How many gun deaths do liberals really think they can prevent?

It is not just or rational to curtail the Second Amendment rights of all Americans because two people committed murder.

August 7, 2019

By William Marbury

The Left is gleeful just now because two mass shootings have been committed with a week. The Left sees this as an opportunity to further strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights. Because the mob of the press and the left-wing politicians seek by sheer vociferousness to drown out voices of reason and to make defense of freedom seem outside the realm of acceptable discourse, Americans who want to preserve their freedoms must at present stay strong. To that end, it will be good to review some of the reasons not to further infringe Americans' Second Amendment rights.
First, why should person A be stripped of his rights because person B committed a crime? If someone you never heard of stole from a local store, would it be a just or rational remedy for the store to prohibit you from shopping there? If your neighbor commits arson, should you therefore be banned from possessing matches and gasoline? Neither is it just or rational to curtail the Second Amendment rights of all Americans because two people committed murder.
Second, the various schemes of depriving Americans of their Second Amendment rights are ineffective at stopping crimes committed with guns. Many studies have shown this. An example is this piece, in the far-left Washington Post, no less: "I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise," written by a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight.
Third, the consequences of loss of Second Amendment rights are dire. We needn't look at remote historical instances of government tyranny against a defenseless populace; we have the modern example of Venezuela. "Venezuelans regret gun ban, 'a declaration of war against an unarmed population.'" See also "Gun Control Preceded the Tyranny in Venezuela."
What, then, is to be done? These are often copycat crimes. Already there has been an attempted copycat of the El Paso shooting. Giving these attacks and murderers less news coverage, and less adulatory news coverage, may help reduce the inspiration to copycat murders. However, since so much of the left-wing press has an ideological as well as a profit interest in sustained and repeated coverage of these crimes, there is little that the individual citizen can do. Refuse to "like," "retweet," or click the link is about all.
A major cause of murders with firearms is gangs and gang warfare. "[G]un homicides are overwhelmingly tied to gang violence. ... According to the Center[s] for Disease Control (CDC), gang homicides accounted for roughly 8,900 of 11,100 gun murders in both 2010 and 2011. That means that there were just 2,200 non-gang-related firearm murders in both years in a country of over 300 million people and 250 million guns." On this head, the Trump administration is making heroic efforts to destroy gangs and deport foreign gang members.
Even so, 2,200 non-gang-related firearm murders per year is more murders than most Americans would like to see. The ultimate answer is this, unpopular though it may be: murders with guns are part of the cost of freedom. Americans tolerate over 35,000 traffic deaths every year, and hundreds of thousands of maimings, as the price of personal mobility. There is no question but that these deaths and maimings could be reduced to near zero by forbidding Americans to travel other than by foot. But most Americans consider that the current level of death and mayhem on the highways is an acceptable price to pay for personal mobility.
When the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said "living with terror attacks . . . is 'part and parcel of living in a big city,'" the left-wing press did not howl with outrage. Those who value freedom and independence have an even better argument. Freedom is not free; it comes at a cost. By forestalling tyrannies like those in Venezuela, Russia, China, and elsewhere, our Second Amendment has already saved millions of American lives and will continue to do so.

William Marbury is the pen name of a lawyer who works in the arts.

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