Monday, March 20, 2006

An "F" on gun control means an "A" on individual liberty

"Every time you pass a gun control law, the only universe of people you're going to affect are the law-abiding citizens who will follow that law. Criminals don't follow the laws, so why pass them?" -- Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association.

The Indianapolis Star brings a sensationalistic headline: our gun laws feed Chicago crime. The Star, of course, runs an editorial scolding Indiana's lack of restrictions on gun rights on the very same day. It is fairly obvious that the Star is promoting an agenda with the "news" article.

First, let me say that I have absolutely no problem with bias in and of itself, as long as the bias and agenda are clear. What I have a problem with is when editorial content is dressed up as an unbiased reporting of the news. It would have been more appropriate to place Bill Ruthhart's article on the Opinion page as a column. I would not have a problem with the article appearing in the news section if the Star would make it clear that the paper has an agenda. National Review, World Net Daily and Front Page Magazine are open about their biases; why can't the Star do the same?

The Star article claims that "gun-rights advocates argue the Second Amendment gives them an unrestricted right to bear arms." Unrestricted? Really? I did not know that the NRA and Gun Owners of America support the right to own rocket-propelled grenades, armored personnel carriers and land mines. Clearly, the Star made an overgeneralization about gun-rights advocates. That the agenda behind this "news" article is clear puts a major dent in the Star's credibility.

In other words:

The above quote by the NRA's Andrew Arulanandam highlights the problem with complaints about Indiana's gun laws. Gang members do not care that guns are verboten in Chicago, because illegal guns help them carry out other criminal activities. Law-abiding people, however, are unable to have the tools to defend themselves, their property, and their families.

Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi said: "We know if someone purchased a particular gun at Bradis or Don's, but there ought to be some kind of regulation for the resale of that gun so law enforcement knows where those guns are going." Of course, those firearms could easily be sold and/or traded on the black market even with restrictions on re-sales of guns.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gives Indiana an "F" on our gun laws. What this really means is that Indiana scores an "A" on the individual liberty test. When an organization whose mission is to restrict individual liberties gives Indiana an "F", we can be encouraged that state government has not yet fallen into the pattern of taking away more and more of our rights.

If we're truly concerned about gun violence, we need to put more energy into securing our border with Mexico. Many people come here illegally with good intentions, looking for work and a better life for their families. However, not all illegal immigrants have good intentions, and we simply cannot afford to be ambivalent about controlling the flow of people into this country and making sure that migration is done within the law.

While lack of border security has taken on new importance in the post-9/11 world, terrorists are not the only people who can exploit the weak security on our borders. Just how easy is it for gang members (especially the notorious and brutally violent MS-13 gang) to smuggle weapons across the border as they smuggle illegal immigrants and illegal drugs across the border?

There are things we can do to control gun violence. Ignoring the federal and state constitutions is not the way to do it.