“[S]hall not be infringed.”

These are the last four words of Amendment II of the Bill of Rights — a right that our forefathers thought was so important that only freedom of speech was more important. But as always after horrific acts of violence the cry goes out for “infringement” of the right to keep and bear arms by law-abiding and freedom-loving individuals. As always, the thought is that surely we can do something, anything, to stop evil. Actually all we do is tie one hand behind the backs of law-abiding citizens while congratulating ourselves for having just done something about gun violence.

Many of these individuals are sincere, if misguided. Many are opportunistic politicians trying to gain political capital. Keep in mind, not a single one of the gun control restrictions being proposed would have stopped the last three shootings. They are nothing more than resurrected and hackneyed gun control agendas. We have enough gun control laws; they just have to be enforced. Individuals are already required to have a criminal background check to purchase a firearm. In 2017 there were 112,000 purchase denials because people were in forbidden categories. The ATF investigated 12,700 of these cases. Twelve were prosecuted.

Now let’s clarify something: There is no evidence of an epidemic of mass shootings. The number of mass shootings has remained steady since 1966. Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, the leading researcher on the topic for the past 35 years, states “There is no evidence that we are in the midst of an epidemic of mass shootings.” It is the media coverage of shootings that ends up creating a false sense that gun homicides — which is at or near historic lows, according to Pew Reserach — is ubiquitous and growing. This is not to minimize the tragedies, it is just fact. The number of firearms has doubled over the past two decades and violent crime involving guns has declined.

Should we look for ways to minimize the tragedies? Of course. But firearm registration and/or confiscation will not be tolerated. It will be met by resistance. It would be shredding of the Constitution. Bans on high-capacity magazines and semi-auto rifles did not decrease gun-related violence. Clinton’s DOJ confirmed this. In 2016, rifles (of all types) were used in only 2.6% of firearm related murders. “We must act now” is not a gun control policy and doing “something” is better than doing nothing is not an argument.

Our Founders through the Second Amendment (and 14th Amendment-1868) absolutely intended to guarantee citizens the right to carry firearms for personal protection. And no, it was not just for the militia or only for “muskets.” To argue such would be to say that freedom of the press is only for printed word since radio, television or the internet didn’t exist in their times. They certainly didn’t conceive that a free person would have to have the permission of a state government, much less the federal government, to bear arms. Every right has its costs, but the alternatives are often more dire.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”-Benjamin Franklin.

Mike Muterspaugh lives in Harrisonburg.

(21) comments

paulgarber

Every long gun should have a pistol grip. If I lost my job, I'd want something to hang on to.

prodigalson

Excellent letter Mike! Bravo!!

bishopsboy

It seems to me, the gun-grabbers need to explain how taking guns from law abiding citizens will stop the much greater problem mentioned below. However, I strongly suspect fixing that problem will mean Democrats must disavow many of their most cherished, misguided notions regarding Big Government, racism, hard work, faith, and family.

LVW

Bb: Blaming the Democratic party for high crime rates in big cities is confusing causation and correlation. How would a Republican mayor of Chicago, for example, fare any better?

bishopsboy

Dear LVW, I can't say anything about a Republican mayor of Chicago since there hasn't been one in almost 90 years. However, NYC did have a Republican mayor in the not so distance 1990's and overall murder rates (and general crime rates) dropped precipitously when he was in control. Correlation or causation? I have to lean toward causation.

LVW

Hmmm. Crime rates dropped nationally during Guilliani's tenure. I kind of like the "broken windows theory" he ran with, although it came with some questionable practices. But there is another possible cause for the general drop in violent crime during the 90s, one examined in the book Freakonomics, one you're just going to love: the effect of the Roe vs. Wade decision.

bishopsboy

Dear LVW, so you're implying the grossly disproportionate abortion of brown/black urban children is responsible for a drop in crime in the 1990's? If that's the case, are you then advocating the extermination of brown/black people based on their disproportionate participation in violent crimes? Sounds like you're channeling eugenics queen Margaret Sanger there, LVW. Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that wearing a hood and sheet to the local Democratic get-together is good fashion sense! I'm not sure you thought through your response, try again.....

bishopsboy

Dear LVW, after you get back from the Klan meeting, you might also check the statistics, but I believe NYC violent crime rates dropped significantly more during Guiliani's term than nationwide trends during the same time frame. This, of course, supports my contention that Republican policies do a better job curtailing violent crime than Democratic ones do....

LVW

I'm not even going to respond to that.

prodigalson

I’ve got to hand it to you Mufalme Bishop. You really know how to flush these liberals out of hiding, forcing them to admit what they really believe. Perverts allowed to go into the girls’ bathroom, The Ku Klux Klan, Eugenics, the whole nine yards. Brilliant!

bishopsboy

Prince Prodigal, I just followed his assertion about "Freakonomics" to its logical conclusions....

LVW

Levitt and Donohue's paper had nothing to do with race.

bishopsboy

Look LVW, you are probably the smartest and best educated poster on this site; therefore, you're certainly intelligent enough to see who Levitt and Dubner were talking about even though they never mentioned race in their book.

LVW

Bb: I think you should read about their results rather than guessing.

bishopsboy

Dear LVW, I’ve skimmed enough of it to get the gist. They’re saying more at risk kids were aborted in the 1970’s, and as a consequence, the population of future violent criminals was reduced. That’s why the violent crime rate dropped in the 90’s when these aborted kids would have been coming of age and committing crimes. I agree they do not mention race. However, facts are what they are, and these aborted kids were very disproportionately black and Hispanic. The logical extension of their study is that aborting black and Hispanic kids reduces future violent crime. I found that notion blatantly racist and disgusting. Especially when these at risk kids are victims of a Democratic Big Government engineered welfare system that destroyed the black and Hispanic families living in the inner cities. The absence of strong family units strongly correlates with violent crime. The solution to the problem is restore black and Hispanic families while aborting the Big Government welfare state as soon as possible. We should be raising up the downtrodden to our level, not killing them.

prodigalson

Well LVW, Roe Versus Wade, Planned Parenthood, and abortion have everything to do with race, and you know it.

bishopsboy

35 were shot, 7 fatally in Chicago this weekend but the MSM and the Democratic Party doesn't mention it or care, why? I can think of several reasons: Most of the victims were black. Most of the shooters were black. Chicago is controlled by Democrats and has restrictive gun laws. None of this fits into the Democratic narrative of angry white male neo-n@zis buying guns through background check loopholes and shooting up minorities because of Trump's racism.

LVW

A note about media coverage: If one drug dealer shoots another, that is not as news-worthy as when a bystander is shot by a stranger.

James Poplar

Excellent and factual Open Forum. Many try to obscure the facts with emotion or to gain political capital, but this piece speaks for itself -- well done Sir !

Geator

Muterspaugh spreads the paranoia of gun confiscation with misinformation and the same old gun-totin song. Mass shootings are more frequent an deadlier. He offers no solution, just passes the buck and threatens violence if they come to take his. Pathetic.

Sane Man

Why don't you offer a solution? [wink]

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