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More gun control will not prevent gun violence
January 21, 2013
The second amendment to the United States Constitution states, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Benjamin Franklin stated on more than one occasion, “They who can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Other participants in the Constitutional Convention argued that guns in the hands of private citizens was absolutely necessary in order to prevent the United States from ever having a tyrannical government.
It is clear that our founding fathers intended for private citizens to have arms and wanted to make sure that right could never be taken away.
However, many states and cities have already placed major restrictions on people’s rights to own and use guns. Now, following several recent, high-profile and horrific mass shootings, America’s Second Amendment rights are once again under attack. The state of New York has already passed a set of extremely restrictive gun laws.
Last week, President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders related to gun rights. Throughout the country, new bills are being introduced that could severely restrict gun ownership and usage.
Proponents of gun restrictions would have you believe that increased regulation is necessary for public safety. However, under closer scrutiny, these claims fail to hold up. Recent mass killings in both China and Norway have occurred despite gun laws much stricter than even those that are currently being proposed.
Homicide rates in the United States have steadily declined since the mid 1990s. A ban on the import of assault weapons was lifted in 2004, and one might assume that would lead to an increase in the homicide rate, but instead, homicide rates have continued to fall.
Chicago, which has a virtual ban on all handguns, had more than 17 homicides per 100,000 residents last year and is seeing homicide rates go even higher this year.
Compare that rate to the country of Switzerland, which requires gun ownership and has the largest number of guns per capita in the world. They had a homicide rate of just 1.4 per 100,000 during the 1990s.
The highest homicide rates in the United States are all in inner cities that struggle with drug usage and gang violence. The vast majority of these crimes are committed by males age 16-24. Cities with high homicide rates include Oakland, and Compton, Calif., which both have restrictive gun laws. but also include Houston, Texas, which has much more liberal gun laws. A reasonable person can thus conclude that the reason for higher crime rates in many U.S. cities is not a product of gun ownership, nor does the homicide rate decrease with increased regulation.
So, is it reasonable to restrict guns, magazine size, and ammunition in order to improve public safety? We believe the answer is no.
Consequently, if we truly want to address the problems of gun violence in our society, then the solution is not further gun control. Rather we need to be looking at the causes of this violence — including mental illness, drugs, and gangs. We should look at improving the diagnosis and care of the mentally ill. We should be addressing enforcement of current law, and aggressively prosecuting felons who are in possession of guns. Under no circumstances should we be looking at restricting gun ownership for law-abiding citizens.
Restricting gun ownership will not address the problem. Instead it will mean that only government and criminals will have the outlawed products making society less, not more, safe thus proving the wisdom of Franklin’s statement.