In my last post, I demonstrated through historical documents what I believe to be clear: that the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights with the express purpose of giving American citizens the ability to defend themselves against all aggressors, particularly the American military. Today I want to say just a few things about specific gun-related issues that have come to the forefront of public discussion in the last month.
On Banning “Assault Weapons”
Most of the debate lately has been centered on various efforts to introduce legislation restricting the sale, transfer, and manufacture of so-called “assault weapons”, particularly the proposed Assault Weapons Bill from Senator Dianne Feinstein. Naturally, emotions tend to run very high on this issue. I can certainly understand the Senator’s especially passionate abhorrence of gun violence; being a witness to the aftermath of the grisly murders of two colleagues is bound to leave a mark. Still, emotions must not be allowed to cloud judgment on either side of the gun control debate.
So first off, let me say a word about the terminology used in the debate. It’s important to note that the term “assault weapon” didn’t exist before 1989, though the purveyors of Newspeak who created the term have done an excellent job convincing many that the weapons in this category — chosen arbitrarily based on their cosmetic appearance rather than on functionality — are particularly “dangerous”. The truth about “assault weapons” is that there is nothing inherent in them that makes them better suited for “assault” than for any other use (defense, sporting, hunting, etc).
Incidentally, the “AR” in the oft-villified AR-15 does NOT stand for “Assault Rifle”. It is the designation for the gun’s designer, ArmaLite.inc, which uses the AR prefix on all of their handguns and rifles (not just the scary-looking ones).
Personally, I’d like to see the term “assault weapon” reserved for weapons that have actually been used in assaulting someone. For instance, the revolver used to kill George Moscone and Harvey Milk was an assault weapon. The revolver used by a mother to ward off an intruder in her Georgia home recently was a defensive weapon.
By my definition, I would say that we do need a ban on “assault weapons”. But, of course, we already have that. Using a weapon to perpetrate a crime is already illegal in all 50 states. I am all for stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting rape, murder, burglary (etc.) and harsher punishments for those who commit them. But banning more weapons and adding more gun control laws only takes the means of defense away from law-abiding citizens.
“Nobody Is Trying to Take Guns from Hunters”
One thing the gun control advocates keep throwing out there is the “reassurance” that they have no intention of taking guns away from hunters. They only want to take away the guns that are meant to kill people. You know, like AR-15′s.
So, of course, gun owners are quick to argue that some people do hunt with AR-15′s. True as that may be, why is it that they feel the need to offer that defense in the first place? It only validates the false premise that guns intended for protection from people are not covered by the second amendment.
Of course, no law-abiding citizen wants to use a weapon against a person. The vast majority of guns owned by Americans are never needed in defensive situations (as it should be!). But the fact remains that there are bad people in the world. If there weren’t, there would be no need for anyone to own a weapon — including the police and military.
So what happens when the police and the military are the bad guys?
Please note that I am NOT saying that this is a present reality; but I AM saying that this is precisely the potential reality against which the 2nd Amendment was designed to protect. Lest we think that this could never happen, consider the sobering reality that death by government was the #1 cause of death worldwide in the 20th century, and that the modus operandi of tyrannical governments always includes attempting to disarm the people… including His Majesty King George, whose soldiers marched on Lexington and Concord in 1775. (Think the men who wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights didn’t know a gun could kill a man as well as a deer?)
With that being the case, what is wrong with saying that you know exactly what purposes a gun can serve, and that its ability to neutralize a threat — including the threat of hostile, well-trained and well-armed agents of one’s own government — is exactly the reason you want it?
How YOU Benefit from Concealed Carry Rights
While the “gun control” and “gun rights” camps engage in a duel of statistics to try to prove their respective cases, the most important statistic relative to gun violence is one that can’t be reported because it can’t be known: the number of crimes that are not committed due to the deterrent factor of CCW rights.
How many homes are not burgled because the residents might be armed? How many women are not raped because they might have guns? How many public gatherings are not the scenes of mass shootings because someone, anyone might have the means to stop it? There’s simply no way to know.
What we do know is that the vast majority of “successful” (in the worst sense of the word) mass shootings in the last several decades have taken place in locations in which guns were banned, meaning that all law-abiding citizens were unarmed. I don’t know… maybe it’s a coincidence.
And this is to say nothing of the countless (and largely unreported) instances each year in which responsible gun owners are able to defend themselves and others from would-be attackers — in most cases without firing a shot (as in this instance right here in TN just a few days ago). Whether they realize it or not, all American citizens benefit from the presence and discipline of millions of responsible gun owners. For the record, I would say that whether I was personally a gun owner or not.
Which, by the way, I won’t say; not online. It seems that most on the “gun rights” side of the issue tend to either proudly identify themselves as gun owners, or are quick to clarify that they feel strongly about the issue though they choose not to own weapons themselves. I am thankful that Americans have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to own or carry a gun, and I respect the decisions of others to follow their own convictions. But honestly, I’d rather just not say. When criminals know you’re unarmed, you become a target. The same is true when they know that you are armed (as seen recently where names and addresses of gun owners were published by a terribly irresponsible newspaper). The security is in the uncertainty.
The Last Word (for now…)
My greatest wish in all this is that both sides would tone down the vitriol, and start reasoning together from common ground. Everyone involved in this debate — from Mitch McConnell to Dianne Feinstein, from Sean Hannity to Piers Morgan, from the President of the NRA to the President of the USA — everyone agrees on one goal: reducing gun violence in America. Sure, they disagree vehemently on the strategies for doing so, and on their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, but the one thing that is sure to not work is maintaining the status quo. And until we can move past the rhetoric of vilification and have an honest, thoughtful, passionate debate with the goal of working together toward something we all want, we’re going nowhere.
Here are a few other resources you might enjoy:
A well-spoken advocate for responsible gun ownership: