Common sense is the first casualty in the new battle over guns
Since the most recent iteration of the gun control debate stems from the massacre of two dozen schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, it's an understandably emotional issue. Like all Americans, I was horrified at what happened--maybe more than some as I am the father of two young children. However, it is our responsibility as adults to check our emotions when discussing important issues so that we might hand off a better country to the next generation and resist the cynical attempts by politicians to use the children's deaths to jump start an ideological agenda.
Since the murders were committed with a gun, the knee-jerk reaction of those who take the intellectual path of least resistance is to "do something" like "ban guns" or "increase gun regulations." Certainly, it's harder for those individuals to connect school shootings to abstract concepts like the breakdown of the family unit.
The Star is to be commended for opening a discussion on causes of violence instead of simply focusing on tools used to commit violence. Unfortunately, even though the original work cites some pretty good arguments from two local gun dealers, three of the best arguments against further gun regulations are missing, which are:
1. It's in the Constitution
The best argument for guns is the least persuasive to progressives and the low-information voter. The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, and the Supreme Court affirmed it as an individual right. The purpose of the guarantee is not to hunt or for sport, but to give the citizen a last line of defense against a tyrannical government. Our Founding Fathers had just thrown off an oppressor, and they feared the government they created would grow to oppress future generations. By arming the public, they tipped the scales of power into the individual's hands. Every attempt to erode it since has put each of us at the mercy of an all-powerful government. A cursory knowledge of history reveals what happens when citizens are disarmed, knowledge the low-information does not possess. To the progressive ideologue, the Constitution is not something to be consulted, it's something to be sidestepped. And so, the best argument for guns will go unheeded.
2. Gun laws only serve to disarm those who obey the law
Here's where common sense plays a role in the gun debate. As common sense isn't common, Criminals do not obey laws, by definition. By definition, law abiding people do. Therefore, laws regulating guns will disarm those that obey laws and put them at the mercy of those who do not. In other words, power shifts away from good people and ends up in the hands of bad people. Ironically, people that decry strict drug laws as advocate for strict gun laws, despite the failure of both.
Perhaps if the manufacture of all guns is prohibited, not even criminals can find guns. Two seconds of thought reveal that laws passed in the United States only affect the United States, so any other country could fill the criminal demand for guns on the black market--just as they do for drugs, which are available just about everywhere.
Finally, there are already laws against many types of guns used in crimes. It is against the law to murder, against the law to steal guns, against the law for certain people on probation to handle guns, and so forth. Yet violence occurs every day. If laws against murder are ignored, why would any clear-thinking person think the solution lies with more laws?
3. Guns provide for self-defense
As good as our local police departments are, they are primarily a reactive force. Their job is to show up after a crime has occurred to draw chalk outlines around the victims. No response time is good enough to protect a family whose house is broken into in a home-invasion robbery. Citizens must be afforded a right to use deadly force to protect themselves. That means rifles, handguns, and shotguns. Even limitations on magazine capacities can put people's lives in danger. Criminals seem to have no problem getting banana clips for their AK's , but I can't have more than 10 shots in my gun? What if 3 or 4 people break into my house and I miss a couples times? I'm dead.
Progressives and low-information voters seem to both believe that power is best left in the hands of experts, the elite, and authorities. Low information-voters want to defer the hard choices to someone else, and progressive ideologues want to be that someone.
An underpinning of both their belief systems is that centralized power can be used not just to minimize violence--but to prevent it. In that futile pursuit to change what cannot be changed--human nature--half the country is willing to cede power to an increasingly scary government.