While reading a Twitter conversation between “pro” and “anti” gun-control activists I happened upon a blog that called for 5 “#Gunsense New Years Resolutions for 2014”.
In Colorado and throughout the nation, many gun control battles were fought in 2013. Some were won, some were lost. In Colorado, we lost when five unconstitutional infringements on our right to keep and bear arms were passed, but that loss was mitigated in that three state senators were ignominiously removed from office.
The new year is just starting, but already we have learned that a Colorado group is going to try to get an initiative on the ballot to ban concealed carry on college campuses. As should be clear to all but the most ardent gun-control supporters, so-called “gun-free zones” (GFZs) do not enhance public safety – in fact the opposite is true. Criminals and mass shooters target innocent people in GFZs because they know they are unlikely to encounter armed resistance. As the recent shooting at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, CO proved, a good guy with a gun is what stopped the bad guy from murdering more than one person.
It is imperative that those of us who support the Second Amendment remain vigilant and active this year. To further this goal, I recommend that we commit to our own #2A New Year’s Resolutions and up the ante.
- Raise the visibility of our support for the Second Amendment by maintaining regular contact with your state and national elected officials including senators to demand that they honor their oath of office and defend the Second Amendment (and in Colorado, Article II Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution). Point out the futility of many proposed gun control laws being discussed.
- Engage with ALL of your family members and friends who may not be aware of the issues surrounding gun control and present them with the facts as we understand them.
- Support gun rights at the local and national level by joining or donating to gun rights organizations including the National Rifle Association, Colorado Second Amendment Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, and others. Remember that wealthy progressives like Michael Bloomberg and others are giving millions of dollars to politicians and organizations that want to infringe your rights.
- If you own guns and have children, ensure that your guns are properly and securely stored. Teach your children about gun safety. Teach them to shoot! Educated young people are the best defense against accidental injuries and death. Ask the parents of your children’s friends if they practice responsible gun ownership and teach safety to their children.
- Encourage all of your friends and acquaintances to remain active and vigilant. Explore using social media including Facebook and Twitter, websites and blogs to keep up to date with what is happening in your state and nationally.
- This is an important election year. Get active in your local politics. If you are Republican or Libertarian, look for ways to reconcile the two parties to the degree that we don’t throw away our votes in the next election. If you are a Democrat, ask yourself if Democratic candidates really represent your values. Advise politicians of all parties of the pledge shown below.
While I can respect the passion and effort of the #gunsense people, I also believe that they could not be more wrong. I am convinced that punishing law abiding citizens and infringing the right to keep and bear arms does nothing to improve public safety or keep guns out of the hands of criminals. My research into the issues has convinced me that gun control costs lives, and that defensive gun uses outnumber criminal gun uses by a significant factor. In recent days, the Detroit police chief has stated that he believes that legally armed citizens help deter crime. As the police chief in America’s true murder capital, this is significant. In addition, a researcher at Quinnipiac University has released a study that shows that states with restrictive concealed carry laws have higher gun-related murder rates.
In that light, I present below their “Big Ten” so-called “commonsense” gun laws and the refutation I would provide if I were a politician being confronted with these demands.
1. Do you support universal background checks, including in private sales? If not, why not?
Background checks (BGC) at the point of sale are already in place. Anybody with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) must perform a background check prior to selling a firearm. This includes sales at gun shows. I do not support a law calling for universal background checks because there is insufficient evidence that they are effective at improving public safety, criminals obtain guns through means that are already illegal, and no universal background check system will work without registration.
2. Do you support an assault weapons ban? If not, why not?
No. So-called “assault weapons”, meaning modern sporting rifles, are used in only a small number of gun-related crimes. True assault weapons, meaning military grade automatic rifles are already prohibited and are not used in crime in the United States.
3. Do you support mandatory child safety locks on all guns?
No. Child safety locks and other trigger type locking devices impair the ability for the firearm to be used quickly in a defensive situation and by their very nature are not designed to be used on a loaded gun. The better way to ensure child safety is by properly securing all firearms in the house and teaching children about gun safety.
4. Do you support mandatory safe gun storage laws, particularly if a household contains a minor or person adjudicated mentally ill? If not, why not?
If Nancy Lanza had recognized the threat posed by her mentally ill son and taken steps to ensure he did not have access to firearms, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary might have been avoided. It is already a legal requirement that gun owners with minors or adjudicated mentally ill persons in their homes should take all reasonable steps to keep firearms out of their hands or face reckless endangerment charges. However, it should be up to responsible citizens to determine how best to secure their firearms, not the heavy hand of government. For these reasons I oppose mandatory storage laws.
5. Do you support repealing the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents victims from holding the gun industry to account? If not, why not?
The firearms industry is already the most heavily regulated and scrutinized industry in the United States. No other industry is held criminally liable for damages caused by third party use of its products, and far more people die in the United States every year from motor vehicle, alcohol related, other accidents and causes. This law protects a legal industry that sells constitutionally protected, legal products.
6. Do you support limiting magazine sizes to ensure law enforcement are not outgunned? If not, why not?
Absolutely not. The vast majority of law enforcement officers believe that banning “high capacity” magazines would not reduce violent crime. The majority of crimes committed with handguns involve fewer than 10 shots fired. Limiting magazine capacity just puts legal gun owners and defenders against armed aggression at risk.
7. Do you support mandatory duty of states to report persons with mental health issues to the Federal background check system? If not, why not?
Yes. Even though federal law prohibits the sale of firearms to persons adjudicated as mentally defective, there is no law that requires the states to report this data. This reporting, which is supported by the firearms industry, would enhance the background check system and help prevent prohibited persons from accessing firearms.
8. Do you support mandatory liability insurance for all gun owners? If not, why not?
No. Such a requirement would place too onerous of a financial burden on the poor and minorities who wish to exercise their inherent human right of self-defense using a firearm. The vast majority of legal gun owners in the U.S. are law abiding citizens who use their firearms legally and safely. No other constitutional right requires a citizen to carry insurance.
9. Do you support mandatory reporting by gun owners of lost or stolen guns? If not, why not?
It is my belief that the vast majority of legal gun owners would report such a loss or theft simply because they are the victim of a crime. Mandatory reporting of such a theft does nothing to deter that weapon from being used in a subsequent crime, and places a law-abiding citizen at a disadvantage if they are unaware that they have been a victim of such a crime.
10. Do you support Smart Gun technology to ensure only approved adults can fire a weapon? If not, why not?
No. The technology is not proven, it is costly, thereby placing another barrier to ownership by the poor, and it would preclude a weapon being used by another person in an emergency. This technology sounds good but is unworkable in real life.
The gun control debate probably will not subside this year and if anything will grow in intensity with new laws being proposed, court challenges taking place, election year politics and a desire on the part of progressives to keep attention away from administration scandals and failures such as Benghazi, NSA spying, Obamacare, and others. It is vital for those of us who value the freedoms protected by the Second Amendment that we “outdo” our opponents.
Happy New Year!
By Richard D. Turnquist
January 4, 2014