In an opinion piece titled, “Recognize the Need for Gun Reform,” Red & Black Managing Editor (on behalf of the Editorial Board) Nicole Schlabach laments on her thought that apparently not enough Americans recognize the supposed need for gun law reform. I feel that this assertion is unfounded. Any sensible American recognizes the problem of gun violence in this country, it is an ugly stain that seeps into the fabric of our nation, and admittedly something to which “we’ve become acclimated,” as the author correctly states. I agree with her in that we need to ban the controversial “bump stock”, as well as other items that make a semi-automatic rifle an effectively fully automatic one. In the wake of the horrific Las Vegas tragedy, I wholeheartedly agree with the author on the issue of banning rather suspect gun modifications.
But I have a serious issue with the way the article is presented, as it is an overt emotional appeal to gun reform, with some statistical assertions that are not linked or backed up in the article in any way, shape, or form. But my big issue with this article is its rehashing of an extremely popular argument used by the Left, the example of Australian gun reform after a 1996 tragedy. Well, it wasn’t so much gun reform as it was a mandatory gun confiscation program, a facet of the policy conveniently left out in this article. Essentially, the Aussie government “bought back” (read: confiscated) between 650,000 to one million firearms by using funds garnered from a special tax. And the folks who want us to implement even stricter gun laws always point us to articles written by proud Australians who beseech America to follow their country’s lead and implement radically restrictive gun control, as if their opinions or policy prescriptions are automatically a reasonable benchmark for the United States because a certain policy of theirs matches the talking points of the Left. Essentially, by citing the Australian argument, the article brings up the idea of gun confiscation in America as a solution to the mass shootings that have occurred in the past. Not only is that completely unconstitutional, it is also completely impractical. There are more guns in the United States than there are people, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives data. In 2015, there were 357 million legal firearms in the United States, and that doesn’t even consider all the illegal firearms in the country. To round up all the (legal) guns in the US would cost an exorbitant sum of money, require vast federal resources, and be a wholly impractical undertaking. Because, as some people conveniently forget, the Second Amendment is there to protect citizens from the tyranny of the government from trying to seize too much power. We quite literally fought an entire war to stop the Brits from doing that.
My other issue with the article is the fact that it doesn’t attempt to bring up any policy solutions, just examples of what the author believes to be successes and failures with legislation regarding gun policy. I would have no issue if the author personally brought up her ideas and thoughts on implementing gun control policy. There is nothing about implementing, for example, universal background checks, limiting ammunition purchases, magazines above a certain capacity, cracking down on illegal gun ownership, or any other proposed gun control measures. However, the author fails to provide her personal views, something I feel is rather necessary for an opinion piece. Only then, I could get off my soapbox and write a more factually argumentative piece. However, she admits that she is “not a lawmaker and cannot determine exactly which changes are needed, but taking no action does no good.” Might I ask, then: what is the point of writing such a piece if you are going to provide emotional appeal and “facts”, only then to seemingly excuse yourself of all blame at the end because you aren’t a lawmaker?
The article ends with the “you should care more” argument, and shaming phrase thrown at anyone who doesn’t spend each waking hour of their day worried about your (perceived) morally superior causes. I recognize and admit that I’ve been a little more emotional- yes it is extremely ironic and I am opening myself to being called a massive hypocrite. This piece is more angry than my pieces usually are, and it is rather out of character for me to write an attack piece. While I applaud the author for writing an excellent opinion piece, I feel that it could have been written in a more factual and logical manner, instead of just repeating the typical gun control arguments like so many of the great moral preachers of the Left.
Boris A. Abreu is a junior studying international affairs and political science. He is Publishing Editor at The Arch Conservative.