Randy Alcorn

Any time the United States has an incident of mass murder involving gunsm there are the predictable reactions of fear and outrage in which logic gets washed away in torrents of emotion. The cries for stricter gun control laws, including banning ownership of certain firearms, even banning private ownership of all firearms, rise to a passionate crescendo. The National Rifle Association is pilloried as a demonic special interest whose callous disregard for public safety threatens the life of every citizen, and once again we debate the meaning and appropriateness of the Second Amendment.

Fear and anger are the enemies of reason. As horrific and disturbing as these massacres are, prohibiting citizens from having guns will not prevent further incidents of gun violence and carnage. Crafting reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, e.g. the type, and quantity of weapons, or the amount of ammunition one can have will certainly keep law-abiding citizens less armed, but they won’t prevent villains and the criminally insane from getting the weapons and ammo they want.

Unless every gun in the world were destroyed and the means of manufacturing more were utterly and permanently disabled, they will find their way into the hands of those who want them. Cell phones and banned drugs repeatedly find their way into prisons. If the law can’t prevent that flow of contraband into the most restrictive and secured institutions we have, how is it going to eliminate guns within society at large?

Still, the sheeple want more laws so they can derive comfort deluding themselves that the problem of gun violence has been addressed — that at least something has been done. But, laws banning guns are as effective as laws banning tornadoes. Norway’s severely restrictive gun laws didn’t prevent the mass murder of 77 people there last year. Conversely, Switzerland’s policy of having all its citizens armed hasn’t led to killing sprees there.

And, before there were firearms, people slaughtered each other with swords, clubs and rocks. Murder will not be eliminated by eliminating the instruments of death. Only healing the human psyche might accomplish that.

The most horrific genocides in human history have occurred when the state or a particular group is well armed while their victims are not. No single incident of mass murder ever suffered in the United States compares in scope to history’s genocides. Tyranny that permits such atrocities arises and endures when those in power have overwhelming force with which to subjugate the population.

This brings us back to the Second Amendment. It states the obvious, that the security of a free state is dependent on the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, and, therefore, that right shall not be infringed.

I understand that for many Americans the possibility of violent government oppression seems fantastical, and so they may tend to consider the Second Amendment a quaint anachronism no longer needed. But, any study of human history, any clear contemplation of America’s growing police state and its increasingly abusive behavior should cause rational minds to appreciate the continued necessity of the Second Amendment.

Additionally, even when the police are behaving as protectors rather than as agents of oppression, they cannot be personal bodyguards for everyone. How can citizens be secure in their person and homes if they are disarmed? The gun prohibitionists will quote statistics of mayhem and murder involving guns, but ignore the evidence of armed citizens protecting themselves from criminal attack or preventing depredations because they are armed.

Nevertheless, guns in the hands of wackos facilitate mass murder. If there are workable, reasonable measures that can mitigate, if not prevent gun violence, we need to consider them. Remedies, however, will not be found by insisting on effectively disarming the public. All the emotional ranting and raving about the insanity of guns has not and will not move us toward an answer. Most Americans continue to support the citizenry’s right to keep and bear arms, and they oppose overreaching infringements of that right, as they should.

We cannot prevent tornadoes, but we can prepare for them, attempt to predict them and try to avoid them. We might do the same regarding gun violence, but we will not eliminate it. Banned or not, unless there is an evolutionary sea change in human nature, someone will have the weapons and they will use them. Ending murder and mayhem happens in the mind, not in the legislature.

— Santa Barbara political observer Randy Alcorn can be contacted at randyalcorn@cox.net. Click here to read previous columns.