Opinion

Gun control advocates too quick on the draw


NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, will not win any popularity contests, but he speaks sense. | Wikimedia Commons

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will not win any popularity contests, but he speaks sense. | Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the topic of the gun control. On one side of the issue, the committee heard from executive vice president and ardent spokesman for the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre; on the other side, the most prominent victim of recent gun violence, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

“Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something,” Giffords said.

It’s crucial to establish that the left and the right have their political ammunition. Giffords speech was largely touted as “riveting” and “emotional” by Alan Fram of the Associated Press. No one could have as much influence as Giffords does because her career and life were damaged by guns.

That is the problem. As much as LaPierre may appear unyielding and ignorant to the needs of a grieving and angry nation, he may fall on the side of sanity and reason.

“Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals, nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families,” LaPierre said.

LaPierre is viewed by gun control advocates as a snake of a powerful lobby willing to do to everything to preserve his organization’s rights and beliefs.

Giffords, though, is just some victim who is giving her two cents on what must be done on gun violence. Yet she is much more than that;  she is “riveting” and “emotional,” and she lends her support to the side of gun control. She is now, along with any victims that testify before Congress, as political as the NRA’s leaders. By only viewing her and her husband’s speech as an emotional plea for some change on the issue of guns, we forget how well liberal politicians, including President Barack Obama, can use these testimonies to explain their eventual views on any possible legislation.

At the hearing, LaPierre was pressed on his reluctance over a universal background check system, and he gave a very sensible answer.

“It’s going to affect only the law-abiding people,” he said. “Criminals could care less.”

LaPierre spoke sense. He said many things during and outside of the congressional hearing that are simply obvious attacks on the president and the liberal mindset, but he was on the mark that “criminals could care less.” That explains it all if anything ever will. From background checks to bans on assault weapons, people with the intention to kill can, have and will continue to succeed. Gun control of any kind doesn’t make it impossible for unstable people to get access to guns, it simply makes it more work.

The biggest issue is that the U.S. is not adverse to owning guns; as statistics will show, we love our guns. According to comparative data from the 2012 international Small Arms Survey, there are nine guns for every 10 Americans — roughly 270 million privately-owned guns. Yemen, the second-most gun enriched nation, trails the U.S. by over a 30-point deficit.

With background checks, there is nothing stopping determined people from getting what they want. Even a ban on assault weapons is tricky. Unless the government, like good parents, check household after household in all fifty states to remove assault weapons there will still be access to them. The prices of these existing assault weapons would skyrocket, not to mention the black market that would arise for these suddenly hard-to-find weapons.

It’s important to consider that guns are not the sole killing agents out there. From knives and machetes to drunk driving, there are many things killing innocent civilians. A ban on assault weapons is even more precarious, as all other kinds of firearms will probably still be available to deranged minds in any future massacre. Handguns are not out of the question for use in massacres. Sure, assault rifles may be quicker, but handguns can be just as deadly.

A week after the Newtown, Conn. massacre, on Dec. 21, LaPierre spoke at press conference calling for greater protection for our children’s schools.

“We must speak for the safety of our nation’s children,” LaPierre said. “We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses, even sports stadiums, are all protected by armed security. We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents.

“Members of Congress works in offices surrounded by Capitol police officers, yet when it comes to our most beloved innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless. And the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it.”

As unpopular as it may seem, NRA’s position on “guns in schools” to protect children is productive. In the same press conference, LaPierre suggested that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

That is responsible gun control. Gun control should have a primary objective: protect innocent civilians from criminals and the mentally unstable. If more responsible civilians carry guns, they may be able to limit the scope of a massacre. This is not a guarantee, but imagine if a few people carried guns to the Century 16 Theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. James Holmes would still have killed, but possibly not as many others. Unfortunately for our nation, sometimes the solution to our problems is too close for comfort.

Babak Hamidi is a media production junior and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com.

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