The Norman Transcript

Columns

February 9, 2013

Americans aren’t trying to repeal rights

(Continued)

NORMAN —

As the law now stands, the private sale loophole enables anybody to buy a gun without passing a background check. Obviously, if you have criminal intent, that’s where you would go. Why must we make it so easy for them?

Of course, there are those who complain that they have a right to unlimited ammunition and to horde unlimited numbers of assault weapons. But I have heard not one person come forward to offer one legitimate purpose for doing so. My mother used to say that just because you have a right to stuff peas up your nose doesn’t make it a good idea.

Do not talk of the right of Americans to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as though only wielders of assault weapons are entitled to those rights. For most Americans, liberty means being able to go about their daily lives, to work, to church, to school, to the mall or to the movie theater without fear of being massacred. The idea that we can best protect ourselves by also being armed is nonsense.

If guns really kept us safe, the United States would have a very low homicide rate. But the reality is that individual nations like Germany, Canada and Japan each have fewer than 200 gun homicides a year, while we endure 30,000.

It is, of course, true, that people can be killed in car crashes, stabbed by knives or even hit over the head by baseball bats, as one writer to The Transcript would have it. But those gadgets exist for purposes other than killing and maiming. Nor can they kill as many people as quickly as can high-caliber assault weapons.

What makes guns so startingly effective is also what makes them so dangerous. How many of the more than 30,000 Americans killed by guns every year would be alive if their attacker had had nothing more than a knife or a baseball bat? How many of the suicides?

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