The Anti-gun activism we see on the news and marching through the streets is a lot like a car trying to get itself unstuck from the mud. There’s a lot of engine revving, a lot of noise and mud flinging. In the end, however, it’s just a lot of spinning wheels and no movement, with the problem only getting worse the more the gas is stepped on.
Being anti-firearm — or even just restrictive — is frankly unnatural to the U.S., especially since we’ve held firearms in such esteem since even before its founding. It’s written into our very Constitution as a right given to us by God. Our nation was shaped, crafted, and secured with the help of gunpowder. We are, despite what some would like to say, a people of the gun.
Furthermore, we have a history of experience that shows us that problems are often solved with the help of just having a gun nearby. It deters evil, but should evil persist and we be forced to draw the gun, evil is often stopped. Either by surrender or death, evil desists. It’s a lesson we continue to learn as everyday people use their guns to protect themselves, their family, or their charges. It happens almost every day. It recently happened in Maryland.
And it’s a shame the media isn’t as excited about children who are still alive as they are about children who are dead. We could learn a lot from the differing circumstances between the two.
For the majority of America, it seems an awful lot like the anti-gun crowd is nonsensical. They call for change, yet the changes they call for aren’t helpful and are frankly wholly unrealistic. They feel more like knee-jerk reactions that only deprive Americans of the time-honored and proven best line of defense against a world that is proven to be chaotic and unsafe at the drop of a hat. Calls for banning this or restricting that feel more like sacrificial lambs to make people feel safe, while in reality, they do little to actually make the situation better.
High gun restriction too often results in higher crime. So soaked are we in firearms that finding one isn’t hard, be it legally or illegally, and those who follow the law are the only ones who go without protection. The writing is on the wall. Over 98 percent of mass shootings have happened in gun-free zones. Meanwhile, places that are loaded down with good guys with guns have a remarkably low death rate.
But being soaked in firearms is not in itself a bad thing. We forget that while firearms are dangerous, danger in itself is not evil. Danger is a neutral tool that could be used for nefarious or virtuous purposes. Two armed men can be dangerous. One armed man might have malicious or evil intent, and he is dangerous to everyone. The other armed man is good and brave, and he’s a danger too, but only to the malicious man. The second man is dangerous, but because he’s dangerous he’s also safety and protection.
And herein lies the core principle of our nation’s very close relationship with firearms. It’s a signal to evil, the world, and our own government. We’re good guys, but we’re also dangerous. Leave us be.
All this to say that despite all the anti-gun activism that happens in the U.S., guns aren’t going anywhere. The reality we live in makes no room for it. Anti-gun laws and activism runs contrary to the established order of the nation in the same way cancer runs contrary to the human body. It’s destructive to the body, and the more of it you have the deadlier it becomes.
We fail ourselves and open up for further tragedy when we give into the blind fear I see too often pushed by activist groups and politicians. Especially when we have the answers to many of the problems we face as a nation of gun owners right in front of us.
Licensed concealed carry gun owners in Texas have a lower murder rate than Great Britain. CCL holders in Texas and Florida commit even fewer crimes than the very police serving to protect them.
I’m not suggesting everyone in the nation be forced to acquire licenses in order to own a firearm. People have licenses to drive and still commit crimes and have accidents left and right. What I am pointing out, however, is that each of these license holders was educated about their firearm. They were set on a path that embraces the gun culture we currently have and, as such, find themselves to be one of the more well behaved and safest groups of people to be around.
Instead of fearing our gun culture, and attempting to deconstruct something that has been hundreds of years in the making, we should be embracing it, and promoting education and training. Introduce firearms at a younger age, and inject a feeling of responsibility, precaution, and safety. This idea of teaching kids and their parents to just simply fear firearms, and convincing the populace that there’s safety in ignorance will only open them up for disaster.
In other words, we need to work with the culture we already know and love, instead of trying to waste time creating one that simply doesn’t fit with the nation.
Switzerland already does this very successfully according to TIME. Their country is about as gun-soaked as ours, but they treat their guns as the mainstays they are, not as objects to be loathed and feared. Education and enthusiasm are embraced from a young age and continue well into adulthood. The payoff is easy to see. Their gun crime is ridiculously lower than ours:
One of the reasons the crime rate in Switzerland is low despite the prevalence of weapons — and also why the Swiss mentality can’t be transposed to the current American reality — is the culture of responsibility and safety that is anchored in society and passed from generation to generation. Kids as young as 12 belong to gun groups in their local communities, where they learn sharpshooting. The Swiss Shooting Sports Association runs about 3,000 clubs and has 150,000 members, including a youth section. Many members keep their guns and ammunition at home, while others choose to leave them at the club. And yet, despite such easy access to pistols and rifles, “no members have ever used their guns for criminal purposes,” says Max Flueckiger, the association’s spokesperson.
“Social conditions are fundamental in deterring crime,” says Peter Squires, professor of criminology and public policy at the University of Brighton in Great Britain, who has studied gun violence in different countries and concluded that a “culture of support” rather than focus on individualism, can deter mass killings.
“If people have a responsible, disciplined and organized introduction into an activity like shooting, there will be less risk of gun violence,” he tells TIME.
Anti-gun activism is unnatural to our nation, and it’s best we face that fact before we open up for more atrocity to happen.