Gun control Essay
Nearly every US citizen has an emotional opinion about gun control with politicians, the media, community leaders and school administrators leading the charge. The debate over gun control is actually misguided. How can a law be controlled? It can only be enforced. The Constitution legally established the right for any law abiding citizen to keep and bear arms, yet proponents of gun control wish to steadily erode this law through regulation and legislation. The term gun control is just that, a steady relentless effort to seize control by chipping away at the edges of the law until is gone entirely. Gun control advocates commonly resort to emotional arguments presented out of context rather than rational examination. An honest debate depends on citing the facts and exposing manipulative attempts to deceive or convert the populace.
The rational starting point is the Constitutional law established by the founding fathers. Freedom was the purpose for granting all law abiding citizens the right to bear arms. In order to protect our independence which was won by great sacrifice, the new government promised liberty for its citizens by empowering them with the right to defend themselves. George Washington declared firearm ownership second only to the Constitution itself, stating firearms as key in protecting individual liberty.
One of the key authors of the Constitution, James Madison, was adamant that the powers given by the Constitution to the federal government should be few and clearly defined. Like Washington, he was concerned with history repeating itself with a small group possessing power over many. It wasn’t about the actual size of the government but about the authority they wielded. Madison felt that citizens should be trusted with the right to bear arms and that a government that didn’t trust its citizens to do so was itself unworthy of trust. These principles of gun ownership are stunning considering that the founders were the government. They had the extraordinary insight to understand human behavior and how to protect the many from the few.
In agreement with the founding fathers and many others, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Louis Brandeis, summed it up well by stating that experience should teach us that when a government has the means to benefit, that is the time we should be most on our guard to protect liberty. Gun ownership, simply put, is about independence and freedom. Over the history of our country, we have witnessed our government continue to increase its power, constrict and regulate many of our rights, and to engage in unlawful policy and lawmaking. Now, more than ever before, is the time to protect our fundamental right to bear arms. Consider how emotions fit into this equation. Lawmakers and their supporters attempt to justify gun control with emotional rhetoric, but laws aren’t based on emotion. Justice was intended to be blind and therefore closed to subjective interpretation.
It’s worth asking why so many politicians wish to change or destroy one of the most basic laws of our land. As Judge Brandeis so aptly put it, when there’s an opportunity for government to gain, that is precisely when we should guard our liberty closely. Government grows its power through control. The government has steadily seized control over more and more areas of our lives. In a steady focused manner, the government has been grabbing small pieces of our lives while we aren’t paying attention. It’s the classic Fabian strategy of avoiding large direct battles, in favor of small, harassing actions. It’s a war of attrition. The government runs the education system and our retirement and unemployment options. Among many other areas, government is also actively engaged in the automobile and mortgage business and the health industry. Now the government is working on your diet, your weight, and how many ounces of soda you may consume. The government has been so successful in commandeering these areas of our lives, that it isn’t absurd to assume they can take away our guns. We’re treated like simpletons who are incapable of making decisions or taking care of ourselves. We need to protect and support our Constitution, especially the second amendment.
Gun control supporters have perfected the art of harassment, using emotional manipulation as politicians and leaders pull on our heart strings or attempt to instill guilt. It’s outrageous to suggest that those who use reason over emotion are uncaring or callus. Remember, we are talking about law and liberty, not how we feel. Most politicians redirect the issue of violence into gun control as a means to reframe the argument. Focus on the victims or perpetrators allows policy makers to distract from the issue by drawing people in emotionally. If the real goal was to restore safety in our streets, homes and schools, we’d be talking about violence control instead of gun control. The emphasis should be on enforcing laws, creating stricter criminal laws where necessary, discussing options for the treatment of the criminally insane and extraditing criminals who are in this country unlawfully. We need to understand that violence is a separate issue from guns. We’ve witnessed plenty of violent murders and attacks committed without guns – getting rid of guns does not get rid of crime. We should question the real issue at hand which is why the government wants to limit or take away our gun rights.
An unarmed populace is a vulnerable populace and therefore easy to control. All three branches of government have had a hand in limiting our rights at one time or another. Gun control is such a polarized issue to navigate that it requires a great deal of finesse on the part of a politician. They all want to keep their jobs so advocates of gun control must use clever tactics to erode your rights. If politicians keep the focus on what’s best for you, you don’t have to think about what’s best for you. And once you realize they don’t have your best interests in mind, it’s too late.
This assessment of government may seem suspicious or unfounded, but history has proven that tyrannical governments are often born out of gun control. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20, but it’s not always so obvious while events are unfolding. I’m sure no law abiding German citizen would have supported Hitler had he laid out his program upfront for exterminating millions of people, creating a personal police force, or leading the country into a war that would bankrupt them. Instead, he seized the reins of emotion, pumped up national pride and justified retaliation for retributions inflicted on Germany after World War I. Many other countries, such as Soviet Russia, China, Guatemala, Uganda and Cambodia have turned on their people, murdering millions upon millions of their citizens.
In many of these cases, a series of steps occurred that resulted in disastrous consequences. Gun regulation was the first step, which progressed to gun control and eventually led to the confiscation of all guns. Once citizens were unarmed, tyrannical leaders were able to control the people with a loyal military. With no means of armed protection, political dissidents were usually executed. And finally, tyranny was firmly in place which often led to genocide. Germany is such a striking example because it’s a Western European country, similar in many ways to the United States. If it could happen there, then why not here?
With these historical examples in mind, consider a possible scenario for the United Sates. Currently, Congress is eroding the second amendment by passing unconstitutional regulations on gun ownership. If the second amendment is ultimately destroyed or crippled so badly that it’s rendered useless, then it’s reasonable to expect that another amendment is vulnerable to attack. A domino effect could easily follow, destroying the entire Constitution at large. Let’s assume the first amendment is next on the list, subject to tighter and more restrictive regulation until its legislated into nonexistence. With the loss of freedom of speech as well as the right to bear arms, the government would then have complete power over the people. At this point, the domino effect would progress rapidly without impediment.
With the second amendment currently under attack, many people are alarmed by every new regulation, including background checks and higher taxes on ammunition. In defense of the tenth amendment which draws a line between national and state power, and in response to a proposed law by President Obama in 2012, 27 states introduced legislation that would nullify federal authority over local firearms. This action demonstrates an act on the part of the states to protect their gun laws. No such action would be necessary unless a threat was perceived.
Another area which should be of concern to all citizens, is the government’s apparent rush to join England, Australia and Canada to either ban or heavily regulate gun ownership. An effort is afloat to level the playing field, get all countries on an equal footing and promote global government. Despite the fact that the idea of a global government is absurd – the mass of its size alone would crush it – the idea is still disturbing. The EU is still unsuccessful in creating a unified region, but one thing most of them they agree on is gun control. A global government with an unarmed populace would create a dependent people with no voice, and by extension, no power, which essentially cedes political, economic and military control to the government.
A lone wolf in the center of Europe is Switzerland. Often referred to as a gun culture that works, the Swiss love their guns and have no intention of giving them up. Despite the large number of guns owned by the Swiss, the country’s violent crime rate is low. As a tiny country surrounded by other countries, historically the Swiss understood the need for self-defense and their patriotic duty to defend their country. Israel has a similar need to protect itself. Careful examination of these two countries could lead to greater understanding of successful gun ownership.
Considering historical precedence, facts and honest reporting is irrelevant to the mainstream media. Their unabashed bias either stems from flagrant disregard of the truth or they’re so emotionally caught up in their cause that they can’t distinguish fact from fiction. For example, in an article by Winston Dorian of the Examiner, the author cites reasons for the liberal media ignoring the Ft. Hood shooting. He argues that it hasn’t received the same coverage as other mass shootings because the event took place on a military base while a pro-gun control Commander in Chief is in office. The shooting, if fairly reported would have cast a cloud of “Terror Attack” over the administration, not to mention that the perpetrator was Muslim. None of these details fit the gun control narrative. On an emotional level, soldiers shooting soldiers just doesn’t have the same impact as shootings involving civilians and schoolchildren.
According to the Media Research Center, anti-gun stories outnumber pro-gun stories by 8 to 1. The media no longer just reports the news. They certainly don’t distinguish an editorial from hard news. This was never more evident than the attack of leading media figures on the lawmakers who failed to pass tighter regulations on background checks in April 2013. Senators and Representatives were publicly called cowards, a scathing editorial was published by Gabrielle Giffords and the Huffington Post plastered their homepage with images of shooting victims. It’s a perfect example of drowning out anyone (even if their one of your own) in rabid support of a cause. An overly emotional and by extension, opinionated press, reacted to the major defeat in Congress with near hysteria.
The media always has its eye on communities, but leaders should pay close attention to crime rate facts instead of media backlash. The media frenzy over the Treyvon Martin case almost obliterated the facts. Instead, more energy was focused on the link between guns and racially- motivated crimes. Gun control won’t decrease racially-motivated crimes. We’ve recently seen a rash of killings in several countries, including the United States, in which the victim, because of his race, was beaten to death, not shot.
Communities need to emphasize safety, not gun control. Steve Curtis, Princeton graduate and owner of a safety and environmental consulting company, presents a compelling argument for law abiding, armed, and empowered citizens to take back their communities. He argues that the long and involved process of gun registration for people who follow the law, makes it easier for criminals to commit crimes because they ignore the laws. With unarmed citizens, the criminal has a huge advantage. Curtis turns to the book, More Guns, Less Crime, which provides statistics about the correlation between low crime and legally armed citizens. Detroit and Chicago, as well as other cities with high crime rates would benefit from such a policy.
An honest discussion is imperative to improve the safety of the nation’s communities. Kevin Williamson, a reporter for National Review argues that the discussion about gun control is not only dishonest in a general sense, but in details as well. Williamson points out that the US suffers from a high rate of homicides, not to be confused with a high rate of gun-perpetrated homicides. The liberal support for gun control fails to distinguish homicide deaths by suicide (two-thirds of all deaths) from violent crimes in the streets, schools and other public places. In addition, more children die from drowning and bike accidents than gun-related deaths. Violent crimes are also more pronounced in liberal cities. Williamson believes that gun control is a way to change the subject and to put conservatives on the defensive for liberal failures. Failing schools, a broken criminal justice system and ineffective police departments are the result of liberal policies. Blaming guns, and those who support gun ownership, is a way to transfer the blame.
Our schools, such an integral part of community, have seen a staggering onslaught of violence. Ever since Columbine, would-be criminals understand that schools are an easy target for launching an attack. Whatever the motive of the criminal is, he can easily achieve it in a “gun free zone” full of vulnerable children and unprepared administrators. Gene Hoffman, the chairman of the Calguns Foundation, argues that gun control is not the answer to providing safety in schools and preventing school massacres. Citing a school massacre in 1927, involving explosives instead of firearms, Hoffman suggests that teachers should be allowed to arm themselves, to receive training or opt for less lethal weapons in order to protect themselves and students. Dr. Michael Brown, a member of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws would also like to see teachers better prepared. Like Hoffman, Dr. Brown is sensitive to the fact that many school administrators are pacifists. He proposes a concealed carry law for teachers, allowing them a choice whether to be armed or not. The advantage to conceal carry is that a criminal or unbalanced teen who may be planning an attack would be deterred if they knew some of the people on campus may be carrying a concealed weapon. They just wouldn’t know which one. This scenario has worked very well in Israel, a country that arms its teachers and older students to fend off terrorist attacks. It’s illogical to think that an unarmed school is a safe school – it’s an open invitation for anyone who would do harm.
Violence has always been with us and nobody, except a deranged mind, is in favor of it. While reviewing any issue, one must acknowledge that there are two sides, one which is personal truth or a matter of perception. Universal truth is the other side and can only be based on knowledge derived from facts. The challenge lies in separating the two. Debating any issue is always a healthy exercise to provoke thought and examine possible solutions, but meaningful data and the right questions are necessary to resolve any disagreement. We should ask the tough questions such as why does government want so much power and what would they do with the populace if they had absolute authority over us? What’s good about global government and for whom? Why does the media feel entitled to moral authority over its audience or the need to form and shape our opinions, advising us on how to conduct our lives? Our community leaders seem to know what’s best for us and our schools have mixed politics with education. When did we lose our self-reliance and common sense? These are the key questions that should be answered before debating any further legislation on guns. A reality check is in order to separate fact from emotions.
Fetzer, Jim. Veterans Today. Jim Fetzer and Press TV. “Why Gun Control is Bad for America.” 6 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 Aug. 2013.
Williamson, Kevin D. National Review. “The Dishonest Gun-Control Debate.” 3 May 2013. Web. 19 Aug. 2013.
Gucciardi, Anthony. Info Wars. “It’s Not About Guns: Gun Control is People Control.” 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Aug. 2013.
Curtis, Steve. Policymic. “Gun Control Facts: Detroit Crime Rate is the Result of Gun Control.” 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Aug. 2013.
Dr. Brown, Michael S. Keep and Bear Arms. Should Teachers be Armed? 12 Mar. 2001. Web. 18 Aug. 2013
Hoffman, Gene. US News. Debate Club, “Should There Be More Armed Guards in Schools? 24 Dec. 2012. Web. 22 Aug. 20