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If Only Gun Control Helped

Note: This was written in the aftermath of the January 8th, 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords and 5 others outside of a shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona. 

It’s happened again. Another tragic and senseless waste of human life. This time, it happened in our own backyard and that’s something we definitely did not expect. Every compassionate person is likely asking “isn’t there something we can do to keep it from happening again?” What’s the answer?

One school of (mostly well-intentioned) thought is that “if only, finally, we would pass some meaningful legislation, something with some teeth, to keep guns out of the hands of people like the Tucson shooting suspect (I will not contribute to his likely delight at seeing his name in print), we would all be safer.” Some would likely go so far as to suggest that such measures would make us “safe”—not just “safer.” Why do “sportsmen” need “high capacity” magazines anyway? If the maniac had been forced to reload after his 11th shot, instead of his 33rd shot, we’d all be much better off—right?

Sadly, the answer is no—we wouldn’t. Any competent shooter can reload a semi-automatic pistol in a matter of a few seconds, which is probably faster than any of us are going to be able to do much to stop an active shooter (if we are unarmed) anyway. Magazine capacity bans do nothing to help (the so-called Clinton assault weapons ban from 1994-2004 had zero effect on the crime rate), merely raising the cost of the millions of legal magazines already in the stream of commerce. Sadly, no other types of the usual “gun control” measures work either: waiting periods do nothing; outright gun bans do nothing; banning certain types of “evil looking” guns do nothing. The states and cities with the most stringent gun laws invariably have the highest rates of violent crime in our country. Does anyone really believe that suicidal psychopaths will obey such laws anyway? What can we do?

Again, sadly, the answer is not much–in a society with freedom as its basic tenet. When we see protesters at the funerals of our military heroes doing all they can to interrupt the grief and sadness of a mourning family to further an “anti-gays in the military” agenda, as abhorrent as that is, we all are forced to remind ourselves of the many people who died defending the very first amendment freedoms that make such behavior a part of our society.

But the inherent flaw with the concept of gun control goes much deeper than that. How can it be presumed that, by being “anti-gun control,” one is pro-crime? Pro-murder? If one opposes a particular proposal intended to increase public safety, is it appropriate to accuse them of failing to care about safety? No—it is not. It is patently offensive, and it merely widens the gap between the two rhetorical extremes when a calm discussion of options can be the only possible way through the dilemma.

On January 8, there was at least one lawfully armed citizen who responded to the shooting. 24 year-old Joe Zamudio, a concealed weapon permit holder, was in a nearby store when the shooting commenced. He arrived just after other brave citizens managed to pin the shooter to the ground and, appropriately, did not even draw his firearm. One has to ask, however: had he arrived 30 seconds sooner, and used his firearm to stop the slaughter when the toll of the carnage was much less, would the cries for “gun control” be as loud?

–Timothy A. Forshey

1 Comment
  1. Just read an article wherein you said, “I don’t think anyone who is rational has a problem with the NICS check,”

    Apparently, millions of us are not rational. We put up with the ckeck because it’s the law, but I have yet to meet a single gun owner who thinks it’s a good idea, or that it does anything more than hinder us. When any check can reject a Constitutional right because of a misdemeanor, it’s a bad system.

    We absolutely do not want anything added to it, and beleive wholeheartedly that it helps no one. We also absolutely will not follow any law that says we have to have a background check for private sales.

    Nothing in this system stops any but the tiny few idiot criminals. Anyone it would stop simply buys a gun through a private sale, or steals one.

    Frankly, as a gun rights advocate, you suck. Please, do not come to Indiana. Your kind of advocacy we do not need.

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