Gun Control: A Point By Point Rebuttal
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to take their first case concerning gun rights in nine years. While a slight majority of right-leaning judges should lead to an outcome favored by conservative it is more likely than not that we will see a renewed fervor from the left for “common sense gun control.” The mainstream media will stop at nothing to get this gun control agenda across, exemplified by their wall-to-wall coverage of the March For Our Lives protests last March, in comparison to barely mentioning the annual anti-abortion protest, the March For Life. This is outrageous, considering the fact that while 200,000 people showed up to DC to protest guns, there were 650,000 attendees at the anti-abortion protest in 2013. Working to stop gun violence is a good thing, the issue is with what many media platforms are pushing to reform. Below is a point by point response to some of the gun myths and flawed policies that are constantly being promoted. The most prominent policy change being brought forth is a so-called “Assault Weapons Ban.” The term “assault weapon” is a made up term that does not have a clear specific usage when it comes to which guns are assault weapons and which ones aren’t, but that has not stopped people from going out and protesting against them. That aside, the main problem is there is a belief that if America had an assault weapons ban, then gun violence would go down, and you’d see less mass-shootings. This is incorrect for several reasons.
First of all, America already had a Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in September of 1994, and expired after ten years, in September of 2004. This piece of legislation prohibited the manufacturing of guns it deemed “assault weapons,” which were exclusively semi-automatic weapons, and also banned the manufacturing of large-capacity magazines (the ban deemed any magazine containing more than ten rounds to be large capacity). This is very similar to what is being proposed by many on the left, but keep in mind that it failed horrendously in terms of preventing mass shootings. A notable example of this is the 1999 Columbine Shooting, which took place after the ban had been implemented. In fact, a 2013 Washington Post article shows that the Assault Weapons Ban had no impact on mass shootings. From 1982 to September of 1994, there were an average of 1.5 mass shootings per year. Between when the bill was signed into law and when it expired there were 15 mass shootings, making that period’s average also 1.5 mass shootings per year. In fact, a U.S. Department of Justice funded evaluation of the ban stated that “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
On top of this, so-called “assault weapons” (which often mean semi-automatic rifles), are not even the most used weapon in gun violence. 80% of gun violence in America is carried out using handguns, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says that handguns, not the feared AR-15, or any other “assault rifle” for that matter, are the favored weapon of mass-shootings.
. A myth often used by anti-gunners is that stricter background checks, such as a Universal Background Check would curtail gun violence. While on the surface this seems fairly reasonable, there are several flaws. The implementation of a UBC would also require a Universal Gun Registry. The government knowing the whereabouts and owners of every gun in America defeats the purpose of the Second Amendment, the existence of which is meant to stop the possibility of an over powerful government. However, this has not stopped several places from putting a Universal Background Check or Gun Registry into place. The major issue with these policies is that they don’t work. Illinois, for example, has both in place, but this hasn’t stopped increasing amounts of gun violence in Chicago. Both are also seen in California, but this didn’t prevent several shootings such as the one at the headquarters of YouTube in April of last year.
. The third and final example of flawed gun policy is the repeal of the Second Amendment and outright prohibition of all firearms in the United States of America. While many protesters, claim that they don’t want to ban ALL guns, just the ones that do harm; under the surface many would be perfectly fine with banning firearms in America. Last year’s New York Times op-ed by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens shows that it is not just a select minority of liberals who are in favor of a gun ban. Not only would such a thing be unprecedented and unconstitutional, it presents several other problems.
The right to bear arms is considered an unalienable right in the United States. The dictionary defines unalienable as an adjective meaning “not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied…” If a fundamental right that is incapable of being taken away, is, in fact, taken away; it would create precedent for other pieces of the constitution to be taken away, including freedom of speech. One argument used in Justice Stevens article is one of the most common arguments from the left used in the gun debate. The argument attempts to present the second amendment as outdated and invalid in this day and age due to mass-shootings and the ownership of semi-automatic weapons by citizens. However, this argument is based on the premise that one: semi-automatic weapons did not exist when the Second Amendment was written, and two: that our founding fathers were so naive that they didn’t even consider the possibility of guns becoming larger, more efficient, and more powerful. As a video by conservative comedian and political commentator Steven Crowder states, “By the time the Second Amendment was written, many ‘assault weapons’ already existed.” Crowder goes on to mention several weapons including the Belton Flintlock, the Girandoni Air Rifle, and the Puckle Gun, an early version of the Gatling Gun, which was invented 60 years before the Revolutionary War.
An outright ban on guns, just like every other policy mentioned in this article, also wouldn’t work. Australia, for example, instituted a mandatory gun buyback in 1996 and 2003. The buyback is often cited as a successful piece of anti-gun legislation, but it has been shown to have had little to no effect on violent crime or homicide rates, and failed to prevent a mass shooting last May which claimed the lives of seven people. Another commonly used example of successful gun policy is England. However, England’s strict gun laws have not stopped the murder rate in London from being higher than that of New York City, due to a surge in fatal stabbings.
So what can be done? It needs to be made harder for people struggling with mental health issues to gain access to firearms, while making it easier for them to get the help they need. Infamous Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was refused help from a mental health institution, which made it possible for him to legally purchase a gun. America needs to have these restrictions in place,while being careful not to limit law-abiding citizens fundamental right to arm themselves.