by Brandon Biagini, COLUMNIST
24 October 2017
The massacre in Las Vegas has once again brought the gun control debate to light. Although the events that unfolded on October 1st truly are disgusting, solutions proposed by the left are illogical and would cause more harm than good. This also would be the first time in the nation’s history that one of the 10 amendments that make up the bill of rights would be stolen from the American people.
“Common sense” gun laws, such as the ban on automatic firearms or bullet buttons, and the movement to remove the second amendment from the Constitution are promoted under the disguise of “public safety.” Statistics, however, paint a different picture. In the United States, a gun free public is often a less safe public.
Chicago is a perfect example of the violence that springs from strict gun control.
In 1982, the city instituted a handgun ban, which made it illegal to possess a handgun within city limits. The years following the ban were some of the most violent in the city’s history. According to a report published by the Chicago Police Department in 2009, homicides committed with handguns reached 71% of all murders. Before the ban, only 48% of murders in the city were committed using handguns, according to the same report.
Stricter laws and restrictions on law abiding citizens resulted in more people losing their lives at the hands of criminals with guns.
These unconstitutional laws have similar effects all over the country in cities where they’re implemented. Washington, D.C., passed a law prohibiting residents from possessing handguns and requiring firearms in homes to be unloaded and inoperable using a trigger lock or being disassembled.
Just like Chicago, many more in D.C. lost their lives during the ban. In 1976, when the ban was instituted, there were about 27 murders for every 100,000 residents in Washington, D.C., according to a report published in 2010 by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The same report found that number skyrocketed, reaching more than 80 murders per 100,000 residents at the height of the violence.
During the time of these handgun bans, fully automatic weapons were legally manufactured and sold in the U.S. Many cities in the country were cited for their use in crimes and homicides, and it led to the ban of them in 1986. However, these fears were greatly exaggerated, and automatic weapons had no significant impact on crimes committed with firearms.
Miami, Florida, was infamous for drugs and for machine guns in the 1970s and 1980s. Gary Kleck notes in his book Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, that less than 1% of all gun homicides in Miami were committed using a machine gun in 1980. Although they can be “scary,” automatic weapons were not very popular among criminals and drug traffickers. Coincidentally, the 1986 ban on automatic guns failed to have a noticeable impact on gun violence.
Gun bans strip law-abiding citizens their right to defend themselves and families from the thousands of predators who take advantage of innocent people each day in the United States. Criminals clearly don’t regard the laws that prohibit gun ownership, as seen in Chicago and D.C. during their handgun bans. Forced to give up their arms, the American people are left in danger.
A nationwide survey by the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology in 1993 found that 3.5% of American households have used a firearm for “for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere,” which equals 1,029,615 incidents each year. A CDC survey from 1994 found that Americans use a gun about 498,000 times a year to scare off intruders attempting to break into their homes.
Gun bans and removal of the second amendment would put millions of Americans in danger. When they lose their security, they lose so much more.
Criminals are fearful of an armed citizen. A 1982 survey of male felons from 11 prisons across the country by James D. Wright and Peter D. Rossi found that 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim,” 40% did not commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun,” and 69% of the inmates personally knew someone who was “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.”
Armed citizens are the ultimate deterrent of violent crimes. The risk of being shot is not worth the crime that thugs want to commit. When the people have a means of defending themselves from their attackers, they are more likely to prevent or survive an attack.
The right and left both want to solve the crime problem in the U.S. The difference is the left believes that banning guns will solve the problem. Guns, however, are part of the solution, not the problem.
There are many factors that will cause a person to commit a crime. A disproportionate amount of crime is committed in poorer communities. In Chicago, many more crimes are reported by the Chicago Police Department in the southern half of the city and the surrounding suburbs. These areas are poverty stricken and have a reputation for being dangerous. Most of the shootings and gang related violence occurs in these areas.
These neighborhoods that lack financial stability, also lack a good education. Chicago public schools rank terribly low compared to other school districts in Illinois. Poor education, coupled with poverty, creates an environment with very few options for the people to choose from. In circumstances such as these, a life of crime–so to speak–becomes a reasonable option for a young man or woman with no other opportunities at their ready.
Lack of morals and values in these environments with no opportunity can cause people to choose a life of crime. Nowhere does a firearm make people decide to commit a crime. Even if they didn’t have a gun, the environment wouldn’t change, and crimes would still be committed.
To prevent violent crimes from taking place, you must first fix the education system to raise people out of poverty.
Propositions for taking away a citizen’s right to bear arm in the name of safety is disgusting. It leaves the innocent defenseless and vulnerable to the evil in the world. The second amendment is our right to defend the rights and lives of the nation from those who want to take advantage of the American people.
How dare the elected politicians of the United States of America, the same politicians the American people elect to defend their rights and uphold the Constitution, try to tell the nation’s citizens they are no longer capable of having a right, are no longer capable of the responsibility that gun ownership entails.
How dare they tell us we no longer have the right to defend ourselves and our loved ones, from thieves, rapists, and murders?
The effects of gun control cause more suffering and violence. Millions of violent crimes are stopped by armed Americans each year. There will never be an end to crime unless we can end poverty. Until then, the people of this country need a way to prevent themselves from becoming victims, and the second amendment is the best way.
Brandon Biagini is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL