by Jacob G. Hornberger, The Future of Freedom Foundation
Wisconsin is a concealed-carry state — that is, one in which people with state-issued permits are allowed to carry guns that are concealed.
Some concealed-carry states make an exception for churches. In those states, people with concealed carry permits are not permitted to bring their concealed guns into church.
Not Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, people with permits are free to carry a concealed weapon into a church unless the church chooses to prohibit it.
So, there’s the first argument of the gun-control crowd: that Wisconsin law should have prohibited people from carrying concealed weapons into churches. The argument is that if Wisconsin had made it illegal to carry concealed weapons into church, the killer wouldn’t have killed those people at that Sikh temple.
Is that not a ridiculous argument on its face? Why would the killer care that the law made it illegal for him to carry a gun into church? Was he really going to say to himself, “I’m going to go kill those people but I have to figure out a way to do it without a gun because it’s illegal for me to carry a gun into church?”
Consider this excerpt from a Newsday article about the Wisconsin killing:
“Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, managed to find a simple butter knife in the temple and attempted to stab the gunman before being shot twice, his son said Monday.”
Imagine that: taking a butter knife to a gun fight. Why is that an important point? Because it shows that when people are disarmed, the only people who will have guns are the criminals. The rest will have butter knives or worse.
I don’t know whether that Sikh temple had implemented a policy prohibiting guns or whether the members of the temple simply had decided, as a matter of personal practice, to not carry guns to the temple.
But two things are for sure: The killer didn’t care one whit what the temple’s policy was and, two, people there were unable to adequately defend themselves. They had to wait for the police to arrive.
So, why would it be better to make it illegal to carry guns into churches? All that they are doing with such a law is disarming peaceful, law-abiding people who might choose to have a gun to defend themselves from killers who aren’t going to obey the law anyway. That doesn’t necessarily mean people will exercise the right to defend themselves. It simply means that the right is available to be exercised.
Another argument the gun-control crowd makes is that the law needs to have stricter standards for who gets to purchase a gun. But wasn’t that the argument for requiring people to undergo background checks? Wasn’t that the argument requiring state-issued permits to carry a concealed weapon — to ensure that the “wrong” people didn’t get guns.
The fact is that the presumed killer in Wisconsin complied with all the restrictions that had been put into place to make sure that only the “right” people got a hold of guns.
Of course, what the gun-control crowd really wants, but won’t say it, are restrictions so severe that no one can acquire a gun. That’s the way it’s been in Washington, D.C., which has long been known as the murder capital of the world. Most of those murders are committed with guns — yes, with guns that are illegal to have. Shocking! The killers violate not only D.C.’s laws against murder but also D.C.’s gun-control laws. It’s the victims who have complied with the law and given up any realistic chance to defend themselves, well, except for possibly having a stock of butter knives to defend themselves against murderers with guns.
The last argument the gun-control crowd uses is their naive belief that gun control will eradicate all guns in society, like in Cuba, North Korea, and China. That, of course, means nationalization and confiscation of all private firearms, just as the federal government did with gold in the 1930s. Everyone would be required to send his guns to the government, on pain of a felony conviction on failure to do so.
But there are a few big problems. There are more than 200 million privately owned firearms in the United States. What if many people didn’t send in their guns, as is likely? Wouldn’t the establishment of a police state be necessary to find and confiscate all the guns? Wouldn’t snitching become an established practice in society? Wouldn’t the prisons be even more overcrowded than they already are?
And what assurance is there that all the guns would be found and confiscated? The war on drugs makes it illegal to own drugs and we all know how successful that has been in eradicating drugs from society. Making guns illegal would immediately generate a black market in guns, not only in the sale of existing guns but also in the illegal manufacture of new ones.
And guess who is going to be acquiring guns in such a market. Yes, the bad guys. And guess who isn’t going to be acquiring guns in such a market? That’s right — peaceful, law-abiding people who will have been deprived of their ability to defend themselves.
It’s time to reject, once and for all, the gun-control crowd’s arguments. People’s time would be better served exploring the extent to which the U.S. government’s indifference to the value of human life in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere has contributed to the same type of mindset of deranged people here at home.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.