Gun Control is Not the Answer
By Gary Lewis
After the recent violence this past school year, a good friend remarked, "I wish they could take all the guns in this country and grind them up." Then, as an afterthought he said, "All those hunters - they could just use bows and arrows."
Now, this is a man who loves freedom. He likes to camp, to hike, to fish without catching, to stand on the top of a mountain and watch the wide-open landscape. My friend escaped from a country where only the powerful could protect themselves. They built a wall and shot anyone they suspected of trying to go under or over it. In his native land the unarmed populace did not even have the legal right to voice their protest.
I thought about my dad teaching me how to shoot a .22 rifle. I thought about the dark, lonely night when the presence of a gun kept me safe when there was no one else to come to my aid. Then I thought about the men and women who have paid with their lives to earn and keep freedom for our republic.
I understand the emotional reflex that says that without guns a troubled child could not murder his schoolmates. But people were killing each other long before the firearm was developed.
The recent rash of violence in schools can be blamed on many different aspects of our culture: Legal and illegal mood-altering drugs. Glorified violence on television. The absence of good parenting. The fact is that we are imperfect individuals living in an imperfect world. And sometimes when the raising of children is sacrificed at the altar of convenience or the mighty dollar, accountability, personal responsibility and the sanctity of life fall by the wayside.
The theory is that you make gun ownership illegal and everyone turns in their weapons.
Who would give them up? Only the law-abiding.
Who would keep their guns? The law-breakers. Those who by definition do not obey our present laws. Why should we be so naïve as to think that they will obey the next one?
When I was in high school I had the chance to talk to a career burglar. I asked him what scared him most. He said that he was most afraid of surprising someone in their home and being shot. He didn’t respect the law that said that he should not break in and steal but he sure respected an armed homeowner.
I, for one, would turn over my deer rifle and pop can-buster if I thought that by so doing crime and violence would end. But human nature would not change by the simple act of giving up our rights. And controlling the law-abiding by taking away their means of self-defense is a mighty small bandage for the gaping wound of a society sickened by a lack of respect for human life.
Bullies, criminals, thrill-killers and those who would control their fellow human beings would still be among us. Without a way to protect ourselves from assailants, we, the law-abiding, would be at the mercy of the lawless and the despot. In societies where private ownership of firearms is illegal, only the criminals and the government own guns. Unarmed individuals are at the mercy of whoever seeks to control them.
There are some who would mislead you into believing that the only purpose of a gun is for hunting or target shooting. By extension they would have us believe that our forefathers were sportsmen who wanted to uphold the shooting sports for selfish reasons.
The Second Amendment was not intended to protect our right to hunt or target shoot. It is there to protect the liberty of free citizens. To give us the power to defend ourselves against those who would strip us of the right to worship(or force us to worship). Against those who would silence free political speech or enslave us.
In Europe, standing armies enslaved the people for centuries, keeping them subservient to the whims of rulers and warlords. Take a look today and tell me they aren’t still there. Men like Jefferson and Madison, Franklin and Washington despised tyranny and saw private firearms ownership as the symbol and sufficiency of a free people living in the pursuit of their own dreams.
Hunting and target shooting are simply, like hiking and camping, powerful expressions of our freedom and the right to move about our country at will. These are freedoms not enjoyed by citizens of too many nations.
Liberty is not something we should give up easily, nor should our responsibility to protect our families be turned over to others for a false, temporary feeling of security.
When you climb to the top of some ridge or mountain peak, pitch your tent beside a clear blue lake or take to the woods to hunt deer, remember you live in a free country and that our ancestors had the foresight to help keep it that way.