The trouble with America is not that there are too many guns—it’s that there are too few.
I’m not talking about the inner cities, where everything from disputes at parties or nightclubs to living on the wrong block seems to be settled by gunfire. I’m talking about so-called polite society, where a tiny fringe of people can take the lives of dozens and destroy the fabric of hundreds of families, with a single cowardly act.
I’m talking about what happened in Aurora, and what happened at Virginia Tech and what happened at Columbine, and what happens any time a man with a gun uses that gun to create ultimate power, by taking lives and becoming a celebrity in so doing.
The natural outcry after an event like Aurora is to demand gun control, on the theory that if people like that creep had no access to guns, then such events could never happen.
The logic is so fallacious that one wonders how otherwise intelligent people can buy into it.
The only way to get all guns off the streets is to go into every single home, office, storage facility, boat, or anything else with walls, and scour every square inch for weapons, and confiscate those weapons, the Second Amendment be damned, and then repeat the process on a constant basis so that no gun could escape the sweep.
Is this the price in civil liberties that gun control supporters are willing to pay?
Because unless the government intervenes drastically and constantly in the lives of Americans, gun control will never be achieved. As long as there is a floorboard under which a weapon could be concealed, the cowards who commit mass murder will always be with us.
So if we’re not willing to suspend not just the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but also the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure, there can never be such a thing as gun control.
But there is another means by which the calculus that these cowards use to plan their attacks can be changed. Every state should offer concealed carry permits.
There are two kinds of cowards who commit mass murders. Those who are rational enough to desire not to get killed (but are willing to pay the price of life in prison if they are captured). And those who couldn’t care less whether they die and may even intend to turn their weapons on themselves when they’ve taken what they consider to be enough innocent lives.
Let’s say that concealed carry laws exist in a state where a jackass decides he’s going to shoot up a public place—a movie theater, a classroom, you name it. If he’s of the kind who doesn’t want to die, he knows that as soon as he lifts a weapon against a crowd, someone—or many people—in that crowd are likely to fire back.
And those people won’t be as amateurish about weapons as he is. It’s not easy to get a concealed carry permit in Texas. You must be 21, have a clean criminal history, be of sound mind and not chemically dependent, and you must go through handgun training. In other words, you’re likely to be a better shot than the nutcase holding the crowd hostage.
Doesn’t this change the way you think about your odds of success? Especially if success means killing any number of people, getting famous, and then maybe getting a hot-shot attorney to keep you from the electric chair?
Now let’s say you’re perfectly willing to die once you’ve achieved your quota of innocent lives. You’ll die, but well before you were able to kill everyone, or perhaps even anyone, in your sights.
I’m not bloodthirsty and I don’t advocate turning America into a shootout at the O.K. Corral. In fact, I’ve never owned a gun but I do interpret the U.S. Constitution as protecting my right to buy one should I so choose. Rather, I am deeply worried about copycat killers who know that a nation promoting gun control makes it highly unlikely that anyone in a crowd will be armed and willing to take on a shooter bent on a bloody rampage.
There are two ways to get famous in America. One is to accomplish something. The other is to kill people.
Let’s make the second option less attractive. Let’s lower the odds of the success of the villains who would terrorize and murder the innocent.
I’ve never lived in Texas but I travel there frequently on business. I’ve never thought for a moment about the fact that some of the people around me in restaurants, stores, or movie theaters are carrying handguns.
Hell, it’s Texas!
But the punks who commit these awful crimes against society are far less likely to do it in a place where they won’t get away with it…and are more likely to die than make the lead story on CNN.
Lloyd Bentsen, when running for Vice President in 1988, said in a debate with Dan Quayle, “My grandfather’s idea of gun control was a steady hand.”
To which Dirty Harry would add, “Feeling lucky, punk?”
They’d feel a lot less lucky if they knew that a crowd of potential victims had the potential to fire back.
(New York Times best selling author Michael Levin runs www.BusinessGhost.com, America’s leading provider of ghostwritten books and social media.)