The morning of June 5, 2017, John Robert Neumann Jr., 45, shot and killed five people (four men and one woman) at his former place of employment in Orlando, Florida, before turning the gun on himself. This shooting occurred one week prior to the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.
On the cusp of sunset that same day, Ravenscroft Beauty College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, went into lockdown after a shooter opened fire on campus. According to police spokesman Michael Joyner, the suspect, Daveon D. Brown, 24, injured two before shooting and killing himself.
Over the past week, a barrage of shootings plagued the nation, claiming dozens of innocent lives. And as fate would have it, this morning around 7:15 am, while I was editing this article, a shooter fired 50 to 60 shots at a congressional charity baseball practice in Alexandria, VA, before the police could stop him. One of the reported victims was Representative Steve Scalise. At this time, the investigation is still ongoing, and reports indicate the shooter is still alive.
While you may have felt a lingering sense of sadness in reading all of this just now, that your heartstring strained against your chest and your skin flamed with indignation, it’s also fairly reasonable to assume you felt somewhat numb to it.
Gun violence, much like radical Islamic terror, is now, sadly, commonplace in our world. Regardless of what sparked these incidents, and regardless of who the shooters were or who they chose as their victims, the implications here are perfectly clear: our government seriously needs to consider its position on guns and gun control. Yesterday.
On both sides of the political spectrum, Americans have heard constant talk of politicians making changes regarding gun regulations. Yet every time there is a mass shooting – much like every time there is a terrorist attack – our government does next to nothing. In the words of President Trump: “It’s all talk, no action.”
The event trends as a Twitter Moment for an hour or two at most before it fades into the cacophony of perpetually endless violence around us. Liberals and Conservatives alike loudly voice their opinions via social media and argue with one another about the appropriate course of action in response to the shooting. Some may even say their “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims of the atrocity, and that we should respect the victims by not making this about politics.
The one caveat to all this? It IS about politics.
Our government’s lack of action is getting people killed. Their inability (and perhaps unwillingness) to do something is getting people killed.
So what should they do about it? Though it may seem counter-intuitive, here’s the solution to this problem: allow American citizens to exercise their second amendment rights more freely.
Data from a recent study published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy illustrates a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime. Basically, the more guns in the hands of citizens, the less crime that occurs. In general, the study finds, nations that employ stricter gun laws experience substantially higher murder rates than those who do not. Interestingly, the nine European nations with the lowest gun ownership rates have a combined murder rate that is three times that of the nine European countries with the highest gun ownership rates.
Further, an analysis of FBI crime statistics shows a marked reduction in murders (8.5%), rapes (5%), aggravated assaults (7%), and robberies (3%) in states that adopted concealed carry laws and allowed citizens to exercise their second amendment right to bear arms for self-defense. The city of Kennesaw, Georgia, currently has a violent crime rate that is 85% lower than that of Georgia on average, primarily because of a law passed in 1982 requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. Several cities that tried the opposite of this, by imposing some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, experience some of the highest rates of gun violence in the country (e.g. Chicago).
The logic behind all of this is rather simple.
When stricter gun laws are put into place, law-abiding citizens will fulfill their most important civic duty and obey those regulations. They will keep their guns locked up, disassembled, stowed safely in a corner of their home, far out of reach should (God forbid) they require it to defend themselves while out and about. They won’t take a gun into a gun-free zone. They won’t even carry knives for self-defense (in Canada’s case). They will walk around completely defenseless, some under the impression that their following of the law will be enough to protect them.
And yet the gun violence doesn’t stop. It continues ad nauseam, and the list of victims lengthens. Why? Because those committing said gun violence are not law-abiding, responsible adults. Recent crime statistics indicate that felons commit over 90 percent of murders in the United States, with the remaining 10 percent being perpetrated by juveniles and the mentally unbalanced. The United States already has laws in place forbidding these three groups from owning guns, but such laws have been and will continue to be ineffective against the lawless majority. They will obtain their guns however they must to carry out their pre-meditated/impulsive violence. They will continue breaking the law as they always have, while responsible citizens will continue to follow it and put themselves in completely unnecessary danger. But arm these citizens and allow them to carry concealed weapons, and watch as criminals suddenly become deterred, decide maybe it isn’t worth the risk of robbing this store if a fair number of citizens inside might have a gun to stop them. Watch as the citizens begin to police themselves.
“Gun control” is nothing more than a means of control over those who have done nothing to merit such regulations in the first place, citizens who are left pathetically defenseless when faced with shooters like Neumann, Brown, their predecessors, and their posterity.
Citizens of this country, and of all countries that celebrate true liberty, must have their second amendment rights protected. Government exists to protect you. If it cannot do that on its own, you must be able to do it yourself.