~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
I've been thinking about writing something on gun control for awhile now, I finally decided to put fingers to keyboard and make it happen. Gun control has once again become a hot topic of debate since the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary in which twenty children and six adults were fatally shot. The Obama administration, never letting a good crisis go to waste, was quick to ride the wave of emotionalism to purpose sweeping firearms reform. President Obama in his speech at the Sandy Hook prayer vigil asked "Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?" I'm inclined to believe that if Mr. Obama really cared about keeping children safe he wouldn't support abortion in the first place. But I digress, on to gun control...
While the those that support gun control have good intentions, it is based upon two assumptions that are both false. The first assumption is that gun control works. Past gun control attempts have shown that gun control is only effective in disarming law abiding citizens, it is not true for criminals who disregard the law anyways. For example in 1976 Washington DC passed a strict gun law that prohibited handguns and required all firearms in private homes to be kept unloaded and temporarily rendered inoperable. The result was a 73% increase in homicides in DC while the US murder rate averaged 11% lower. Across the border, Mexico has some of the strictest gun controls on the planet. Guns are generally restricted to the authorities and there is only one shop in Mexico that legally sells (low-powered) firearms and getting one for the average citizen is a lengthy process. This however has not stopped the drug cartels from obtaining assault weapons and running rampant. As long as there is a need for it there will be a black market to supply it. If making something illegal was effective in controlling it's use then we would not have a war on drugs.
The second assumption is that less damage can be inflected without guns. Two of the worst terrorists attacks on US soil didn't involve guns at all. Timothy McVeigh used a fertilizer bomb to blow up the Oklahoma City Building killing 168 people and injuring over 800. The 9/11 terrorists used box cutters and planes to kill over 3000 Americans. Last year a man in China used a knife to wound 22 kids. A couple months before that another man in China used a machete to kill three students and injure 13 others. In these instances just as much damage or greater can be inflicted without a firearm.
So that brings us to the consequences of banning guns. The first danger is to that of the law abiding citizens who are unable to effectively defend themselves from physical harm. Sarah McKinley is an 18 year old single mother who was home alone with her three month old baby when an armed attacker crashed through her front door. Luckily for Sarah she had a shotgun and stopped the intruder "dead" in his tracks. What if Sarah didn't have a gun? Sure there non-lethal alternatives, but these alternatives are not likely two stop or dissuaded two or more aggressive attackers. The second danger is to that to our freedoms. If our second amendment rights can be so easily struck down then what about our first amendment rights? What if someone says or writes something that is unpopular? Is it then okay to strike down freedom of speech or freedom of the press? It becomes a slippery slope when our rights can be changed at whim to whichever way the political winds might be blowing. I've heard it asked why do we need this weapon or why do we need so many bullets? In the end it's not about what we need, we have a Bill of Rights not a Bill of Needs.
If we are unable to defend ourselves we become totally dependent upon the police, who usually arrive after the facts, to protect us. Freedoms are sacrificed in the name of security and we run the risk of becoming a police state. Do we really want to end up like the UK that needs 4.2 million CCTV's to watch everyone? There is a price that comes with safety and that price is freedom. As Benjamin Franklin so elegantly put it “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
There was a time in America when kids actually brought there guns to school so they could go hunting afterwards and some high schools even had a gun range for the ROTC in the 50's. The infamous Tommy Gun could be bought in hardware stores or through the mail. Guns have been a part of this nation since it's very inception. If guns are the problem then we would except a country like Switzerland, that issues automatic weapons to it's citizens, to be more violent but this is not the case. What we see to today with the senseless mass shootings is a fairly recent phenomenon in American history (with a few exceptions). So what happened? What happened is social decay that has been ongoing for several decades and is finally coming home to roost. Our lack of morals and virtues are what's really the problem of the mindless violence we see today. If all guns are banned only the symptom is treated, unless we start addressing the moral issues we will only see more violence and more government to control it.