Why I Still Support the Second Amendment, Even After Las Vegas
I'm a young woman with a handgun. Tragedies like Las Vegas won't be prevented by taking away my right to self-defense in close quarters.
Cries for gun control rang out while bullet casings were still hot on the streets of Las Vegas. The Right accused the Left of politicizing the tragedy for their own gain. Their criticisms are well-deserved, even though it must be admitted the calls for #GunControlNow are understandable. After all, another massacre just wrecked our hearts. It makes sense that many go after what seem to be the main culprit: guns.
But now that the smoke has cleared and emotions are a little less raw, I’d like to offer a different perspective.
“They Were Useless”
First, consider this post from Caleb Keeter, lead guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band. The band members were among many Country stars that performed at the Route 91 Harvest festival last weekend.
Even though Keeter was a Second Amendment supporter his “entire life,” that night changed his mind. “We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus,” he said. “They were useless.” (Language warning in the Twitter post below.)
— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017
“We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us,” Keeter went on, speaking of the band’s own guns. “We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.”
I sympathize with Keeter. I cannot imagine what he went through. But he’s wrong to call for more gun control.
When Self-Defense Counts
Like Keeter before last weekend, I’ve always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. A 24-year-old woman, I’m licensed by the State of Texas to carry a handgun. You can bet my Glock is on my person whenever I’m somewhere that carrying is legal. That’s still true after Las Vegas.
Keeter’s still partly right, of course. His band’s guns would not have stopped Stephen Paddock’s massacre.
For one, Paddock was 32 stories above the Country music festival, and 500 yards away. He was armed with over 20 guns, including long-range rifles. Twelve of his rifles were modified to closely replicate automatic fire. A 15-round mag in a 9mm handgun can’t compete.
So are laws that allow us to carry handguns “useless”? No. Because not every act of gun violence will come from the 32nd story of a hotel and 20-plus high-powered weapons.
Some will come in a parking garage, when a man attempts to abduct a woman at knifepoint as she gets in her car.
Some will come at a gas station, when a man puts a handgun to the neck of a 4-foot 11-inch woman exiting the store.
Some will come at a small church, when a man shoots his way into the place of worship before he is detained by someone who has a legal handgun.
“My Life or His”
Each of the above links contains stories of everyday Americans who saved lives — or could have — because they owned a handgun. There are hundreds more.
Sure, when someone is able to sneak over 20 weapons, including modified guns that mimic automatic fire, into a hotel and execute the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, it’s worth reviewing the laws that made that possible. But it’s incorrect to think robbing average Americans of their right to defend themselves in other cases, like the ones above, is the answer to stopping another Las Vegas.
Any responsible gun owner will tell you we do not carry our weapons with the intention of becoming a hero or, God forbid, the desire to kill. We carry so that if we come face to face with a person who threatens to kill us, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.
As the woman at the gas station said, “I feel bad, but I had to protect me and my family. It was my life or his.”
When Danger Stares Us in the Eyes
According to research, gun control measures endorsed by the Left would not significantly help the people most affected by gun violence. Some point to Australia’s gun buy-back program as an example to follow. But in America that would be impractical, both logistically and financially.
And there’s this: bad people can still wreak havoc, even if guns are banned or more difficult to obtain. Law-abiding citizens will be left without meaningful self-defense, while attackers wield knives, fling acid, ram cars into crowds or use illegal firearms. Even the weapon-less man is a threat to a woman, as he is typically stronger and can overpower her in a fight. Does she deserve to get raped, kidnapped or murdered simply because the state outlawed her ability to carry an equalizer?
This is why I still support the Second Amendment, even after the tragedy in Las Vegas. Like all decent Americans, I want mass shootings to end. I want answers to why Paddock did what he did. And I want real solutions that will lower the level of gun violence in our nation.
But I don’t want more innocents to suffer at the hands of rapists, murderers, robbers, abusers and psychopaths. And that is what will happen if, when danger is staring us straight in the eyes, our Second Amendment right to self-defense is gone.