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An Open Letter to the Victims of “Gun Violence”

Published by the Author on Monday, June 30th, 2008 at 2:11 am

To those whose lives have been hurt by a criminal’s use of a gun,

First, let me extend my deepest condolences to you. Losing a loved one is never easy, and a sudden loss due to violence makes it even worse. Nor is it easy to deal with the trauma associated with being shot. Although there is little I can say to offer you comfort, please know that you have the sympathy and empathy of many people, including gun owners such as myself.

After the initial shock has passed, many people who are affected by violence have the urge to “do something” so that it doesn’t happen again. I would urge you to carefully consider whether you have the right target for your activism, since the gun rights of law abiding and responsible citizens are not your enemy. Indeed we law abiding gun owners actually stop crime every day, and guns in the hands of responsible and law abiding citizens helps keep everyone safer. Efforts to ban guns leaves the law abiding people (who we would want to have guns) defenseless against criminals. Indeed it is possible that your tragedy could have been averted, had there been an armed, law abiding citizen there to stop the criminal.

Instead, it is the criminals, who will ignore gun control laws and have a gun anyway, that are the problem, and passing gun control laws is not the solution. The reason for this is simple: a criminal who is willing to break the laws against murder will also break the laws against gun smuggling or possession. This is true whether we’re talking about the “gun free zones” where the school shooting have all taken place, or cities like Chicago which ban handguns but have a handgun related murder every day. Also, note that convicted felons are already barred from gun ownership, and it is these people, who disobey that law, that are responsible for most of the gun related crime anyway. Our efforts as a society should be dedicated to eradicating the underlying causes of crime, such as poverty, poor upbringing, and lack of education, since focusing on one tool that criminals sometimes use is not going to solve the problem. Nor is it morally right to deprive the law abiding of a basic right, just because some people misuse it.

Again, my condolences for your suffering at the hands of a criminal. I hope that you will dedicate your efforts to solving the problems of violence in our society, in a way that is both effective and does not seek to deprive law abiding citizens of their basic right to own a gun. Remember that it was the action of a criminal that harmed you, not an inanimate object or the gun rights of your fellow law abiding citizens.