Even in the aftermath of unspeakable tragedy like the shootings in Newtown, Conn., gun control zealots advocate mindless and misogynistic policies.
“We have to take action,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. urged in response to the Newtown horror. “The president is absolutely committed to keeping his promise that we will act.”
In other words, to quote a frat boy from the movie “Animal House”: “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”
Mr. Biden’s statement may sound high-minded in theory, but new gun control efforts will prove ineffective and self-defeating. The Obama administration’s proposals will fail to make Americans safer and, worse still, harm women the most.
In reality, guns make women safer. In a violent confrontation, guns reverse the balance of power. Armed with a gun, a woman may even have the advantage over a violent attacker. More than 90 percent of violent crimes occur without a firearm, according to federal statistics. When a violent criminal threatens or attacks a woman, he rarely uses a gun. Attackers use their size and physical strength, preying on women who are at a severe disadvantage.
How do guns give women the advantage? An armed woman does not need superior strength or the proximity of a hand-to-hand struggle. She can protect her children, elderly relatives, herself or others who are vulnerable to an assailant.
Using a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition, she has a fighting chance even against multiple attackers. That is, she can protect herself unless she lives in a jurisdiction like the District of Columbia, which criminalizes possession of even an empty magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Recently, NBC’s David Gregory inadvertently exposed the absurdity of the District’s gun laws when he displayed a 30-round magazine on national television, embroiling himself in a police investigation. Last week, the D.C. attorney general decided not to charge Mr. Gregory. “Despite the clarity of the violation of this important law,” he concluded, “a prosecution would not promote public safety.” When David Gregory’s magazines are outlawed, only David Gregory will have magazines. Why is it permissible to possess magazines to persuade people that guns are dangerous, but not for a woman to possess one to defend herself against gang rape?
Armed women benefit even those who choose not to carry. In jurisdictions with concealed-carry laws, women are less likely to be raped, maimed or murdered than they are in states with stricter gun ownership laws.
All women in these states reap the benefits of concealed-carry laws, which dramatically increase the risk that a would-be assailant faces.
In response to horrific incidents like those in Newtown and Aurora, Colo., politicians advocate more restrictions on gun rights. Hollywood celebrities somberly urge Americans to “demand a plan” to reduce gun violence.
Many of these politicians and celebrities already have a plan: They rely on guns to safeguard their own personal safety. Some critics advocate limiting violence in movies and television, but Hollywood stars apparently do not concur, considering that most of them participate in graphic depictions of lethal violence on the screen.
President Obama said in his first inaugural address, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.” Instead of ineffective and self-defeating gestures, we should ask the same question about proposed gun regulations.
Armed security works. That’s why snipers stand guard on the White House roof. That’s why Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and a gun-control advocate, admits to having a gun permit.
Armed guards serve in the employ of the very actors who publicly advocate limiting gun rights. For instance, armed guards protected a suburban newspaper in New York after it published the names and residential addresses of gun permit holders. In fact, the newspaper’s own reporter uses a gun for his protection. After publishing the story, the paper’s editors disclosed that the reporter “owns a Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum” and has “a residence permit in New York City.”
While armed security works, gun bans do not. Anti-gun legislation keeps guns away from the sane and the law-abiding — but it does not keep guns out of the hands of criminals, as the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre has observed. Nearly all mass shootings have occurred in “gun-free” zones. Law-abiding citizens do not bring their guns to gun-free zones, so murderous wackos know they can inflict more harm in these unprotected environments. The sane and the law-abiding become easy targets.
Politicians congratulate themselves for mandating gun-free zones, touting increased safety while actually making us more vulnerable to the next horrible monster in search of soft targets.
If we could simply legislate gun-free zones, why can’t our politicians with the stroke of a pen remove all guns from banks, airports, rock concerts and government buildings?
We already have more than 20,000 under-enforced or selectively enforced gun laws on the books. Gun regulation affects only the guns of the law-abiding. Criminals will not be bound by such gestures, especially as we continually fail to prosecute serious gun violations or provide meaningful and consistent penalties for violent felonies using firearms.
In lieu of empty gestures, we should address gun violence by doing what works. By safeguarding our Second Amendment rights, we preserve meaningful protection for women.
Every woman deserves a fighting chance.
First published in the Washington Times in January 2013