Tuesday, February 9, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found


VideoMissing: Male Boxer, since evening of Jan. 4, Hwy. 97 West, rear of Promised Land Creamery, $500 REWARD. Call 830-391-2240 with information.
*Includes FREE photo online! mywcn.com/lostandfound
Bear, please come home! Missing since October 22, 2014, black Manx cat (no tail), shy. Reward! Help him find his way home. 210-635-7560.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Seeking a residential housekeeper, duties include cleaning, laundry, and ironing. For more information, call 956-286-6709.
Seeking individual to work in a local child-care center, paid holidays, etc., must be high school grad or GED. Apply in person at Cubs Country Childcare, 212 FM 1346 in La Vernia.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›
RE/MAX homeRichardson Chevrolet homeTNMC
You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.

Section A: General News


Editorial: Gun-control, mental-health laws won’t make us safer




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story
Sheldon Richman
Guest Column
March 13, 2013 | 1,521 views | Post a comment

We would do the young victims of the Newtown shootings no honor by frantically enacting futile restrictions on freedom.

It may be satisfying to “do something.” But two things ought to be kept in mind. First, liberty is never more in peril than when politicians sense that the people want them to do something -- anything. Second, a false sense of security is worse than no security at all. Legislating in the heat of emotion will not prevent future attacks, but it will do irreparable harm to innocent people.

The proposition that restrictions on gun sales will prevent shootings has been debunked many times. One wonders how often it must be pointed out that someone who is willing to commit murder is not likely to be deterred by gun laws or gun-free zones, which merely amount to an invitation to killers seeking to create maximum mayhem before killing themselves. Increases in violent crime followed tighter gun laws in Britain and Australia.

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school killer, used a semiautomatic rifle modeled on a gun used in combat, but it does not follow that if the so-called assault-weapons ban were reinstated, mass shootings would stop. The original ban singled out rifles based on cosmetic considerations, but even a more comprehensive ban wouldn’t make anyone safer. Millions of such rifles exist and would not disappear with the passage of a ban. Nor would the existing supply be confiscated. Thus, a plentiful black market would exist. Anyone who wants a banned rifle badly enough will have no trouble getting one. However, rifles are used in only a small percentage of crimes -- and let’s not forget that violent crime has been declining for decades.

Gun controllers propose that gun sales occurring outside of licensed stores, such as at gun shows or between private individuals, should be subject to buyer background checks. It takes only a moment to see that that requirement would make no one safer. How would it be enforced? Informal sales by definition are beyond the view of the authorities. It’s already against the law for convicted felons to possess firearms. Does anyone believe that restriction is effective? Again, someone determined to commit murder will get a gun without a background check. But having people believe otherwise may keep them from adopting sensible precautions.

James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, points out another problem with background checks: “Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization.” Furthermore, let’s remember that Lanza took guns from his mother, a legal gun owner.

Nothing the gun controllers can think of will keep guns away from those who intend to do harm.

Unfortunately, some opponents of gun control try to take people’s minds off guns by blaming shootings on mental illness. If people with mental problems could be more easily locked up, goes the argument, we’d all be safer. This is an especially dangerous idea. As Fox writes, “Certainly, people cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner.” But that is what some people seem to want.

Proposing to lock people up (even in a purported hospital) before they have been convicted of a crime mocks the principles of justice we routinely pay lip service to. (True, these principles have been violated routinely in the “war on terror.” Our task, however, is to stop this outrage, not make it more common.) Some commentators lament that it is not as easy to commit people as it used to be, but be careful what you ask for. Psychiatrists have no special skill at predicting who will be violent, and while they use terms like “mental disorder,” there are no objective tests for psychiatric “diseases.” Expanding the mental-health laws would save no lives, but it would jeopardize the freedom of people who pose no harm to anyone.

No legislative gimmick will prevent mass shootings. An open society is a risky society, and giving more power to our guardians only raises the ancient question: Who will protect us from our protectors?

In the end, there’s no substitute for taking self-defense seriously.

Sheldon Richman is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) in Fairfax, Va.
 

Your Opinions and Comments


Be the first to comment on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Section A: General News Archives


Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Agencies uncover $400K in stolen vehicles, parts (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. China Grove begins vote on tax rollback (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Clock running out for Floresville recall issue (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Connally expands high-tech health care (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Council action changes boards (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Court Update (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Deputies charge Floresville spurned lover with arson (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Deputies investigate recent thefts (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: The demand for villains (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: What’s in a city charter? Is it like a … Constitution? (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Eight-liner opponents face deadline (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FELPS pools tornado damage claim with city, Floresville ISD (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville USDA accountant resigns (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Free CERT disaster course (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get a free heart health screening in Kenedy Feb. 12 (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Greater LV Chamber to meet (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. H-E-B recalls cookware (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hold on for now (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. It’s all happening at Nixon-Smiley Elementary (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Kicaster area will have fire coverage (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Landfill welcomes China Grove junk (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Apple Pie author extends thanks (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Gonzales differs with writer’s conclusion (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Talamantez truly a man of the people (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Life Line Screening event set in Floresville Feb. 28 (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Mock Republican Debate Feb. 20 (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Nixon-Smiley livestock show set for March (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. One dead in game-room robbery (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pioneer Award honors Burnside (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pirates Cove in Poth offers after-school care service (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Police Blotter (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Save the date for Lincoln Dinner (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. School district cops ink deal with city, county (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Second responders to meet (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale, La Vernia units respond to back-to-back fires (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Tanneberger is top agent (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Weigh in on Loop 410 changes (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Wilson County Hermann Sons lodges meet new-member goal (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. ‘Loving’ heart-shaped treats are for the birds (February 3, 2016)