Friday, July 27, 2012

The Aurora Shooting and the Unjustifiable Hysteria Behind the Call for More Gun Control

One week ago from today, a very unfortunate tragedy occurred. A psychopathic man who was under the delusion that he was "The Joker" went into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. He threw two hissing gas canisters into the crowd and proceeded to shoot innocent civilians with a rifle. There ended up being 58 wounded and 12 murdered people. I cannot begin to imagine what the families of the victims are going through. However, gun control advocates couldn't help themselves and have subsequently used this calamity in hopes to bring about more gun control laws. Mayor "I'm Going to Ban Your Sodas" Bloomberg wasted no time in demanding that the presidential candidates focus on enacting greater gun control measures. Many others have jumped on the bandwagon to require more restrictions on gun laws. What I would like to discern is whether this tragedy warrants the call for more gun control.

The first point I want to bring up is regarding the nature of shooting sprees. The first is that shooting sprees, however sorrowful they might be, are nevertheless relatively infrequent occurrences resulting in few casualties. It is also prudent to remind ourselves that guns laws are only applicable to law-abiding citizens. Hardened criminals are criminals precisely because they have no respect for the law. If a criminal is intent on breaking the law, no amount of gun control laws are going to stop the pursuit of that crime. Gun control laws only shift power to the criminals while law-abiding citizens are rendered defenseless.

If you are under the impression that the police are going to help, think again. The police aren't around 24/7 (Thank goodness!). Criminals are at least smart enough to have the intent of committing a crime when cops aren't around. Even so, the Supreme Court even ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect people (Castle Rock v. Gonzales, Warren v. District of Columbia).

Gun deaths such at these are very emotional for many people. However, we have to put it all into perspective. Guns are not even close to being a leading cause of death in America. If we are to go after guns, we might as well start banning cigarettes, alcohol, and cars, not to mention mandating exercise and a healthy diet because these would at least address issues that kill many more people in this country. Seriously, when does the ridiculousness end? 

There is also the issue of the number of lives that are saved by guns in self-defense, which shadows the number of lives that are taken in gun-related incidents. There is also the matter that gun deaths in this country have been on the decline for the past twenty-plus years (See Census and FBI data). Even the Left-leaning Ezra Klein was kind enough to provide a chart showing that trend (see below). 

There is also the matter of the Second Amendment, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court as a right to bear arms. Guns don't kill people. They are inanimate objects that can either be used to murder others or guns can be used to protect individuals or oneself from being murdered. Implicit within our Second Amendment rights is our right to self-defense in order to do things such as protect and secure our person, property, and freedom.

Ultimately, our response to how we enact legislation should consider the proportion to the severity and prevalence of a given problem. Given my aforementioned points, the gun control crowd is not reacting appropriately. Having a society without guns only works when there are no criminals within a society's midst. Until that day comes along, we should avoid the hysteria and ardently maintain our right to bear arms.

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