The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
It's time to take the Second Amendment seriously. Government permission shouldn't be needed to exercise a fundamental right. The prohibition on the sale of new automatic weapons must be repealed. Import restrictions on arms and ammunition should be lifted.
The common-sense solution to gun violence is to have more guns in the hands of responsible, law-abiding citizens and fewer in the hands of criminals. People who misuse firearms should be punished. There should be no “gun free” zones. Keeping guns out of schools only makes them stalking grounds for psychopaths.
We shouldn't be cowed into surrendering our rights on the basis of hysterical emotionalism. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants to ban semi-automatic rifles. Why? According to the FBI, in 2009 rifles of all types were used in 348 homicides. That same year, 1,825 people were killed by knives and 801 by fists and feet. The United Kingdom essentially outlawed all private gun possession and it now has the highest rate of violent crime in Europe. Strict gun control in Mexico has resulted in a murder rate nearly five times higher than the U.S.
Mass shootings publicized by the media remain rare. But defensive uses of firearms are commonplace and usually go unreported. In 1995, the violent crime rate in Oklahoma was 664 per 100,000 people. The following year, Oklahoma adopted a “shall issue” concealed-carry law. By 2011, the violent crime rate had fallen to 455 per 100,000 people. More guns in the hands of responsible people results in less crime, not more. People who keep guns in their homes even protect those who don't own guns by reducing the likelihood of home invasion.
Make no mistake: The people who hate guns will never quit until they confiscate every last one. They banned automatic rifles in 1986; now they're back for the semi-automatic guns. A recent bill proposed in Illinois would have outlawed all modern firearms including pump-action shotguns. There can be no compromise or capitulation on this issue. Any politician who infringes on our rights to the least degree should be soundly defeated at the ballot box.
Deming is a professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma and the author of “Black and White: Politically Incorrect Essays on Politics, Culture, Science, Religion, Energy, and Environment.”