Opposing views on guns in the aftermath of Las Vegas: Violence can only be stopped with violence

By Spencer Shaw


In the words of the late, Antonin Scalia, “More important than your obligation to follow your conscience … is your obligation to form your conscience correctly.”

A society without laws is not lacking standards. Principals, boundaries and conduct are being molded from the moment of the first breath. Those standards build a conscience which encases one’s actions within a societal moral spectrum.

There are all too many examples of people who do the unthinkable. In those situations, we — as a compassionate and caring society — search for a solution.

This is not to take a harsh counter to anti-gun legislation. Rather, it is to preach that we must formulate  laws carefully, precisely and correctly. This may seem as a recommendation for no regulation, but this is not my argument. Regulate when it will help, and do not when it will not.

My compassion grows out of my support to personal liberties with particular interest in the personal freedom to be alive. This conversation takes place alongside the search for solutions to horrific crimes like in Las Vegas.

As the facts flow in, we find that the perpetrator, a sick and deranged man, utilized multiple semi-automatic weapons to gun down 58 people and 489 injured. In the aftermath, many took aim at the guns used and demanded action in their regulation. These types of crimes seem to be the only instance in which an inanimate object is considered to be at fault for a crime.

The overused example of restricting overall  access to vehicles with hopes to control the actions of drunk drivers seems all too distant. But, the analogy holds true. In that situation, we would have to turn over our keys without anyone satisfying our right to due process of law. We would have to do that knowing we did absolutely nothing in conflict with our moral spectrum.

It is natural to think that firearms in no way have had the positive impact on society that mobility has. To that, I say yet.

More importantly, we could replace “automobile” with any tangible object already circulated throughout the United States, and the same scenario would present itself.

Although it may be hard to believe, the leftist view of America is not all that far off of my cynical view of human nature. Buried in all that talk about a compassionate society, history reminds us that humans are oppressive, greedy and self-absorbed creatures. Since we agree on the dark pockets of human nature, I ask if you can offer any protections from them. The people who expose and embrace those dark tendencies have less than a care for regulation and legislation. In fact, I would make the argument that they  embrace the idea of defenseless victims.

Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, the only protection available to violence is violence itself.

I see three tangible classes of violence. One would be those who fail to follow the law, causing harm by way of violence to other people. Secondly, there is  violence perpetrated by the government in carrying out punishment for crimes or oppressively controlling its population. Lastly, there is violence perpetrated by a victim in attempts to protecting oneself. One of the three follows the law, one is exempt from the law and the other breaks the law.

The priority of criminal law is to vindicate the sectors of society in which the law is embraced. Attempting to deter criminals from certain actions on the basis that they might suffer punishment tends to have little effect. After all, murder has been illegal for quite some time. Further, the city of Chicago has some of the harshest gun control legislation in the United States, yet they suffer from one of the highest gun violence rates.

We cannot give the two classes of violence that are out of our control an even split over all the violence in our society.

Right in step with Scalia’s correctly formulated conscience argument is the reminder that we must formulate legislation correctly. We must not only define the problem and associated punishment, but we must do it for the right reasons, evaluate the possible repercussions and target the right people.

Protecting our people from mass shootings cannot be done by sweeping anti-gun legislation simply because the ban efforts would be ineffective.

After all, criminals don’t follow laws and taking away a population’s so-called retaliatory violence machines handicaps them when defense is necessary.

Target people with legislation, not objects. There are more than 80 million gun owners in the United States possessing approximately 310 million firearms. Medical malpractice kills seven times as many people annually than gun related crimes. The problem is far from an epidemic. I challenge you to identify the true heat of the problem because gun ownership is not it. After all, you’ve never seen a mass shooting at a gun show.