The shooting in Jacksonville is another tragedy that may have happened because well-intentioned people disarmed any potential sheepdog that may have been in attendance. According to the venue’s website, the location is a gun free zone (bottom of page); well, it was supposed to be one. Gun free zones, along with most “common sense gun laws,” only have an effect on the law-abiding citizen; they understand what is at stake if they carry in gun free zones. This person does not want to lose their right to bear arms and they face a tough choice; they either break the rules and hope for the best, forgo entering the building, or they will disarm and enter.
It should be the responsibility of businesses and venues that are gun free zones to adequately ensure the safety of their patrons, or else they should be fully responsible for tragedies like the shooting in Florida. Additionally, gun owners in the United States should speak loudly with their wallets. Find businesses that do not seek to disarm you, and publicly, but peacefully, call out those that do. Gun owners make up enough of the population that change can happen. There is zero sense in disarming anyone that is lawfully permitted to own and carry a firearm and we should not tolerate it.
A popular talking point for the gun control advocates is that, more guns = more crime, death, and doom. A popular counterpoint from gun rights advocates is, more guns = less crime, death, and doom. There are very easy to understand reasons as to why gun shows and NRA events do not suffer from mass shootings. Gun free zones, on the other hand, are the choice of criminals for equally obvious reasons. There may be other answers than what I will give, but a big difference is that, at gun shows and NRA events, there are large numbers of armed individuals. Someone would have to be exceedingly stupider than the average criminal to attempt an attack on one of these venues.
Also, if fewer guns = less crime, it should follow that a place like Chicago would be a bastion of safety and nonexistent gun violence. Problem is that Chicago is almost the opposite in reality. Exhibit 1 and 2.
Guns Are Not the Problem
I am fortunate that the gun laws in Colorado are, by and large, friendly to the individual. There is strong state preemption, no-permit-required open carry, and strong concealed carry rights legislation on the books.
Though there have been a handful of infamous mass shootings here, the total number of intentional deaths by firearm in 2016 was 136, out of 202 total (67%). Chicago* on the other hand saw 762 murders, of which approximately 91% were gun related; 762 X .91 = 693. That’s over 5 years worth of statewide gun murders in Colorado taking place, in one city that has strict gun laws, in one year.
*I pick on Chicago because they are notorious for strict gun laws and, recently, high murder numbers. Other places like Detroit, Baltimore, and St. Louis have a higher per capita murder rate, but 700+ murders in one year is just a staggeringly high number.
Colorado is about 207% larger in population than Chicago; 2.705 million in Chicago compared to 5.607 million in Colorado. Chicago had a murder rate, per 100,000 people, that was 782% higher than Colorado: Chicago – 28 per 100k; Colorado – 3.6 per 100k. The per capita murder rate by gun is 26 per 100,000 in Chicago, and the statewide rate for Colorado is 2.43. That is a mind-boggling 1072% higher rate for Chicago.
According to this CBS article, the rate of gun ownership in Colorado is 34.3% versus a rate of 26.2% in Illinois. Even though Illinois as a whole has more guns, Colorado has a higher concentration of them (these numbers are only representative of lawful gun ownership).
Chicago blames their violence problem on out of state guns, which very well may be true. This, however, means that these guns were, likely, illegally obtained (shocker); likely through either straw purchasers, guns stolen from individuals, or sellers breaking the law by selling handguns to nonresidents. In each of these cases there are laws on the books that criminalize this activity. But again, criminals, definitionally, do not follow the law.
What does all of this mean? It means that Colorado has a higher per capita rate of gun ownership compared with Illinois, but has drastically lower gun homicide rate. It also means that guns are getting an unwarranted level of criticism. If guns really were the cause of the problem, a place like Texas, which is 18th in gun ownership rates, 24th in murder rate (bottom of page), and 2nd in population, should be one of the bloodiest places in the country; (35.7% X 27.9 million = 9.96 million gun owners in Texas). But it is not, in 2016 Texas had a total of 1,473 murders of which 74.2% were committed with some form of firearm; (.742)(1473) = 1093. That is 3.9 per 100k. Illinois is 5th in population, 38th in gun ownership rates, and 4th in murder rate in 2016.
These Folks Will Tell You Guns Are The Problem
Somehow, organizations like Everytown and Moms Demand Action convince their supporters that we need to enact more gun control laws; because this time it will work and that the right law will stop bad people from doing bad things. They fail to admit that evil cannot be legislated away. Also, I will link to it again, even Rahm Emanuel can admit that there is a lack of certain values present in these killers.
It is a lack of values, likely almost perfectly correlated to gang activity, that accounts for the overwhelming majority of gun related homicides in the country. Yet no one wants to talk about this fact. Law abiding gun owners are not the ones killing over 700 people in one city, but the majority of “common sense gun laws” only limit what law-abiding folks will do, and they may prevent someone, not prone to criminality, from breaking bad. Criminals, by definition, act regardless of the law. You only need to look so far as laws that make possession of drugs illegal and how many people are still arrested for possession to see how gun control laws will impact criminals getting guns.
The second amendment, as ruled in D.C. vs. Heller, protects and guarantees the right to bear arms for self-defense as an individual right, regardless of any affiliation with a militia. It is very likely that the aforementioned gun control advocacy groups will use Florida to push an agenda that will only harm the rights of lawful gun owners.
The shooting in Jacksonville, FL is another senseless, violent tragedy. Families have been torn apart for no reason. I write this with my son napping on my chest, and my heart breaks for the families of the victims.
If you can find a way to support the community, the wounded victims, or the families of the deceased you should. I also ask that if prayer is your thing, keep the victims and their families in your prayers.