The Guns of Oregon
On October 1st, 2015, Chris Harper-Mercer went onto the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, went into a classroom, and started shooting. As I write this, the death toll sits at 9, with 7 wounded. It shocked the nation, again. As it should. The President of the United States held a press conference to express condolences to the families of the victims, as he should. The problem was, he didn’t stop there. He followed up his comforting words immediately with fightin’ words.
Just 6 hours after the shooting, and when details about it were still very sketchy, President Obama came out with guns blazing, so to speak, pushing for more gun control. We didn’t know the name of the shooter, we didn’t know how he got the guns, and we weren’t even sure of the casualty count. But none of that mattered to him. I understand and share his anger and frustration at the various mass shootings in this country, but even before we knew any relevant details, he was out there calling again for “common-sense gun-safety laws”.
This is a classic mistake that politicians of both parties make; jumping the gun, so to speak, in order to make political points while the emotions are high. They propose new laws in order to be seen as doing something, even if that something would have done nothing to solve the problem at hand. They try to get their agenda passed because something must be done, and this is something, so it must be done.
Those who despise the Patriot Act should realize that part of the reason it passed was because it was “something”. I think the Patriot Act has actually kept us safer, but it did indeed go too far in certain areas and needed to be scaled back. Passing gun control while emotions are high, and before we even know where our current laws failed, would make the same exact mistake. Keep that in mind. The President said that he thought this issue should be politicized. Sorry, but that’s the worst idea ever.
One thing I’m concerned about is that banning or confiscating all guns would result from a too-quick reaction. Now, before you say, “Come on, no one’s suggesting banning guns”, let me give you a quote from President Obama’s press conference.
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.
So then, what were Great Britain’s and Australia’s answer to the problem? Banning and confiscating guns. So yes, people are talking about it. The President himself is talking about it. So you can’t just dismiss that argument.
And has it worked for those countries? No, it hasn’t. In the case of the UK, a decade after a near total ban on guns, gun crime had doubled. And what about Australia, where they banned many guns and did a forced buy-back program? From 1997 until 2003, gun murders did in fact drop. Three percent. After 6 years, they dropped just 3%. Is it working for them? I guess it depends on your definition of “working”. Oh, and during that same time period, firearm deaths in America drop by 10 times as much.
And one more thing to consider regarding gun control laws; these mass shootings keep happening in gun-free zones. Some on the Left have tried to argue that the UCC campus was not a gun-free zone, because Oregon law allows those with state concealed-carry permits to bring them on campus. But campus rules don’t allow you to bring them into buildings, which is their right. And if you don’t have a concealed carry permit, the school doesn’t allow you to have a gun without their expressed permission. So it’s as gun-free as they could possibly make it, legally.
The bottom line: Gun control isn’t working. Criminals choose the path of least resistance, and gun-free zones, and unarmed citizens, are right in the middle of that path.
So the obvious question is; what does work? Well, if you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while, you probably know what I’m going to say. So instead of rehashing my thoughts, you can click here to hear or see (via full transcript) any episode where gun control is mentioned. In that category you’ll find episodes talking about how Israel has stopped school shootings by allowing teachers who have served in the Israeli Defense Force to carry guns at school and on field trips, or the result of the Washington, DC gun ban, or the Harvard study showing that banning guns doesn’t decrease the murder rate, or the UN maps showing that where gun ownership is higher the homicide rate is lower, or how relaxing some of the incredibly restrictive gun law in Chicago dropped the homicide rate to record lows.
Dispute the facts presented if you like, but the President appealed to the authority of opinion polls rather than the facts. He mockingly asked whether people really believe what we need are more guns. He also said, “We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.” Yes, well tell that to the people in the cities of Chicago, or Baltimore, or Washington, DC, or any of a number of other cities where gun restrictions have served to only increase the deaths.
You know what 9 dead and 7 wounded is called in Chicago? Saturday. The facts are out there, Mr. President, if you have the courage and honesty to deal with them. Otherwise, you can go off half-cocked, so to speak, appeal to emotions, and pass bad legislation. Your choice.
I share the President’s frustration regarding mass shootings in this country. I also see how the steps we’ve taken to reduce them have failed miserably; something he apparently doesn’t notice. Or won’t.
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