Since the moment the media broke the news about the Sandy Hook tragedy, gun control advocates have put forward new proposals on a daily basis attempting to add new restrictions to the purchase and possession of firearms.
However, I think there is a very good reason to oppose such new restrictions. They just don't work.
Law abiding gun owners, when faced with new laws restricting what they view as an inalienable right, believe they are being forced to either give up their right to self defense or be branded as criminals.
Some gun control advocates were highly critical of NRA leader Wayne LaPierre's proposal to place armed officers in schools. I cannot understand people's objections, since they do not object to armed guards in a bank, guarding a sack of money in an armored car, or walking a college football coach on and off the field. Why are they vehemently opposed the idea of offering our children the protection?
I oppose such measures because I am convinced the existing evidence indicates that criminals, including rampage killers, are virtually unaffected by gun control laws. For example, the Columbine massacre occurred four years after the so called Assault Weapons Ban was passed. These two murderers violated numerous existing gun laws prior to their attack.
I am further convinced that a person's inalienable right to self-defense is poorly served by further gun control measures. I won’t argue the Second Amendment at this time because it does not grant any rights; it merely protects an inalienable human right that pre-dates the U.S. Constitution. Restricting how we can defend ourselves against deadly force to less effective methods is nonsensical.
Firearms do not cause murder or crime. They are inanimate objects incapable of forming intent. Differences in size, shape, color, caliber, or ammunition capacity do not change that fact. They are no more capable of causing murder without a murderer than a hammer is capable of building a house without a carpenter.
If guns actually caused violence, why aren't we reading headlines like, "Massacre at Shooting Range,” "12 Die in Gun Store Attack" or "Gunman Goes on Rampage at Gun Show"? Oklahoma is the site of the largest gun show in the United States. During this two-day event, there are, at any given time, hundreds of people carrying guns, thousands of guns on display, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition available on the premises.
Despite this very high concentration of firearms, ammunition, and people who like to shoot, no one is shooting at, or being shot by anyone (except for an occasional accidental discharge). If firearms or accessibility to firearms caused gun violence, there should be more of it in locations with a high concentration of firearms than in places where guns were restricted.
Anecdotally, restricting certain types of weapons does not appear to stop rampage killers. In Columbia, 1986, Campos Delgado killed 30 people and wounded 15 using a kitchen knife and a 5-shot small caliber revolver.
Statistically, rampage murderers attempt to kill between two and seven victims per minute once they start their attack. The most reliable way of stopping this type of attack is to kill the attacker. This is undeniably a brutal response to a brutal crime, but when the police finally get there, that is exactly what they are going to do. Why wait? Police response time to critical incidents is five minutes plus. That is AFTER someone dials 911. Minutes mean bodies.
Armed defenders in close proximity to these incidents have effectively reduced the death toll. Numerous rampage killers have been successfully stopped by armed resistance, including resistance by armed private citizens. Most rampage killers tend to either submit to capture, or retreat and commit suicide, at the first sign of armed resistance. Examples include the Pearl High School shooting in October of 1997, the Parker Middle School dance shooting on April 24, 1998 at a restaurant in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, the Appalachian School of Law Shooting on January 16, 2002, the Trolley Square Mall shooting in Salt Lake City on February 24, 2007, and most recently, the Clackamas Town Center in Oregon on December 11. In all of these instances, the shooter stopped killing when confronted by armed resistance.
Rampage killers invariably select what appear to be defenseless targets. One would be hard pressed to find a more defenseless population than a school, mall, or theater designated as a "Gun Free Zone.” Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, the Century Theatre in Aurora, Colorado, the Columbine High School, and the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City all had policies prohibiting firearms.
Current school policies requiring controlled access via locked doors and sign in sheets do not prevent armed criminals from committing their crimes. Passive school policies that tell teachers and students to huddle against the wall in the face of an armed attack provide a false sense of safety that is no more viable than the "Duck and Cover" drill of the 1950s effectively increased student survivability during a nuclear attack.
Gun control laws are often proposed as a knee-jerk reaction to incidents like Sandy Hook and always passed with the promise of reducing violent crime. My perspective, unlike that of gun control advocates, is not based upon speculation. Statistically, there is no evidence that gun control laws actually reduce violent crime. In 2003, the Center for Disease Control determined there was no conclusive evidence that laws restricting ammunition, waiting periods, licensing, or zero tolerance laws, effectively reduced gun violence.
In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed over 200 journal articles, 99 books, and 43 government publications evaluating 80 gun control measures. Researchers could not identify any laws or regulations that proved effective in reducing violent crime, suicide, or accidents.
Other countries are no different in this respect. In Australia in 2008, a peer reviewed study at the University of Sydney reached virtually the same conclusions as the N.A.S. and the C.D.C.
The evidence fails to show that gun control laws prevent murder or reduce violent crime.
Despite emotional pleas, and specious conclusions by gun control advocates, gun control laws that functionally disarm law abiding victims just makes them easy targets for homicidal predators.
Regarding the protection of our children, I do not propose that we start randomly handing out guns to teachers, but it makes sense to me to provide firearms training, qualification testing, and judgmental shooting practice on firearms simulators to educators who are willing and able to accept the responsibility of providing functional protection to the children we place in their care. In addition, we should remove all restrictions on when and where firearms may be carried by off duty police officers, as well as honorably separated police and military veterans/retirees who are willing to make an ongoing verifiable commitment to firearms proficiency. This would enable qualified persons to engage in the defense of others, when necessary, in the absence of police.
We certainly need to do more research into the actual causative factors behind this type of violence in order to learn how to prevent it. But until we have a reliable solution, we must be prepared to defend ourselves and our children from this violent behavior, through both reactive and pro-active defense measures capable of stopping its perpetrators in their tracks. Those who are incapable or unwilling, to physically, stop this violence should stop standing in the way of those who are.