Gun Control or People Control? What Are the Real Issues?

Lyle BrennanAfter the shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook, Americans are searching for ways to prevent future tragedies, and politicians are taking advantage of the public outcry to advance their own political agendas. For example, when Harry Reid used to represent the citizens of Nevada, he voted to support our Second Amendment rights. Now that he only represents the Progressive wing of the Democrat party, he flip-flopped to support their positions on gun control, including enhanced background checks, bans on so-called “assault weapons,” etc.

We’ve all listened to arguments from both sides about what constitutes an assault weapon, how many bullets should be allowed to fit into a gun, what kinds of background checks would be best, and on and on. The truth is, we have plenty of gun laws already, and they haven’t seemed to solve the problem of violence in our society. In Chicago, which has the strongest gun control laws in the country, 446 school age children were shot in 2012. Yes, we have a sick society, but taking away guns won’t cure it.

Almost all the killers involved in recent mass murders have either undergone treatment for mental illness or showed obvious signs that they were dangerously unstable. In the 1970s, liberals decided it was unfair to institutionalize mentally ill people, even if they were dangerously psychotic or schizophrenic. They convinced state governments to dismantle the facilities and the laws that kept mentally ill people locked away. Now the liberals who were so concerned about the rights of paranoid schizophrenics are trying to solve the problem by taking away the rights of responsible gun owners.

Are guns really necessary? Ask Amanda Collins, who was violently raped in 2007 on the University of Nevada Reno campus. She had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but left her gun at home that night because the campus is a “gun-free zone.” She was unable to defend herself from her armed attacker, who went on to assault two other women and kill a third. Research shows that between 800,000 and 2.5 million crimes are stopped each year because the intended victims defended themselves with guns.

However, guns serve an even more essential purpose. They are the last line of defense against a government that wants to take away our rights, or even our lives. Liberals say it could never happen here, but it happened in Germany, in Russia, in Cambodia, and in other countries all over the world. A disarmed populace is unable to defend itself when the tanks come rumbling down the street. And the first step in disarming citizens is to find out where their guns are. The Obama administration claims their proposed database of gun owners will only be used for limited purposes, but once the information is in the government’s computers, who knows where it will end up, or how it will be used?

The Second Amendment, by guaranteeing each citizen the right to protect himself and his family from a tyrannical government, is essential to our whole Constitutional system. It doesn’t make much difference how many rights you have, if you don’t have the ability to defend yourself when those rights are taken away. And yet, Harry Reid recently supported the administration’s gun control proposals “because 9 out of 10 American people want them.” No matter how citizens answer a survey in the heat of the moment, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” If Progressives in Congress really want to do away with the Second Amendment, they need to propose another Amendment to repeal it, and see if they can get that passed. Barring that, it’s their sworn duty as elected officials to uphold the Constitution of the United States as it’s written, not as they think it should have been written.

Originally Published in Nevada Business Magazine

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