Commentary: Gun restrictions handicap law-abiding citizens

Commentary: Gun restrictions handicap law-abiding citizens

Gun Rights

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Virginia Beach, Va., that claimed the lives of 12 people, Gov. Ralph Northam has called for a special legislative session to address gun-related violence. Using the shooting as a call to action, he then proposed a variety of restrictions on lawful gun owners — not one of which would have prevented or even mitigated the very shooting used to justify them. Northam’s proposals show a deep misunderstanding of the causes and mechanisms underlying gun-related violence in general, and mass public shootings in particular. Worse, they inherently place the blame for these criminal actions on the shoulders of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Virginia gun owners who will never use their firearms in an unlawful manner. In fact, Americans use guns in self-defense far more often than criminals use them to kill or injure others. A 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that studies routinely show that Americans use guns to defend themselves or others between 500,000 and 3 million times every year. Data collected by the CDC itself, which it long declined to publicize, indicates that the number of annual defensive gun uses is likely around 1 million. This hardly comes as a shock to most lawful gun-owners, who know that the right to keep and bear arms is the best — and sometimes the only — recourse against immediate threats to life, liberty and property. Consider the following recent examples, none of which received significant national attention. […]

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