Whenever gun control advocates make their pitch for adding still more firearms-restricting laws to the books, there’s one theme that they continually use to wrap their agenda in: safety. They want to make the world a safer place. For the children. And who could be against that? But there’s an important caveat they make about the safety they seek: according to them, guns make them feel unsafe. Feel. And there’s where the problem lies . . .
Of course, there’s a difference between feeling safe and actually being safe, and while the perception of the relative level of safety can sometimes cloud people’s judgement the reality of the matter is beyond question. The people on the Titanic no doubt felt perfectly safe right up until the moment they felt freezing cold seawater around their ankles. By the same token, some travelers in America feel jittery about air travel, but they’re more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the airport than in the airplane itself.
I bring this up because as I was flying over the English countryside a couple days ago, I was reminded of an article that some academic wrote praising the British gun control system and demanding that America implement it as well. The entire premise of his argument was that he felt safe walking down the streets in England, but not as safe when walking down the streets of his American hometown. And for that disparity, he blamed the prevalance of guns.
The problem with “gut feel”-based analysis is that it has no grounding in fact. Gun control advocates blame guns for all the ills of American society not because they have any concrete evidence, but because guns scare them. If their position had even a shred of credibility then during the last couple years of massive firearms sales we would have seen a corresponding increase in the crime or murder rate. Instead it continues to drop. Fast.
Another example is one I’ve grown quite fond of recently. Suppose you have two rooms, one filled with hundreds of police officers and the other filled with hundreds of citizens licensed to carry a concealed firearm. If you ask a gun control advocate which one of those rooms they’d feel safest in, they’d respond that the one filled with coppers is preferable. But in reality, that group of police officers is about four times more likely to kill our friendly gun control advocate than is the concealed carry group.
The root cause of gun control is fear. Gun control advocates have an irrational fear of guns, and they believe that by enacting enough laws the evil firearms will be banished and things will be much better. They base this not on facts or statistics, but on indoctrination and prejudice. While it’s perfectly reasonable to use one’s feelings of safety and security to make everyday decisions, when it comes to lawmaking I expect a higher level of reasoning to be used. Sure, it may be unreasonably optimistic, but in my view, laws designed to deter crime and improve safety should be based on actual facts and evidence instead of the whims of the committee in question.
Relying on feelings instead of constitutional law and actual facts is the reason the Jim Crowe laws were passed in the South. That same reasoning — relying on fear and prejudice instead of facts — is what is driving gun control advocates to move against guns and gun owners. Prejudice and fear have driven people to do some terrible things throughout history, and I sincerely hope that facts and logic will win. For once.