Paul  Weyrich

Certainly arguments can be raised that no criminal or mentally unbalanced individual should have access to guns. Between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths occur each year through the use of firearms. Quite understandably, sensational news stories regarding shooting rampages in schools, universities, churches and even our mass transit system have only exacerbated our fear of guns.

However, there is also the flip side, the gun-owners' side, which does not seem to get a very clear airing of its own arguments. Historically, while many each year may perish from the use of guns, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, die as a result of having lived under totalitarian regimes across the world where guns among the civilian populations are expressly forbidden. Though we rarely hear of them, dozens of wars are fought globally at any given time where people are targeted as a result of their race, religious or political persuasion. During the 20th Century approximately 200 million people died under totalitarian regimes: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Red China are only the most glaring examples but there are hundreds more. In almost all cases, the people were first disarmed of any weapon, including hunting rifles, and later systematically rounded-up and slaughtered.

My point is this, that while all of us should always be concerned about crime in America, most crime globally is caused by governments themselves, not the civilian populations upon made up primarily of law-abiding citizens. Moreover, America since World War II has become increasingly entangled with foreign powers that are themselves nothing more than totalitarian regimes. Even today there are very few truly democratic republics. The United Nations literally is inundated with these undemocratic groups, many of which have absolutely no regard for human rights and even go so far as to sponsor world terrorism. Yet at the same time it is from the U.N. that much of this "gun control" philosophy emanates. I fear this reality far more than crime in America.

Yes, we need to keep the guns out of the hands of the criminals and mentally unbalanced; it would be irresponsible to do otherwise. Yet reality indicates that they will always be able to obtain weapons regardless of anti-gun laws. It is only the law-abiding citizens who will not be able to acquire them. To believe that the complete removal of guns from society will keep us all safe from crime is to cross a line that separates myth from reality. Indeed, I can only believe that violent crime would grow immensely in any society where no one is able, indeed, allowed to protect himself or herself.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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