The recent school shooting in Connecticut was a national tragedy. As a father of seven children, I can comprehend the extreme pain and suffering that the families are enduring as a result of this senseless murder of children by a mentally disturbed young man. I am also an endowment member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The NRA is correct that the only way to prevent future tragedies is to place armed guards in every school in America. We in the NRA should have been unrelenting in efforts and demands for armed school guards over the past 30 years. Gun control and gun bans are ineffective failures just as illegal drug bans and laws are. Criminals and the mentally deranged simply do not obey laws. If the ownership and manufacture of all firearms were totally banned in America, they would be smuggled in from foreign countries and available. Americans should have learned a lesson from the failure of prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s.
Many of the politicians and liberals who support draconian gun bans are men who profess to be supporters of women's equality. Males are seldom victims of rape. The invention and development of firearms, and especially handguns, has furthered the equality of women more than any invention in the history of the human race. The handgun allows a woman to defend herself against larger and more powerful males. Many wealthy politicians who demand gun bans and refuse to issue carry permits to ordinary and poorer citizens are hypocrites who have armed body guards and ride in chauffeured cars.
Violence and mass killings did not begin when firearms were invented. In ancient times swords, knives, spears, clubs, and bow and arrows were quite effective. Most people have heard the old saying, "Cut off your nose to spite your face." In the 700-1100 AD era, the Norsemen (Vikings) were raiding other European countries, including France. Women actually cut off their noses to try to avoid rape. If these women had been armed with handguns, these mighty warriors could not have so easily violated them.
Guns do not kill people and require a person to pull the trigger. But a firearm is an extremely efficient tool that makes killing very easy. Firearms ownership is a tremendous responsibility and firearms owners should police themselves and try to prevent children, mentally disturbed individuals and criminals from acquiring guns. Gun safes are available in all sizes, including high-tech units that open only to the owner's fingerprint.
America's first president, George Washington, stated, "Firearms are second in importance only to the Constitution. They deserve a place with all that is honorable." President Thomas Jefferson understood that there is an "evil tendency" in government and said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Hitler told the German people: "Give up your guns. We will make your streets safe and the world will follow our lead into the future." Dictators always disarm citizens and reduce them to the status of subjects and then persecution begins.
There is a limit to the level of power and force that citizens should be allowed to own. No rational individual believes that nuclear weapons of mass destruction should be allowed ownership by a citizen. There is debate and controversy as to whether high-capacity semi-automatic firearms exceed the allowable limit. These firearms are used in numerous sporting events nationwide and are used for self defense. In the case of riots or disasters, they are needed for self defense and the protection of property, and as a last resort against foreign invasion or domestic insurrection or government tyranny.
I do concede that there are too many firearms in the hands of irresponsible, unstable and criminal individuals. We in the NRA are often accused of being unreasonable and unwilling to agree to "reasonable gun control." The unreasonable politicians and activists who want to ban or severely restrict all firearms ownership force us to be uncompromising. Some radical politicians use firearms tragedy to further their agenda of unrestricted government control over the lives of American citizens (a total police state).
Some believe that only the government and police under their control should be allowed to own and carry firearms. But as America's founding fathers noted, government cannot be trusted and must be held in check if tyranny is to be avoided. Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts. Were not the innocent children murdered at Waco, Texas, in 1993 by the U.S. government just as precious as those in Connecticut? President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton support and have endorsed the U.N. plan to disarm all citizens worldwide.
Firearms are used an estimated 2 to 2-1/2 million times each year in America to stop or prevent murder, assault, rape, theft, robbery and other crimes. Yet the politicians and individuals who would disarm private citizens are quite ready and willing to return the human race to the dark days of the ancient past when the strong, the young and the many controlled and violated the weak, the old and the few.
James W. King of Albany is commander of Camp 141 Sons of Confederate Veterans and is a sales agent for Antique Classic Collectible Firearms.