Letter to the Editor

Gun control based on looks, does not work

To the Editor:

As you are undoubtedly aware, a month and a half ago, 26 innocent civilians were murdered by a madman in Connecticut. The crime has brought death and despair to so many in Newtown, but also shame upon the press and our colleagues on the left. The bodies of our fellow Americans were not even cold on the afternoon of December 14, yet our Twitter feeds were ablaze with calls for restricting sales of “automatic weapons” and “assault weapons,” as well as calls for the lynching of several National Rifle Association members. Well, as the mayor of Chicago (a bastion of gun control with almost 11 murders per week) once said, “never waste a good crisis.”

Let me clear some things up for the gun-grabbing folks. An automatic weapon is one that fires multiple rounds with a single trigger pull. These have been heavily regulated for decades, are extremely difficult to locate, let alone purchase, and are very hard to shoot accurately. So, virtually no crimes are committed with automatic weapons, and seldom do law enforcement and military personnel even use automatic fire. The perpetrator in Newtown (as well as those in Kansas City, Aurora, Tucson, Blacksburg, and Columbine) used a semi-automatic weapon. Therefore, banning automatic weapons is analogous to banning the telegraph, or better yet, New Coke. Banning semi-automatic weapons would violate the Bill of Rights because nearly all firearms are semi-automatic.

In addition, the term “assault weapon” was coined by the anti-gun crowd to define a certain group of scary-looking firearms and to blur the distinction between automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons. The term means nothing in the real world, so banning a certain category of rifles based upon their appearance is inane. Indeed, the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban had no effect on crime rates, which is why it was abandoned at a federal level. Some states still have the law on their books, Connecticut being one of them, which only proves the ineptness of a ban on firearms based upon appearance.

There is a reason that the Founding Fathers included the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights. Tools to protect one’s life, limb, and property are imperative to maintain a free and just society. The police cannot be relied upon to prevent crimes; normal thinking people know that armed citizens prevent crime. The police merely investigate crimes. The vast majority of mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones,” because these criminals know that they can fire with impunity at neutered citizens. Had there been a student in Blacksburg or a movie-goer in Aurora with as much as a .38 Special, the body count, in both cases, would have been dramatically reduced.

Speaking of the Founding Fathers, I do enjoy the argument that they allegedly did not want Joe Sixpack to be able to own the same weapons that the military uses, that today’s weapons are too deadly for us smallfolk to possess, or that they never anticipated the power of weapons in the twenty-first century. Where do you draw the line? The Springfield 1903 was high technology in 1903. Was it too deadly to possess back then but acceptable now? When high-energy weapons are developed in the coming years, are we then allowed to own M4s and grenade launchers? The Founding Fathers did not anticipate the invention of the aforementioned telegraph, much less the internet and Twitter. Are those media not covered by the First Amendment?

The solution for our current spate of mass shootings is not to go after the tool of the perpetrators, just like the solution for unscrupulous contractors is not to go after saws and hammers. Firearms owners must secure their weapons against burglary. The friends and family of those afflicted by mental disorders must seek help for their charges. And most importantly, citizens across the nations must submit applications for concealed carry permits. Because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.


Michael Bruce

CIVL ’08, G ’10