As published on Western Courier
Want gun control? Use both hands. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people, and Charlton Heston’s famous “from my cold dead hands.” We’ve all heard these slogans and read them on bumper stickers, but does anyone really take the time out to think what they mean?
Gun control is a major issue today in this country, and has been for several years. It is probably the only issue today that is specifically referred to in our Constitution, “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.”
The explicit meaning of that line in the Constitution is undoubtedly one of the most controversial writings in our nation’s history.
To some, it ensures the individual’s right to own a firearm that cannot be taken away by the government. To others, the right to bear arms is the right of the militia, or National Guard to put it in today’s context. Some are just crazy, and of course, they are the ones that tend to get the most media coverage.
Take Michael Moore’s movie “Bowling for Columbine.” No matter what side you are on, it is very safe to say that the pro-gun side didn’t get a very fair shake. How were gun owners represented? We were shown as really crazy guy that knew Timothy McVeigh, who proceeds to point a loaded .44 Magnum to his head off camera; and some backwoods boys in a Michigan militia playing army. A normal, well ?- adjusted, law-abiding gun owner was nowhere to be found. What is the result? Moore takes home an Oscar; so much for being objective.
The controversial Assault Weapons Ban, passed in 1994, expired a year ago on Sept. 13.
First, let’s talk about assault weapons. Most people conjure up the image of military-style fully automatic machine guns. In reality, the AWB dealt in no way with the firing mode of any firearms. Fully automatic weapons have been prohibited since 1934, requiring a special and costly permit. The AWB dealt primarily with cosmetic features, such as folding stocks and pistol grips, along with grenade launchers and flash suppressors. The most significant item to most in the bill is that it limited all magazines manufactured after the bill was passed to 10 rounds. The catch to that was you could still own and purchase high capacity magazines. You could also still purchase guns that violated the ban if they also were manufactured before the ban. So in effect, if you wanted to buy a gun with a pistol grip and folding stock, you could, it just had to be manufactured before 1994.
The problem with the AWB and any gun control legislation really is that it only applies to law-abiding people. As the famous line goes, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
There is a direct correlation with strict gun laws and higher crime rates. Chicago has very strict gun laws, with a ban on handguns, and was still the murder capital of the country in 2003. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Every city with major crime problems, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, all have strict gun laws. In theory, shouldn’t cities that have strict gun laws be utopias and cities like Atlanta and Houston that have looser laws be like Baghdad? Just like in everything else, it works in theory but not in practice.
Look at it this way: pretend you are a criminal. You want to make some quick cash, so you decide to go rob some average Joe walking down the street. Where would you rather do this? Obviously, the correct answer is Chicago. Unlike Houston, where residents consistently carry weapons, Chicago has a very small chance that the person you are about to rob would be armed. Criminals don’t care about the law; that is why they are criminals. No gangbanger is going to sit and worry about getting a permit, and what is going to happen if the police find the glock stuffed in his pants. Only reasonable, law-abiding citizens do that, and become defenseless victims in the process.