It cannot be said enough. Guns do not kill people; people kill people. The news is exploding, and everyone is weighing in with their anti-gun remarks. The realest thing published today on the topic is President Obama’s statement that this is a collective issue. It really is. The answer to our nation-wide issue of gun violence is in education rather than restriction.
Rewind history to the early 20th century. It was standard practice for children to take rifles to school for the gun club that they belonged to. During the first half of the 20th century, shooting clubs were regularly installed in the basements of new educational facilities and were such a prominent part of society. Children were educated about the importance of firearms for hunting, as well as the dangers of those very same firearms. Children were taught to respect firearms. Guns are not toys, and children were taught that once upon a time.
Fast-forward a bit to the enactment of the 1968 Gun Control Act. This was the first direct attempt at controlling firearms in America, and quite honestly, it was more about manufacturers monopolizing commerce in particular areas than it was about anything else. Manufacturers supported this act because it kept competitors from other states from taking over. Even so, mass-shootings were extremely rare at this point in history. Why? Men, women, and children were all educated about firearms.
The gun is not to blame here. Since the enforcement of “gun-free zones,” 100% of mass shootings have taken place in those zones. In 1982, Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring that the head of every household keep at least one firearm in the house. Since enacting this law, Kennesaw’s residential burglary rate has dropped 89%. Today, the gun violent rate in Kennesaw is still 85% lower than the national average.
A study was conducted involving The United Kingdom, Europe’s most violent country. The study concluded that 2,034 violent crimes occur per 100,000 citizens. In America, it is reported that 466 violent crimes occur per 100,000 citizens. The United Kingdom has outlawed the possession of handguns, yet violent crimes continue to increase.
In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his 15-year-old nephew, Peter Carr, and said: “a strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
Our country was born with the mind-set that firearms are an important part of life. The U.S. Constitution grants the right to bear arms. Taking away gun rights, or heavily restricting them, is not the answer to reducing violent crimes. In fact, criminals do not abide by the law, so creating new ones will do nothing to eliminate even a fraction of the violent crimes in America. Here is a thought: Fear of firearms is healthy. We must fear and respect them. Do not let your fear of the gun paralyze you. Do not let that fear give you some sense of authority in paralyzing others with your fear. Educate yourself and your children on gun safety. And, remember that guns do not kill people; people kill people.