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Guns are Merely Illegal Aliens

I think few things better demonstrate the ridiculous nature of current gun laws and their subsequent enforcement than the recent episode involving a NC student who is facing expulsion and a felony charge for inadvertently leaving a (locked) shotgun in the trunk of his car. Of course, the only reason that anyone knows that there was a gun in his trunk was that a school administrator eavesdropping on his phone conversation heard him ask his mother to come retrieve the gun from his car. Privacy issues aside, it’s not as if he walked into the school with it slung over his shoulder.

Aside from the question of whether school officials should be listening on conversations between children and their parents, it should have been fairly obvious that the student was attempting to rectify the situation. One can’t help but notice the double standard here. If the student had been an illegal immigrant discussing his green card issues with his mother, he would have gotten a wink and a nod (and maybe some food stamps), and off to math class he would go. But he’s a white male (and Eagle Scout) with a gun, so of course there’s no room for “compassion” or “understanding”. You immediately throw the entire penal code at him and slap him with a felony charge, effectively ruining his life at 16.

This raises several issues. First, the fact that it’s a felony to have a gun locked in the trunk of your car while you attend class is absurd. The General Assembly is currently in the processing of amending this particular law (as it applies to colleges and universities), but the thinking behind such a law is bizarre. If safety is the primary concern behind such laws, they shouldn’t be banning the guns. They should be banning the cars the guns are locked in. But safety isn’t the concern here. If it were, the school wouldn’t react so violently to an incident in which no one was hurt and no one was in danger of being hurt. Indeed, the same school merely gave a slap on the wrist to a teacher who both managed to lose her gun on school property and allow it to come into the hands of her students, a situation significantly more dangerous than the current one.

The other issue of concern is the reaction of the school administrators. Aside from their blatantly hypocritical method of dealing with the situation, their response is clearly inappropriate. The student was in the process of solving the problem with as little disruption to the school as possible, but some do-gooder felt it necessary to go call the cops. Technically, these people were following “procedure,” but when does following procedure require you to give up the ability to think? There was clearly no danger and, if the school had kept its nose out of it, no one would have even known that it happened. Looked at another way, the gun was simply an illegal immigrant to the school and had been brought to the school without its knowledge or consent. Where is the compassion? Where is the love? All it wanted to do was go home. It didn’t even want amnesty. Maybe this student should have just invoked Obama’s DREAM amnesty, and maybe the school would have been a little more understanding. But this is the problem with gun laws today (and the law in general). Those laws that the enforcers like are enforced ruthlessly and without regard for mitigating circumstances. Those laws that the enforcers don’t like are ignored, circumvented, and forgotten.

Hoplophobia

Those who imagine themselves the cultural elites frequently resort to diagnosing their opponents with a variety disorders in order to explain the reasons for their disagreement. After all, when you’re a smart, Ivy League-educated egg-head, the only reason someone would disagree with you is if there is something wrong with him that affects his ability to think rationally. So, those who argue for traditional marriage are homophobic. Those who support enforcement of federal immigration laws are xenophobic. And so it goes. Yet, there is one area where these self-proclaimed shrinks fail to recognize a phobia of their own: Guns.

Hoplophobia, according to Wikipedia, is the “fear of weapons” or the “fear of armed citizens.” There is no better term to define the media’s (and much of the political establishment’s) reaction to the events in Denver this weekend. It didn’t take long before members of Congress, the media, and scores of other people began calling for new gun control laws. The country was simply ablaze with the story. While truly tragic, a car crash in Texas that same weekend, which actually managed to kill more people than the shooter in Colorado, generated almost no publicity (even as a report came out indicating that traffic deaths have increased 13.5% this year). Yet, no one is talking about banning cars (or illegal immigration for that matter). So, what gives?

I think the reaction largely has to do with people’s fear of guns. Some people are simply scared to death of them and would prefer not to have anything to do with them. This would explain why such things as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (which effectively outlawed “scary” guns) remain popular in some circles. However, these hoplophobes ignore some rather crucial bits of information. First, the movie theater in Aurora was already a gun-free zone. Indeed, many of the places where these mass shootings occur are “gun-free” zones. Virginia Tech, Columbine, and most of the other high-profile shootings of the last 20 years were all gun-free zones. It turns out that these places were gun-free zones for everyone except the guy with the gun. Additionally, the hoplophobes also ignore many of the incidents where an armed citizen saved the day. Naturally, these incidents aren’t reported by the media, because… well, nothing happened. All anyone hears about guns is how much harm they cause. No one ever hears about the number of lives they save.

Hoplophobes ought to work to overcome their fear. It’s unknown what effect (if any) the presence of an armed citizen in the movie theater would have made. But how many times are we told that if some program or policy or law can save (or improve) just one life, it’s worth doing (that’s why we have ObamaCare, right?)? While such a fear of guns is certainly understandable, that doesn’t make it any more rational. Guns are merely a tool, and attempting to ban or restrict their use will not prevent bad things from happening. If you ban guns, people will simply find more creative ways to kill each other. The fact of the matter is that there’s evil in the world, and that is one thing you cannot legislate away.