Abandoning the Second?

Abandoning the Second?

The recent murders of innocent children in Connecticut have created a renewed interest in gun control legislation. After all, for such an ignominious action there should be a corresponding corrective reaction. Indeed, there is increased pressure on the Congress to take action and further regulate gun ownership and usage.

However, the informed legislator knows additional gun control laws will not control guns. They will effectively disarm law-abiding citizens while the criminals always will have gun availability. If gun control advocates had any respect for reality, they would have discovered gun control laws are both futile and counterproductive. Areas with the strongest gun control laws have often been areas with high murder rates. Our capital is a classic example, among many others.

Gun ownership is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. Gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks.  In the late 20th century, handgun ownership doubled, while the murder rate went down. In defending their position, some examples mentioned by gun control advocates do not stand up under scrutiny.  Their strongest reference is that the United Kingdom has tighter gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates.

However, a closer look reveals that the U.K. has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries and, at the same time the British had no stricter gun control laws than the United States.  Indeed, neither country had strict gun control for most of that time. In the middle of the 20th century, you could easily buy a gun in London.  On the other hand, New York, which at that time was under the strict Sullivan Law restricting gun ownership since 1911, still had several times the gun murder rate of London, as well as several times the London murder rate with other weapons.

Many gun control advocates also have been advocates of leniency toward criminals. In Britain, such people have been so successful that although legally owning a gun is almost prohibitive, most convicted felons are not put behind bars.  The crime rate is far higher in Britain now than it was back in the days when there were few restrictions on the English wishing to buy firearms. Similarly, other countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico have higher murder rates than the United States. In comparing Switzerland and Germany, gun ownership has been three times as high in the former, while they also have lower murder rate. Israel, New Zealand and Finland are other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates.

Guns are not the problem.  People, in various roles and positions, are the problem. Among them are people who are determined to promote gun control laws, either because they are not aware of the facts or because their perceived benevolence compels them to ignore the facts.

Every tragic mass shooting seems to bring out examples of both, among gun control advocates. However, more than 65 million American gun owners killed nobody last year. Giving up yet another amendment, as it recently happened with the Fourth Amendment, is a huge mistake on the part of a presumably freedom-loving people.

Andreas Maheras

Hays