Apr-2018Current Articles

RED COLUMN: Repeal The SAFE Act

By: James M. Kanalley, Jr.

With each sensationalized murder, and a gun being at the center, I don’t doubt the possibility that the gun industry profits from these tragedies. It would be a natural reaction for people to start buying guns while it’s still legal with the threat that it will be more difficult if not illegal to do so soon. People at times buy guns based on fear. The media pushes fear and the government creates it with every new war they start. Others are just trying to get an item that they believe may not be available to purchase in the near future.

Being a somewhat conspiracy theorist myself, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was a gun manufacturer or NRA or government conspiracy to sell guns; but I kind of doubt it since the laws being proposed in the wake of every shooting are designed to reduce gun and ammo sales, which is the direct opposite of what gun manufacturers and the NRA want. In NY State, gun and ammo sales have been greatly hindered by the SAFE Act that Remington Arms moved their factory to Alabama and ammo prices have skyrocketed. They have since leveled out, though at a generally higher price than before.

Gun violence has happened in America for a long time, since its inception, simply because of the right to bear arms, the inherent human tendency towards anger and violence, was just as vicious then if not more so then than it is today with people dying in greater numbers. It was, however, never as serious of a proposal as it is right now. One could argue that it would be a natural reaction of an authoritarian or a tyrant to want to restrict the freedom a citizen has to purchase arms legally or dampen the right that is ensured in the U.S. Constitution to do so. There certainly is historical evidence for that being the case in places like Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, China, and not to mention colonial America when the British government sought to ban gun ownership and confiscate colonists’ firearms.

Today people that abuse the right to bear arms do so in a much more heinous ways than they did before. I wouldn’t be shocked if a person whose child was killed in a shooting would be lobbying to increase gun control. A parent going through emotions as strong as that, I can obviously understand the reaction. But the citizens of this country are charged with not acting purely on their emotions and should use rational thought to understand an issue when it comes to legislation. Reactionary thought in this case would say, giving up or ceding the right and freedom to arm yourself in the name of security provided by the State and its agents would be a terrible decision, since it takes power away from the people and hands it to the State, even though some people pose a threat when they abuse the right. The people who abuse the rights we all have on a daily basis should be and are rightfully punished for that. Despite that fact, our rights aren’t and shouldn’t be taken away as a whole or infringed upon because of the actions of a few.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

I am shocked that the population as a whole is joining the gun control lobby in greater numbers out of the fear of tragic, yet decidedly rare events and assuming that an incident like that will likely happen to their own child without laws in place for gun control. Instead of recognizing that these incidents are the exception to the rule and that gun violence and related death is actually happening in lesser numbers than it used to. More and more people are succumbing to a fear that is being heightened by a sensationalist style of reporting news, social media, and a politically motivated faction that wishes to see Americans with far less opportunity and ability to own firearms.

On top of that what’s going on, at least, in NY State with gun control is that the minority is being catered to with the SAFE Act. The majority of the state didn’t want it put into place, but it was anyways (illegally rushed through the Assembly in the middle of the night mind you). Overnight it literally criminalized millions of responsible law-abiding gun owners in NY State. Similar legislation such as the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 (H.R. 5087) does the exact same thing, if not going further by aiming to ban or make illegal an extremely broad range of firearms that makes up a huge portion of guns currently on the market, yet one’s that cause next to no real harm, relatively speaking, in terms of gun violence or related deaths.

Knee-jerk responses and drafts of legislation don’t do anything but satisfy peoples’ hurt feelings and potentially can take away rights from law-abidding American citizens.

Due to the SAFE Act and other legislation it made it more difficult to buy a gun now, especially a hand gun. With the outlaw of certain types of guns, their ammo is much harder to find now as well. With the dwindling numbers of specific rounds, many gun stores have limited numbers of rounds you can buy at a time. There was a provision in the original draft of the law that made all internet ammo sales illegal. Thankfully that was compromised on and reduced. There was also supposed to be a purchase registry put in place which is a clear cut violation of the Second and Fourth Amendments, it was scrapped because it would cost too much to start it up as soon as they wanted. All in all, the SAFE Act has made buying and owning a gun a pretty crappy experience. Again, overnight millions of people were “breaking the law” simply by living within their rights the day before the bill was signed.

SAFE made “high capacity” clips illegal and tens of thousands of people at that moment had clips that could hold more than 7 rounds (the original amount the safe act said was legal). That would put them in possession of an illegal instrument that was literally the day before, perfectly legal.

If you were to compare it to the prohibition and subsequent fight to legalize Marijuana, one piece of legislation is aimed at the restriction of something, and the other is aimed at legalizing something. On one hand you’re eliminating a black market by legalizing a low level drug and on the other hand you’re creating a greater black market by restricting access to gun ownership. And with black markets comes increased violence, death, and incarceration.

We all, as Americans have the right to bear arms, whether we wish to bear them or not. That right was important enough to the framers and founders of this great nation that they felt strongly enough to protect it with the Second Amendment to the Constitution. To seek to bypass that protection in order to strip the ability of millions of law abiding people, who’ve committed and won’t commit any crime with or even without a weapon, to satisfy a fear you or a certain group may have will firstly, not reduce violent crime or death rates, and secondly limit an inherently American liberty that has always set us apart from the rest of the world. We have to be willing and able to control our emotional response to tragic events and be serious about looking at and comparing data on this issue and come to a rational and reasonable conclusion. The fact is guns are dangerous. Another fact is that they are made out to be far worse of a public bane than the numbers actually bear out. Most gun owners are in favor of reasonable restrictions, many of which are already in place, for gun sales. We need to think clearly on this issue so as to preserve liberty, but come to the understanding that we need to change much of our society’s drive to kill one another by any means necessary. Because that’s the root of the issue. Not the ability to own, access, or even the type of firearms available to the public. Its up to us to listen to each other and fix the real problems we face. Not force ideals down each other’s throats.

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