Pro-Choice on Gun Control

State Representative Tom Brinkman (R-37) has recently introduced concealed carry legislation (HB 225 -- April 24, 2001). His bill is also known as the Personal Protection Act. A competing bill, introduced by Rep. James Aslanides (HB 274), is a more restrictive alternative. Opponents fear that either bill would lead to “wild-west” style shootouts in traffic intersections. Supporters are looking forward to a reduction in crime and an elevation in personal safety and security.

            The gun control debate is emotionally charged for many people. Other people view gun ownership and the right-to-carry concealed weapons as a Constitutional right and social responsibility. The latter also site FBI crime statistics, other states experiences, studies, and simple logic to make their case.

            Let’s look at the emotional side of the debate first. All of us have seen the televised aftermath of high-profile mass murders. Understandably, these tragedies have led some people to think that guns are bad or even tools of the devil. They would like to see all guns just disappear along with the violence associated with them.

            Although I can empathize with their feelings, logic dictates that guns will never go away. And even if they did, crime would soar. Now let’s look at the reasons why:

·        Some 80 million Americans own 250 million guns. If guns were outlawed, a black market resembling the drug trade would quickly develop. Demand always creates supply (price controls not withstanding).

·        In the 44 states with right-to-carry laws, murders fell 8.5%, rapes fell by 5.2%, aggravated assaults fell by 7%, and robberies fell by 3% (Ohio is one of six states without any right-to-carry protections.)

·        Guns are used to protect life and property over two million times per year. Would-be robbery and rape victims are twice as likely to foil an attacker simply by being armed

            What about those dire warnings about “wild-west” style shootouts in traffic intersections issued by those who are against right-to-carry protection? The answer is simple: It has never happened. There has never been a documented case, where a citizen licensed to carry a concealed weapon, has used that weapon illegally.

            My wife enjoys jogging during the early morning hours. She occasionally comes home concerned about a strange man that she saw or something that occurred out of the ordinary. Why is it that my wife is not allowed to have the choice to carry a concealed weapon?

            Perhaps we can be considered pro-choice on this issue. By modifying some familiar rhetoric, the following arguments could be made: “After all, this is a private issue between my family, my gunsmith and me.” Some may argue that, “although I may not personally consider carrying a concealed weapon, who am I to impose my morality on others?”

            For those people who consider guns to be evil, what would Jesus think? Perhaps we can all agree that the sword is the biblical equivalent to the gun. “He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one’” Luke 22:36 (NIV). Why did Jesus tell his apostles to buy a sword if such deadly weapons were evil or tools of the devil?

            We can find plenty of Biblical documentation on both sides of this debate. It seems to me that the weapon isn’t the issue, but rather the intentions of its’ user. Will the sword (gun) be used for offensive purposes? Or defensive?

            There is one final thought that I would like Governor Taft and the Ohio Legislature to consider: Why can cities ban guns, in clear violation of the Second Amendment; but can't ban newspapers due to the First Amendment? The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: “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.” What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” or “shall not be infringed” is so confusing to some people?


John E. Becker

June 21, 2001