Evaluating the Left's Madness on Gun Control

Former Maryland governor and newly announced presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has had enough.  He explains in a recent e-mail response to the horrifying Charleston shooting:

I’m pissed that we’re actually asking ourselves the horrific question of, what will it take?  How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA?

I’m pissed that after working hard in the state of Maryland to pass real gun control – laws that banned high-magazine weapon, increasing licensing standards, and requiring fingerprints for handgun purchasers – Congress continues to drop the ball.

Let’s address the first and most basic problem in his tirade: that his anger is entirely misdirected.  The NRA had nothing to do with the heinous murders in Charleston, and neither did Congress, or the Americans wishing to preserve their own rights to self-defense via personal firearms.  This was the evil and murderous act of one man.  And yet only a few days after the tragedy, O’Malley and the president and millions of others had constructed a pulpit over the yet unfilled victims’ graves, targeting Second Amendment advocates and extracting the usual political currency that gun control advocates immediately seek to gain in the wake of such crimes.

The second, more fundamental problem in his tirade is that he demands federal action that would wholly subvert the Constitution. 

The Second Amendment is explicit in its purpose.  The framers of the Constitution went to great care with the text’s design in hopes that such suggestions as O’Malley’s could never be construed as lawful.  The text reads:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Advocates of government gun-grabbing have concocted all sorts of curious ways to alter the meaning and context of this clearly enumerated right.  But it should be clear that the right to keep and bear arms for the preservation of an individual’s life and liberty is implied to be a right that unquestionably exists without the amendment’s existence.  The purpose of the amendment is not to express that that the right exists, but to express a forbiddance for government to infringe upon that right because of its importance to a free people and a free state.  It is the right of the people to be free from the threat of government confiscation of firearms that is protected.

It’s mind-blowing to think that there could possibly be any confusion about that.  To understand this in the clearest of terms, it takes just the simple replacement of a few words in the language, as brilliantly analogized by Ronald S. Resnick in Private Arms as the Palladium of Liberty: The Meaning of the Second Amendment:

A well-educated Electorate, being necessary to self-governance in a free State, the right of the people to keep and read Books, shall not be infringed.

In consideration to this statement, could any honest person read it and believe that it suggests that the government has the right to restrict access to books, should it find that your having books is a danger to you and others?

But enough with the purpose of the Constitution.  O’Malley and the rest of the gun-grabbers don’t care about the Constitution.  Their goal isn’t an amendment to the fundamental principles enumerated by the Constitution, or achieving their aims by constitutional means.  Their goal is to circumvent its principles by declaring a supposed moral imperative and implying a mandate to infringe upon gun rights, despite clearly having no legal entitlement to it.

O’Malley goes on in his e-mail, actually going so far as asserting that opposition to unlawful gun control measures is “madness”:

I’m doubling down, and I need your help. What we did in Maryland should be the first step of what we do as a nation. The NRA is already blaming the victims of yesterday’s shooting for their own deaths, saying that they too should have been armed.  Let’s put an end to this madness and finally stand up to them.  Here are some steps we should be taking:

  1. A national assault weapons ban.
  2. Stricter background checks.
  3. Efforts to reduce straw-buying, like fingerprint requirements.

None of the GOP candidates are even close on this issue – and some actually believe that things like background checks are excessive, or that high-capacity magazines are a basic right.  Well, I believe we all have a basic right to safe schools, safe places to worship, and safe streets.

Are you with me?

Martin O’Malley

This is all a bit old hat, but in true progressivist fashion, it’s peddled as new ideas. 

A national assault weapons ban has happened before, for instance, a decade-long experiment which ended in 2004.  And contrary to what O’Malley suggests here, murder rates at the national level dropped a dramatic 18.3% from 2004 to 2013, according to FBI statistics.  If national assault weapons bans are so incredibly effective in preventing murders, how can the proliferation of “assault weapons” at a massive level and the increased prevalence of concealed weapons in public have yielded a nearly 20% decrease in murder rates in America since it was lifted a decade ago?

Furthermore, with the lifting of the national assault weapons ban and the implementation of more prevalent abilities to legally carry among states, certain places with extremely tight gun control have experienced pervasively high murder rates despite decreasing murder rates at a national level, including Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, and yes, Baltimore, Maryland, where Martin O’Malley has spearheaded all the gun control change that he is now touting.

Baltimore seems a curious omission in O’Malley’s e-mail.  He was the mayor there for six years.  Doesn’t he have anything good to say about the largest city in Maryland, and all the progress that the gun laws he helped spearhead have produced?

Since he’s running for president and he wants his policies to be positively considered, it makes sense that he shies away from mentioning anything about his own city.  Baltimore, according to 2013 data, holds a 37.4 per 100,000 murder rate, as compared to 4.5 per 100,000 at the national level – roughly 831% of the national murder rate and fifth highest in the nation.  In more recent and headline-grabbing news, twenty-nine people died in one Memorial Day weekend last month after Freddie Gray’s death.  All this after having instituted gun control laws so strict that they are now pending review by an appeals court for “impermissibly ban[ning] firearms that people commonly keep in their home for self-defense.”

As already established, O’Malley’s gun control policies clearly run afoul of the Second Amendment, but leftist politicians and their acolytes don’t care anything about that.  The more pressing observation in accordance with their argument is that what he has done in Maryland has done little, if anything, to curb murder in the state’s most prevalent crime haven.  And ostensibly, curbing murder is the purpose of the policies he touts.

Which leads to his last points.  Extensive background checks, fingerprinting?  Does Martin O’Malley honestly have the slightest optimism that the criminals contributing to Baltimore’s climbing murder rate have found, or ever would find, such things a deterrent from attaining weapons and fulfilling their criminal ambitions?

We Second Amendment advocates are not guilty of this terrible crime that occurred in Charleston, Mr. O’Malley.  One evil and deranged man is.  It is because men like him exist, and always will exist regardless of our desire for it to be otherwise, that we keep guns in our homes and carry them on our persons.  It is a desire to protect our spouses, our children, and any innocent human being who may happen to cross such a person’s path that causes us to protect our natural and legal right to bear arms with the fervor that you find so objectionable. 

No, those at that church should never be “blamed” for not being armed.  But we should, as reasonable people, wish that someone in that church had been armed and capable of stopping his murderous rampage, if only in the hope that one life might be saved.    

Martin O’Malley refers to our “madness” in seeking to preserve Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  But what Martin O’Malley and his cohorts present is nothing more than calculated madness of the most dangerous sort. 

It is madness to think that a new national assault weapons ban is the nation’s panacea, when that policy’s end nearly a decade ago has yielded a dramatically reduced murder rate from what it was when the policy was lifted.  It is madness to think that waiting twenty minutes for armed police officers to arrive is safer for citizens than those citizens being armed and capable of defending themselves and others.  It is madness to think that imposing the strict gun control laws imposed upon Baltimore at a national level will see anything but the result that Baltimore has seen. 

And it is madness of the most unreasonable sort to assume, as I’ve observed before, that any gun regulations imposed upon the law-abiding will regulate the lawless. 

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.

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