I’ve been trying to avoid writing this article. I’ve made my position clear in the past on my position regarding firearms and the place I think they should have in our society. I’m not a fan of rehashing topics over and over, but sometimes you just have to revisit things from time to time when they are as important as this. There are few things today more controversial than the idea of gun control, and it is one of the most dividing issues we have ever faced in this country. No matter where you stand on the subject, it is likely that the person sitting next to you has quite a different view on the subject, if any at all.
One of the big reasons it has become such an issue is that we have a media that has lost the relevance it once had and is desperate to find a niche in the new world of online information. They no longer have a monopoly on our attention in the form of nightly news broadcasts because we now have access to a multitude of different sources of up to date articles and videos giving us minute by minute details on situations unfolding in all parts of the world, usually right on the device we carry in our pockets. It is difficult to compete with that sort of access.
This desperation has caused a shift in the way that media companies do business. Rather than maintaining their status as purveyors of facts that they distribute to the public, they filter out anything that doesn’t drive up the ratings. What this means in a practical sense is that when it comes to issues like firearms we end up receiving an inordinate amount of coverage of things like mass shootings. Of course these are terrible events, but in a nation of hundreds of millions of people in a society as narcissistic as ours has become, these events are actually very rare.
To get some perspective on this, let’s put down some hard numbers. There are more than 328 million people in the United States. In 2020 there were 614 mass shootings that killed 446 people and injured 2,515 others for a total of 3,061 total people affected by these high profile events over the course of the year. Using basic math, that means that a total of 0.0009% of the entire population of the United States was involved in any way at all in some form of mass shooting. Given that nearly three quarters of a million people are raped every year and murder rates are higher than they’ve been in a very long time, I think we have bigger things to focus our attention on.
I point all of this out because mass shootings are the tool being used by gun control advocates to shock us into lining up with their way of thinking. We all feel bad when we have to see a group of people being killed by some crazy person with a gun, especially when it involves children. It forces us to think about our own mortality and sparks powerful protective urges we have for our kids. The thought of something like that happening to our own family is a powerful emotional tool that is being used to convince us to disarm ourselves for “the good of the nation”.
The problem with this is that the reality is that people who want to do terrible things like this aren’t going to be deterred by laws attempting to limit access to firearms. If history is any indicator, and it is, the prohibition of anything results in a vast underground black market for said item which results in the item not only not going away, but the addition of a violent criminal element that makes things worse than they were before. Even though firearms are legal in our country, there are many gun smuggling operations from coast to coast to serve those who aren’t able to acquire a weapon legally. You can’t legislate good behavior.
Getting finally to the point of this article, firearm laws are simply not reasonable in any manner, and we’re beginning to see a push in the more conservative states toward this line of thinking. Maybe not as far as I would like to see them go, but definitely steps in the right direction. Most recently, Texas has passed a “Constitutional carry” law that allows its citizens to own and carry a handgun in public without any form of government control or intervention. This is the way it should be everywhere.
The ugly truth is that there are people out there who simply want to hurt others, whether it be for personal gain through taking what you have or just because they’re angry and want to lash out at someone. Despite our desire to place our safety in the hands of some omnipresent, altruistic body such as a government, the reality is that no one is responsible for your safety but you. In the end, when the time comes that you are confronted in the street by a criminal intent on doing you harm, the only person who can stop them is you. When you imagine yourself in that situation, which would you rather have: a phone or a gun?
This is the image that the gun control crowd doesn’t want you to think about. It’s perfectly fine to take a mass shooting and point out the children who were killed, but you can’t do an apples to apples comparison to something like a father protecting his own kids from a home invader or a bystander shooting someone intent on stabbing someone. These situations are just as emotional as a mass shooting, but because they don’t get ratings they don’t get much attention.
If we stop focusing so much on the negative consequences of firearms amongst our populace and start taking a more balanced view, it becomes much more obvious that giving people the choice to defend themselves is a far better option than trying to disarm everyone in the hopes that they will behave. We see time and again that people end up doing what they want anyway, and it is only the law abiding citizens who comply. They are exactly the people we want being armed in the first place, ready to step in when the situation calls for it.
With this in mind, the calls for gun control are just baffling. The truth is that we should be going in the opposite direction, promoting gun education and safety and encouraging our citizens to take their safety in their own hands. At best, the police are a weak deterrent to crime, typically showing up after everything is over to figure out what happened. The odds of an officer being right there when something is happening is very remote. In the moment, it is just you, the criminal and whatever means of self defense you happen to have with you.
What do you think about the idea of Constitutional carry? Is it something that scares you, or are you ready to cast off the restrictions we’ve placed on ourselves and start taking a more active role in your own defense? What reasons can you think of for or against this concept? The polarizing issue of gun control will hardly be solved by a single concept, but this could be one step in the right direction.
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