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.
McDonald v. Chicago and Second Amendment Incorporation - Austin Raynor
Gun Rights as a Defense against Tyranny - Austin Raynor
The Right to Bear Arms: a Fundamental Liberty - Austin Raynor
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What worked to drive down tgeeane murders violence in 2008 is impossible to identify because few interventions are done in isolation of each other. When there is the political will to tackle these issues (which can take longer to galvanise than most people would think), a programme of initiatives is launched. These include communications, greater police activity in hotspot (high target crime concentration) areas, youth activity projects, harsher sentencing, etc, etc. No one intervention could lay claim to having the greatest impact but a few things did seem to influence the number of murders and serious injuries:Guns access to guns by young people plays an enormous part in the level of violence expressed on the streets, this is not just about direct damage done by guns but more about the surge in threat levels within a locality because you know guns are available and being used. The increase fear makes others think they also need guns to bring parity back.People also become more likely to use knives to tackle issues because lethal violence becomes the only way to ensure that redress and revenge is not sort by the victim. One of the things that had a big impact in driving down the murder rate was that the police had some real early successes in tackling gun supply around 2007-08. This gun supply supporting a reduction in threat levels locally and nationally. Knives you really can't do much to stop people accessing knives and knife amnesties and bins are more a publicity tool than anything else. But if there is no harm why not try them. As indicated previously when threat levels increase carrying knives and using them lethally also increases. This is not because every young person has suddenly become vicious, it is because they feel they have no option but to carry a weapon to protect themselves.Policy flaws I think most people are under the illusion that decision making in government is conducted in a scientific or rigorous way, alas this is rarely the case. The people making the decisions rarely appreciate or understand the things they are asked to deal with, and often get their policies through by knowing how to manipulate the political process. Those creating policy are usually socially and psychologically distant from harm and ignorant of the drivers leading to behaviours. Their overarching priority also tends to be advancing their careers and protecting the reputation of their organisation, department or minister. This is a little over cynical but it is important to remember some of the factors that can lead to some very poor decision making at a senior policy level.Emotional and Social Intelligence As indicated earlier there tends to be an enormous distance socially and psychologically between those suffering harm and those making decisions and holding the resources to tackle the harm. Some emotional distance is absolutely essential, as most people would agree that when you are caught up in an emotional and dangerous situation it can cloud your judgement and effectiveness in tackling it. However when there is an in-ability to fathom the motivations of people who are acting out in a particular way it can seriously hamper, even damage, the process to make change. This is often why we get phrases coming out that these young people are animals or brutes as an initial emotional reaction to these atrocities those responses are fair enough, but when it comes to having responsibility to intervene and stop these sort of things happening you need to try and understand what could be motivating some of these behaviours, otherwise you will find it difficult to change them.
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