by Troy M. Olson
In 2010, 13,186 people died in terrorist attacks throughout the world. In that same year, 31,672 Americans died from gun-related deaths, either from intentional or negligent homicide, or accidental gun deaths. The number of Americans who died from terrorist attacks since 9/11 is statistically insignificant in comparison, 33 deaths.
The September 11th terrorist attacks were followed by dramatic changes in policy and several subtle and not so subtle erosions of our Civil Liberties, 4th Amendment Rights, and 9th Amendment Rights. The withering away of our liberties codified best by the Patriot Act which combined with advances in technology have made Privacy, perhaps the most fundamental right we have as human beings, a product of the past.
33 Deaths in that time span, compared to 150,000 deaths from intentional killings using a firearm, compared to over 300,000 firearm deaths overall. This is not a simple case of a person with a gun killing someone. Obviously no gun kills anybody. But we do have even more accidental deaths from those who fail to use a gun safely and exercise caution while owning a weapon that is more dangerous, far more dangerous than cars, which have been regulated heavily since the 1960s.
The purpose of this analysis, using statistics, objective facts, etc., is not to attack the 2nd Amendment, infringe on gun rights… but rather to show that evidence and the facts point to a public gun policy that should have AT LEAST as much regulatory effect as we have with automobiles in America.
I have long argued that we have more reason to fear other Americans than we do terrorists. Statistics back this up.
To be intellectually honest and consistent, anyone who was FOR the Patriot Act should be FOR further regulation to curb further violence, whether intentional or accidental in this country.
Furthermore, if you were against large sections of the Patriot Act like I am today, and as I was in the past – you should argue against any Gun Regulation that infringes on our 2nd Amendment rights.
I have reviewed every single executive action that the President issued, all 23 of them. Not a single one infringes on anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights, nor violates the balance and delegation of powers under the Constitution between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government.
The proposals to Congress from his speech are exactly that, proposals. It is the job of Congress to vote up or down on which ones to adopt and which ones to send back to the President. All of those proposals are quite clearly constitutional, and even those that some on the right argue are not, are not necessarily unconstitutional. For example: the assault weapons ban, in existence for ten years and the Supreme Court has never said that it is unconstitutional, therefore it thus far, has been held to be constitutional.
2nd Amendment (text)
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 (emphasis added).
So what does this mean? Technically we can regulate guns all we want until the Supreme Court says “that’s too far.” There simply is no absolute right to gun ownership just like there is no right to drive a car however you choose, without regard to other drivers on the road.
For those that consider themselves Gun Rights supporters no matter what, take solace in the fact that while you statistically fight a losing battle, the regulations that you fear most, while not unconstitutional – are a political nonstarter. The potential benefits of either of these proposals passing would be statistically insignificant as well.
This was a bold move by the President, and it follows a tragic event that deserved a bold move in response. If 9/11 brings forth the largest erosion of our personal liberty in modern times, than surely this event should bring forth common sense regulations like universal background checks on those seeking to obtain firearms.
(Contemporary commentary: sadly, this shooting nor the next five, ten, twenty shootings did not bring any significant change other than the President’s original executive actions after Sandy Hook. There has been no significant act of Congress, nor much of a national discussion that doesn’t immediately devolve into one’s prescribed ideology. A shooting happens. We say the predictable words that person with that prescribed ideology would say. Then everyone likes each other just a little bit less.)
Note: the following link shows, contrary to what the most extreme firearm enthusiasts say, that you are more likely to die in an intentional or accidental manner involving firearms if you own one. Less urban areas with lower population density have higher rates of gun ownership, they also have higher rates of gun-related deaths.