Any tragedy these days comes with a near-inevitable element of politicization, and none, it seems, are more politicized than mass shootings. Anytime some psycho takes a gun and kills people with it, the debate starts again.
But despite the adamant calls for gun control that arose in the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the facts have not changed: restricting or banning gun ownership will not solve this problem.
It was just a few days before the Sandy Hook shooting that I wrote an article titled “Why Gun Bans Are Dumb.” The evidence has not changed since then, so I recommend you check out that article as a starting point.
There are two ultimate examples of the failure of gun control in today’s world: England and Australia. Both nations instituted sweeping regulations on gun ownership. Both nations saw crime rates increase after they banned guns. Criminals became more bold, breaking into people’s homes in broad daylight. In Australia, citizens protested the measures that had put them into more danger, not less…and what is more, England is experiencing higher rates of gun crime.
Even the domestic examples are telling: after the DC gun ban was overturned, crime rates in our nation’s capital fell drastically. Crime rates in Chicago, which has strict restrictions on gun ownership, remains very high.
Meanwhile, in California, the anti-gun hysteria has driven many Californians to buy guns before further restrictions are put into effect, and now the data shows that crime rates in California have fallen even as gun ownership has been on the rise.
There are several problems with the liberal reaction to Sandy Hook:
1. The Assault Weapons Ban Would Not Have Changed Anything
Leftists always seem to come back to re-instating the assault weapons ban – it is the boilerplate gun-control argument, and the starting point for just about every gun control debate in America…but the assault weapons ban was fundamentally flawed.
Under the assault weapons ban, few guns were actually classified as “assault weapons.” In fact, Connecticut had laws against “assault weapons” in place, yet the Bushmaster rifle that the killer took with him to the school was legally owned by the killer’s mother.
The ban on “assault weapons” actually had more to do with cosmetic features on rifles, and little to do with the rifles themselves. Options such as pistol grips, folding or collapsible stocks, and threaded barrels were restricted by the ban. In fact, the only substantive restriction had to do with magazine capacity, and even that restriction is not substantive enough to make a real difference when an armed assailant intent on mass murder walks into a gun-free zone and opens fire.
Even the high-capacity magazine aspect is rather ridiculous, considering that almost all of the magazines classified as “high-capacity” by the ban are little more than the magazines that were designed for the guns – this is especially the case for semi-automatic handguns.
All in all, weapons that are actually banned under the assault weapons ban account for such an insignificant minority of weapons actually used in violent crimes (less than 2 percent), that gun control advocates don’t even realize how foolish bringing up the ban time after time makes them.
The sad thing is, most people who automatically run to the assault weapons ban whenever tragedy strikes don’t actually know what qualifies as an assault weapon, and have no idea what the assault weapons ban actually bans. These are usually the same people who think terms like “magazine” and “clip” are interchangeable, and that so-called “high capacity” magazines are actually high-capacity.
2. More Guns = Less Crime
This has become a bit of a mantra for gun rights activists, yet the evidence bears it out. I have already pointed out the relevant examples: England, Australia, Washington DC, and Chicago. Areas in the US that allow more guns have lower crime rates. Gun owners that are responsible and trained have in the US have been able to stop crimes in progress – home invasions, robberies, and even mass shootings. In areas where gun ownership is heavily restricted, it is the law-abiding citizens who have no guns, and the criminals who have them. Compare crime rates in England, Australia, DC, and Chicago to those in Switzerland, where gun ownership and training are both mandated by law. There is no comparison.
3. Gun Free Zones Are Targets For Mass Murder
As John Lott recently pointed out, “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”
It is a simple truth that when law-abiding citizens are disarmed, they become easier targets for criminals. As has been shown by the prominence of mass-shootings in gun free zones, these zones practically invite mass murderers to come and maximize casualties. Even the psycho who shot up the movie theater in Aurora didn’t just choose his target at random – he went out of his way to choose a theater that strictly prohibited guns.
A preponderance of the evidence shows that gun-free zones are dangerous. They put people at risk, and they should be done away with.
4. Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People
Yet another adage that has arisen out of the gun control debate, yet this, too, holds true. Leftists love to prattle on about the “gun culture” that supposedly exists in the United States, but if guns inspired the kind of violence that leftists seem to think they do, there would be millions of deaths in America every day.
The truth is that guns are just tools. They can be used for hunting, for self-defense, for defense of home & property, for warfare, and, yes, for murder. The way a gun is used is not inherent to it being a firearm; different attachments or accessories do not somehow effect a gun owner’s psyche and drive him to murder, as many gun-control advocates seem to suggest.
It is very interesting how when evil occurs, liberals choose to blame inanimate objects, rather than the perpetrators of crimes.
5. The National Rifle Association Is Not To Blame
After the Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA went out of its way to be inoffensive. They shut down their Facebook accounts, silenced their Twitter account, and made no public statements for a week following the shooting, despite the fact that many demagogues were openly blaming the massacre on their organization.
When NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre finally stood before the media to make a statement, he chose not to focus on guns – the tools the murderer had used – and chose to focus instead on the root causes of the horrific shooting: gun-free zones and mental health. And yet, even though the NRA did everything they could to be sensitive to the situation in the face of massive nationwide politicization of a tragedy, the NRA was still criticized for speaking out too soon.
The common misconception among NRA-haters is that the NRA is in favor of doing away with all regulations and just handing out firearms to anyone and everyone. This could not be further from the truth. The NRA has long stood for responsible gun ownership, and to this day the NRA is one of America’s leading providers of firearm safety training (if not the leading provider), providing programs for children, youth, adults, and law enforcement. If you receive firearms training from a licensed trainer, chances are that person was trained by the NRA.
The NRA was formed shortly after the Civil War, with the primary goal of providing firearms training to US civilians in order to improve marksmanship. This goal went beyond civilian firearms training: if civilians were ever again called up to serve in wartime, it was essential that they have the training they needed to fire their weapons accurately.
But in addition to that, one of the NRA’s big pushes early on was to oppose laws that prohibited blacks from owning firearms…the NRA pushed to encourage gun ownership and firearms training among blacks so that they could fight back against the Ku Klux Klan…kind of puts the leftist “NRA=KKK” argument into perspective.
6. Guns Are Not The Root Cause
As I stated earlier, guns do not inherently cause crime. They are incapable of killing by themselves, and they do not drive anyone into a killing rage…but there is another factor that very well may be a contributor to this pointless violence: psychotropic drugs.
Psychotropic drugs are fairly common in our society. Behavior problems are treated with drugs, mood issues are treated with drugs, we give drugs to children who have trouble paying attention in school.
In all of this pharma-psychology, there have been many documented cases (as highlighted in the video), where anti-depressants and other behavior drugs have had horrendous side-effects, causing people to act out violently, becoming suicidal and/or homicidal. Part of the problem is that details such as whether a mass shooter was taking psychotropic drugs when he committed his violent act is not typically disclosed to the public. What we do know, however, is that mass shootings tend to be committed by mentally unstable individuals, and it is a reasonable assumption that some form of psychotropic drugs were in the picture.
But the sad truth is, we may never know the true role that psychotropic drugs may have played in mass shootings in America.
7. The Second Amendment Restricts The Federal Government’s Ability To Restrict Gun Ownership
The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
As with most articles and amendments of the US Constitution, there are a couple of factors at play here. The first is a well regulated Militia. This is the gun control lobby’s strongest argument in favor of gun restrictions, but it doesn’t make a sensible case for gun restrictions when taken in context. When interpreting the Second Amendment, you have to balance well regulated Militia against the security of a free State and the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Taken in its entirety, the Second Amendment quite clearly bans the federal government from restricting the people’s right to own firearms.
It makes much more sense to interpret regulated as trained. We need a populace that owns guns and is trained to use them properly. In this way, not only would we be enabled to resist a tyrannical government, but responsible, trained gun owners have helped to prevent tragedies in cities and towns across America, including home invasions, burglaries, and mass shootings.
One of the more absurd arguments about the Second Amendment is that it applies to muskets, as those were the firearms available to the populace at the time. A more moronic argument could not possibly be made. After all, why should the rest of our Constitutional amendments move forward with the world’s march into the future, while that one Amendment is frozen in time?
If the Second Amendment only applies to muskets, then the First Amendment only applies to the spoken word and the printing press – as it existed in 1787.
The real reason for the Second Amendment is to give the American people the tools they need to fight an oppressive government, should our government fall into tyranny…and this leads me to my final point.
8. How Many Guns Do We Really Need?
This question has taken many forms:
- How many guns does one person really need?
- Does anyone really need a gun that does [insert evil-sounding feature here]?
- Why does America need so many guns?
There is only one proper response to these questions.
How many guns do we need? As many as it takes to keep our government honest.
Does anyone really need a gun that does whatever it does? If the US military has it, it is important that the people have access to it.
We live in an age where our military can spy on us, and can rain down death from on high using remote drones. The kind of advanced technology possessed by our military makes tyranny that much more possible. This isn’t helped by the fact that we also live in an age where the government has authorized warrant-less wiretaps on US citizens and can detain pretty much anyone indefinitely, without trial, as long as the charge is terrorism.
The United States is still a free country, but our freedom is on shaky ground. Given the unprecedented powers that our government now has, the importance of protecting the people’s right to keep and bear arms cannot be understated.
All of the logic proves that banning or restricting guns will not solve the problem of mass shootings or gun violence in America. Like the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty or Prohibition, the War on Gun Violence is another war that we will never win completely. But banning firearms will only exacerbate the issue, allowing criminals to run rampant over law-abiding citizens.
What’s more, nations that have implemented widespread, absolute gun control typically are tyrannical regimes that have taken advantage of a disarmed populace to commit acts of mass murder and genocide: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, Cambodia, and Vietnam…all of these nations made it illegal for private citizens to own firearms, and all have used their power to oppress and murder their own people.
America needs responsible, trained gun owners to help defend our nation from domestic threats. That is the way of things, and that is why it is so extremely important that we not give in to emotional appeals to restrict our freedoms every time a psycho commits an act of evil.