(LibertySociety.com) – Gun violence is one of the biggest problems facing America today. Whether it’s armed robbery, gang crime, or mass shootings, firearms can undoubtedly be a destructive force in our society. Naturally, many people feel restricting the rights of citizens to own and carry weapons is the best way to address these issues. Despite their benevolent aims, however, these people misunderstand the nature of violent crime and overestimate the effectiveness of gun control.
A Brief History Lesson
Gun ownership is one of the fundamental freedoms of American citizens. The Second Amendment ensures the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” a right which enjoys widespread support to this day.
States are free to limit firearm ownership and use up to a point. However, if they impose excessively harsh restrictions, the federal courts can overrule them on the grounds of unconstitutionality. In 2008 in Washington DC, when the local government attempted to impose a blanket ban on handguns, the prohibition was struck down by a federal judge citing precedent from an earlier Supreme Court case.
Gun control advocates often dismiss the constitutional basis for the right to gun ownership, claiming the Founding Fathers didn’t have 21st-Century America in mind when they penned the Bill of Rights in 1789. However, even if we leave the Second Amendment aside, the argument against gun control remains a compelling one. We need only to look at crime statistics for evidence.
Crime and Punishment
Chicago has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the country. With an average of one violent offense for every 100 inhabitants of the city and a murder rate over three times higher than the national average, you might expect that guns would be more freely available in Chicago than other places. However, you would be wrong. The state of Illinois has imposed stricter gun laws than most other states, including licensing requirements and mandatory waiting periods for the acquisition of any type of firearm. Washington, DC is another example where strict gun laws and high levels of violent crime coexist.
These examples make it clear — gun control is not a reliable method of limiting violence on the streets. As the video below outlines, gun control will rarely make it impossible for a determined criminal to access a firearm.
As long as there is gun crime in the US, the debate around gun control will likely rage on. The idea that more guns lead to more crime is overly simplistic, however. The statistics make it clear that preventing citizens from lawfully owning weapons will not make crime go away and may leave good people at a disadvantage when the time comes to defend themselves.
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