Today’s shooting in an elementary school, on the heels of the mall shooting here in Oregon, can be described as nothing more than senseless. What would drive a young man to engage in a shooting spree in a relatively random fashion?
First, let’s avoid the polemics: these shootings ocurred because two young men were extremely disturbed. They happened to have access to guns. Were guns not available, would something nearly as horrific ocurred? This is impossible to say.
What we can say, however, is that prohibiting guns is a violation of the Constitution. That ammendment states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Christian Rice, a junior at Georgetown University and writer for website PolicyMic argues this much better than can I (http://www.policymic.com/articles/20857/sandy-hook-mass-shooting-do-not-rush-to-kill-the-second-amendment) when he suggests that the framers inserted this into the Bill of Rights for two main reasons: to protect the states from foreign invasion and to protect the people from the tyranny of government. He argues the first is now subrogated by the Department of Defense, but that the 2nd still certainly applies. It is an interesting and enlightening read from such a young man.
I would further that argument by saying that prohibition tends not to be effective in other aspects of civil life; why should it work with guns? Cocaine, heroin and methanphetamine are all harmfull and highly illegal narcotics. Yet, they are extremely prevalent in our society. In fact, one could argue that prohibition of these drugs, as well as the legal manpower to fight them (War on Drugs) is an inordinate burden on our society, one which costs tens of billions of dollars a year; one which we have been fighting for 40 years; one in which our country has made no significant progress.
Indeed, even our murder rate in this country (4.2%) is higher than that of Europe (3.5%). However, both have significant gun control laws. Does this improve things. It is difficult to look from country to country by murder rate to determine what impact the laws have and what impact the culture has. Statistics alone do not tell this story.
However, one thing that statistics do not tell us is the value of a well regulated militia within the confines of fighting against a tyrannical government. Syrians and Libyans are two nations that were being fired upon while demonstrating peacably. Only guns, and lots of them allowed the people, flawed that they are, to secure what they see as their liberty. It is a big leap of cynicism to believe our own United States would resemble anything like that anytime soon. But if these laws were written 235 years ago, we know that this tyranny was fresh in their minds at that time. And given that these rights have survived 235 years, it is natural to assume that any prohibition today stands the chance of lasting 235 years from now, how much of a stretch is it to assume that we may need these weapons then?