Common Sense Control, Not Gun Control
It’s late at night, and you’re home all alone. You double checked to make
sure all of the doors were locked and made sure all of the windows were closed.
It’s been a quiet night, but for some odd reason you cannot sleep. During your
restless night, you hear a bump in the kitchen. At first you dismiss it as the
wind. But there it is again, and it’s louder this time. You’re scared, your
pulse is racing and you cannot think of what to do. You don’t know whether to
call 911 or just lay there and hope whatever it was will go away. But then you
realize you have a 9-mm Smith and Wesson hand gun in the nightstand. You
quietly get it out, take off the trigger lock, and retrieve the bullets from on
top of your dresser. You don’t want to create a situation that isn’t necessary
so you huddle next to your bed and hope whomever it is takes what they want and
leaves. You hear them walking down the hallway toward you. Your bladder nearly
lets go. The intruder tries to open your door but luckily you locke d it.
There still is the possibility that it’s you spouse so you don’t shoot the
intruder through the door. Then the intruder kicks the door in, sending
splinters of wood flying about the room. The time has come, you raise from the
side of your bed, instinctively assuming a marksman’s pose and fire just as the
intruder is raising his weapon. He flies back against the wall and slumps into
a lifeless pile. You then proceed to call 911.
Now, that is not an uncommon scenario in the present state of society.
Now what I ask you to picture is that same scenario, but this time only the
intruder has a weapon because all guns have been outlawed and the criminal is
the only person who can get their hands on them. It’s a rather scary thought,
isn’t it. But that is exactly what some people want. They want a ban on all
firearms. But that is not the solution, the solution is the education of every
person that purchases a firearm and required trigger locks, and stricter
compliance by judges to the sentences mandated for crimes involving firearms.
The “most recent attempt at federal gun legislation was the Gun Control
Act of 1968″ (Goldwater 183) and has done little if anything to lower the number
of crimes committed using firearms. In fact, “the number of shooting homicides
per year has climbed steadily since it’s enactment, while armed robberies have
increased 60 percent.” (183). Now, this is a staggering piece of information.
But it’s just one piece of evidence that shows that gun control laws are only
marginally effective, if at all, in curtailing crimes involving firearms.
Now, I am not saying that there should be absolutely no restrictions on
who has a fire arm, because that is not true. “Most everyone will agree that
felons, addicts, morons, juveniles, alcoholics, the mentally incompetent and
others in whose hands even an ice pick or baseball bat becomes a deadly weapon,
should be denied guns.”(Selib 202). But banning all hand guns is not the way to
go about lowering the rate of crimes involving hand guns. As an example:
. . . in the decade from 1960 to 1970, gun crimes in England
increased some 750 percent – this in a country where there aren’t supposed to be
any pistols in private hands. What is demonstrated forcefully in England is
that in a place where guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns. (202)
As I have pointed out, gun control legislation has only a marginal
effect. I think that more headway in lowering handgun related crimes could be
made through education. This exact point is made by Barry Goldwater:
Gun education, in fact, can actually reduce lawlessness in a
community, as was demonstrated in an experiment conducted in Highland Park
Michigan. City police launched a program to instruct merchants in the use of
handguns. The idea was to help them protect themselves and their businesses
from robbers, and it was given wide publicity. The store-robbery rate dropped
from an average of 1.5 a day to none in four months. (186)
There is one other way of dropping the crime rate involving firearms,
this is through stricter laws in respect to crimes that involve a firearm. “A
study . . . revealed that