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Reality Check: Gun Control vs. Shooting Deaths October 4, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion, Politics, Uncategorized.
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Recent events have me thinking about gun related violence and laws controlling gun ownership. My purpose for this post is to evaluate any correlation between the two and to fix in my own mind what is truth, and what is political rhetoric.

Let me preface my findings with a personal disclaimer and a short summary of my own feelings about the 2nd Amendment:

  1.  I am a disabled US Army Veteran. I do not own a gun, nor do I have a desire to own a gun. I am not a member of the NRA, nor do I have a desire to be a member of the NRA, although:
  2. I believe firmly in the Constitutional right to ‘bear arms’, meaning that the founders of this great nation viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:
    • enabling the people to organize a militia system.
    • participating in law enforcement;
    • deterring tyrannical government;
    • repelling invasion;
    • suppressing insurrection, 
    • facilitating a natural right of self-defense.

I had prepared to present evidence that restrictive gun laws had either a significant impact on the reduction of gun related deaths, or what I admittedly believed to be the case; restrictive gun laws had little or no impact on gun related deaths. What I have found, much to my dismay is that there is no correlation between gun laws and gun related deaths. The raw numbers out there do not point to either conclusion factually.

I could however select my data and statistically manipulate that data to show a strong correlation for either side of the issue, but that would not be the truth. Sadly, that is what we are constantly bombarded with from proponents of both sides of this issue.

If you wanted to take the time to do the research and pull the raw data you would find the task arduous. As I dove into the numbers I found that clear and concise data is very hard to come by. Most findings have so blended the numbers that it is impossible to get a clear picture. I found that most statistics for gun violence, or more specifically; gun deaths, include suicide and accidental shootings. It is very difficult to find hard data that simply says: There were X number of gun related homicides in these states, or cities, for this given year.  Further more, the groups or organizations that present the data at all have convoluted there statistical values to point to a preconceived conclusion.

So, in the end, I have come to the conclusion that there is no direct correlation between the restriction of gun ownership and the reduction of gun related deaths. Nor did I find the opposite conclusion (a correlation between gun freedom and lower gun related deaths).

To be honest, this leaves me completed frustrated. I like to come down on the ‘factual’ side of and issue. If the facts tell me that such and such is true, then I want to be a proponent of that truth. If the facts are not there to support that conclusion then I am saddled with weighing the moral, ethical, social, and political ramifications for supporting an issue.

Gun control is such a case. I cannot say that stricter laws would reduce gun violence, nor can I say it would not. What I can do is look to the Constitution and extrapolate what the Founding Fathers thought could happen to this country if the right to bear arms were not specified as they were.

This country was born of a people who rose up against a tyrannical government. They achieved our independence because of their ability to fight that tyranny, and they were able to do that because they had the means of arms to fight their oppressors.

You may state that we do not have that fear because we are a free nation governed by laws established in accordance with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. To that I would have to reply that we are a governed people. Although we are a Republic and supposedly ‘represented’ by those we elect to serve our wishes, the truth is that not enough of us care to involve ourselves in what those representatives are doing. If they choose, as a body, to restrict our freedoms and pass laws that does that, what are we to do?  Rise up?  Absolutely.  If we have the means to resist this possible oppression and restriction of our freedoms we could absolutely rise up and resist.

If, however, we do not have the ability to resist, what are we to do then? We would simply bend under the yoke of oppression, wouldn’t we?

As I talk about this, and as I have thought about it while contemplating gun control legislation, my mind wanders and lands in the middle of the movie “Red Dawn” (both versions). I find myself thinking: if we, as a nation, abolished all arms for its citizens, what would we do if that scenario came into play?  Depend on our military to save us, and possibly die while waiting for help that possibly may never come?  I can continue on with numerous ‘what if’ scenarios and all of them lead me to one conclusion: I need the ability to own a firearm if I choose to do so. As a US Citizen I now have that right, and as a US Citizen I assert that I should be able to retain that right.

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