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Tuesday, July 25th, 2017Last Update: Thursday, May 4th, 2017 02:03:55 PM

Guns Are Here to Stay

By: David Deming

The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association created a bit of a brouhaha recently when they sued the City of Norman over a gun ban at Norman's annual Music Festival. Not surprisingly, the judge issued a restraining order against the City. What was surprising were reactions on social media to both the lawsuit and the realization that people might be carrying guns at the Festival. A segment of our population seems to be unaware that guns are now commonplace in Oklahoma.

In 1996, Oklahoma joined a long list of States that have passed "shall issue" laws which mandate the issuance of carry permits for law-abiding citizens. Today, the vast majority of States have adopted similar laws with spectacular success. More than eleven million adults in the US have permits to carry guns. In five States, no permit is required. As of 2014, more than 190,000 people in Oklahoma have gun permits, or about seven percent of the adult population. Wherever you go, you're likely to be surrounded by people carrying concealed weapons.

Gun sales in the US have doubled over the last ten years. While both the possession and carrying of weapons has become more common, the violent crime rate in the US has dropped by fifty percent in the last twenty years. This simple fact ought to give pause to anyone who reflexively associates guns with crime.

Some opinions on firearms continue to be based more on fear and ignorance than facts and reason. A common viewpoint I often see expressed is that no one needs a gun, and therefore a person who carries one is irrational and dangerous. Nonsense. We're all at risk, in every place and at every time. The beheading of a woman at a Moore food processing plant last September should have illustrated this point. A gun is usually the most effective means of self-defense. The mere fact that many people are now armed is a powerful deterrent to crime. Armed robberies, carjackings, and muggings have become very dangerous activities!

It's perplexing that some people continue to think that putting up a sign that reads "no guns allowed," will magically protect them from a criminal or a deranged person intent on committing mayhem. Over and over again, we have seen mass murder committed in so-called "gun free" zones where the only people who don't have guns are those who would have used them to save lives. The deadliest shooting incident in US history, the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, occurred in a "gun free" zone. Yet the higher education lobby in Oklahoma continues to stubbornly and irrationally resist policies that would let people defend themselves on college campuses. Seven states allow qualified people to carry weapons on campus. One wonders why the people of Oklahoma are less trustworthy than those of other states?

Let's remember something else. The debate has never been about whether we're going to have guns or not. The debate has always been about who's going to have them: the government, or both the government and the people. All the people who want to take your guns away, from Barack Obama to Michael Bloomberg to Hillary Clinton, are themselves constantly surrounded by armed guards. They're not giving up their guns, and neither should you. Molon labe.

For those who still want more restrictive gun laws, I would encourage you to consider the example of Venezuela. In 2012, Venezuela banned the sale of all guns to anyone but the military and the police. They now have the second-highest homicide rate in the world. Murders per capita in this gun-free paradise are more than ten times higher than in the US. More guns in the hands of responsible people means less crime, not more.

About David Deming

David Deming is a geophysicist and associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma. His book, Black & White: Politically Incorrect Essays on Politics, Culture, Science, Religion, Energy and Environment, is available for purchase on Amazon.com

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