Gun Control: Betraying the Law Abiding Citizen
With the recent shootings, it’s no surprise that many people are pushing for stricter gun control. However, I fear that their logic and intentions may be clouded with fear and grief, rather than strengthened with facts. Gun control is possibly one of the worst things that could happen to this country, people who disagree will just have to face the following facts.
I would first like to bring up that most cries for gun control occur after mass shootings. However, mass shootings are a rare occasion and don’t really kill all that many people when they do occur. From the years 1991 to 2004, 20 mass shootings, happened and just about 210 people died as a result. That’s not that many people. I don’t mean to be cold, but if the number of lives lost is really what legislators care about, then accidental drowning would be a more pressing issue. Falling back on my belief that legislators are blinded by emotion, they suffer from “fallacy of misleading vividness”, which is when an event is so emotionally potent that one begins to overestimate the likelihood of its occurrence. Yes, mass shootings are terrible, but they are hardly one of the largest problems we could address.
Another problem is that we currently have an administration that had been against gun rights for a very long time. In a 2004 interview Obama said that he would support the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and that he would “continue to support a ban on concealed carry laws.” A ban on concealed carry laws means that a person may not carry a firearm without having it visible to the public. “There are large drops in overall violent crime, murder, rape, and aggravated assault that begin right after the right to carry laws have gone into effect.” said economist Dr. John R. Lott. The ironic thing about Obama cracking down on concealed carry laws is that at the time he was a senator in Illinois, a state where it’s already illegal to carry. Coincidentally Chicago has one of the highest gun crime rates.
All mass shootings in recent years have been the thing that gun control advocates have focused their arguments on. With nowhere else to direct their frustrated emotions, they call upon the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban.
Since I’ve mentioned it several times, let me explain exactly what an “assault weapon” is. Now, the term “assault weapon” was chosen to create images of military machine guns, in case you’re unfamiliar with firearms, automatic weapons (a.k.a. machine guns) are already practically illegal to own because they are so heavily regulated. In 1994 when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was drafted, there was no “assault weapons” category. Legislators got to create the category. Mainly what they were opposed to were guns that were military-like in appearance. So basically if the gun looks mean they don’t like it. Let’s take the Rueger 10/22, I was given one over the summer, it’s small, manageable, small caliber (.22), cheap to shoot, and has no real recoil. It’s also one of the most popular guns in the country. Now put a hinged stock, and vertical grip on the Ruger 10/22 and you have an assault rifle. With the new stock and grip, nothing about the firearm has changed except appearance. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover? Should we make all decisions and laws based on appearance alone?
Barrel shrouds were also banned. Carolyn McCarthy, a high ranking gun control advocate, after some discussion about her legislation, Tucker Carlson picked ‘barrel shroud’ from her list of banned features, and asked her to explain what it was and why it had to be banned. She admitted that she had absolutely no idea what a barrel shroud was. I’m not trying to personally attack Ms. McCarthy, but why should we allow legislation to be written by people uneducated in the subject they are writing about? A barrel shroud is simply a metal cover that gets placed over the barrel of a gun to prevent the shooter form burning their hands on a hot barrel. While barrel shrouds look mean, they are really just a safety tool.
Only one part of the ban actually had anything to do with function, this was “high capacity” magazines. This category didn’t exist either. The idea is that if mass shooters have larger magazines they can kill more people before the police or an armed citizen intervene. Now there are two things wrong with this idea the first is that the people writing this law happen to be the same people who are against concealed carry laws, the second is that reloading takes all of seconds at most, if the shooter has multiple magazines the difference in time is barely noticeable.
Then there are the voices saying “How many people actually defend their home with an ‘assault rifle’?” I have a story, a fifteen year old boy and his younger sister were home alone, the house happened to have an AR-15 (a gun recently classified as an ‘assault rifle’).Armed robbers tried to break in and the boy defended himself and his sister with the AR-15. The boy defended both his life and his sister’s life with an assault rifle effectively stopping the robbery.
When the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, the results weren’t as the legislators had planned. According to the National Institute of Justice said that the ban hadn’t reduced gun grime or crime involving “high capacity magazines”, and that “assault weapons” were rarely used in crimes even before the ban.” The Center for Disease Control (still not quite sure what they have to do with guns???) found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”
The Brady Campaign, the strongest advocate for gun bans, has revised the definition of mass shooting to be all drive-bys involving a shot fired toward three or more people, regardless of whether anyone was even actually hurt. Leading to their conclusion that there are twenty mass shootings every year. Now is it just me or does this seem like a bit of a hyperbole. Twenty a year is extreme, how come we don’t hear about most of these “mass shootings.”
From the list of fatal accidents in 2007, the most common being Motor Vehicle Traffic, the least common being Overexertion, Firearms came in sixteenth out of nineteen (19 being Overexertion) . This ought to raise some eyebrows. Now there will undoubtedly be people who are saying well just because they didn’t die, doesn’t mean that a lot of people are not injured by firearms every year. Just for you people, I have more statistics. On a list of Non-Fatal Accident Hospitalizations in 2007, the most common being A Fall, and the least common being Dog Bite, Firearms came in nineteenth out of twenty (20 being Dog Bite). So firearm accidents aren’t really that big of a concern.
So far throughout this entire essay I haven’t even touched on the second amendment of the Constitution (this is a major surprise even to me). To quote the second amendment “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.” Now many gun control advocates and some federal courts have ruled that the second amendment does not apply to individual citizens, but only to members of militias, which, they assert, are now the state National Guard units. However the definition of militia is “a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.” This is to say that they are not an organized military unit; they are people fighting against the government when said government interferes.
“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”- Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was in support of gun rights, he lived in a time where he knew that governments become corrupt, and knew that the very same could happen to our government, and wanted the citizens of the United States to be able to defend themselves. “To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near a half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possesses over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” James Madison, Federal Paper 46. Madison addressed the concern that a federal army might try to take over the nation.
I have one last thing to say before I leave you alone. Let’s say that I have a cake, and it says gun rights in nice green icing on top. I got it from the second amendment and Dick act of 1902. Somebody comes and says, “Give me that cake.” I proceed to say no and we compromise me giving them half of my cake. Let’s call this the National Firearms Act of 1934. So I still have half of my cake, and they come back and ask me for my cake again, I say no and we compromise again, I give them half of what I have. I am now left with a quarter of my original cake. This compromise was the Gun Control Act of 1968. So I sit with my cake, and they come back once again, and take half of what I have again, okay so this is the Machine Gun Ban of 1986. They came back and just take my cake, take several bites (Clinton Executive Orders). They now have about nine tenths of my cake. They keep eating my cake, Lautenberg Act, HUD/Smith and Wesson Agreement, Brady Law, and the School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act. And what am I left with, why I have a few crumbs of my cake left. And they have the nerve to sit there and whine and complain and ask me why I’m not being “reasonable” or why can’t we just “compromise.” We are done compromising. We are done being reasonable. If we don’t act now to get our rights back or at least preserve what we still have left, they will take away even the crumbs that we have left.