In Kyrgyzstan, the majority ethny has been having a pogrom against the Uzbek minority. At least 124 are dead and no less than 75,000 people have fled their homes.
Here’s a story from February 2008 which shows how something like this happens.
Ministerial calls for members of the public in Kyrgyzstan to be able to purchase firearms for self-defence have been criticised as foolhardy. Observers say Kyrgyzstan has enough stability and crime problems as things stand without putting more guns into circulation.
The suggestion was made last week by Kyrgyz justice minister Marat Kaipov as part of a set of proposed changes to the existing law on weapons.
Kaipov said it might help combat rising crime levels if “every criminal knew that if he visited a house without an invitation, he might get a bullet through his head”.
This is not time someone has floated the idea of liberalising gun ownership in Kyrgyzstan. In the early Nineties, when the country had just gained its independence, the then interior minister, Felix Kulov, called for weapons to be distributed among ordinary people. However, the rest of the government refused to allow this.
In 2006, after a series of shocking murders of well-known politicians, parliament again returned to the subject of whether elected deputies, at least, should be allowed to carry guns.
After the change in leadership in March 2005, another two parliamentarians were shot in Bishkek and a third was killed during a prison visit.
In response, parliament amended the law in December 2006 to allow members of parliament to carry guns during their term in office. Prior to the December election, almost one-third of sitting members had availed themselves of this right.
Of course the Kyrgyz parliament exempted itself from the gun control laws.
While most public figures have come out against the justice minister’s proposal, political scientist Tamerlan Ibraimov suspects there is some public support for the idea because so many people feel unprotected from criminals.
At the same time, Ibraimov said making firearms freely available could have disastrous consequences.
“If it is done on a large scale, we will face a big problem in the future,” he said. “After obtaining weapons, people might have a great temptation to commit crimes.”
Parliamentarian Zainidin Kurmanov agreed. Simplifying the procedure by which people can buy arms would effectively mean the state admitting its own failure to guarantee their basic security.
God forbid the people lose faith in the almighty state! Or is the parliamentarian saying God forbid a government confess its impotence?
When the Kyrgyz military was called on to restore order, they actually joined in the looting.
With the recent Supreme Court ruling reasserting the right to bear arms, it’s a good time to remind ourselves why this is one of the most important rights of all and the Founders put it right behind freedom of speech.
Another important lesson to learn: as usual, the ones who most desire peace are the merchants.