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Roemer van Wijk – Gun control is not a solution to mass shootings

Under the Second Amendment, American citizens have the right to own firearms, except for African-American citizens, at least so Democratic politicians once argued in the racist ‘gun control’ laws it enacted. These laws prevented African-Americans from obtaining guns, making them defenseless against the KKK and white nationalists. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., owned and carried guns to protect his family. Rosa Parks, as a little girl, stayed up with her grandfather as he guarded their house from KKK attacks with his shotgun.

The point is, people need to be able to defend themselves from attackers. Every year, guns are used 80 times more often to protect a life than to take one. Every year, 200,000 times women use a gun to defend themselves against sexual abuse. A Harvard study concluded that there is a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime. This is evident in Europe. The 9 European nations with the lowest gun ownership rate have a combined murder rate three times that of the 9 European nations with the highest gun ownership rate.

Perhaps worst of all the arguments used by proponents of gun control is that the Second Amendment is an obsolete, archaic relic of the past. They claim that the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment when there were only muskets. This is false. Obviously, the Founding Fathers considered, when drafting the Constitution, technological changes would likely occur in the future, including with respect to weaponry. As an example, the Puckle gun, invented in 1718, could already fire 9 rounds per minute. Pepper box revolvers could hold more than 20 rounds, and were already around centuries before the Constitution was written. This makes the argument for a ban on “high-capacity magazines” unconstitutional, at least to the extent that it is in contradiction with, if not the letter, at least, the very spirit of the Constitution.

The proponents of gun control further claim that gun ownership was never intended to be private, or for self-defense, but rather as an emergency wartime measure. They completely ignore the historical context and the writings of the Founding Fathers in making this claim. The Founding Fathers believed every individual should be armed, not only for the legitimate purpose of self-defense, but also to withstand tyranny. Especially the Anti-Federalists insisted that if a stronger central government were to be established, the only way in which to secure liberty and defend natural rights from a tyrannical government, was to safeguard gun ownership among the citizens and establish the right of revolution, as was declared in the Declaration of Independence. Giving the government the power to determine who should be allowed to have a gun, based on their “mental health”, or so-called ‘red-flag’ laws, where people can arbitrarily deprive others of their rights by reporting them to authorities, would make the Founding Fathers turn in their graves.

Gun control laws remove from innocent, peaceful citizens the means to defend themselves against those with malicious intent. A criminal, by definition, will not follow the law, and will find a way around the law to get a firearm. This has been equally true in the War on Drugs. Bans are not effective. No criminal would commit a crime with a registered gun because the police would know whose gun was used. However, this “common sense” registration is a massive invasion of the privacy of citizens. Tragic as they are, the deaths of 17 students in Parkland would not have been prevented by a ban. These deaths also do not justify taking the property and rights of 209 million adults.

Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, yet the homicide rate is at 23.8, the forcible rape rate at 52.4, the robbery rate at 353.6, and the aggravated assault rate at 480.2. The three states with the lowest gun homicide rates, however, have no significant gun laws. And the worsening gun violence epidemic on U.S. soil? Not worsening. A study from Pew Research Center (2013) shows that gun violence had decreased by 49% by 2010 from 1993.

The truth is that putting guns in the hands of responsible gun owners is the key to safety. Allow people to defend themselves, rather than having to wait for the police to arrive. When the police stop a mass shooting, the average death count is already at 14.3, compared to 2.3 when stopped by a citizen. Shootings that have taken place with semi- automatic rifles are statistically insignificant, as the majority of crimes is committed with handguns. When every family in Kennesaw Georgia was required to keep at least one firearm, the residential burglary rate dropped by 89%. Therefore, Americans should never give up their right to keep and bear arms, to defend themselves from foreign invaders and domestic enemies, as well as against a tyrannical government, as the Founders intended.

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