PHOENIX, January 11, 2013 ― Ever since the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, CNN host Piers Morgan has been on an anti-gun tirade. And as with most tirades, his lacks common sense and and ignores basic facts.
Let’s consider some facts: In 2011, 356 people were killed by shotguns and 323 by rifles (including “assault rifles”), according to the FBI. Knives and blades were used to kill 1,694, 496 were killed by blunt objects, and 728 by hands and feet. Total firearm deaths were 8,583. From 2007 through 2011, the number of firearm homicides fell steadily, from 10,129 in 2007. In the discussion of either homicide or gun violence in America, assault rifles are almost irrelevant. America’s gun violence is primarily a function of handguns, a category that is almost entirely ignored by Morgan and others in this discussion.
Consider this: In a country where over 8,000 people are killed with guns every year, we’re focused on a category of crimes – mass murders committed with “assault rifles” – so rare that you could invite every mass killer in the last 50 years to your SoHo loft for a party and have room to spare. Your child is more likely to be beaten to death in school than shot by an Adam Lanza.
Morgan claims that if assault riffles and high-capacity magazines were outright illegal to own, 27 people wouldn’t have been killed in Newton, nor 12 people in Aurora, Colorado. The more accurate statement is that if the shooters had been completely unable to acquire those items, the death toll might have been less, but perhaps not. Morgan fails to realize that criminals don’t follow laws they don’t want to; that’s explicit in the definition of “criminal.”
Connecticut has some of the strictest firearm laws in the nation. To obtain a gun there, you must be 21. You must apply for a local permit with the town’s police chief and be fingerprinted for a state and federal background check. The process includes a 14-day waiting period, and the state requires a gun safety course for anyone who purchases a handgun.
The gunman in Newtown wasn’t eligible to own a gun, as he wasn’t 21. He stole the weapons from his mother, who legally obtained them.
In Chicago, another strict gun zone with less than 1 percent of the nation’s population, there were more than 500 homicides last year, almost 5 percent of the nation’s total and well above the 405 casualties of coalition troops in Afghanistan last year. Chicago is a city where gun control has utterly failed, and Chicago’s policies should not be extended nation-wide, as the White House has suggested they should be.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, another gun control advocate, joined Morgan’s gun control tirade this week, promising an assault weapons ban and other strict gun laws in New York. Cuomo ignored the fact that of the 769 homicides in New York in 2011, only five were carried out with a riffle.
While assuming that stricter gun laws would stop someone who wants to take the life of another human being, Morgan and his gun control allies put the blame on the medium rather the perpetrator.
There was nothing spontaneous about Sandy Hook, Aurora, Portland or Tucson. These were crimes committed by men who had decided ahead of time to kill and who didn’t care about the lives they would destroy or the laws they were breaking. That is an illness that no gun control law can cure.
It’s even hard to conceive that banning all guns outright would decrease rate of murder by a gun, as a black market for guns would certainly emerge, much like the market for illicit narcotics.
Those who continue to preach the implementation of strict gun laws do not understand that gun control only benefits the criminals, while obstructing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves from the prospect of home invaders.
On Thursday night, Morgan continued to show that he does not understand the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, as he was aghast to hear guest Ben Shapiro proclaim that the right to own assault riffles and high-capacity magazines is to protect against the prospect of a tyrannical government.
When the colonists were under tyrannical control by the British Empire in the late 18th century, the founding fathers realized that an armed population protects from an institution that is supposed to be both beneficial to and derived from the people. That’s how the Second Amendment was born.
The founding fathers never imagined weapons that could fire multiple rounds without reloading in a matter of seconds, but they understood symmetry and would not have thought it wise to restrict the people to 18th century weapons technology while allowing their masters to move on to the 21st century. If they didn’t imagine individuals with semiautomatic weapons, they didn’t imagine a government armed with drones and fully automatic weapons, either.
A final note: The AR-15 is not an “assault riffle.” AR stands for “ArmaLite rifle,” not “assault riffle” or “automatic riffle.” The United States Army defines an assault riffle as a “selective-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power. If applied to any semi-automatic firearm regardless of its cosmetic similarity to a true assault rifle, the term is incorrect.”
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