Gun control is not the answer

Published 11:59 pm Friday, March 13, 2009

If history has taught us anything, it is that anytime after a tragedy, the question that everyone immediately wants to have answered is, “How could we have prevented this?”

This week’s tragedy in our neighboring county, as well as the senseless killings in Germany, will no doubt lead many to call for an increase in gun control laws. They will argue that guns cause violence and they should be eliminated.

Like many arguments, the gun control debate is full of its pithy bumper sticker style slogans (“Gun control means hitting the target”). However, there is one catchy slogan that I believe most defines my opinion about firearms.

“Guns don’t kill people. People do.”

Truer words were never said. Knives also kill people, cars kill people, even baseball bats and golf clubs kill people. Does that mean we should ban all of those items, as well?

If somebody wants to commit a senseless crime, they will commit it. All gun control would do would make it more likely that the criminal’s victim is unable to defend himself or herself.

The case of the German high school killing seems to undermine the argument of gun control. Germany already has some of the most draconian gun laws in Europe — for example, weapons cannot be purchased without first undergoing an extensive background check to determine if an individual is “a threat to society.”

I personally do not like guns or hunting, but I respect Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms. I feel that the gun laws we currently have on the books are more than strong enough to be a deterrent to most violent crimes, as long as these laws are strictly and fairly enforced.

Yes, every so often there will be a nutcase who snaps like the two we saw this week. But for every one nutcase, there are dozens of stories of people like John Lovell of Plantation, Fla.

On Wed., June 27, according to an article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Lovell was enjoying a meal at a Subway restaurant when two armed robbers attempted to hold up the store. Lovell, a former U.S. Marine, shot and killed one of the robbers and seriously injured the other. Yes, one person died, but many more could have been saved from a criminal with the potential to commit murder.

In addition, David Bradley, owner of Bradley TrueValue Hardware store in Samson, told The Dothan Eagle that he and other employees were armed and tried to reach their guns, but by that point shooter Michael McLendon had already left the building.

I believe, and will continue to believe, that guns prevent more crimes than they cause. Making new laws to limit Americans’ right to bear arms will only make the problem of violent crime even worse.