By Shiam Kannan
On October 1st, 2017, a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel onto a crowd gathered for a country music concert, killing 59 people and injuring hundreds of others. As such, it has become the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, having surpassed the death toll of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016. As seen with previous mass shootings, the Las Vegas massacre has sparked a push from the Democrats for tightened gun restrictions. However, the question we should really be asking ourselves is, are guns really the root of the problem? Will gun control actually help curb gun violence?
The answer is a resounding “no.” Take the city of Chicago, for example. While we can all agree that the Las Vegas shooting had a terrible death toll at 59, the highest of any mass shooting, this number is either met or exceeded by the gun murder rate in Chicago, every month. In June of 2017, there were 84 murders. In September, there were 59, the same as in the Vegas shooting. And Chicago just happens to have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, on par with those of Los Angeles and New York City. And if that isn’t enough to dispel the theory that more guns equals more crime, according to a CDC report, between 1993 and 2013, gun ownership in the United States rose by 35 percent, however gun violence decreased by 50 percent during the same time period. These facts only further help to reinforce the claim that guns in the hands of civilians do not contribute to crime and violence.
The measures that liberal politicians have been calling for in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting include seemingly-sensible measures, such a ban on bump-fire stocks, devices used by the Vegas shooter to fire his semi-automatic rifle in the manner of a fully automatic one, dispersing multiple rounds per second. However, such regulations would be useless, as bump-firing is a technique that can even be performed using your pant’s belt loop. To make bump-firing illegal, democrats would need to ban pants and shorts with belt loops, which is just as preposterous as it sounds. Other measures that would either be useless or impossible to enact include the ubiquitous and infamous “assault weapons” ban, which would make semi-automatic rifles, self-loading weapons that only fire one bullet per trigger pull, illegal, nevermind the fact that there are over 3 million such weapons in circulation as of now, making them virtually impossible to confiscate.
Not only are gun restrictions ineffective, however, but they are also unconstitutional. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution quite clearly states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Although there has been much bickering over whether the Second Amendment protects an individual or a collective right, due to its use of the word “militia,” the Supreme Court has effectively nullified that argument by ruling in the landmark 2008 case, DC v. Heller, that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right of the people to keep and bear arms, unconnected to service in a militia.
Our Founding Fathers included this sacred right in the Constitution because they understood that the only bulwark against a tyrannical government was an armed citizenry. And to those voices that claim that tyranny can never arise in a republic, it is important to keep in mind that it has, at least twice, over the course of history: once in Rome, when Julius Caesar took power, and once more in Germany, where Adolf Hitler had the Nazi party elected to Parliament in a landslide in 1933, and then proceeded to slaughter 6 million Jews in one of the worst genocides in recorded history. It is also important to note that Hitler outlawed Jews from owning guns before he implemented the Holocaust. And God forbid a tyrant gets elected here, in the United States, even the liberals will be thankful for those 80 million American gun owners with over 300 million guns in their hands.
One major benefit of gun ownership that liberals seem to ignore is the ability to defend oneself. Indeed, in 2013, between 500,000 and 3 million gun uses were in self-defense, according to a CDC study. The same study also showed that in 2013, there were 11,208 firearm-related homicides and approximately 414,000 illegal gun uses. Even if using the lower estimation for defensive gun use, it is clear that guns are used much more commonly in defense than in offense. So when guns are used so much more commonly by innocent people to protect themselves, it is unfair and wrong to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms, due to the actions of a few.
All this leaves us with the question: if gun control won’t stop gun violence, what will? While we can never really eliminate gun violence (or any violence, for that matter), we can take steps to reduce gun violence casualties greatly, all while respecting our absolute right as individuals to keep and bear arms. Perhaps the most crucial step is to promote law-abiding individuals in public places to carry a weapon. This will deter potential shooters, and will also give citizens the ability to neutralize a shooter in the event of a mass shooting, thus preventing him from killing as many people as we have seen in recent examples. We should also push for the removal of all “gun-free zones” across the country. These places prevent law-abiding citizens from arming themselves, making them prime targets for shooters who seek an area where they are guaranteed to be met with no resistance. To prevent school shootings, we should allow for teachers to be armed on school grounds, so as to enable them to defend our children using deadly force if necessary. These common-sense solutions will keep criminals at bay, while allowing us to exercise our Second Amendment freedoms.
After every mass shooting, we hear those familiar voices from the left: we need to ban all guns! Confiscate on semi-autos! Abolish concealed carry! It is imperative that we don’t follow these knee-jerk reactions to such tragic events. We need to be smart about what we do as a nation to curb gun violence, rather than following those who lead using emotion rather than reason. Disarming law-abiding citizens is not the answer. Disallowing us from carrying in public for self-defense is not the answer. Instead, we should promote open and concealed carry in public, so that citizens can respond with deadly force if a mass shooting does arise. We should arm teachers to curb school shootings. But emotionally-charged reactions that have little to no basis in fact are not the way to go.