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Tom Hanlon: Gun control harms freedom

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One of the biggest issues facing my future is the cry for gun control. The liberties that my grandfather fought for in World War II are disappearing right in front of my eyes. 

Just because a few mentally ill people decided to murder innocent people doesn’t mean my inalienable right to protect myself should be taken away. The only person qualified to protect me, is me.  

On Oct. 16, 1991, 23 people were killed at a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. 

They were victims of a man who crashed his truck through the front window of the restaurant and then walked around executing people. Suzanna Hupp, who lost both of her parents in the shooting, had reached into her purse for the handgun she owned, only to realize that it was still in her car. 

If Texas law had not required firearms to be kept out of restaurants, both of Suzanna’s parents might still be alive today, she said. Hupp testified before Congress in opposition to stricter gun control laws. Later on, she became a U.S. Congresswoman. 

If I were caught in a similar situation, could I take on the shooter with my bare hands? Not likely. The only way to counter someone with a gun effectively is with a weapon of equal or greater strength. 

This is precisely why you don’t see shooting rampages at gun shows or at Sportsman’s Warehouse stores. Maniacs go to places where, as Hupp put it, “they can get the highest body bag count,” in gun-free zones like Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut or at a restaurant in Texas.  

Another good example of this is in Chicago, Ill., where you are not allowed to have a concealed carry permit.  

Yet the crime rate has skyrocketed since the gun ban.  If criminals know people have no way of defending themselves or their homes, then it is easier to commit a crime — and even kill.  

However, this was not always the case.  During WWII, Isoruko Yamamoto, commander in chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy said, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” He was well aware that in America, any citizen could own a gun and even many guns.

He also knew that the patriotism of the citizens of this country was strong enough to thwart any attack on our own soil. This is exactly what the founding fathers were talking about in designing the Bill of Rights.  

If we allow ourselves to be disarmed, it will only make our country weaker. There will always be people who are not sane, people who want to kill and people who seek power and will kill to acquire it. We, the people, have an inalienable right, established by our unique Constitution, to protect ourselves. 

If an assailant has a semi-automatic assault type rifle, then I should have the right to a means of protection that can even the odds against such an attack. 

It is impossible to stop criminals from acquiring weapons. If they are already willing to commit murder, who is to say they won’t commit one more crime to get the weapon to kill with? And if the criminals have the guns, how are we to protect ourselves? 

A study done by the department of justice’s research wing, The National Institute of Justice, concluded that “assault weapons are not a major factor in death caused by firearms, nor would an assault weapons ban be effective.”

The report, by Greg Ridgeway, deputy director, went on to say that “the existing stock of assault weapons is large, undercutting the effectiveness of bans with exemptions.” 

The report concluded that indications are that informal transfers dominate the crime gun market (straw purchase and theft), which would probably become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed. 

All the discussion about how to minimize violent acts with guns is focused on limiting the types of guns citizens can have, limiting the amount of ammunition that can be sold, doing background checks on lawful citizens and implementing more gun control laws.  

The discussion of addressing mental health and the influence violent video games and violent movies have on young adults seems to have been swept under the rug. When it was discovered that extended hours of play on video games could result in epileptic seizures, warnings were printed on video games and doctors warned parents about the dangers of too much video gaming for children. 

Perhaps we should warn parents with mentally ill children about the violence in the media that their children are exposed to.
There is a question that has been brought up frequently. If the founders were to see what was going on in this country today, would they change the constitution?  

The problem that we face today, as our founders understood, is that the United States cannot last without, as George Washington put it, the two great pillars of religion and morality.  

He said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” 

Television shows, movies, video games all contribute to the desensitizing of society which contribute to the demise of our civilized and peaceful society.   

Visiting our new country from France, Alexis de Tocqueville, observed, “Thus, while the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash and unjust.” 

The answer is not in controlling American citizens and their rights and their guns, it’s in education of moral, virtuous and religious values that make America great.  I believe our founders would stand fast today to the original intent of the Constitution.  

As for those who think guns are the problem in the mass shootings, I offer what the cowboy Shane said in the 1949 book written by Jack Schaefer, “A gun is a tool … no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel … A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it.  Remember that.”