Jewish World Review April 28, 1999 /12 Iyar 5759
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Immediately after the shootings, loudmouth talk show hosts and demagogic politicians have leaped front and center, proclaiming a need for more gun control.
Where do the gun controllers think the 200 million guns in this country are going to go if they pass more gun control laws? Will these vast numbers of firearms simply vanish into thin air somehow? Will criminals line up at police stations to turn in the tools of their trade?
Or does it matter what will actually happen? Is it enough for the gun controllers that they will have "made a statement" and taken a stand on the side of the angels -- regardless of what the consequences might be?
The most likely consequence of stronger gun control laws is the same as the consequences of international disarmament agreements in the 1920s and 1930s: Those who are no threat to anybody will be disarmed, shifting the balance of power in favor of those who remain armed and dangerous. It took a Second World War for us to learn that lesson internationally, but we have yet to learn it domestically -- or even to consider it as a possibility.
There is no excuse for the widespread ignorance and demagoguery on gun control that hold sway in politics and the media, after a massive study by John Lott of the University of Chicago has shown convincingly that armed citizens deter violent criminals. His study, "More Guns, Less Crime," shows that an increase in licensed gun ownership is almost invariably followed immediately by a decline in violent crime in the county where these licensing laws have been relaxed.
When an airplane crashes, costing hundreds of lives, does anyone suggest banning planes? When thousands die in automobile accidents, does anyone suggest banning cars? But let a fraction as many people die from guns and shrill cries for banning guns ring out across the land.
No one asks about how many lives have been saved by guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens defending themselves and their families against the violent criminals that liberal gun controllers allow to walk the streets.
Lott's study is one of the few that even addresses that question.
The very phrase "gun control" is a farce. Laws controlling guns have been on the books for years. The only meaningful question is whether those laws are to be tightened and how. What the so-called gun control advocates want is a sweeping ban on the legal possession of guns by law-abiding citizens.
Typical of the demagoguery on this issue is the phrase "assault weapons" -- a term that nobody has been able to define legally with any precision.
Instead, ugly-looking weapons have been banned by name, while equally deadly weapons that don't look so bad are still sold.
All weapons are for assault. That is what makes them weapons, whether they are guns, bows and arrows or boomerangs. Because they are capable of assault, they are also capable of deterring assault, usually just by being pointed at a potential assailant. They are a lot better for protection than phoning 911 and waiting for the police to arrive after the crime has been committed and the criminal is long gone.
In short, guns save lives and guns take lives. If we are serious, then we can talk about how many lives are involved each way and what can we do to continue to deter violent criminals, while reducing the deaths caused by accidents or crime.
If the media were serious, then they would want to talk about the facts on both sides, instead of talking in terms of a political contest between the National Rifle Association and supporters of gun control laws. After all, there are a quarter of a billion Americans who do not belong to either the NRA or the anti-gun lobby. It is these ordinary citizens' interests that matter most.
The most tragic farce of all is that we continue to listen gullibly to shrinks who are spouting off, all across the media, on why the school shootings took place. But this is not the first school shooting where the young killers were given a clean bill of health by shrinks before they started slaughtering their classmates.
Why are shrinks so wise after the fact and so wrong beforehand? And why do
we keep taking them
04/26/99: Guilt and cop-outs