The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
Back to Basics
By Jeff Knox
(October 10, 2007) The single most important fact that gunowners and rights supporters need to understand and educate others about is that gun control laws don’t work. It’s not that they don’t work well or are only marginally effective, they don’t work at all. As a matter of fact, they actually work backwards; not only do they not reduce crime, accidents, or suicide, they enable crime and increase loss of life. Gun control laws make criminals of innocents while protecting criminals.
When I addressed the 450 or so attendees of the 2007 Gun Rights Policy Conference on the subject of Expanding Concealed Carry in the US, I told them that the two biggest challenges we face are elitism in our own ranks, and letting our words get in the way of our arguments and our objectives. I learned after the presentation that there is a bigger problem that I thought didn’t apply to serious gun rights activists: that is the belief that carry restrictions and some other gun control laws are reasonable.
Those of us who are gun rights absolutists have a tendency to assume that everyone else in the gun rights movement – especially hard core activists willing to sit through two full days of lecturing about gun rights – believe the same things we know to be true. That’s not the case. Talking with attendees after my presentation, I found a number of them who felt that concealed carry permit laws were not only reasonable, but necessary! They equated CCW permits with drivers’ licenses and saw no problem with such restrictions. Indeed, they felt that arguing against “reasonable” CCW restrictions was not only bad PR, but was actually bad policy.
These folks have fallen into the trap I recently wrote about of mistrusting “those others” and allowing that mistrust to cloud their judgment. This is the same trap that much of the general population falls for, but I naively thought serious activists were thoroughly inoculated against this insidious disease. I thought they understood that any gun is every gun, that one man is every man, and that accepting restrictions on any opens the door for restrictions on all. I was wrong. It is clear that many of our guys simply don’t get it.
One of the foundational operating principles of gun control is that gun laws are never about you and me, and they are never about your guns and my guns, they are always about those others. They are about those shady, untrustworthy, irresponsible, mentally disturbed, death-spraying, military-style others; those other people and those other guns. Those guns that are too small, too big, too powerful, or too easy to kill with, and those people who are criminals, lunatics, or idiots. People support and accept gun control laws because of fear and mistrust of those others and the false promise that these laws will keep these other guns out of the hands of these other people; and thus supposedly keep these others on the straight and narrow.
The truth is that most of the other people folks are worried about pose no threat at all and those who are a threat are not the least deterred by gun control laws. While a gun control law might produce a small, temporary reduction in “gun crime,” in an area, there is almost never any reduction in overall crime, particularly violent crime. There is no advantage to being stabbed, beaten, or hacked to death over being shot to death. Personally, I think I’d prefer to die by gunfire over most other options. Forty three people murdered last year compared to forty eight people murdered this year is not progress no matter how many fewer were committed with guns.
Once it is understood that gun control does not reduce crime, accidents, or suicide, it is easier to accept the philosophical core of the gun rights movement which states that even if gun control laws actually did reduce crime, they would still not be justified and should be opposed. Defense of oneself and ones family is a sacred right and it may not be discarded in the name of crime control. If rights could be so easily dismissed, then we know we could dramatically reduce crime tomorrow by simply ignoring Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure and doing away with habeas corpus, and due process. But no amount of crime reduction can justify revoking fundamental rights.
Every gun owner needs to clearly understand these truths and effectively share them with everyone they know or we will continue to see our rights gradually but inevitably turned into privileges.
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