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(OPINION) Dispelling the Myths and Half-Truths of the Firearm Debate

Contributor: David Barton

The State News has recently run an op-ed regarding gun control, and it offers nothing of value to the conversation. There is one statistic in the piece, the rest is leftist talking points and calls for legislative action based on false narratives.

This response is written assuming the reader has or will read the article.

My high school ran active shooter drills at least once a semester. It didn’t stop us from laughing, joking, talking, or otherwise not taking it seriously. Maybe it was just the guys I hung out with, or maybe it was because we were all stupid 15-year-old kids. I do remember the teachers being a mixed bag of taking it seriously or just asking us to be quiet when the principal came by to check if we were doing the drill correctly.

School shootings are no joke, but they are far less common than we are led to believe. Going into school with a “pit in your stomach every morning,” as the piece states, is a natural emotional reaction. But not understanding why someone would target a school is why using school shootings as a reason for gun control is a poor choice if you want to create meaningful change. Saying your fight or flight response was activated in response to a locker slamming or a book dropping, shows you also have no experience with firearms. Which again, could mean your arguments are based on emotion and not experience or statistics.

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We are not expected to come out of high school with the knowledge of how to hide from threats, that is something you are expected to do as you grow up in general. To live your longest and best life, you need to know where you do not belong. That dark alley may get to the parking lot faster, but no one can see into it. What if someone is in there waiting to mug you or worse? As an adult, you need to be aware of what is and is not safe.

Now that the emotional arguments have been addressed, the author asks the question: “Why do we as a society teach kids to hide in a bathroom stall if they get locked out of a classroom so that other people can own military-grade weapons?”

The answer is, we don’t.

What is “military-grade”? Generally, that means a firearm, typically a rifle, that fires in semi-automatic and either burst-fire or automatic-fire, or all three.

What is the difference between these firing modes? Semi-automatic means when you pull the trigger, one shot is fired. This is how the vast majority of civilian firearms fire. There are some nuances with these of course, but we aren’t going to get into that. Burst-fire is when you pull the trigger, a limited number of shots are fired, typically three, always over one. Now, we are on to automatic-fire, which fires a shot repeatedly as long as you hold the trigger and you have ammo in your magazine. Burst and automatic fire are banned by the National Firearms Act (NFA), unless you have a special license to buy them which takes years and thousands of dollars to purchase. So those are non-factors.

What does this mean? Well, it means almost every firearm in civilian hands is 100% not “military-grade.” This language is used to trick those who are not knowledgeable into thinking certain non-factual things.

Gun violence is not an epidemic. The top ten causes of death in the US are heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower raspatory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, nephritis, Influenza and Pneumonia, and finally, suicide. Firearms don’t kill a fourth as many people as even influenza.

[RELATED STORY: Student Group Pushing for No-Tolerance “Progressive” GUN BAN at MSU]

An American is far more likely to die from illness related to obesity than they are a firearm. We just focus on those deaths because it fits with an authoritarian agenda of disarming the people. Including the ones who need firearms the most: women, members of minority communities, and those of the LGBTQ+ community. Why do gun control advocates want to make those vulnerable communities more vulnerable?

You looking over your shoulder in public because you’re scared of a gunman is sad, unless you are in an area that limits or otherwise restricts gun ownership. Just look at Chicago, they have the strictest gun laws in the country, yet they have the most homicides per year.

Comparing the US to other countries is ridiculous when it comes to firearms. In France, they have had multiple vehicular ramming attacks, do the French panic every time they see a moving van? In England, criminals are using knives, do the English freak out whenever they go to their kitchen? Every country deals with hardship that is unique to them. We are lucky that we don’t have car bombings like in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or have terrorist groups kidnap our children from school. Or have a high likelihood of dying from starvation before we are five. Or die from the common cold because we don’t have doctors.

We in the US suffer from what I am going to term: Capital City Syndrome, or CCS for short.

What is that? Well, in every dystopian novel, like The Hunger Games, the people in the capital city live lives of pleasure and abundance while those outside the city suffer. The US is the Capital City of the world. Most of us have no idea what true hardship is. So, if you are going to compare the US to other countries because you are afraid of guns and they are not, maybe you should look into what goes on in the rest of the world.

I do agree that it is time for lawmakers to do something about the problems in the US. But I mean fixing the mental health epidemic, you know, the one we ignore. I also want them to fix broken communities that promote gang violence, which is responsible for the majority of “mass shootings.” We need to stop treating the symptoms and start treating the disease. Focusing on firearms, as shown in the UK and Australia, does not reduce death or violent crime rates. Maybe if you had actually researched the crime rates, you would know that.

The author also calls for an “assault weapons ban.” Fun fact: we did that. It didn’t work. Also, “assault weapon” has the same definition as “military-grade.” I have already proven the argument is pointless and not based in reality.

A “high-capacity magazine” ban is also useless. It takes seconds to reload. No matter how big or small the magazine is. This just serves to limit how well law-abiding civilians can defend themselves. It also shows, yet again, the author has no idea how firearms are used or how many shots it takes to protect yourself. This isn’t a video game, it’s real life. It takes more than one shot to stop someone from killing you or your loved ones.

We already have a universal background system, and it works pretty well. What else do you want? We have a right to a trial by our peers in this country, and what the author is suggesting is a violation of that right. It sounds like the author wants to make sure you cannot get a firearm to defend yourself because the system has deemed you to be a criminal before you commit a crime. Sounds like the plot to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and we all know who the bad guy was in the movie.

The author then brings up Australia’s gun ban. This is the best example of a gun ban since it resulted in no statistically significant reduction in violent crime. Using “public mass shooting” as a metric for gun control is a ridiculous notion as well. Most shootings are not mass shootings, which are defined, generally, as a shooting resulting in the death or wounding of three or more people. Firearms are generally used in non-mass-shooting environments. We do not need to wonder what the US would look like if they banned firearms like Australia, we need only look at Chicago, which has the highest homicide rate in the country, despite their strict gun control laws.

I do agree enough is enough. We need to stop letting uninformed people lead the conversation on gun control. They want to strip our God-given right to self-defense away because they do not understand how most of us live. They live in the ivory tower where police respond in under two minutes. They do not live in Detroit, where the response time is 23 minutes. Or the UP, where you are lucky to have the police show up in an hour.

They do not live in Texas, where you have to fend off wild hogs.

They do not live in Chicago, where they live in fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and killed by a gang-banger doing a drive-by.

They live soft lives, where they can afford to not take their safety into their own hands. Most of us cannot. Especially those in minority communities. A black man is more likely to be killed by another black man for the first 30 or so years of his life than anything else.

I’ll leave you with this, firearms result in the deaths of an estimated 30,000 people a year. That includes gang violence and suicides which would not change regardless of firearm bans. Excluding those numbers, around 10,000 people are killed by guns each year. Guns are used defensively 500,000 to 3,000,000 times a year. That means, even on the low end, ten times more people’s lives are saved by a firearm than taken by one. If we want to save “just one life,” we need to make firearm ownership more secure and easier than it is. We need to train people as well.

Owning a firearm is a human right. It is also a huge responsibility. If you choose to defend your life, and the lives of those you love, you should take training seriously and know the law. No one wants guns in vending machines for inexperienced people to own. We want safe and responsible firearm use so we can save even more lives.

If you are anti-gun, you are anti-woman, Black, Asian, LGBTQ+, and anti-human.

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