I realize by writing about gun control and stating publicly that I am not in favor of it will very likely cause some to dislike me. That is a price I am willing to pay to state what is right.
The issue of gun control is nothing new. As with other issues that often divide this country, gun control has repeatedly found its way into the public consciousness — and typically when tragedies occur, as with the recent shootings in Newtown, Conn. Politicians, as is the case today, try to use these tragedies, supported by a knee-jerk reaction from the public, to force legislation through Congress. But each time this has occurred, these attempts have died a quick death for one simple reason: gun ownership is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
It is no accident that the Founding Fathers took the time, out of all of the things they thought were important to include in the Bill of Rights, to state unequivocally that gun ownership was every citizen’s right. They had just fought a long and bloody battle for independence from England, and they understood they would never have been able to do so if citizens were denied the right to own guns. They had great foresight. They realized that to relinquish this right would forever strip the citizenry of the ability to defend themselves from a government that could deny them their basic rights.
If there is one theme that runs throughout the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, it is freedom. It is the underlying concept that permeates these documents. I recently visited Washington, D.C., and was able to go to the National Archives to see these documents. They are extremely faded now, and very difficult to read. Even so, one can plainly see that freedom plays a central role throughout.
Freedom was the most important single concept that the Founding Fathers believed in when they forged this country. They believed in it so strongly that they expressly stated the various forms of freedoms that they wanted to guarantee, for themselves, for you and me, and for everyone who came before us and who will come after us.
The most powerful thing about these freedoms is that, to preserve them, we all have to respect other people’s right to freedoms, even if what they believe is in direct opposition to what we believe. Freedom of speech is a great example of this. We have to allow people to say things, write things, and believe things that we may absolutely despise.
Freedom of religion is another of these protected freedoms that we have in this country that few other countries on the planet allow. One could certainly make the argument that the Muslim religion has been used, in a distorted form, to motivate terrorists to do unspeakable things, yet we welcome the Muslim faith, along with all others, as we should.
Gun control advocates would have us believe that guns are responsible for the Newtown shootings — if only the shooter had not had an assault rifle, those children would still be alive. Blame the gun, not the mentally disturbed person who pulled the trigger.
Using this same logic we would have to blame the Muslim faith for terrorism — is it the fault of the religion that some people use it to manipulate others into killing people? John Hinckley, after watching Taxi Driver, became obsessed with Jodie Foster, and in an attempt to get her attention, shot President Ronald Reagan. Should we put Foster in prison or ban Taxi Driver from ever being shown in the United States?
For that matter, should we just ban all movies? After all, we don’t really need movies, just as some gun control advocates state that we don’t need assault rifles, so why should anyone be allowed to own one. I am sure that the actors like Amanda Peet who are making speeches about gun control wouldn’t appreciate it if we banned movies.
I can pick up a baseball bat and do terrible things with it. Does this mean that the bat is bad? Should we ban all baseball bats? Should we ban cars? Anyone can use a car to kill people if they want to. Is the car at fault, or is it the driver who should be punished? Should we burn all the copies of The Catcher in the Rye just because a lot of crazy people like to read it and then commit violent acts? You can see where this is going.
The problem with the path President Barack Obama and company are attempting to take us down is that it is a slippery slope. If we start restricting freedoms, in any form, especially those specifically protected in the Bill of Rights, we are opening the door to a Pandora’s box of very bad possible outcomes.
What I dislike about this most is that the Obama administration is using the Newtown killings — and I am stating the word using specifically — to capitalize on the deaths of these innocent children to push its agenda. Ask yourself this question: If the Obama administration cares so much about gun control, why have they waited until now, in his second term, before they put forth any attempt at new gun control legislation?
For those who believe that gun control is necessary, correct, needed, etc., just think about the freedom that you value most and then imagine if some group of people was actively pushing to take that freedom away from you. It really doesn’t matter if it is the freedom to own a gun, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, or freedom to walk down the street any time of day or night, we must embrace all freedoms equally, regardless of whether they are personally important to us.
Freedom is what built this country. It is what makes us the strongest country on the planet. It is directly responsible for and essential to the free enterprise system, which built our economy, and makes us the most innovative, productive nation in history.
If freedom is compromised in any way, we will all lose something. If gun ownership isn’t important to us, sooner or later, if we go down this road, something we do care deeply about will be taken away.