Opinion: Is More Gun Control a Good Idea?

Would tightening gun regulations really prevent violent crimes or even deter them?

In light of the recent shootings in Aurora and , the debate over gun regulation in the United States has reared its ugly head yet again. Across all forms of social media the citizens exchange opinions on firearms in the United States, presenting statistics and quotes that affirm their positions. 

We’re human, though, and we tend to make rash statements out of emotion that we normally wouldn’t make and in fact might normally find completely absurd. 

Let’s take a look at the tighter-control brigade’s position. Proponents of tighter gun control claim that clamping down on a citizen’s ability to obtain certain firearms will make it considerably more difficult for psychopaths like James Holmes to obtain such weapons and therefore may deter some violent crimes. 

What these people seem to fail to realize is that the law failed at every point in the case of James Holmes. He did have a legally purchased AR-15, but it was illegally modified for fully automatic firing capabilities. It is also illegal to open fire into a crowded theater, yet he did. Furthermore, it is also illegal to rig one’s apartment with explosives, yet once again the immutable word of the law failed to prevent such actions.  On the same note, it is just as illegal to open fire in a Mosque.

Yes, it’s true that many innocents died as a result of these malicious shootings, but tightening the noose on citizens’ right to own and carry is not a solution. It is, however, a fantastic way to add to the problem. 

Here’s a very simple truth: laws don’t stop thugs or crazies. A criminal, by very definition, is one who breaks laws. James Holmes was on a mission. In his psychotic mind, he had determined that he was going to kill as many people as he could. Look at all the effort he went through to booby-trap his house - do you honestly think stricter gun laws were going to stop him?  

The only people who are affected by gun laws are those who choose to obey them, like upstanding citizens. Disarming them will certainly not stop violent criminals, and in fact might encourage them since they’re aware that the people they’re targeting are not armed. 

There’s another point that should be made: not all violent crimes are committed with firearms. In fact, only about 1-2 percent of legally purchased firearms are ever used in violent crimes. The two recent shootings that have stirred up all this debate just happen to be two of them. Would these tragedies have turned out differently if some of the victims were carrying? After all, surveys show that guns are used in self-defense as many as 2.5 million times per year. I guess we’ll never know.    

Before I go on, take a look at the violent crime statistics for and for Chicago (you can find it in the photos next to the byline). Keep in mind that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S., something Raum Emanuel is very proud of, while Kennesaw requires that all homeowners own at least one firearm and, while I do think that's unconstitutional, the result is pretty clear.

Remember that a gun is simply a tool in a madman’s hands. A gun doesn’t kill a man any more than the toaster did in the case of the woman who bludgeoned her estranged husband to death with one back in 2002. Also, keep in mind that a lot of people are killed with blades. On top of that, in a society where citizens can’t bear arms freely, a thug would not be afraid to rob you with a knife because he knows you’re not packing. 

Would it be reasonable, then, to ban all sharp objects? People would certainly be safer. While we’re at it, why don’t we reduce the speed limit on all major highways to 10 miles per hour, thereby eliminating nearly all deaths by traffic accident? Maybe we should also make it a law that everyone has to wear padded helmets whenever they leave the house. But wait, nearly 65 percent of deaths occur in the home, so maybe they should be made to wear them at home, too. 

Look, I know I’m being facetious, but the point is we need to make sure we’re not regulating ourselves into utter stupidity, and that’s the only outcome I can see with the Feds clamping down harder on our gun rights. 

It’s usually around this point that my friends on the left like to point out that the U.K. has a considerably lower murder rate than the U.S., and they restrict guns heavily there. Well, yes, that’s true, but you have to understand two things: one, that the cultural worship of a fictitious mass murderer contributed to these violent crimes, and two, gun laws are about more than the right to hunt and defend yourself from thugs. There is a much more profound reason that we’re allowed to have them. I’ll let President Jefferson explain:

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

The right to bear arms is in place primarily to allow the citizens to defend themselves from a tyrannical government. Hitler knew this, and the first thing he did after his rise to power was make gun registration mandatory, and then he went on to seize every weapon he could from the citizens. There was one city, though, that resisted: Warsaw, Poland, where rebel Jews engaged Nazi soldiers with what few guns they had left, successfully killing around 1,000 of them before the uprising was stamped out (the number varies depending on who tells the story, but 1,000 seems to be the most common one). 

Now, imagine if all the Jews were armed and willing to fight off the Nazis. Do you think the Holocaust would have happened? Again, we’ll never know. 

What about all the women who are raped each year at knifepoint and by sheer brute force? Rape scars women for life and can cause irrecoverable emotional damage as well as a lifetime of severe trust issues. Would their being armed have prevented those tragedies?  

I’m rambling now, so I’ll leave you with this final though: always remember that the sole reason anyone wants to take your gun away is to weaken you. In the case of anti-gun citizens, it's to make you as weak as they are, and in the case politicians and police it's to make you weaker than they are, often so that they can do things to you without fear of repercussion

lawrence williard August 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM
This is especially disingenuous, even for an opinion piece. Tell us more about how Chicago, with a population of 2.7 million, lower median income, 20 percent of its population living beneath the poverty line, and actual diversity compares to white bread Kennesaw, a town with less than 30,000 people and none of the problems facing big cities. It's also telling that you ignored very recent and very high profile (and, more importantly, data driven) studies that have come out recently that show marked decreases in gun crime in LA and NY following stricter gun laws. It's also important to note that guns purchased for self-defense are involved in more accidental shootings than shootings in defense. And it's not even close, it's a 3-1 margin. The 2nd Amendment was created specifically to allow militias to help restore order and fight for the U.S. during a time when the country's military was small, underfunded and did not have the reach, primarily because of transportation at the time, to have a presence into all states, territories and unsettled lands. Most sane people realize that when the 2nd amendment was written the country had just 14 states, still practiced slavery, did not let women vote, did not have child labor laws and was eons away from anything related to ensuring that the rights of all men included women, minorities, children, and non-land owners. Gun ownership is a bastion of eras past, a relic of society.
Adam Alexander August 08, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I fail to see how the institution of slavery or lack of women's rights of days past correlates to gun rights. The principles of freedom of speech and rights against illegal search and seizures also existed during those times but we're not eager to ban those. Also the 2nd Amendment was in fact created for the rights of citizens to protect themselves from their own government. This was actually an issue that was hotly debated immediately following the revolution, but the men who founded this nation cleared the air in the years following the revolution: "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." -George Mason, 1788 "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, 1788 "Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not." -Thomas Jefferson "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -James Madison "The Constitution shall never be construed....to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms" -Samuel Adams
Adam Alexander August 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
As far as my statistic about Chicago and Kennesaw, reread them. The chart account for incidents per 100,000 people in order to keep the ratios balanced. And most of the nation's poor still abide by the laws so I don't see that low income is an excuse for violent crime. Also, what high profile studies would you be referring to? Lastly, what do you intend to do on the day you lose your fundamental rights? Let's say for argument's sake that it's at the hands of Republicans, since I'm assuming you're a left-wing voter given your staunched position against gun ownership. What are you going to do about it without weapons, yell at them?
Panda Donkey August 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM
I'll start by saying I am not for banning guns outright, and I understand the multitude of difficulties with gun control. I will avoid claiming to have any solutions to the issue as all I have are personal opinions and theories, nothing much fact based. I just wanted to chime in because i disagree with some of your statement Adam. First off I believe what Lawrence is getting at with his argument of slavery and lack of woman’s rights is that the Era has changed, and thus the rules must change as well. Since you like to use quotes ill use one to preface: "Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment... laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind... as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, institutions must advance also, to keep pace with the times... We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when he was a boy as civilized society to remain forever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." -Thomas Jefferson
Panda Donkey August 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The argument that I hear the most from anti-gun control supporters is that without arms how will we defend ourselves from a tyrannical government. Think about the escalation in weapons from the time of our revolution... Today we have harnessed the power of nuclear fission/fusion to create weapons capable of mass destruction, also inventions such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Genetic Engineering, The Internet, etc... these are things our fore fathers could only speculate on or possibly not even fathomed. In your last question you ask "what do you intend to do on the day you lose your fundamental rights?", and in your example you use our government, so what do you hope to accomplish with an Assault rifle against a government that stockpiles WMD's and other technology not available to us? Its just a dumb argument for the ownership of guns. Would you not even consider peaceful approaches to the matter first? Do you believe that if you had sufficient funds you should be allowed to own a Nuclear weapon or other WMD? What do you consider a WMD, as the scope in the definition is left up to some debate? Its a different era and if we were to confront a tyrannical government we would have to take a slightly different approach than what our founders had intended with the 2nd Amendment, hopefully a peaceful strategy.
Adam Alexander August 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM
@Panda Donkey Of course I'm willing to consider a peaceful solution. I hope that peace reigns in all things and that I never have to use my gun against my fellow man. I also didn't say that I favor looser gun rights, although I do somewhat. I think what we have right now is a decent balance. What I mostly fear is rash legislation made out of emotion of the moment, and we know government is guilty of that. And although I hope peace does ultimately win over all, the ability to defend myself from tyranny is not something I'm willing to gamble on the promises of government. Tyranny by definition is when the government imposes its will on the people regardless of what the people want. In a more broad definition it includes the oppression of said people. I don't think that peaceful talks will solve that. As far as the military's technology over our own, don't forget that North Vietnam held against the U.S. Army, the most well-funded and powerful military organization in the world, for nearly twenty-five years until it ultimately gave up. They did this with machine guns and grenades. A few tanks, no bombers and extremely limited artillery against the U.S.'s plethora of the same.
Panda Donkey August 14, 2012 at 01:11 AM
I am aware of the definition of tyranny... Martin luther king jr.'s civil right campaign comes to mind when i speak of nonviolent methods of fighting oppression.
Panda Donkey August 14, 2012 at 01:18 AM
We chose not to nuke Vietnam, I am sure if we had dropped a few nukes on the country it would have surrendered like japan. If Hitler were rising to power in this day in age you do not think he would contemplate droping nukes on strategic locations. My point is if the government wanted to stop a revolution these days at all costs, guns will not help much.
Panda Donkey August 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I am not disagreeing or agreeing with your overall opinion on gun control, I am just saying that particular argument you choose seems invalid to me
Adam Alexander August 14, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I understand, and I appreciate the civility.


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