By Ryan Ohanesian
However convincing Jimmy Kimmel’s tears may be, the truth is that gun owners and constitutional fundamentalists find mass shootings in this country just as atrocious as anyone else. This is not to say that Kimmel’s tears were illegitimate, the emotions were felt by everyone in America as well. What is illegitimate, however, is firm gun control advocates’ demonizing criticism of people who disagree with them as a way to promulgate their agenda. Unfortunately, facts do not care about feelings.
The purpose of the Second Amendment is to afford citizens the power to resist government tyranny, should political action fail. Hardline gun control advocates that dismiss the Second Amendment as inapplicable to modern times believe in a revisionist history that voids the several democratic governments that have turned tyrannical. There is also a myth spread by hard line gun control advocates that suggests larger gun ownership rates increase gun homicide rates, as Australia’s firearm buyback program allegedly shows.
First off, the 2014 Federal Bureau of Investigation Census shows no correlation between gun ownership rates of states and their gun homicide rates. Second, the evidence that Australia’s buyback program was responsible for a drop in gun death related crime is ambiguous at best and cases of mass shootings were too minimal before the program was implemented to be compared to the number of mass shootings after. Finally, the U.S. gun homicide rate has been relatively stagnant. While gun suicides have been cascading, making up for nearly two-thirds of all gun-related deaths.
We can all agree that a certain extent of gun control is necessary, but what hard line gun control advocates are really calling for is not what Jimmy Kimmel labels “common sense gun control,” it is a blanket ban on all guns, and a focus on controlling objects, not the evil forces that misuse them. Taking away the Second Amendment leaves the public more vulnerable to violent criminals. Criminals will take advantage of the black market created by gun confiscation and commit more crimes knowing their victims do not have comparable firepower.
How about reasonable action? Automatic firearms have been outlawed since 1986, which is why a ban on accessories that make semi-automatic guns fire like automatic guns (i.e. “bump stocks”) is perfectly legitimate and necessary. In fact, the National Rifle Association itself has agreed with this. Ensuring guns are in the hands of responsible, law-abiding citizens should be an objective of the background checks.
But even with this legislation, what policy short of a confiscation of all guns would have stopped evil humans like Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock? Would it be more extensive background checks? A reduction in the legal magazine capacity? A bar on the number of weapons he possessed? It is impossible to tell. But what is certain is that there is an inexplicable evil in certain individuals, so it is in our nation’s best interest to crack down on citizens who abuse their rights to harm others, not after the law abiding citizens. The issue lies within our culture: as Americans, we should allow rational civil discourse to take the reins and lead us towards a better future.