A Gun Summit and The False Promises of Gun Control

by Amy Hess

When I was in high school, my best friend's father happened to be the Chief of Police of our city of 180,000 people. I actually lived with their family for my sophomore year, and I had the opportunity to learn a few things about law enforcement.

The first week I lived with them, the Chief gave me a lesson on gun safety. First he brought out a small pellet gun, and he taught me all the rules about using it. Then we went outside on their five acres and fired it. Next, he showed me the house gun - a .38 Special. Soon, he took me to the firing range and had me learn to shoot a dozen different kinds of handguns, from a little .22 to a .45. I liked the .45 the best.

As the Chief of Police of a fair-sized city, he fully supported the 2nd Amendment. We'd hear about it at the supper table. (We had supper together every night, by the way.) His arguments for personal gun ownership were simple:

Why Common Citizens Should Own Guns:

  • If criminals believe they might get shot if they break into a house, they're less likely to break into that house. Crime actually goes down in areas with fewer restrictions on gun rights - when the common citizens own and know how to use guns.

  • The police cannot be everywhere all the time, and private citizens need to have the ability to protect themselves against bad guys.

  • Gun control laws do not stop bad guys from obtaining guns. Bad guys are willing and often able to get guns illegally. Gun control laws primarily tend to stop law-abiding citizens from getting guns.

    As I learned at age 15, though, the Chief also believed strongly in educating people about how to use guns and about gun safety. Since I was a minor living in his house, he made sure from the start that I would not accidentally shoot my foot or somebody else if I picked up a gun in his house.

    The Gun Summit
    Which brings us to the Mayor of New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently hosted a "gun summit", in which he advocated for educating citizens on how to avoid violent encounters - which is a good idea. People should know how to protect themselves. He also called for better tracking of illegal guns - which is a good idea too. We don't want convicted felons to possess firearms, especially if they've previously committed crimes with guns.

    Unfortunately, Bloomberg and his buddy, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, also called for tighter gun control laws. Which - while it sounds good, really is the dumb way to go if you want to control crime.

    Consider this: Massachusetts already has some pretty stiff gun-control laws. Yet, that hasnít stopped gun crimes from occurring. According to The Boston Globe:

    Menino said he met recently with a sixth-grade class in Boston in which nine out of 10 pupils said they knew where they could find a gun. The 73 homicides in Boston last year marked the highest number in 10 years, he said.

    Gun control isn't working for Boston. Maybe it's not the way to go. Maybe the best thing that Boston and New York can do is call for the common citizen to learn how to use a gun, and to take gun safety courses. I would say, "Hey Mayor Bloomberg. Mayor Menino. Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle. Encourage the average, law-abiding, responsible citizens of your cities to apply for concealed carry permits. Encourage people to be capable and well-trained to use guns."

    If they are well-trained, those law-abiding citizens will have an advantage over most common criminals (who accidentally shoot little kids because they're not skilled enough to hit their targets). Those citizens may also put some fear into the hearts of would-be criminals, who never know whether the man at the convenience store, or lady at the gas station, is armed and ready to pose a danger to bad guys.

    It could be that - as it was in the days of the Constitutional Convention - the people of America still make the best first defense of our nation. As the 2nd Amendment says:

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    Gun control advocates argue that the National Guard has replaced the early day militias. The National Guard, though, is not going to be in my house when somebody breaks in and threatens my security. Perhaps we'd actually reduce gun violence if we kept the same attitude of the Constitution's framers.

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