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A Citizen’s Perspective: Why I Support Gun Rights

With the horrendous tragedy of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, speculation has begun to develop and a call for stricter gun control laws has arisen. We now see the focus shifting away from the taking of twenty-six innocent lives to how this could have been prevented.

I am from just outside of Atlanta, which is ranked as one of the top 1% least safe cities. I grew up with family members who hunted game regularly, are avid supporters of 2nd Amendment rights, and a mother who is a public elementary school teacher. I’ve gone to shooting ranges and was taught from a very early age that guns are weapons, not toys and can cause immense damage when not used properly.

Given all the factors, I am a supporter of gun rights, and am shocked to see uneducated, unfounded calls for gun control.

The problem with gun control laws is they do not work.

Duke professor and former member of the Department of Justice Christopher Schroeder has been at the forefront of gun rights. He was instrumental in recommending ways to improve background checks on gun buyers, restrictions that responsible and legal gun owners should have no problem with. Schroeder had this to say: “I don’t believe there is any law that would have prevented the Connecticut shootings.”

“If anyone thought that legislation would do any good, they would be on board with it,” Schroeder continued.

Gary Kleck, a political liberal and one-time supporter of gun-control laws, has been studying guns and their effect on violence and crime since 1976. What he’s found is that gun-control laws have no net effect on violence or crime rates, because the benefits of widespread gun ownership cancel out the costs.

Kleck goes on to describe another fact little-known to Americans today: crime is more widespread in Western Europe than it is in the U.S.  Our crime rate has been falling since the early 90’s, with events like those of Newtown occurring highly infrequently.

Criminals, after all, have been proven to target areas where gun-toting citizens are known to be sparse or where carry is not allowed.

Georgia ranks on the median-to-low-end side ratio of households with guns to crime, the median due to high criminal activity in Atlanta. Being from Georgia and having a mother who is a public school teacher, I would love to make sure she is protected. I do not think that allowing weapons to be carried in schools is the answer. Assessment and treatment of potential threatening characteristics is.

Gun laws for criminals who commit travesties like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary typically follow a certain pattern, no matter how sick and deranged. Trying to take away or enforce ridiculous gun control laws will do little to deter them.

Studies show that most criminals acquire guns through friends or through theft, including Adam Lanza (whom friends said suffered from a major personality disorder, and had a tortured mind), built up his arsenal from his doomsday prepped mom. Mrs. Lanza, who even spoke of fears about her son’s behavior a week before the attack, is the perfect example of what could have been a key aspect in prevention. If she, or anyone else potentially for that matter, had of recognized warning signs in Adam Lanza then perhaps we could have escaped the terrible situation we’re in now.

Not prevention of gun rights, but prevention and recognition of the potential for such a terrible situation as this in individuals, and how we as a nation can recognize this and help educate ourselves and others on the warning signs.

I personally am proud to have grown up and learned the proper way to use guns, and quite enjoy a sporting hunt with various family members. What we need today is not more laws or the threatened taking of law-abiding citizens’ guns, but better assessment and prevention of the potential perpetrators of these horrible, horrible acts.

Kyle Wiley

Kyle Wiley is a development officer at The Heritage Foundation and a graduate of the University of Georgia. Find him on Twitter: @kwiley1

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