The massacre at Fort Hood demonstrates once again that gun control laws do nothing more than disarm the innocent and enable murderers.
by Austin Raynor
Last week, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, armed with two handguns—including a semi-automatic pistol—opened fire on his fellow soldiers at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. He was finally gunned down by an off-base, civilian police officer, though not before he had murdered 13 and wounded 42. He stood on desks and fired down into cubicles on his helpless victims for ten uninterrupted minutes. The victims were unarmed and unable to defend themselves against the attacker because army bases are federal gun-free zones. This tragedy once again highlights the idiocy of such legislative restrictions.
The effects of legislating gun-free zones become remarkably clear when examined in light of the Fort Hood massacre. The consequences of the law are indisputable: innocent, law-abiding citizens are disarmed and thus made defenseless victims. Murderers are not dissuaded by the penalties associated with violating gun-free zoning laws. It is an outrageously naïve line of reasoning—an inexcusable line of reasoning—that promulgates the view that gun-free zones deter murderers.
The simple fact is that, no matter how valiantly or quickly the police respond, at the point of assault it is only the individual who can defend himself. The police can never arrive quickly enough in such a situation. Gun-free zones are gifts to murderers. Every single public shooting in the United States in which three people or more have been killed has occurred in a gun-free zone. Gun control advocates have the victims’ blood on their hands. But what do we hear after every such tragedy? An inane call for more gun control.
Fort Hood is not the first such tragedy, nor will it be the last, as long as emotional, irrational gun-control advocates have their way. The shooting at Virginia Tech in April 2007 is yet another illustration of the effects of anti-gun legislation. Virginia Tech engaged in a special lobbying effort in which it gained an exemption from state concealed carry laws: legal concealed carry permit holders, as a result of this exemption, were banned from having their guns on campus.
Following this successful lobbying effort, university spokesman Larry Hincker said, “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty, and visitors feel safe on our campus.” Shortly thereafter, Cho Seung-Hui went on a rampage, murdering 33 faculty and students and wounding an additional ten more. Why weren’t these students permitted to defend themselves? Useless gun control laws—Seung-Hui had filled out the required forms and undergone the mandatory background check and waiting period when purchasing his guns—served only to disarm the law-abiding citizens.
Now compare the Virginia Tech disaster to what could have been a similar incident at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. In 2002, a student killed the dean, a professor, and another student, before being taken down by two students who had retrieved guns from their cars. What if the Appalachian School of Law had enacted the same prohibitive gun policy that Virginia Tech did?
Armed citizens are the greatest deterrent to crime. This fact has been demonstrated repeatedly, both in high-profile tragedies like those at Fort Hood and Virginia Tech, but also statistically. In 1987 Florida set a precedent by allowing concealed carry, to be followed soon after by a number of other states. Within five years, these states had seen an eight percent decrease in murder, a seven percent reduction in aggravated assaults, and a five percent reduction in rapes.
The utter uselessness of gun control laws has also been confirmed in national studies. In 2003 the Centers for Disease Control, after conducting a review of fifty-one studies regarding gun control laws, was unable to determine any correlation between gun control laws and a reduction in violent crime. The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000 reported that states utilizing background checks and waiting periods “did not (experience) reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates.”
In the decade since Britain’s outright ban of handguns, it has witnessed a doubling of handgun crime. Canada enacted prohibitive gun control laws in the 90s and has since seen an increase in violent crime, while at the same time violent crime in the U.S. has dropped. Controlling supply does not curtail demand; it merely leads to a black market. Strict gun control simply creates a situation in which only the criminals are armed.
Gun control has failed time and again. Statistically and historically it has enabled criminals and disarmed their victims. How many lives have to be lost before those in government, and the American public, wake up to this fact? One of the officers wounded at Fort Hood was Mandy Foster’s husband. After the shooting, CNN interviewed Mrs. Foster and asked her how she felt about the fact that her husband was still scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in January. She replied, “At least he's safe there and he can fire back, right?” This is a sad commentary, and further illustrates the fact that there is no excuse for the existence of backwards and illogical gun control laws which do nothing more than aid and abet murderers.
The Right to Bear Arms: a Fundamental Liberty - Austin Raynor
McDonald v. Chicago and Second Amendment Incorporation - Austin Raynor
Gun Rights as a Defense against Tyranny - Austin Raynor
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