being “deemed” by those in power as being inherently “unnecessary”.

There are many other arbitrary loopholes that the State can utilize in an attempt to restrict the rights of the individual: they can raise the price for a license exorbitantly; they can schedule required classes at times and in places that are virtually impossible to attend; they can hold such classes once a year, if ever. All of these tricks, and others, have been used in the past.

All of these arbitrary standards are based on the premise that someone else knows better than you how to conduct your own life. They substitute their opinion for your own. They are all intolerable.


Proof of Identity

If you need a license before you can own a gun, then you must have to show your license to the seller before you can buy it from them. The license must have some way of indicating who, exactly, you are because if it doesn’t, then anyone could use it. There must be some corresponding method for the seller to verify this information, especially for those who may be required by the State to have a “license” to conduct such a business.


Makes gun possession inherently suspect

If you need a license to own a gun, then if a cop sees you with a gun, he must have the power to demand that you prove that you have a license that allows you to have it.


There are already several laws regulating the [im]proper use of firearms

Real laws already exist that govern the use of firearms in the commission of real crimes, such as robbery, assault, threatening, pointing, discharging at, wounding, or killing someone. All of these are “malum in se” crimes – bad because they in and of themselves harm someone else. No amount of licensing will prevent someone from committing such a crime. All licensing laws are “malum prohibitum” – bad because the State says they are bad. Robbery with a gun is no more nor less wrong because one does so without a license for that gun.

All “gun control” laws are a sop to the irrational fears that something “might happen”

This is based on the fallacious notion that because some people cannot be trusted to use firearms properly then nobody can be trusted.

No amount of laws can make you “safe”, and attempts to do so are illusory and futile. The State cannot keep you safe, and by the time this becomes apparent, it is too late – your rights have already been sacrificed.

Such irrational fears are a personal problem, best addressed through therapy, not legislation.


What licensing doesn’t do:

Licensing doesn’t eliminate accidents

Licensing doesn’t prevent dangerous people from getting guns

Licensing doesn’t prevent those with licenses from becoming dangerous

Licensing doesn’t legislate responsibility

Licensing doesn’t legislate competency

Licensing doesn’t control crime



Any infringement upon the rights of the individual that cannot be justified to be a proven, effective, and substantial benefit to society as a whole is fundamentally wrong.

Licensing does not accomplish any of the claims made for it, and seriously infringes upon the rights of law abiding citizens. As such, it is a bad law, and must not be imposed.

© Bruce N. Mills 2003 – 2011 ~ akimoya@yahoo.ca

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