When we look back at 2012, there are several shocking events that have occurred and garnered the attention of the entire world. Ranging from the terrorist attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, to the enduring Civil War in Syria, perhaps no issue resonates closer to home than the gun control debate currently taking place in the United States. Whether one is American, Canadian, or of any other nationality, the tragedies that have occurred in Aurora, Colorado, Oakland, and many other cities, are capable of bringing people of all beliefs and views together, if only for a while. Following the murders of 20 children and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012, America bellowed out in an outcry that it wants stricter gun control. Barack Obama and Congress convened, and ideas about restricting semi-automatic weapons began circulating.
According to Time magazine, 47% of Americans own a gun. There are over 310 million firearms in the United States, in a market that generates over $6 billion annually for the guns and ammunition industry. Guns have been bequeathed to the American people since the days our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution, under which we have governed and ruled for over 200 years. The Second Amendment clearly states, “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.”
Looking back on history, restricting American liberties has never been a fruitful enterprise. Chicago and D.C. have some of the strictest rules regarding handgun control in the United States. However, handgun control is not being considered by the Obama Administration’s proposed plans concerning gun control, those of which mainly focus on banning assault weapons and requiring universal background checks on gun purchases. The left media adamantly refuses to report the hundreds of gun-related murders that occur in Chicago on a daily basis. In 2012, Chicago was home to over 500 deaths, a number far greater than the 405 deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan this past year. Nevertheless, all of the attention is given to the AR-15 assault rifles used in the mass murders. Sadly, according to MSN News, more people died in Chicago this year than the combined amount of victims in school shootings over the past 12 years. Is that really an objective way of approaching a matter as grave as this?
In the past month, after the tragic deaths of 20 school children and 6 valiant staff members, Democrats have outright proposed to ban semi-automatic weapons, require a national registry of gun owners, more intense background checks, limit the size of gun magazines, and to ban the “Gun Show Loophole.” This distasteful bit of legislation is known as the “Federal Assaults Weapons Ban” proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which aims to intensely reform, if not completely ban, gun ownership. The United States has the highest gun ownership in the world, with 88 guns per 100 people. This means that the US has the highest gun murder rate in the world, right? Not quite. Nevertheless, liberals would ideally like to bring the United States to its knees, and enact the very same gun prohibition that is prevalent in the UK.
Cincinnati’s television station, WXIX, states that Britain had a mere 59 gun related murders in 2011. However, the UK has the second highest crime rate in the European Union, the fourth highest burglary rate, and the fifth highest robbery rate. This permitted the EU to bestow the UK the great honour of being the most dangerous country to live in the EU. Not only that, but the Guardian also reports that the UK averaged 1,977 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2011. The United States, on the other hand, averaged only 386 per 100,000 according to the FBI, a sum that is significantly lower. This only comes to show that the root of gun violence is not found within guns, but rather people. As the saying goes, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
While many solutions to improve gun control in the United States have been suggested, none seem likely to stick. Most ideas stem from left ideologies, and do not offer any means for compromise. The left will continue to relentlessly hammer on the issue of stricter gun measures while politicizing the victims of Sandy Hook to no apparent end. In a recent interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro told Morgan that he and the liberal left, “tend to demonize people who differ from you politically by standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook, saying they don’t seem to care enough about the dead kids. If they cared more about the dead kids, they would agree with you on policy.”
Time after time again, the left attempts to bully its opponents into either seeing matters their way, or instead risk being dubbed a racist, bigot, or an emotionless being speaking absurd nonsense. Instead of ridiculing why the public needs guns, the left should realize that while people don’t necessarily need guns, they have the inherent right to it granted by the Constitution, which is not just “a little book,” as Morgan called it.
Recently, the New York Journal published the names and locations of gun permit holders in the counties of Westchester and Rockland, New York. Since when has it become a crime to own a gun as a law-abiding citizen? Not only has this breached the private lives of honest citizens, but it also has exposed them to possible criminal violence. Ultimately, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre offered a solution to place armed guards in schools throughout the United States. Not only did the left ridicule this idea, but they also managed to erase from memory that it was their beloved President Bill Clinton who passed a piece of legislation called “Cops in Schools” in 2000, on the one year anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Over five years, 100,000 police officers were placed amongst US schools, before the program being shut down due to funding issues.
Thus, is gun control really the solution to our problems? Perhaps we should start looking more objectively, and focus on the mental health of millions of Americans who are forgotten by the system each and every day. Only through background checks and improved mental health clinics can we begin to see changes. It’s time to end the culture war against the NRA and honest Americans, and start focusing on making real changes—changes we can all rejoice in.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.