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Politicizing Gun Control

In The Weekley Blog

By Jeremiah Weekley
Sept. 1, 2015 at 12:50 p.m.

Here we go again. People die at the hands of a deranged lunatic gunman and a certain element seizes the opportunity to ramp up the gun control argument. Not that any politician or public official would be so insensitive as to politicize a tragedy, mind you.

I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded guy when it comes to discussions regarding issues of an individual’s right to bear arms. I absolutely feel this is an important right, intentionally granted by our founding fathers to balance out any future oppressive government, invading force or simply for personal protection. This certainly seems to be important in our current day and age and political climate.

Without sounding liberal, I am willing to concede that I understand those who oppose individuals owning assault weapons and automatic weapons. I’m not opposed to those who want or choose to own them, quite the contrary, but I understand why it’s probably not wise to allow open-carry of these types of weapons in certain venues. Legal or not, it won’t be comfortable for the families trying to enjoy their day in the park if they’re sharing space with someone who has an AK-47 slung over their shoulder.

For me this issue is best left to private property owners and voters. If a city doesn’t want to allow firearms in public then they should be able to hold a vote on this issue. Certainly I do not think the outcome should ever be allowed to determine whether or not individuals can own these weapons, only where they can carry them. If the owner of a restaurant, shopping center or other commercial venue restricts firearms, so be it. As an individual, if you don’t like it, protest, but otherwise your gun isn’t welcome on their property and that is fair.

The arguments made on both sides of this issue can truly make your head spin. All sense of reason and compromise is lost. I understand that on the right-wing side any compromise is viewed as an open door to erode the entire right to bear arms. I understand the left-wing becoming angrier by the second that people believe an entire populace armed to the hilt like Rambo, would be a country that anyone would enjoy living in.

I’d like to address the arguments for gun control. Some common sense should tell us that, in most cases, tougher laws to regulate guns will only leave the criminal element with guns. This isn’t a reasonable scenario. Obviously, we shouldn’t make it easy or legal for those with mental issues to access firearms. It’s true they will more than likely end up with them anyway if they so desire, but that doesn’t detract from taking measures to limit the legality of this.

It would be a beautiful world if the answers were as simple as passing legislation. As it stands, we must apply real common sense and not the politically correct type.

Concealed carry handguns should not be discouraged. The only reservation with this is in insuring that those with such permits are properly trained with the firearms they’re carrying. In my home state of Alabama, a concealed carry permit is a matter or paying the local sheriff for a photo ID every year. That isn’t very comforting. Although I’m opposed to bureaucracy in general, I must admit it feels better knowing those with permits here in Texas have actually fired a handgun and passed a course that provides handgun safety and usage information and demonstration.

We all need to accept and understand that most legislation in regards to handgun bans and the like, is disastrous. Take Washington D.C., in 1976 the city council passed a law preventing residents from possessing handguns and firearms. This ban was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. During the time of the ban, the murder rate in D.C. averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law, while the U.S. murder rate averaged 11% lower. I would acquiesce that this dramatic increase was caused by many factors, but what is clear is the ban obviously didn’t deter gun crime. To be fair, Chicago recorded a 17% decrease for the duration of its similar ban, but it should be noted that the average decrease in the U.S. was 30%.

When passing right to carry laws, both Florida and Texas saw a decrease in murder rates in excess of 30% since the laws were enacted. During the same period, the average U.S. drop in murder rates was less than half this.

Our nation loves guns. It goes right to the core of who we are as Americans. Just ask the British. In rural areas, like the place where I grew up, everyone has a shotgun and a rifle, even if they don’t own a handgun. Sure, we used them primarily for hunting but they were more than ready for protection if necessary.

I suppose my point in all this is to say, as many often do, guns aren’t evil. They don’t fire themselves. Yes, they may make a convenient tool for the angry, deranged or hate-filled but firearms themselves serve many valid purposes and we cannot abandon a foundational right in order to pursue a politically correct, fear-mongering, liberal agenda cloaked as a solution. Those with bad intentions will always be able to find a firearm or some other tool to serve their evil desires, whether legal or not. I’m not willing to consider restricting the law-abiding firearm possessing citizen based on the actions of the evil and I hope we can all understand the sense in that.

We can continue to desperately seek out reasons and targets for blame or we can simply concede we as a nation, as a world, have a heart condition. We can choose to work together to foster love, education and unity or we can continue with divisive politics, lines in the sand, fingers pointed and go full speed ahead to the detriment of our nation.


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