Almost immediately after the tragic shooting in Colorado last Friday, politicians and celebrities alike decided it was an opportune time to start a political debate about gun control in the United States. Having that debate so soon was a huge mistake, as it distracted from the tragedy itself. However, now that a few days have passed, it is time to honestly address the demands for another debate on this issue.
This debate isn’t new and in many ways, it has already been settled. Proponents of more gun control appeal to emotions like the ones that result from tragedy in order to purposefully ignore the actual arguments and facts in the debate.
A good example of the backwards thinking by the gun control advocates is that they fail to recognize that almost all of these massacres, including the one in Colorado, occur in gun-free zones. The reason for this gun-free zone violence is because the killers know that law-abiding citizens won’t be able to protect themselves in those areas. Instead of realizing this simple correlation, opponents of the second amendment illogically demand that we create even more gun-free zones.
The simple truth is that the only people that would be affected by stricter gun laws are the people that already follow the law.
There are already millions of illegal guns available, including the ones our government chose to sell to Mexican drug cartels, so someone committed to participating in a mass-shooting will have no problem obtaining one despite any extra restrictions we place on legal gun ownership. Many of these restrictions, especially not giving citizens the right to carry, only serve to discourage the people that would use guns to protect themselves and as a deterrence against criminals.
However, unlike the jump by some to unfairly blame the National Rifle Association or guns, I do not blame advocates of gun-free zones or movie theatres for what happened in Colorado. Blaming the tool that an evil person used to commit murder is senseless. It would be no different than blaming movie theatres for creating an environment where many people are packed together and can be easy targets. The sole responsibility for this massacre lies with the evil individual that chose to commit it. In order to live in a free society we must often risk that mentally disturbed or evil individuals will take advantage of our freedoms to do horrible things. However, most Americans agree that the other option of living without those freedoms is significantly worse.
Those advocating for more restrictions on guns do so without any basis in fact or reality. The fact is that legal gun ownership decreases crime. This has been proven over and over again and almost every area that has expanded gun rights, has also seen a drop in violent crimes immediately following the expansion. Among others, this trend includes Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, Chicago and Washington D.C. Those advocating more gun control cannot explain these facts and had often predicted the exact opposite when these new policies first went into effect.
The reality is that most criminals aren’t suicidal; they are much less likely to attempt to commit a violent crime when they know there is a chance the victim can protect themselves. Giving law-abiding citizens the ability to protect themselves only serves to deter crime, not increase it.
So my message is simple: Gun-control proponents need to learn that politicizing every tragedy to push their agenda is a pointless exercise. We already had the debate they keep advocating for and they already lost.