The Second Amendment addressing the right of American citizens to bear arms is a touchy subject these days, but its effect on our daily lives cannot be overstated. Being able to protect ourselves in a world that is becoming more dangerous by the day is essential to survival. The right to arm oneself, whether the weapon is concealed or not, has become more important than ever.
Take a stroll through any big city and you're likely to see a replay of what I witnessed recently in New York City: rampant homelessness, burgeoning crime and a proliferation of drug use. Feeling safe should be an inalienable right. But today, that's no longer a given in this country.
Instead, our cities are in a dangerous downward spiral. They are increasingly filthy, and crime rates are skyrocketing. Make no mistake about it, America and its people are at risk. Cities that used to be barometers for the American experience are now bastions of hellish disarray.
Go to San Francisco and you will see precisely what I mean. Shoeless drug addicts roam the streets like zombies in a trance, treating the streets like public toilets. Droves of homeless people shoot up heroin not in trash-littered back alleys but in plain sight on major roads. The gutters are filled with discarded syringes.
What we need to rectify this situation is more policing and enforcement of the rule of law. Until then, we are going the wrong direction by focusing upon gun control. We need to be increasing funding to the police, not "defunding" them. And we need to ensure that law-abiding citizens are afforded their constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms. It's an essential way for men and women to protect themselves.
People kill people. Guns do not. And it is obvious that overregulating gun ownership will have zero effect on the estimated 400 million guns that are already in private circulation. Gun control simply cannot stop violence in this country, which is being caused by a crime-ridden society that is out of control.
Imagine that you are a small businessman in a big city rife with crime and short on cops. Imagine how you might react if an armed robber burst into your store, pulled a gun and demanded cash. You could meekly hand the money over and put your fate in the hands of an armed criminal, hoping he doesn't just decide to orphan your children. Or you could up the odds in your favor by defending yourself with a legally purchased and properly registered firearm.
In San Francisco, former District Attorney Chesa Boudin decided that the city would not be prosecuting thieves who stole, as long as their thievery fell beneath a certain price point. The initiative was announced publicly. The result of that ridiculousness? Gangs of criminals breaking into stores.
Talk about throwing gasoline on a fire. We saw the videos of these shocking crime sprees posted online.
In this era of lawlessness, the best life insurance policy is one tucked into a holster. Should we be forced to choose a thug's life or our own, we should have the means to make the right decision.
Gun control advocates like to point to the mayhem wreaked by mass shootings, especially in schools, which are a truly terrifying reality. But we know that the perpetrators of those horrors are often mentally ill people. I am not opposed to sensible steps to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of the insane and the criminal -- but I am opposed to overreach by the government to prevent law-abiding and rational Americans from securing the firearms of their choice.
Gun violence deaths detailed by Giffords Law Center hype the numbers but fail to look at the hard truth: Gun deaths are caused by people who misuse guns, and stricter gun legislation would do little to stop those individuals who are compelled to use guns to commit crimes.
The sooner we recognize this truth and the sooner we recognize where our country is headed, the quicker we will come to the realization that we truly must protect ourselves at all costs. Responsible gun owners know how to properly secure their weapons away from children, and often train with professionals and carry with care.
Gun ownership by good people deters crime. Criminals may think twice about committing their attacks if they are forced to wonder if their victims are packing heat. As the saying goes, "If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have them." What's more, stricter gun laws make it more difficult for people to protect their homes and families, a growing concern in a day and age where fewer and fewer people want to become police officers.
In addition, consider the reality. Police simply cannot protect everyone all the time. Response times may be short, but the window for self-preservation often occurs in mere moments.
A Pew Foundation report found that 79% of male gun owners and 80% of female gun owners said owning a gun made them feel safer. Another 64% of people living in a home in which someone else owns a gun also said they felt safer.
Safety in a land without allowing people to exercise their Second Amendment right will become even harder to find. But good people can make America safer with a permit in their pocket and a holstered gun on their hip.