As I mentioned in a previous post, USA Today asked me to write a counter-point editorial to their take on U.S. gun laws in general and the Zimmerman verdict in specific. [Click here to read paper’s anti-gun gait-prop Lax gun laws vs. Trayvon Martin’s life: Our view.] Know this: I didn’t get to read the full text until after it was published. Even so, I reckon my effort—Armed Zimmerman was no Dirty Harry: Opposing view—makes the case that TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia explored in our Question of the Day. [Click here to give Gannet the page views or make the jump for the full text.] Thanks for helping me clarify my thinking. I hope I represented . . .
Would George Zimmerman have left his car if he hadn’t been carrying a gun?
Gun control advocates argue that Zimmerman’s Kel-Tec PF-9 brought out his inner Dirty Harry, leading to the tragic shooting of a Florida teen. They reckon restricting firearms ownership would prevent this kind of murderous machismo, making both individuals and society safer.
OUR VIEW: Lax gun laws vs. Trayvon Martin
It’s an insidious, irrelevant argument that betrays a profound ignorance of the truth about guns.
Whatever you think about Zimmerman’s decision to exit his vehicle, there’s no question he had the legal right to do so. Also beyond dispute: Zimmerman was motivated by a desire to safeguard his neighborhood.
The legally carried firearm resting on Zimmerman’s hip was there to protect life, not project personal power or facilitate a “hate crime.” Don’t take my word for it. Lest we forget, a Florida jury accepted his lawyers’ argument that their client acted in self-defense.
Millions of armed Americans go about their business carrying a firearm for the same reason: to protect themselves against criminal assault. While there are bad apples in every barrel, concealed carry permit holders are as far from trigger happy wannabe cops as Clint Eastwood is from Pee-wee Herman.
A 1996 survey of Florida permit holders revealed that they were 840 times less likely to be involved in a violent crime than the general population.
Gun control advocates refuse to accept the fact that the vast majority of Americans carrying a firearm — in accordance with local, state and federal laws — are a peaceable lot. They are not criminals. They’re anti-criminals.
By carrying a firearm, they deter violent crime. And combat it. In 2003, law-abiding Americans shot and killed 2.5 times as many criminals as police, with less collateral damage.
Gun control advocates are not swayed by statistics. They feel free to exploit the Zimmerman case to project their own fear (of a loss of self-control while armed) onto fellow citizens. Truth be told, armed Americans are not a threat to society. They are our country’s front line against crime.
Any law that seeks to delay, deny or restrict Americans’ natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms puts us all in greater danger, not less.
Robert Farago is the publisher ofthetruthaboutguns.com