Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Issue is Not Gun-safety – It is Public Safety

More than 8 months have passed since the horrific events at Sandy Hook, and the Constitutional protection of firearms ownership in America has weathered yet another political fire-storm. Where the chips fell however, are surprising and less predictable than the expected exploitation of this tragedy by those who wish to disarm Americans.

Even as it was still playing out on that fateful day last December, as expected, the usual suspects rushed to “not let this crisis go to waste.” Before anyone knew the facts, they tripped over one another calling for gun-bans and the abolishing of the 2nd Amendment.

Truth, reason and the rule of law went out the window in the wake of the crisis. Although crassly exploitative, these ugly chants echoed across the nation from the White House to our State House. Anti-gun zealots and their media partners cued-up to attack gun rights, once again putting legal firearm ownership on trial in the court of public opinion.

Despite being dealt a devastating defeat in Congress and in the Rhode Island General Assembly, however, the anti-gun establishment remains intransigent and continues to plot in the shadows to subvert the rule of law. Even now a battle ensues to recall four rogue council members in the town of Exeter. These members plotted to remove the rights of Exeter citizens to apply for a conceal and carry permit through due process under Rhode Island law and in accordance with the US Constitution. Motivated by personal political ideology and ignoring overwhelming public opposition, they acted in ways that can only be characterized as tyranny. The recall effort is a direct response to both their defiant actions during the public hearings as well as their subversive activities in the shadows.

The attacks on our 2nd Amendment is nothing new but despite a full court press in the wake of Sandy Hook, the attackers may not have expected the resulting unintended consequences. Firearms and ammunition sales have gone off the charts. Shelves are bare in gun stores across America while firearm and ammunition manufactures continue to rack up record sales. While no one knows precisely how many new firearms owners have joined the ranks of the armed citizenry, an educated guess might put that number at some level beyond one hundred million lawful firearms owners in America today.

The fight to defend both our state Constitution and that of the United States is far from over. Anti freedom political forces were successful in subverting the rule of law in a handful of states across the nation including Colorado, New York, Connecticut and Maryland. With their partners in the media, they continually distort the truth and corrupt the public discourse culturally to advance their anti-gun agenda.

The truth is, even as they exploited the broken hearts and raw emotions following the Sandy Hook massacre, none of what they proposed would have saved a single child in that crisis. Sandy Hook, as with all schools in America, was under the presumed protection of a federal gun-ban statute which makes it a felony to possess any type of firearm on and within one thousand feet of the school. This is the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1994 – the crowning jewel of the anti-gun establishment lead by the Brady Campaign. Further, Connecticut had its own “assault” weapons ban in place since 1993. Clearly neither laws could stop Adam Lanza from his murderous rampage.

So let’s set the record straight, the fervor surrounding firearms ownership is completely misplaced, because the issue has never been “gun-violence,” a term contrived by anti-gun propagandists and parroted by the media to implicitly demonizing firearm ownership. The real issue has always been how we must address “criminal-violence.” The fact is, the focus on gun ownership and “gun-safety,” another manufactured term, distracts the public from the real solutions required to advance “public-safety.”

Facts surrounding risks to public safety are well documented by our own government and the statistics are available to anyone interested in the truth. Fact: approximately one hundred million law abiding Americans own firearms lawfully and use them responsibly. Overwhelmingly, they are not a risk to public safety. In fact, when you consider the colossal number of lawful firearm owners, their safety record in nothing short of remarkable. Their safety record quite literally rivals anything else one might imagine that may be a public safety risk such as automobiles, house hold consumer goods, garden tools, heavy machinery, recreational vehicles, boating, the medical profession, construction, public concerts, etc. Unfortunately, these facts will never be reported properly in today’s corrupt media.

Facts surrounding real criminal atrocities are highlighted by the media and often distorted by those with an anti-gun agenda. Yet positive gun related stories are much more frequently under reported or simply ignored. For example, did you know that every year in America, there are on average two and a half million cases that are reported where firearms in the hands of lawful citizens save lives and foil crimes? By contrast the Center for Disease Control, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice routinely report the firearm-homicides in recent years to total approximately eleven thousand annually. This represents a steep decline dating back to 1976. In fact, from 1993 to 2010, the government reported a dramatic decline of violence surrounding the use of firearms of 73% with adults over 18 while teen violence with firearms dropped by 80%. Still at eleven thousand a year there remains much work to do in enforcement, but it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of these occur in crowded American inner cities, officially called “Hot-Spots” by the FBI, due to gang violence and a criminal recidivism rate that is out of control. These occur in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, New Orleans, etc. In fact, with these urban killings, the United States ranks in the top 10 of the most violent countries in the world, but eradicating the urban killings however, would place the United States dead last on that same list making us the safest nation instead. Considering that one third of the three hundred million Americans who legally own firearms are not the problem, imagine if America could solve the real problems in the “Hot-Spots.”

Politicians and public officials must focus on the real challenges we face in the inner-cities where clearly much of the criminal violence and violent behavior emanates. The problems are multi-facetted and for anyone to default to attacking lawful firearm ownership and our 2nd Amendment, it is utterly reprehensible and irresponsible. Gun-control has never worked historically and much of the draconian policies are unlawful as most anti-gun initiatives seek to render our Second Amendment irrelevant and responsible citizens defenseless. Contrary to the propaganda, gun-control put innocent Americans at greater risk and serves only to protect the criminals.

Earlier this year when the Mayor of Providence announced a gun buy back initiative, I joined other defenders of the 2nd Amendment and attended the first “Gun-Control Summit” sponsored by Mayor Tavares. I had occasion to speak to him personally and suggested that he take a holistic approach to “Public-Safety” rather than focusing only on banning firearms. I told him that his gun buy back program would accomplish little beyond a publicity stunt and that our public resources would be better optimized when focused on the critical facets that surround this important issue. I offered an eight point proposal as an example of a comprehensive plan:

  1. Take action to reform the broken mental health system including laws that handcuff mental health professionals.
  2. Actively revitalize the state’s economy to include bringing opportunity to inner-city communities. This is critical to providing hope and positive alternatives to drug trafficking and youth gang violence.
  3. Providence should set an example to other cites and towns to protect children in schools with armed security and or other means which would be designed for the specific needs of that school and community.
  4. Take action to target street gangs and the illegal drug trade. Actively move to eradicate the violence in the inner city or “Hot-Spots.”
  5. Take action to address the runaway criminal recidivism problems in Rhode Island by reforming enforcement and loopholes in the judicial system.
  6. Enlist educators and parents in the communities to mentor children towards good social behavior and away from those that lead to drugs and criminal violence.
  7. Actively defend the rights of law abiding citizens and preserve the Rhode Island Constitution and enforce the laws of the United States.
  8. Defend the economic vitality of the firearm & sportsmen’s industries and businesses that fund conservation and environmental protection programs for Rhode Island DEM.

The Mayor shook my hand but not surprisingly all my suggestions fell on deaf ears. It was later revealed that he had joined the Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign. Subsequently, a five million Dollar donation from Michael Bloomberg was reported as an unrelated event.

Credit needs to be given to the citizens of Rhode Island through this past year. Not only did the citizenry speak out against the attacks on our rights, Mr. Tavares’s efforts to co-opt fellow mayors and town administrators to join in the anti-gun organization resulted in only four mayors out of the 39 cites and towns signing up. Perhaps despite the attempts to exploit the heartbreaking crisis of Sandy Hook, most honest folks see right through the transparent nature of the anti-gun agenda. They know that our problem is not a lack of gun laws but rather the lack of proper enforcement and indeed the necessary respect for our current laws.

Despite the reprehensible attempts of the anti-gun propagandists, we should all be proud that honest Rhode Islanders stood up for the truth and held the line against subversion and corruption of our legislative process. They recognize that anti-freedom politicians have no compunctions of exploiting the heart break of a rare event like a school massacre, to viciously attack and undermine the Constitutional rights of one third of the population of the United States in an overt violation of our presumption of innocence.

Sadly, subversive political operatives will be back to attack the Constitution again. As Rhode Islanders, we must therefore continue to stand together and demand that public officials abide by their oath of office and address real concerns that put our public safety at risk. We must unite in this endeavor to defeat corrupt politicians who usurp their power in an effort to advance their anti-gun agenda and redirect critical resources and energy we desperately need to ensure sound public safety policies that will protect all citizens for a prosperous and revitalized Rhode Island.

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Filed under Opinion, The Second Amendment