“Preventing Gun Violence” is not a Compelling Governmental Interest

American Bullet Flag Freedom Second Amendment
American Bullet Flag Freedom Second Amendment

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- In a recent column, well-known Reason editor and writer Jacob Sullum made a likely unintentional error. He writes that “preventing gun violence” is a compelling government interest. From townhall.com:

Restrictions on fundamental rights usually pass muster only if they are narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest — in this case, preventing gun violence.

“Gun violence” is an Orwellian phrase that compels the user to focus on guns rather than on illegitimate actions.

“Preventing gun violence” is not a compelling government interest.

Preventing murder can be a compelling government interest, though, in our federal system of limited governmental powers, it should primarily be an interest of the States, not the federal government.

Preventing suicide may be a compelling government interest, though the case is less clear than preventing murder.  Some governments are involved in approving of, and assisting in, some suicides.

Preventing justified homicides is clearly *not* a compelling governmental interest; promoting justified homicides aids in lowering murder, violent crime, and crime generally.

Preventing accidents may be a secondary governmental interest.

Preventing a murder or suicide committed with a particular method is *not* a compelling governmental interest, because it is not clear if prohibiting one method will do anything to lower murders or suicides generally. It is arguable that prohibiting one method will lead to the rise of other methods. If preventing one method does not lower the overall rate, resources have been wasted and liberties narrowed to no effect. Thus, singling out one method becomes a matter of choice and preference.

Using the Orwellian phrases of Progressives is one of the easiest ways to lose an argument with them. If you cede to them the ability to define the words and terms of the language used, they win, mostly by default.

A “compelling governmental interest” is a legal concept used in the application of strict scrutiny of actions that effect Constitutional rights.

It is the highest level of interest.

In the lowest level, “rational basis”, the governmental interest need only serve a legitimate function. Statutes are almost never found to violate the rational basis standard.

In the middle level “intermediate scrutiny” the governmental interest must be shown to be important, a higher test than legitimate.

For “strict scrutiny”, a compelling interest must be shown. From mtsu.edu:

An interest is compelling when it is essential or necessary rather than a matter of choice, preference, or discretion.

Examples of compelling governmental interests would be: protecting the country from invasion; maintaining the rule of law in contracts and property rights; protecting the structure and execution of Constitutional order.

“Preventing gun violence” is precisely a matter of choice, preference, and discretion.

The choice, preference, and discretion of those who want a disarmed population, are all aimed at disarming the rest of society, precisely what the Second Amendment is designed to prevent.

Progressives do not believe in Constitutional order. They do not believe in limiting governmental power. They do not believe in God or in a moral code.

Opposition to the Second Amendment is in Progressivism’s DNA.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Funny how “gun” violence is such a HUGE deal, yet other matters that result in far more death and disfigurement are completely ignored. Methinks it’s the “gun” part of the equation that is the real interest. Why? Because people without guns are easy to control and kill, which is the end game here. People without hammers and saws don’t build houses.


If liberals valued life, they would focus their efforts on suicide, which comprises 2/3 of firearm-related deaths. It is the area where they could make the biggest difference with the least amount of effort. But they don’t value life. They value power. Therefore, they focus on disarming the public, because a disarmed public cannot resist the abuses of a well-armed government.

Green Mtn. Boy

The compelling government interest of the 2 nd. amendment,is it is prohibited from any infringement of any kind,so much for the wording of the Constitution and governments adherence to those words and prohibition.

Old Ch.E.

If “preventing gun violence” means taking lawfully owned weapons from law abiding citizens I am very glad our government, especially our leadership, especially our president has little if any interest in “preventing gun violence”.


2/3 of gun deaths, which are lumped into the “gun murder/violence category,” are suicides. In a day when more and more states are pushing assisted suicides, the statistic needs to be updated with the suicide numbers removed. Promoting justifiable homicide is truly a program that government should embrace. Constitutional carry should be mandated in all states with the standard existing background checks, if you qualify to buy, you qualify to carry. . .in any state (full reciprocity). MURDER RATES AND ALL crime in general will plummet in all states, not just in the ones that currently make concealed carry by… Read more »


Preventing gun violence is a clear obligation of government. A government that can’t, or won’t, take the basic steps necessary to protect the lives and safety of its citizens is unworthy of respect.


It would appear that the government has little interest in preventing gun violence due to the fact that they are unable or unwilling to create a sufficient deterent that criminals would fear. Zero tolerance is the only solution. Use a firearm offensively in a crime, lifetime jail sentences, no plea bargains, no deals, no probation and no age limits. Of course there will always be those who won’t be detered and they’re the ones who need to face a polite armed society.


Liberals want to outlaw and prevent access to firearms. The act of murder is already illegal, and the law doesn’t work, as laws only define crime but do nothing to prevent crime. So they move on from the action to the opportunity, and seek to deny any opportunity to access and possess weapons. Like the war on drugs, no laws they pass will have the desired effects, as people will find ways to import or build guns, like they import and grow and create drugs in labs. As a society, we outlaw the action, and the consequence is a deterrent… Read more »


Birth control sure has turned some women into sluts.


@CL – Other than STDs, violent jealousies, and unwanted pregnancy – what’s the problem with that?


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in the Gulag Archipelago, when the communists took over they made crimes against the people of no effect but any crime against the state brought down the full wrath of those in control. (paraphrasing) So, yes, I agree that the government has no compelling interest because the more violence there is, the more they can scream we need to disarm the people and more people jump on that way of thinking because of their emotional responses. Reason, Logic and Common sense, which were prevalent in the days of the Founding Fathers dictated that being armed was the… Read more »


Excellent explanation of the differences in the rational behind government’s legal actions. Thanks. However, your last paragraph over reaches. You do not, and cannot, know if a person believes in God, which is mostly irrelevant to the issue of preventing violence. Most violence done in this world has been done in the name of various gods, even if you choose your particular one this will probably hold true. As for a person’s moral code or compass (which determines direction) you might agree that the progressives intent is valid. It is the way they seek to go about achieving it, and… Read more »


@LH – If you speak with pretty much any gun control opponent, I believe you will find that one of their goals is to reduce violence. So, we do not disagree with progressives STATED goal of reducing violence – just that they focus purely on “gun violence” to exclusion of all other violence or needless losses. They ignore the many benefits guns provide to our society as a whole as well for the individuals who exercise their rights. Many (if not most) here believe that while peace and love of humanity are the stated goal – used for propaganda purposes,… Read more »


Their stated goal may be a reduction in violence and death, but if that were true, they would not focus on “assault weapons” considering all rifle types combined are used in less than 400 annual murders, usually closer to 300. Whereas handguns are used in thousands of murders.

Further, automobiles cause more deaths annually than firearms, so why such a focus on firearms and no word at all on cars?