In the wake of the tragic Aurora, Colo., shooting carried out by the hatable James Holmes,
the usual suspects have been clamoring for more gun control laws,
inserting their own narrative as they go. They say that it’s time for a
new ‘"ational discussion" on guns and whether or not more restrictions
are needed. While well intentioned, their argument misses the point, and
has for decades. Gun control laws are not and have never been a
deterrent to violent criminals.
Those that press for increased gun control believe that if you make
it harder to legally purchase a gun, the crime rate will go down. While
it sounds like it would make perfect sense, the fact is that most
gun-related deaths and injuries in the United States are not committed
with legally purchased guns. The majority of them
have been the result of criminals and younger people who were not able
to legally purchase a gun. They were purchased on the black market.
Like those who believed that prohibition would curtail the use of
alcohol, those that constantly push for stricter gun laws are often
aghast to find that the opposite continues to be true. Two significant
factors for increased gun violence have been and continue to be economic hardship and stricter gun laws.
Poverty has been one of the things that has continually been twisted
as an excuse to say that states with more lax gun laws tend to have more
crime. States like Louisiana,
which regularly ranks as one of the worst states for violent crimes, is
also quite impoverished in some parts, a fact that most people tend to
leave out when pointing to its lax gun laws.
Other factors that contribute regularly to gun related violence
include low education rates and a high number of illegal immigrants.
These reasons more than explain why states like Texas and Arizona have
suffered from a relatively high number of gun-related deaths. Texas has the lowest high school graduation rate in the country, while Arizona has had one of the largest problems with illegal immigrants committing crimes for years.
When one takes the time to compare the numbers, it becomes obvious
that many of the states with the strictest gun control laws are also
home to some of the largest numbers of gun related crime. Maryland,
California, Illinois, New York and the District of Columbia all have
some of the toughest gun laws on the books. Illinois in particular has
made it extremely difficult to buy a handgun. Despite this, there have
been over 250 murders
in Chicago since January 1, a staggering 37% increase when compared to
this time last year. Strict gun laws have done little to deter violent
Gun control laws also have been shown to disproportionally affect
African Americans and other minorities negatively. Most of the
gun-related crime that plagues American streets has had a substantially
harsher impact on non-whites.
People choose to blame the guns for the actions of the violent
criminals that use them. They'll say that the guns makes it easier,
trying to come off witty and clever. At the end of the day however,
blaming a gun for one’s death is like blaming a fork for another’s
obesity. One way or another, the food was probably going to find its way
into their mouth. Criminals that don’t have guns will use knives,
bombs, sticks and bare hands.
Criminals don’t care about gun-free zones or waiting periods. Making
it more difficult for people to legally purchase guns only leaves them
more vulnerable. The law-abiding citizen will refrain from purchasing a
gun, while the criminal will simply get one off the streets.
When gun ownership goes up,
crime rates drop severely. There are several examples, which highlight
this beautifully. Switzerland’s gun laws are some of the most lax in the
developed world, and because of it their violent crime rate is
astoundingly low. Recent initiatives to try and reign in the countries
relaxed gun laws were soundly defeated at the ballot by Swiss voters.
The town of Kennesaw, Georgia,
also has a mandatory gun ownership law on the books. Passed in 1982, it
requires that the head of a household own a gun and ammunition, with
exceptions of course being violent criminals, those that cannot afford
it, and conscientious objectors. After the law was passed, the
population swelled and the crime rate dropped substantially.
Not everyone wants to own a gun. Some people don’t feel comfortable
around guns in general. Others are worried about accidents. Still, the
data speaks for itself. In areas where gun ownership is high, violent
gun-related crime tends to go down. No one in their right mind will want
to break into a house or start a fight in a bar if they know everyone
Even if anti-gun fanatics like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
got their way and made it next to impossible to purchase a firearm, it
wouldn’t stop the John Holmes’ of the world. If he didn’t have a gun at
his disposal, he might have assembled another home made bomb like those
found in his apartment, and taken that into the theater instead.
Stricter gun control laws are not the answer, a stance that was
(thankfully) reiterated by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday.
The Second Amendment was not meant to guarantee easy access to
hunting or target shooting. It was written to ensure that a population
could defend itself from an overreaching government, an overbearing
police force or a criminal. People have the right to defend themselves.
At the end of the day, states like Illinois and California have only
served to make it more difficult for their law-abiding citizens to
protect themselves from criminals.
The gun didn’t make James Holmes kill those people. His own sick mind
did that. If gun control laws are doubled down on, more people will
have their hands tied when it comes to protecting themselves and their
loved ones from psychopaths like that. Thankfully, that is something
that the families of the victims in Aurora understand, despite the tragic events that they've had to go through.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Delaware • George Read • Caesar Rodney
• Thomas McKean
Pennsylvania • George Clymer • Benjamin Franklin
• Robert Morris • John Morton
• Benjamin Rush • George Ross
• James Smith • James Wilson
• George Taylor
Massachusetts • John Adams • Samuel Adams
• John Hancock • Robert Treat Paine
• Elbridge Gerry
New Hampshire • Josiah Bartlett • William Whipple
• Matthew Thornton
Rhode Island • Stephen Hopkins • William Ellery
New York • Lewis Morris • Philip Livingston
• Francis Lewis • William Floyd
Georgia • Button Gwinnett • Lyman Hall
• George Walton
Virginia • Richard Henry Lee • Francis Lightfoot Lee
• Carter Braxton • Benjamin Harrison
• Thomas Jefferson • George Wythe
• Thomas Nelson, Jr.
North Carolina • William Hooper • John Penn
• Joseph Hewes
South Carolina • Edward Rutledge • Arthur Middleton
• Thomas Lynch, Jr. • Thomas Heyward, Jr.
New Jersey • Abraham Clark • John Hart
• Francis Hopkinson • Richard Stockton
• John Witherspoon
Connecticut • Samuel Huntington • Roger Sherman
• William Williams • Oliver Wolcott
Maryland • Charles Carroll • Samuel Chase
• Thomas Stone • William Paca