Op-Ed: Guns are bad, but gun ownership is good


Fox News

Students protesting the ideas of gun control.

Payton Lee

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White liberals, rich liberals, safe liberals; it’s time for us to chat. I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while now but I haven’t had all too much time. Your hearts are in the right place– guns kill people, so if we remove guns from society, less people will die. 2 + 2 = 4, easy, done. Most people would agree that the world would simply be a better place without any guns at all. But, the world doesn’t work like that. The world would be a better place without drugs too, agreeable? Has drug use or trafficking gone down since the War on Drugs began? Nope, its gone up. Did a border wall in Israel decrease violence with Palestine? Nope, violence increased. In fact, preventative measures rarely work. My fellow lefties can always agree with me that walls and laws can’t really achieve their intended outcomes, but for some reason this logic goes out the window when it comes to gun ownership. But enough speculation, let’s check out some facts. Actually, before facts let’s go into theory.

Part 1: The Government Sucks

The government (or any government for that matter) holds a monopoly of violence over its people. A civilian kills an innocent police officer? Life in prison. A police officer kills an innocent civilian? Paid vacation. Overseas, this monopoly resides in the hands of the military, who pretty much carry out any actions they choose consequence-free. Domestically, police are the weapon-holders. The call for gun control (or from some liberals, gun outlaw) requires a larger government with more police, holding more guns, and a more extreme divide in rights between cops and the everyman. Ironically, liberals are the same group that call for more “policing of police” (which I agree with) and claim that the major reason police commit so much unchecked violence is because of racism (which I also agree with). However, lefties must recognize that race and other forms of discrimination are also common provocations for gunmen to take their rifles to the streets. Every extremist murder carried out last year, in 2018, was done by a right-wing extremist, including Neo-Nazis, Incels and Alt-Righters. Not Muslims, not Antifa. We can derive from this that we do not need to fight guns to solve our issues with gun violence, we need to fight the current trend of Neo-Nazism.

Disclaimer: I am in no way apologizing for the actions of religious extremists. Fundamental Christians and Muslims alike have carried out destable actions in the past. However, post-9/11, American right-wingers have carried out more acts of violent terror than all American radical Muslims combined.

Part 2: Gun rights are women’s and minorities’ rights

I understand why liberal Fort Collins-ers feel safe without a gun in their home. It is the same reason I feel safe in my home every night at well. We tend to live in upper-middle class neighborhoods, don’t know many gun owners, and scoff at the idea of a redneck who knows all the specs of his favorite rifle. However, for many, carrying a gun remains a necessity. For the past 3 consecutive years, transgender individuals have been twice as likely to be victims of unprovoked murder than the cisgender majority. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are estimated to be 30% more likely to be targeted for a violent attack than heterosexual individuals. 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape within their lifetime. Although not guaranteed, in all of these situations, having a gun on-hand or in one’s home would have helped prevent a crime.

Part 3: Individual Rights

It is important to maintain the right of the individual to own a firearm for two reasons:

  1. Police rarely prevent crimes, and only respond to them.
  2. If an officer or soldier has the inherent right to carry a firearm, it should be the right of every adult citizen as well.

There are some gun control laws that I support, as well. I support “Red Flag” laws, which remove guns from possession from between the time period of a violent crime until the trial is complete, and I also support universal background checks, which disallows those with violent criminal histories from (legally) aquiring a firearm. The vast majority of gun deaths cannot be attributed to “assault rifles”, as handguns are the most common weapon in murders, so putting restrictions on them is somewhat of a lost cause. When asked, I almost always tell people I am “pro-gun” which puts a strange look on the faces of my liberal friends, occasionally. Being pro-gun does not mean pro-violence, and honestly, “anti-gun” doesn’t always mean anti-violence, after the research is laid out.

I believe conservatives, liberals, and leftists alike would spend their time better debating other issues. At the end of the day, I don’t want the government Treading on gun rights, and I can shake hands with my right-libertarian friends on that. And liberals: you should too! Guns can greatly benefit the people you work to liberate, and can even be a tool in that liberation (am I allowed to call for libertarian socialist revolution on Etched in Stone? Probably not). The rights of the individual should be a priority for lefties, and for better or worse, guns do and should continue to fall under that umbrella of individual rights.

So go, research and buy yourself a gun (when you are of age). Take some safety classes. Defend yourself and your freedom. There is nothing to be frightened of, only things to learn.