Guns: Cause or Solution?
In light of the recent Colorado shooting that occurred at the final Batman movie premier, many have the long debated controversy of gun-control on their minds. Much like abortion rights and the death penalty, this topic doesn’t seem to have one answer that appeases everyone. I would like to shed some light on recent events that may prove more helpful in forming an opinion.
Within recent years, more violent acts have been committed with a gun as the primary weapon. In this movie theater shooting, the suspect used several large guns to kill and wound the maximum amount of people in the minimum amount of time. The Virginia Tech shooting, the Columbine shooting and most wars and robberies are also executed with guns.
This has brought many people to blame guns for the violent crimes in society. But if that were the case, why are the jails full of people instead of guns? Guns are an instrument and if put in the wrong hands, they can create a lot of devastation and fear. I propose guns are not only used to inflict crime, but also for defense against it.
I think using guns and weapons for defense was the primary motive for our forefathers to put “the right to bare arms” in the Bill of Rights in 1791. These men understood how precious freedom was after winning their liberty in the Revolutionary War. I’m sure they wanted to be able to defend themselves and protect those freedoms.
Many Americans now argue that guns should be banned or put under tighter, limiting restrictions. I have heard and read many arguments that state that people who have concealed weapons permits can often prove to be an equal hazard in a public shooting, because these individuals may not have the required training to protect or take down a shooter. Others also argue that if guns are less accessible, the crime rates will decrease.
But studies in recent years have shown that countries that have banned guns or restricted their gun laws have actually seen violent crimes increase dramatically. The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, more commonly known as East Timor, is one country that has completely banned guns from the public and only allowed access of firearms to the military and police. Militias and individuals gained illegal access to guns – surprise, surprise – which resulted in 100,000 people from forced from their homes and widespread violence across the country in 2006.
Australia and England have both shown an increase in violence since they strengthened gun-control laws. A “USA Times” article by John R. Lott Jr. shows that in the four years after the United Kingdom banned handguns, their gun crime rose by an astounding 40 percent. Since Australia’s laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51 percent, unarmed robberies rose by 37 percent, assaults increased 24 percent and kidnappings by 43 percent. Lott’s research also showed that the three worst public shootings in the past year all occurred in Europe, which has enacted much of what American gun-control proponents favor.
In the instances that an individual has been armed when a mass shooting attempt has occurred, the ending has been much different. On July 18, the day before the Colorado shooting, a 71-year-old man with a concealed weapons permit stopped two young men from attempting an armed robbery at an Internet café in central Florida. They came into the building waving around firearms, and the old man simply took control of the situation by firing back at the two would-be robbers in self-defense. No one was killed, and the only ones wounded were the two young criminals.
Another case-in-point is the famous Utah Trolley Square shooting in 2007. A gunman entered Trolley Square in Salt Lake City and started shooting people, but his rampage was stopped by an off-duty police officer with a concealed handgun.
An armed robbery in Midvale was also thwarted because the manager of Kelly Jewelers had a concealed weapon he took out when one of the would-be robbers threatened him with a gun. The store owner also held one of the would-be robbers until the police arrived.
There are dozens if not hundreds of further examples that could be given when an innocent civilian had a weapon to protect themselves and others. But I think my point has been made that guns can be beneficial in preventing mass violence.
Now, most of humanity would love to live in a world where guns were not needed at all. I for one try to wish for and work towards world peace. Frankly, doing away with guns wouldn’t solve any of these goals. As long as people are selfish, greedy, power hungry and mentally disturbed, violence will continue.
I have worked in the security system business for about two years, and during that time I learned a phrase. “Locks keep the honest people honest.” Most people realize if a burglar wants to get in their house badly enough, they are going to get inside. I feel that putting a ban on guns would have about the same effect. The honest people would abide by the laws, and the criminals would continue not caring about any legalities and would smuggle guns. The criminals would hold greater control and the honest citizens would be rendered defenseless.
In this argument, I hope I have shared a new perspective and examples that can be reasoned within support of gun rights. I don’t encourage violence, but I do believe in self-defense. As long as we live in a world where evil resides, guns are needed to protect the innocent.