To the Editor:
Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of our country and the third president of the United States, once said, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. 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" (“Right”, 2008).
Gun control is a major issue in today’s political spectrum. In the wake of the recent mass shootings of Newtown, Connecticut, school children, and Aura, Colorado moviegoers, Congress is searching for a way to limit gun violence (Adams, 2013). In response, the current Obama administration encourages tighter restrictions on gun control, proposing a stronger assault-weapons ban; outlawing the distribution of magazines over ten rounds; and enforcing stricter background checks nation-wide (“What’s”, 2013).
However, when analyzing the facts, banning assault weapons will not prevent gun violence. Further gun control in America will not only be ineffective, but will also nullify our civil liberties as law-abiding citizens.
Criminals will always find a way to commit a crime with or without firearms. In the years between 2007 and 2011, 8,967 people were murdered with knives or cutting instruments, and during that same frame of time, 3,918 people were murdered with either rifles or shotguns, significantly lower (Adams, 2013). A correlation between limiting firearms and reducing violence does not exist.
However, if Congress does proceed with further gun control, criminals will persist to possess guns, and lawful citizens will not. Because of the covert black market, criminals wanting to act on the opportunity to carry out a crime can effortlessly gain access to the firearm of their choice. If a criminal wants a gun, he can obtain a gun, and further gun control will not prevent him or her from committing a crime. Hence, congress cannot possibly impose any gun control legislation that will remotely prevent criminals from committing violent crimes. For example, numerous laws are on the books that prohibit the use of illegal drugs, and the drug problem has yet to be eliminated; the same principle applies for the newly proposed and encroaching firearm legislation (Greenfield, 2013).
Currently 243 pages of federal firearm legislation influence the lives of law-abiding gun owners across America. Despite how stringent any of these laws may be, no established tactic is proven to stop a malicious criminal from infringing on the enforced legislation (Adams, 2013). Between1994 and 2004, a federal assault weapons ban was enacted by the Clinton administration. Yet during this ten year span, the highly fatal Columbine shooting occurred, and the shooters used several firearms including an illegal assault rifle (Lee). Again, because the shooter gained access to an outlawed firearm, an assault weapons ban did not prevent the shooters from choosing the gun of their choice. Gun violence cannot be prevented by further regulation; conversely, firearms in the hands of upstanding citizens discourage violence.
Felons thrive in an unarmed populous. For example, in 1976 Washington, DC, imposed freedom-invasive firearm legislation that prohibited any citizen, excluding police, to legally carry a firearm inside city limits or even to obtain a handgun for self-defense, inside his or her home. When the firearm ban was imposed, 188 homicides were reported; later, in 1988, the figure rose to 369; and in 1993, the homicide rate rose even higher to 454. Fortunately, the firearm ban was lifted after being ruled unconstitutional by a D.C. court in 2007. After the ban was lifted, homicides decreased to 186 in 2008, and gun violence figures dropped even further to 88 in 2012, the lowest rates in over 25 years (Greenfield, 2013).
Legal gun ownership is proven to limit crime, not cause it to increase. On average states that have approved legislation that allows the use of hand guns through concealed carry permits, reported a decrease in their murder rates by eight and a half percent, rapes by five percent, aggravated assaults by seven percent; and robbery by three percent. Crime rates generally decrease when citizens legally obtain firearms because guns act as a deterrent to felons in the act of crime. A recent poll of convicted criminals showed that 74 percent said the main reason they would avoid burglarizing a home is the fear of a homeowner wielding a gun (Guns, 2008).
Across America, gun owners are regularly faced with the decision of using their firearm in self-defense. For example, a mother in Atlanta, Georgia, heroically protected her family when she faced a burglar intending harm. When the criminal found the family hiding desperately in a closet, the brave mother, without hesitation, fired five shots into the burglar, saving not only the family’s property, but their lives as well (“Mother”, 2013). In a terrifying situation, a firearm in the hands of an innocent civilian serves justice to a hostile felon.
I then ask, what would have happened to this guiltless family without the assistance of a firearm? Simply banning firearms takes them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, forfeiting the people the security of self-defense and obscuring our civil liberties as citizens of the United States.
Perhaps the primary reason driving gun rights activists across America is to defend the civil liberties of the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. Fortunately, as citizens, we have the right granted to us under the second amendment, to help stop crime and protect ourselves, our property, and families. The second amendment states, “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” (United, n.d.).
These words were not intended to merely protect hunting rights, as the current administration posits, but were designed to limit the authority of the federal government over the citizens of this country (Adams, 2013). Further gun control then, usurps our rights as citizens, and the moment the federal government deliberately walks over the Constitution, there is no saying what other liberties will be deprived from the lives of “we the people”.
In conclusion, because criminals will not follow laws, if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Further gun control in America will not only be ineffective, but will also undermine our civil liberties as law-abiding citizens. Protecting our liberties as citizens should be the government’s first priority not its last, and our freedom of self-defense must not be compromised. The second amendment was written to assure that the government fears the people, not the people fear the government (Linda, 2010). Our founding fathers clearly believed in the importance of self-defense and the significance of unobstructed freedom. Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” (Kiernan & Kiernan, n.d.). I therefore, urge you, to stand up to any government administration, including the current empowered Obama administration, which threatens to not only take away our self-defense, but our civil liberties as well.