My view: Facts not told in today's gun debate

By Allan South

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 10 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

The current system of background checks regularly denies gun purchases (about 76,000) but sometimes fails. Those thus denied for known cause have already broken the law, yet the vast majority are not currently prosecuted or even investigated.

Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

Enlarge photo»

Restricting firearms from criminals and those who are unstable has long been a matter of interest. Recent newscasts have asserted that polls show most citizens want expanded background checks for firearm purchases. But this is a matter where the devil really is in the details, and a yes or no opinion of territory not clearly defined is a bad recipe. Polls are worded to produce desired results while neglecting important details, and they often target selected respondents. "Common sense" is claimed where scrutiny reveals otherwise.

A closer look exposes interesting facts that are slow to be mentioned:

Proposed legislation would not have prevented any of the incidents at the forefront of current controversy, and it would effectively create a registration database. Also, as clearly described in recent Senate hearings, it would be expensive, unmanageable and unenforceable, affecting only law-abiding citizens.

The current system of background checks regularly denies gun purchases (about 76,000) but sometimes fails. Those thus denied for known cause have already broken the law, yet the vast majority are not currently prosecuted or even investigated.

The stated goal of some of those leading the charge for registration is to limit firearms and to prevent further transfer, thereby eventually doing away with private ownership. We have their statements, and they want to take firearms away wherever they can: "All vets are mentally ill and government should prevent them from owning firearms," said Dianne Feinstein in recent hearings.

Historically, registration is a precursor to confiscation. It began that way in Australia, England, Uganda, pre-World War II Germany and other countries. In these cases, results have been deleterious or devastating. The very act of confiscation of important tools of self-defense is tyrannical, and denial that an armed nation provides a measure of governmental and enemy restraint ignores one of the very premises of confiscation.

Leading registration proponents are often hypocritical, possessing personal defense firearms themselves or employing armed guards, or they are embarrassingly uninformed about real data on guns or lack even the most basic ability and knowledge for control of firearms.

We deeply appreciate those who take on police responsibility and know that we can and do count on them and their training. However, the police have no final obligation to protect us (established in court). We are often on our own. Police are actually second responders. Those involved in the incident are the first responders, and they who are able have as much need for weapons.

Politicians at all levels, even the highest, will attempt to shame opposition, making it seem that do-no-good legislation is "obviously" the thing to do. But bearing the cost of implementation of such legislation when there is much else to be done is really not in the best interest of the nation.

Think tanks that promote one-world rule and socialistic causes openly list as a primary goal the disarming the population. They cleverly "educate" and "train" for a better world under the reign of the enlightened, not the people. They well understand that the unarmed are more compliant.

Gun ownership is not for everyone, even though the presence of guns stops or prevents an assault or other crime about two million times a year in the U.S. Those who have no interest or ability are better off not venturing forth. Some of those who own guns shouldn't. In hard times, many act poorly. There are no simple solutions.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we are losing our compass that points to individual responsibility and liberty.

Allan South is a retired chemist, quality auditor and author.

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