Select Page

     Gun Control: “Do countries with strong gun control laws have lower murder rates? Only if you cherry-pick the data.”  Thomas Sowell, economist and philosopher

Uncle Bob loved to hunt pheasants.

Almost every fall he would drive 1,300 miles from Marietta, Ga., to our Lyman County farm to walk milo fields, shelterbelts and grassy draws in hopes of flushing some ringnecks.

He carried a Browning semi-automatic 12-gauge, and since this was in the 1950s, you may wonder how I could recall the exact model. Easy. The darn thing jammed with amazing frequency and when it did, the air turned blue and I don’t mean with gunsmoke.

I don’t hunt much anymore but I’m still concerned when the rights of sportsmen and other Americans are threatened because of a tragedy like the one in Parkland, Fla.

This is where it gets ticklish. The Second Amendment, which protects our right to bear arms, wasn’t written for pheasant hunters. It protects their right to own a shotgun, and use it, but the Founding Fathers were first concerned with the possibility that the new government might try to do things to its citizens that were unwarranted. The Founders also recognized that citizens had a right to protect themselves.

Living in a republic can be risky, and it’s becoming riskier. We have rights and privileges not possible under dictatorships. This means some people will do crazy things. Like assassinate presidents. Or go on killing sprees in schools.

That said, there are some things that could and should be done and I’m not talking about arming school teachers. They have enough to worry about.

For starters, enforce the present laws. Second, so-called assault weapons should be harder to buy. Their magazines should be limited to say, 10 rounds instead of 100. Background checks need to be more thorough. Perhaps most of all, more focus should be on those likely to commit the atrocities, like the recent suspect who somehow escaped notice by the FBI. None of these ideas, if implemented, would result in a slippery slope of gun confiscation.

However, there’s no reasonable argument to ban semi-automatic guns like the one my Uncle Bob carried.  For those who believe that taking away our right to bear arms will keep criminals and potential criminals from obtaining guns, there is a mountain of evidence showing otherwise.

Our society is more violent than ever, and addressing the root cause of this – the breakdown of the family, violence in media and the declining influence of the church – isn’t something that can be legislated.

March 7, 2018