Opinions editor James Rudolph and staff writer April Pfrogner discuss gun rights in our latest “For and Against” piece.
April: Lock and Load
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Our forefathers knew that a society deprived of the right to protect itself against tyranny would never be truly free.
Former President Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is our problem.”
The push for more gun control is one of many tactics used by the extreme left of the political spectrum to chip away at the U.S. Constitution calling it a “living” document. The goal for the activist left is to get our government in control of virtually everything we do, thereby rendering us subjects, rather than free individuals.
Jim Quinn, a conservative talk-show host at www.warroom.com said, “Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of it’s stated intent.”
Statistics prove it when you look at murder rates in the U.S.
Look at the city of Chicago, for example.
With some of the most extreme gun control laws in the nation, the murder rate for the city is one of the highest in the country – 137 murders so far this year. Some of the Chicago murder headlines are misleading because of the way they determine their rankings, for example, total murders versus murders as a percent of the total population.
Chicago is also the gang capital of America with an estimated gang population from 70,000 to 125,000 gang members. I highly doubt these murderers and gang members care about the 20,000+ gun laws already in the lawbooks. Criminals do not respect gun laws.
Washington D.C. is another example.
In 1976, a law restricting private citizens from owning handguns was implemented. Homicides rose from 188 in 1976 to 364 in 1988, and then increased even further to 454 in 1993. The gun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, and homicides have steadily declined since then to 88 yearly murders in 2012.
Most mass shootings occur in gun-free zones, according to The Crime Research Prevention Center. Since 1950, nearly 99 percent of mass public shootings have occurred in gun-free zones. The terror attack in Orlando, Florida, and the shooting that murdered musician Christina Grimmie in June also took place in gun-free zones.
Deranged murderers want to be able to murder as many as possible, so obviously they’re targeting areas where they’re least likely to find armed resistance, which happen to be gun-free zones.
There are 320 million people in America but only 628,000 police officers, so it’s impossible for the police to protect everybody. That’s why it’s necessary for citizens to arm themselves.
Google searches for “How to Join the NRA” skyrocketed 4,700 percent since the Parkland school shooting, according to Time.com. The recent attacks on the organization are ludicrous especially the ones coming from high profile senators and congressional members and the Hollywood elite.
They are a walking contradiction. I am not going to listen to gun control rants from people who live in gated, guarded communities and require armed guards for protection in public.
20,000-gun laws are quite enough. Enforcement is the key, which means an armed citizenry, military and police force. To allow our government to infringe upon that right, is an attack on the very fabric on which our country was founded.
James: The Second Amendment and Restrictions
I could sit here and throw some facts and tie them into my opinion somehow, but I think there has been too much of that going around. A statistic is made, and those statistics help one side of the argument. Another study shows different findings, creating a different statistic that supports the other side of the argument. So far, this has been the accepted form of debating politics for the masses.
When I find myself fully engaged in debate with another individual, and I don’t mean a shouting match but a true debate, a point is reached where statistics depart and you have two individuals discussing human differences between the two. You reach a point where it is no longer about politics, but human perception. You see how individual thoughts and beliefs on human nature influences their political beliefs. I’ve decided to spare you the statistics this time to show you my genuine feelings about the topic of gun-control.
Something that surprises my conservative friends — and irritates my liberal friends — is my fascination with firearms. Despite what opinions most people have of liberals or leftists, I always held an admiration on the construction and use of firearms. The mechanics, the design and the intricacy give firearms an artistic value. To me, this is the same art that a blacksmith creates when forging a sword, or a bow-maker crafting a bow from raw materials. There is a beauty behind them that is almost indescribable. Additionally, they provide an individual with some of the best self-defense tools on the face of the Earth.
Much to the chagrin of my liberal friends, I support an American citizen’s right to bear arms. It is one of the privileges American’s can enjoy. As cliché’ as this sounds, I do believe there is a level of responsibility that we have in exercising that right. It is undeniable that they are great tools for self-defense but have been used in acts of cold murder and mass killing.
To use these weapons for evil is the decision of the individual, and not the weapon, but some of these acts of evil cold have been avoided with restrictions on firearms. I don’t believe in banning weapons as the solution, but aren’t there any possible measure we can take to reduce the level of preventable violence?
I heard a comedian make a point once that really presented an interesting point. While I don’t take my political advice from a performer in a comedy act — and I heavily advise you don’t as well — he offered a scenario that has some validation behind it. David Cross, comedian and actor, during a comedy routine said gun-manufactures should implement a “thumb-ID scanner” on firearms the same way that Apple user’s thumbprint scanning to unlock phones. Does something like that infringe upon your Second-Amendment rights?
I think this makes your firearm safer, as it could prevent someone else from using the firearm on you. I don’t believe that firearms should be banned, but I believe safety-measures like these, though offered hypothetically by a comedian, could have more positive outcomes than not trying.
Another thing I’ve notice, especially with my coverage of some of the mass-shootings in the U.S. the past few years, is how some people, who should not be eligible to have a firearm, obtained the weapons they used. Omar Mateen, the shooter at Pulse nightclub shootings in Orland in 2016, was on the FBI’s watch list for two years.
He legally purchased a handgun and an AR-15 type rifle from St. Lucie Shooting Center just 10 days before the attack. Devin Patrick Kelley, the shooter in the Sutherland Springs Church killings in Texas in 2017, was jailed for domestic violence and dishonorably discharged from the Air Force. It was the Air Force’s duty to prevent him from possessing firearms by placing him in a national database, which they failed to do.
He purchased a Ruger AR-556 rifle from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, which was used in the attacks. His criminal history, including a felony, should have barred him from purchasing a firearm. Here the failure resides in those responsible for carrying out the legislation that restrict firearm sales, which have been in place for years. This is just an example of the responsibility we have as Americans, and what happens when we fail in those responsibilities.
My issues aren’t firearms, but how casually and careless we approach them. There are plenty of ways to be a responsible firearm owner, which includes proper handling and sales, instructional classes and courses in the proper use of firearms and following the laws in place with anything revolving around firearms.
These are just my ideas on the matter, but I think it is a reasonable belief to uphold the Second Amendment, while being open to new restrictions to make firearms safer and more inaccessible to criminals.
I just want to present one question: what is more important, your individual freedom or promoting the safety of your fellow Americans? There is no wrong answer, only your answer.