In the aftermath of a shooting tragedy, the usual sides come out in full force to discuss the pros and cons of gun ownership and use in the United States of America.
Naturally, proponents of the Second Amendment are charged with not caring about children. If you support the right to bear arms, you must clearly be in favor of students being mowed down by a maniac who slipped through multiple cracks in the system. There could be no other reason for your support of such a “barbaric” freedom.
Anti-gun Leftists will claim that guns are evil, the NRA itself commits violence, and the right to bear arms is an antiquated American privilege.
None of these things is true.
While we understand that emotions are high after such a tragedy, we shouldn’t apologize for addressing the fear-mongering as we encounter it. In doing so, we not only defend our side but establish the fact that gun ownership is not a pro-death fixation at all.
In fact, proper use of guns and common sense treatment of the Second Amendment is a pro-life issue.
Guns are often used by Americans to defend themselves. They are used to protect loved ones and even complete strangers from those who wish to cause them harm. That is about as pro-life as it gets. In addition, proper, responsible control of guns reinforces both concern for life and the serious nature of and respect for firearms.
But what about actual gun control? What about the measures some are suggesting to discourage or completely prevent future acts of violence? Unfortunately, it is impossible to keep all of these crimes from occurring. This is because the root cause of all gun crime and other murderous acts is the evil of the heart. And that has been around as long as mankind has walked the planet.
Regardless, I believe that pro-life, pro-2A supporters, whether they’re conservatives or not, should do the following in the aftermath of this and future tragedies.
Before Yelling About Your Rights, Reinforce the Sanctity of Life
It is far too easy to jump into the fray after an act of horrific violence and yell about our freedoms. I understand that our freedoms are of the utmost importance, but perhaps before engaging in the usual exchanges, make it clear, first and foremost, that your heart is similarly grieved over the loss of innocent life. You don’t have to agree with anyone who is radically asking for an end to gun ownership. You don’t have to join hands with that person talking about the evils of the National Rifle Association.
However, I do think if we are the side promoting the inherent worth of life in the womb we should just as passionately speak up for post-birth individuals who are shot and killed by a monster. Yes, preceding the emotional defense of your freedoms should be clear and sustained statements affirming the worth of every human life.
Too often, pro-lifers are seen as only caring about lives when they’re inside of the womb. While this is not true, let’s give no ground to those who accuse us of just that. Err on the side of “life is precious and I’m furious, too.” Why wouldn’t you?
It goes like this: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life always comes first.
Consider New Measures That May Help Reduce the Severity or Frequency of Tragedies
Amazingly enough, it is possible to be both for Second Amendment rights and open to hearing some common sense ideas in order to make our world safer.
No, the answer is not banning firearms. No, the answer is not allowing financial institutions to determine which purchases are acceptable or not (hello, fascism). No, the answer is not outlawing certain types of ammunition. But there are some approaches worth considering and you can still wear your “Don’t tread on me” t-shirt while contemplating them.
What about insisting on armed guards or armed teachers in our schools?
What not ban bump stocks? President Trump is for a ban on this gun modifier, which allows a shooter to convert a semi-automatic into an automatic. After the Las Vegas massacre, my colleague Patterico wrote in support of banning bump stocks.
What about the introduction of gun violence restraining orders? David French at National Review wrote an article detailing the merit of GVROs.
What if, however, there was an evidence-based process for temporarily denying a troubled person access to guns? What if this process empowered family members and others close to a potential shooter, allowing them to “do something” after they “see something” and “say something”? I’ve written that the best line of defense against mass shootings is an empowered, vigilant citizenry. There is a method that has the potential to empower citizens even more, when it’s carefully and properly implemented.
It’s called a gun-violence restraining order, or GVRO.
Some on the Right have balked at the idea, but it is well worth considering. Why would you want mentally troubled individuals to have access to guns? Please, let me know.
Why not support reform of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)? Governor Greg Abbott of Texas supports this as do others in the Republican party. Is there any reason to be against making background checks stronger? No, there is not.
In the days since the Parkland, Florida school shooting, I’ve heard the statement “with increased gun control measures, we can make this the last mass shooting in the U.S.” Even if some common sense measures are instituted, we will see this level of violence again. That is the reality.
Right now, there are individuals going about their normal lives who will become victims in the next shooting tragedy. They will join those who lost their lives while attending a concert in Las Vegas, a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and a high school in Florida. It’s not if, it’s when. And it will never stop no matter what legislation or precautions are taken.
Despite the grim realities of this fallen world, we should never back down from promoting and defending the worth of every human life. The persons who inhabit the womb are just as precious when they join us on this side.
If we are pro-life, then let’s be deliberate about it. Copy and paste the passionate disgust you have for Planned Parenthood and direct it toward the monsters who live among us and maintain a lower profile. Be willing to consider common sense gun measures that may help to fill in the gaps where Stephen Paddock, Devin Patrick Kelley, and Nikolas Cruz fell through.
You can be pro-life and do both. In fact, if you are pro-life, you automatically should.