Gun Activists Angry Over Many Issues
Editor, Times-Dispatch: In his recent column, "Guns Are Just a Pretense in This War," Michael Paul Williams chides gun rights activists for voicing their anger over issues like brainwashing kids in public schools, property rights, our health care system, and a tax revenue scheme masquerading as the solution to (nonexistent) global warming.
He then postulates that the gun rights community must be up to something, because their words reveal that "clearly, this isn't about guns."
It looks like Williams finally gets it -- sort of. This is about way more than guns. It's about the sovereignty and freedom of the individual versus the power of the state. It's about free enterprise, based on free individuals striving to achieve the American dream, versus the mediocrity of the progressive, collectivist world view that is thrust upon us constantly.
In today's America, many seem to think government is there to provide for our every need. Most gun owners think otherwise. We cherish our gun rights precisely because of our firm belief in all the other God-given freedoms protected by the Constitution, not the other way around. And we look at politicians and their actions through that prism.
The gun rights movement admits openly that this is about way more than guns. We want a government that allows us to live as free men and women, not as helpless children to be lorded over and taken care of from cradle to grave. That's not the America we grew up in; it's not what the Founders intended; and we are not going to allow America to drift that way if we have anything to say about it.
We are in a war, to be sure. But guns are not a pretense in this war; they are the tip of the spear and the litmus test for good government as the Founders intended.
It's Different In Canada He Knows
Editor, Times-Dispatch: I grew up in northern New York and have friends and relatives north of the border. After reading Donald Nuechterlein's recent Op/Ed, "A Cooperative but Vigilant United States Ally," I'm not sure that he's talking about the same Canada I know.
In the wake of a heinous massacre at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique in which a lone psychopath murdered 14 and wounded 10 others, the Canadian media whipped up an anti-gun frenzy in the government. In 1995, Parliament passed a bill that called for universal licensing of gun owners, a universal firearms registry, bans on certain types of guns, and draconian gun storage requirements.
Supporters of the bill claimed that the fees charged for registering an estimated 7 million rifles and shotguns would pay for the system. Cost to taxpayers, they said, would be no more than $2 million. To date, the registry has cost Canadian taxpayers $2 billion. An Angus Reid poll indicated that only 8 percent of respondents think the program has reduced crime.
So far, five provinces have opted out of the system. An estimated 50 percent of Canadian gun owners simply ignore the law. A repeal bill is pending in the House of Commons, having passed its last two readings with broad support across party lines. The Senate is expected to pass it as well, and it will then be signed by the prime minister -- who won his seat in 2006 by running on a staunchly pro-gun platform.
There is a direct correlation between private gun ownership and murder rates. According to the FBI, last year the number of privately owned guns in America increased by nearly 2 percent while the nation's per capita murder rate dropped by 10 percent in the first six months. In Washington, D.C., when the Supreme Court struck down the District's unconstitutional ban on handguns, the murder rate almost immediately dropped by 19 percent.