Constitutional Rights Threatened:
Firearms Under Increasing Attack

By Ron Paul
CNS Commentary
24 April, 2000


The constitutional rights of all Americans continue to be threatened. Unfortunately, this election year has shades of past years when the President and the anti-gun lobby were able to neutralize many key gun rights advocates and back-down the congressional leadership.

I agree with our founding fathers and others who assert that the right to keep and bear arms is a key cornerstone right that acts as an insurance policy for all other liberties. The problem is that this right is being eroded at the edges, and attempts to compromise have left us in a position where the basic principle has been nearly erased.

The arguments of those who oppose gun rights make no sense at all. New gun laws have gone on the book just about every decade over the last century, and at the same time gun related crime incidents have increased. In fact, in places where gun laws are most strict, gun crime and violence is most rampant.

One only need ask the question, "Would you feel safer in New York City or Washington, DC, where guns are prohibited, or in rural Texas where there is a concealed carry law or in Vermont which has no gun regulations?" Facts do indeed tend to show that an armed society is indeed a polite society.

In fact, Doctor John Lott, a Ph.D. law professor at Yale University, has completed impressive studies that show, in his words, "more guns equal less crime." Certainly it is true that gun laws have never had any measurably positive impact on crime. In fact, in countries that have recently undergone gun confiscations, violent crime rates have skyrocketed. It is simply common sense to suggest that a murderer or felon is not going to be deterred by the fact that in the commission of such a crime he or she will also have to violate a gun control law.

Gun control laws do nothing to reduce crime. That is why they are so insidious. Those who push these laws either have to be completely ignorant of this fact, or they must be motivated by some other agenda. It stands to reason that the latter option is the more truthful.

The reason that gun control advocates will never run out of new proposals is precisely because they realize full well that gun control cannot limit crime. Thus, they will always be back with what they call "just one more reasonable little regulation." We should not be arguing for further enforcement of existing gun laws. Instead we should be putting these laws on trial.

It has been said that the very definition of insanity is to continue using the same means while expecting a different result. The means of controlling crime by controlling guns is a dismal failure. The idea that we should continue this policy is absurd. We should ask the gun control advocates why it is that the gun control act, the automatic weapon ban and the Brady bill have not proven to be the panacea they promised when proposing these bills.

I oppose gun laws on constitutional grounds, but I often wonder why those who say they want to be reasonable do not ask the gun grabbers straight away for some evidence that their approach works. Or, why they do not demand evidence that a new proposal will bear the promised results of cutting crime. Without some measurement of the effects of gun laws how can anybody tell if they have been successful? The administration simply trumps up its statistics after-the-fact.

Actually, I realize why the gun grabbers are never called onto the carpet in such a way. Simply, those who refuse to stand up for constitutional rights like to say they are compromising, but the fact is they are cowering. It is one thing to be a coward with one's own life, but it is entirely immoral to run in fear when it comes to defending the constitutional rights we are sworn to uphold.

Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas in the US House of Representatives.



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