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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion oped editorial

EDITORIAL: Democrats sit down, stir up the gun rights debate

Comprehensive gun control works if you do it right

In the wake of the massacre in Orlando and subsequent sit-in by House Democrats demanding gun control legislation, the debate regarding gun violence rears its ugly head yet again.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume the Second Amendment doesn’t exist.

I know it’s difficult. I know the Second Amendment means everything to a lot of you.

Try with me, though, to imagine the United States isn’t one of the three countries in the world to make gun ownership a right for every citizen.

Try to imagine, instead, our legislatures having to consider the evidence.

Let’s also imagine the government isn’t this tyrannical, monstrous beast some gun rights activists make it out to be.

The U.S. turning into a dictatorship and stripping the rights of all of its citizens will never happen, but, even if it did, no amount of assault rifles could save you from the weapons, tanks, missiles and drones owned by the largest military on the planet.

Let’s assume gun activists could find it in themselves to value the lives of other people more than the right to bear arms and the nearly impossible probability of a coup d’etat.

These assumptions, then, necessitate gun ownership for self-defense, sport, hunting and target practice for law-abiding citizens, all of which would be legal and accessible with common sense gun control legislation.

In a new analysis from Columbia University, published earlier this year in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, researchers concluded gun control works with “comprehensive gun legislation packages.”

Researchers reviewed results from 130 different studies, covering 10 countries, analyzed these nation’s gun control laws and accounted for factors such as crime, economic status and 
demographics.

As a result, they determined singular gun control laws are not effective deterrents of gun violence, but comprehensive gun control reform, like the legislative packages passed in Australia, South Africa and Brazil, did significantly reduce gun-related deaths.

In Australia, for example, the concurrent passing of several laws, which included a ban on owning certain types of weapons, a buyback program and increased provisions on mental health requirements, background checks and licensing, eradicated mass shootings 
entirely.

And, it’s true, Australia isn’t like the United States. In my opinion, Americans are inherently more violent. This nation was founded on and preserved by violence and murder.

But the hope of saving just one life makes gun control a worthy cause.

I’ll conclude with the common trope of comparing guns to cars.

In 1966, the U.S. passed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicles Safety Act, which set the first federal safety standards for motor vehicles, in response to the high volume of traffic-related deaths.

It created the National Highway Safety Bureau. It allowed the federal government to “carry out needed safety research and development,” something our Congress outlaws the Center for Disease Control to conduct regarding gun violence.

In 1969, motor vehicle deaths peaked but have since fallen by more than 60 percent, as of 2013. And, yet, people are still allowed to own cars, for a variety of lawful uses and purposes, assuming they pass a series of tests and abide by certain restrictions.

America needs the gun control equivalent of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicles Safety Act. Global evidence proves that comprehensive overhaul will reduce gun-related deaths.

Upset by the failure of gun control bills they supported in the Senate, House Democrats chose to stage the plushest sit-in in recent memory complete with modern technology and their favorite foods.

The sit in is just the latest theater from those that would disarm the population, but suspiciously allow Congressional security to keep their weapons.

This time they wanted to forget the procedural inadequacies of the terror watch list and ban anyone who had been on it from purchasing a gun for five years, opting to violate both the Fifth and Second Amendments at once.

Next time, who knows what angle Democrats will come from, but we can guarantee they will seek to restrict the right so important it came in at number two on the list.

Democrats will be just as wrong then as they were this time around. That is because the very premise of gun control arguments is false. Overlooking everything else, from the historic and cultural significance of civilian gun ownership in this country, to legal traditions as far back as the English Bill of Rights and as recent as Heller v. D.C., the numbers on gun control simply do not add up.

Arguments in favor of gun control rest on the assumption stricter gun laws could lower the number of gun homicides every year.

The argument is legislation similar to that of other countries, where there is more gun control, could reduce rates of gun violence in this country.

This is often accompanied by noting America has higher rates of gun violence than countries such as England with harsher laws.

Thomas Sowell, a conservative economist and intellectual, recently debunked this “England” argument in his column “The gun control farce.”

The crux of his column is America had for several hundred years much higher rates of violent crime than England, yet only recently has either country had any gun control laws to speak of. Essentially, the comparison is apples to oranges.

Comparing Britain without gun laws to Britain with gun laws is not particularly favorable to the gun grabbers. In his article, Sowell said in 1954, there were only a dozen armed robberies in London but, by the 1990s — after decades of ever tightening gun-ownership restrictions — there were more than a hundred times as many armed robberies.

Looking stateside, the CDC reports a 49 percent decline in gun homicides since 1993, while the Congressional Research Service reports a 56 percent increase in the number of privately owned firearms in that timespan.

Additionally, England has about a 20 percent higher rate of overall violent crime than the U.S. according to Gallup polling. One might argue this increase is acceptable since guns have the potential to do more damage than knives or fists, but that ignores the nearly one for one inverse relationship between violent crime and gun ownership.

An armed society is indeed a polite society.

It is also telling the comparison is always made to England or a handful of other select European countries, instead of countries such as Brazil and Russia, both with extremely restrictive gun laws yet hideously high rates of gun violence.

Those in favor of gun restrictions would be displeased to know in an attempt to counter this trend, the Kremlin started allowing citizens to carry weapons for self-defense as of 2014.

In order to have an effective debate about this issue, holistic data analysis is necessary, rather than cherry picking particular times and places to construct a false narrative.

When one considers the issue completely, it becomes clear the only effective form of gun control is that favored by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry: use both hands.

zackchambers97@gmail.com       

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