Commentary Essay On Gun Control

Gun Control

It always seems like gun control is in the news for one reason or the other. There are extreme and varying views on the policies and regulations in regards to gun control and how it should be enforced around the nation. There are many different intricacies to the views that different people have; however, in general it comes down to two basic sides. One side that believes that Americans should have the right to purchase and carry firearms, and another side that does not see the value in civilians having the right to carry. While there are many different nuances to the beliefs that many people have, these are the generalizations of the two sides.

The people who believe that American civilians should not have the right to carry firearms believe that firearms cause too much pain and death when in the hands of civilians. There are always stories on the news about shootings and robberies at the hands of civilians with guns. This is the catalyst for many of the debates and much of the supporting argument of people who have this belief is founded upon tragedies that were previously in the news, or that happened to them in real life. However, the people who believe in an American’s right to carry feel very different. People who believe Americans should have the right to carry often reference political documents that declare that they should. They feel as though it is imperative that civilians have a way to protect themselves, their families, and their homes. Furthermore, they cite times when civilians have had to protect themselves from the government. These are some of the most common arguments made when debating the relevance of having the right to carry firearms or not.

When it comes to firearms and debating the right to carry a weapon, there are a lot of people who have differing views on what it right and what is wrong. While there are tons of very compelling arguments that can be made, there are also a lot of differing and strong opinions. People try regularly to dispute the right of civilians to carry firearms, and even purchase them stating that the regulations to purchase are too lenient. However, it is not very easy to purchase a firearm legally. The challenge comes in to play when people are able to purchase them illegally, or if someone really wanted a gun, there are firearms stolen all of the time.

Whenever there is a shooting, liberals have an answer that is not an answer, namely the charade of more gun control. Fine, try it, and maybe some voodoo along the way but it doesn’t work very well. There are better alternatives and what’s truly absurd in this debate is the demeaning expression “gun nuts.”

What about “gun control nuts?”

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What about people who seem to think murders will go down if fewer guns are sold even though a major crime drop starting in the 1990s was accompanied by a huge increase in the number of guns?

What about people apparently not knowing that we have 300 million guns in this country and getting hold of one will continue to be easy short of mass confiscation that will not and should not happen? Criminals, by the way, mostly get their guns from such means as the black market or a family gift, not through store purchases.

What about people who don’t get it that President Barack Obama’s calls for gun control made him the biggest gun salesman in American history? Gun sales set records in the Obama years largely because of the fear he might make their purchase virtually impossible. Not a single law he wanted would have shrunk gun sales by a fraction as much as his rhetoric increased them.

What about the fact that a British ban on handguns saw killings increase for the next five years until more cops were finally put on the beat?

What about the fact that back in the days when it had a complete gun ban, Russia had four times as many murders as we had? In that case, does culture have more to do with gun violence than anything, just as culture probably accounts for us having more killings than the Europeans? The late, great social scientist James Q. Wilson thought so.

What about the fact that so-called assault rifles are not assault weapons and that the real ones are already banned? The military says an assault weapon is one that can be automatic — press the trigger and the gun keeps shooting until you let up. The rifles often called assault weapons because they look like them are semiautomatic — you have to keep pulling the trigger.

By the way, handguns are the first weapon of choice in crimes and mass shootings and while there are mass shooters who favor the automatic lookalikes, they would still kill without them.

In fact, FBI numbers show knives are used to kill five times more people than all rifles put together and that fists and feet do the deed more than knives.

Finally, what about a 2013 study of studies by the Centers for Disease Control? It failed to find evidence that gun control laws worked but did find evidence for something else: People rescue themselves from crimes on a regular basis with guns and guns work better than any other safety technique.

I myself do not object to more work on ways to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the insane if Second Amendment limits are observed. Despite arguments to the contrary, the Founders did believe gun possession was an individual right, militia or no militia.

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It is also the case that the National Rifle Association does not have lobbying heft because it gets big dough from gun manufacturers but because it represents millions of gun owners who happen to vote.

The recent shooting of a congressman should cause consternation but the best weapon against misuse of guns is cops with guns plus wise strategies and tactics like the kind that have been used in New York City. It led other big cities in a major way in reducing killings and incarceration through deterrence.

To wish for more gun control over that approach is to wish for more blood in the streets.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. 

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