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Craig Allen: Gun Control Is Really About Freedom

By Craig Allen, Noozhawk Business Columnist | @MPAMCraig |

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.

Craig Allen, CFA, CFP, CIMA, is president of Montecito Private Asset Management LLC and founder of Dump Your Debt. He has been managing assets for foundations, corporations and high-net worth individuals for more than 20 years and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA charter holder), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification. He blogs at Finance With Craig Allen and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.898.1400. Click here to read previous columns or follow him on Twitter: @MPAMCraig. The opinions expressed are his own.




comments powered by Disqus

» on 02.10.13 @ 09:59 PM

Excellent article. Thanks.

» on 02.11.13 @ 03:36 AM

Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.

» on 02.11.13 @ 12:08 PM

Craig, excellent points.

If we want to stop gun crime, gun violence, gun suicide and gun accidents then we have to concentrate our efforts on the hand that pulls the trigger, not a stupid piece of metal that has no brain and no power to do anything without that hand.

It is a monumental failure of a free society to constantly punish everyone for the sins of a few. We regard our freedom with such an appalling lack of concern that we actually invite totalitarian slavery out of our irrational fear over personal security.

What the anti gun violence people need to do is look at the people holding the gun, not the gun itself. Many other tools can become weapons. A box cutter in the hand of a maniacal suicidal terrorist created a weapon of mass destruction out of a civilian airline. 3000 people died on 9/11/01 and not one gun was used. If you continue to ignore the human, then psychopaths like Lanza will continue to steal overly regulated weapons and murder the innocent and terrorists will continue to massacre using the least expected tools and freedom will become the victim.

» on 02.11.13 @ 02:06 PM

I think my right (freedom, you your sense) to life trumps your right to own a gun.

» on 02.11.13 @ 02:17 PM

Craig, I agree completely.

But we should not be too surprised given that an ever-increasing portion of our population believe that the nanny state will take care of them and tell them what to do in their lives from cradle to grave. And as far as guns vs. bats as a weapon, the FBI statistics show that more people are killed with bats than with guns during a crime. But that thought never resonates with those that are unfamiliar with or afraid of guns.

Add to that the attitude on the part of so many people, especially our political elite, that we can legislate behavior and morality and there we go - further down that slippery, and getting more and more slippery, slope.

» on 02.11.13 @ 02:46 PM

JustBobF, Your comment makes no sense.

How does my owning a gun have any impact at all on your freedom? Unless you intend to try to do me or my family bodily harm. At that time I will impact your freedom as much as I can.

In point of fact, you should realize that me and my friends owning guns helps to keep you free according to FBI statistics.

» on 02.11.13 @ 02:48 PM

Bob, can you please explain how owning a gun precludes your ‘right to life’?  You are statistically far more likely to die because of medical errors/malpractice than a firearm.  Does this stop you from visiting a doctor?

“JustBobF: I think my right (freedom, you your sense) to life trumps your right to own a gun.”

» on 02.11.13 @ 02:50 PM

JustBobF, please explain why owning a gun is a threat to your life. Does owning a box cutter qualify? Or a bat, airplane, automobile, kitchen knife, can of gasoline, sack of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, chain saw, nail gun, Draino drain cleaner or any of the millions of other items people have used to hill other people?

Your statement in light of the comments above is a poster child for the knee jerk sort of response we expect from child like adults who have as Art said abdicated their personal responsibility to the State.

» on 02.11.13 @ 02:56 PM

Craig:

Kudos for posting this.

If the lengthy discussion at the Santa Barbara Independent prompted by Hannah-Beth Jackson’s self-serving political gun-grabbing stunt (‘Jackson Introducing Bill to Ban Specific Shotgun’, currently at 67 hours and 47 comments) is a good indication, I’ve been surprised at the support for the constitution on this issue locally, despite the wide dissemination of the nonsense spewed by the hypocritical Dianne Feinstein (with her own concealed carry permit and surrounded by armed guards nearly everywhere she goes).

» on 02.11.13 @ 04:20 PM

NOOZHAWK:

Thanks for posting my comment above.

You have become my favorite local news site, and I hesitated to direct anyone off to another site.

So anyone who goes there: Come back here to comment, as this thread is much fresher.  ;-)

» on 02.11.13 @ 08:59 PM

We need to enact sensible gun control, now. And, there are plenty of ‘conservative’ arguments in favor of sanity. The above cited tired arguments completely deny:

When there is a firearm in a home, the risk/chance is far higher that a loved one will be killed (including suicide) or injured than will be a criminal.

Military assault rifles were never envisioned by our Founding Fathers, and they are really, really efficient at killing.

It takes far less paperwork and scrutiny to buy a gun than is required to obtain a license to cut hair.

How the NRA, or as the British Press refers to them, the National People-Killing-Machine Association, bought and sold Congress is another question.

» on 02.11.13 @ 09:05 PM

Craig:

I like your point regarding ‘assault rifles’:

The term ‘assault rifle’ was originally defined as an automatic weapon (of which the AR-15 and comparable rifles are not); such firearms, which cost $15,000 to $50,000 and more, have been banned since 1934, with very few exceptions, usually for law enforcement and similar individuals, who must undergo extensive, expensive, and time-consuming background checks.

So the current use of the term ‘assault rifle’ by political hacks is a deliberately provocative and pejorative term that does absolutely nothing to further classify ‘rifle’ and is used simply to scare those not knowledgeable about firearms. Regarding ‘military style’, a term also wildly tossed around by these tyrants and tyrant wannabes: it requires zero understanding of firearms to understand the absurdity of limiting or banning something because of its ‘style.’

I particularly appreciate your reference to ‘need.’ Setting aside the concept of ‘need’, often incorrectly claimed to be relevant by political hacks who apparently, despite their oaths of office, fail to understand the concept of ‘right,’ an AR-15 (the initials indicate the manufacturer, incidentally, not ‘assault rifle’) is essentially a modern rifle, semi-automatic, as are, I believe, approximately 80% of rifles in circulation.

Regarding the horrifying ( ;-) ) accessories that are sometimes added to these rifles: none increase the firepower; the utility of the scope, bipod stand, hand grip, and higher capacity magazine for sport shooting enthusiasts should be obvious, even to those with little or no knowledge of this sport. The modern collapsible stock makes it easy for the firearm to be adjusted to be ideal for any body size, and thus to be shared, for instance, between a husband and wife.

Despite the political hacks’ claims that this particular rifle is “not needed for hunting” (and setting aside the irrelevance of such claims, as you’ve noted), hunters appreciate modern rifles with plastic composite rather than wood stocks, as they are lighter and much more comfortable for carrying around in the woods for hours.

So Feinstein and Feinstein wannabes are demonizing the 100 million law-abiding US citizens who have never shot a gun at anyone and likely never will — for owning particular firearms because they’re black and thus very scary (the firearms, not the citizens ;-) ) and, according to the political hacks, ‘military style.’

And finally, a recent federal purchase order for 7000 AR-15s — by a domestic agency, and thus presumably for potential use against US citizens within the US — describes these firearms as ‘personal defense weapons.’ So: legitimate personal defense weapons when possessed by unelected government bureaucrats within the US answering only to the executive branch, but ‘assault rifles’ when possessed by everyone else.

» on 02.12.13 @ 12:29 AM

Meneush: Do you really believe the tripe you’ve written or is it just to stir the pot?  You arguments are specious at best, but to clarify:  The Founding Fathers were equipped with state of the art firearms, which provided more accurate fire than the British muskets; so your comment is false.

The ‘gun in the house’ argument is akin to drownings increase if you have a pool… a foolish argument that is offset by the fact that the presence of firearms deter violent assaults countless times a year per Gary Kleck’s study.

I suggest you actually look at the issues involved and attempt to learn something.  We’ve got over 60,000 gun control laws on the books.  Obviously the ‘gun free zone’ deters only law abiding citizens.

» on 02.12.13 @ 01:06 AM

interloper:

Regarding “...the fact that the presence of firearms deter violent assaults countless times a year per Gary Kleck’s study…”:

Excerpt from the article linked at bottom:

“Kleck released a study in 1993 showing that guns are used in defense of crime 2.5 million times each year, an average of once every 13 seconds. Kleck’s survey concluded that guns are used in defense of crime three-to-four times more often than they’re used in the commission of a crime.

“Surveys conducted prior to Kleck’s found gun uses in self-defense to range from 800,000 to 2.5 million each year. A U.S. Department of Justice Survey released in 1994, “Guns in America,” estimated that 1.5 million defensive gun uses each year.”

So, according to the second sentence of the first paragraph above: in 2.5 million incidents per year, firearms are used to prevent crime, versus, at most, 833,000 incidents in which they are used to commit crime. Also, my understanding, as you alluded to, is that, in a very significant percentage of these 2.5 million successful incidents, the firearm only needed to be displayed, not fired.

‘Gun Rights and Self-Defense’
http://civilliberty.about.com/od/guncontrol/a/Gun-Rights-Self-Defense-Deterrent.htm

» on 02.12.13 @ 11:17 AM

Meneush, I understand your knee jerk need to “control” something you feel is dangerous. The entire “drug war” a $200 billion program to eliminate “illegal” drugs is based on the same principle, don’t deal with the why, deal with the what.

To demonstrate, you see a kid pick up a rock and throw it at another kid and the first thing you want to do is ban rocks. That is so much easier than trying to figure out why a kid would want to throw a rock at another kid.

But here is another reason to ban rocks, you know that you are weak and if a rock were available to you, you would throw that rock at another kid too. So really, banning rocks is more about you acknowledging your own weakness, your own desire to be “controlled” than about stopping the throwing of rocks by anyone.

» on 02.12.13 @ 11:44 AM

John Adams: Gun Control is all about Justice.

That headline is just as meaningful as the one in this paid opinion piece here.

» on 02.12.13 @ 11:59 AM

The Kleck Study? From oneUtah.org 11/1/09:

Thoroughly debunked years ago, the gun lobby’s favorite research – a 1995 study by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz that reported an astounding 2.5 million defense gun uses (DGU) each year in the United States. Yep, you read it right; 2.5 million DGUs PER YEAR!

The Kleck study claims that 2.5 million times per year, someone uses a gun to defend themselves. That’s more defensive gun uses than happened in WWII in Europe in 1944.  The Kleck study is so flawed the only thing it measures is the wild imagination of gun owners.

As recently as this month, the NRA referenced Kleck’s deeply flawed and thoroughly refuted study AGAIN in their magazine, America’s 1st Freedom.

With the help of Alan Korwin and others, the NRA continues to feed its readers demonstrable lies and distortions.

Here, for your reference, is a short list of the many peer reviewed, refereed, academic articles published that clearly refute Kleck’s astronomical claim.*

“The gun debate’s new mythical number: How many defensive uses per year?” Journal of Police Analysis and Management, 1997
“The myth of millions of annual self-defense gun use: A case study of survey overestimates of rare events” Chance – American Statistical Association, 1997
“Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey” Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 1998
“The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Uses: Results from a National Survey”, Violence and Victims, 2000
“Myths about Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws” Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2000
“Comparing the Incidence of Self-Defense Gun Use and Criminal Gun Use” Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 2009

The ultimate proof the Kleck claim is bs, is the fact that despite spending 35 million dollars/year to deceive the public and threaten politicians, in fourteen years since the study, the gun lobby has funded numerous FAILED attempts to repeat Kleck’s study.

*It should be noted that Gary Kleck has refused to defend his study ever since it was published.

» on 02.12.13 @ 12:32 PM

Hannah-Beth Jackson, while announcing her recent self-serving gun-grabbing stunt, stated: “As gun technology evolves, our laws need to keep pace with them.”

This gun-phobic ignoramus thinks that she serves the public by piling unconstitutional laws upon unconstitutional laws; I wonder how much staff time she consumed finding some obscure firearm that wasn’t already on the hypocrite Dianne Feinstein’s ban list.

These tyrant-wannable clowns in Sacramento and Washington would better serve the public by studying the constitution and repealing the unconstitutional nonsense that’s been passed than by adding more to their stinking piles of crappy laws.

» on 02.12.13 @ 02:56 PM

Meneush, I made a clear argument against prohibitions on “things” rather than dealing with those who use them badly. Please quit the obnoxious anti “thing” (gun in this instant) zealotry and answer why banning things is preferable to dealing with people who behave badly.

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