Gun control arguments misfire

Ammunition is disappearing from gun shops across the country because people are afraid of the government. An interesting phenomenon, really.

The fear, voiced mostly by conservatives and libertarians (and therefore nearly unheard of on our extremely typical college campus), is that the Obama administration plans to raise the tax on ammunition sales astronomically, thus effectively "outlawing" ammunition (without which a gun is only a fancy-looking club) and, by extrapolation, getting rid of gun rights without contradicting the Second Amendment.

It's politically brilliant but extremely dishonest on the administration's part. The growing block of irrationally liberal people in America - the type who cleave to an ideology because it's popular or sounds nice without considering the cost - want gun ownership to be a thing of the past, citing violence and the involvement of firearms in crime as a reason to outlaw all guns.

The major problem with that line of reasoning is very simple: not all guns are used in crime. People don't shoot up neighborhoods with hunting rifles and a fowling piece is rarely a part of a murderer's repertoire. Basically, a gun for actual utilitarian purposes is not a gun that will hurt anyone anymore than an axe is inherently a weapon. As my father told me for as long as I can remember: "A rifle isn't a weapon. A rifle is a tool."

The fact remains that the possession of firearms is a Constitutional right. It may not be explicitly stated as such, as the "well-organized militia" is often a stumbling block exploited by critics, but the body of legal precedent is iron-clad: Americans have the right to own guns. And fewer and fewer people like that.

I don't know what the problem is. Maybe people fear guns, or maybe they're just too primitive for the forward-minded American's approval. Whatever the reason, the systematic cutting down of gun-rights is a sobering example of the overall fall of American liberties.

What, most people ask, is the point of having a gun? We don't need to hunt anymore and recreation isn't a right, so the argument that hunters need guns isn't sound. Studies have found that carrying a gun for protection doesn't really matter, so that's fallen through too. Why, then, do people hold so dear to this right?

It's a symbolic thing, like all of our rights; they can't really be given or taken away. The fact that they're on paper, though, is a symbol just as a gun is a symbol.

In general Americans tend to be fiercely independent, and guns, rifles and pistols all are symbols of that independence. Symbolically, a gun means food procurement, personal protection and the ability to rise against the government as our forefathers did if need be. In a very visceral way, the gun is a symbol of the values we hold dear, much to the progressive chagrin of many Americans.

Getting rid of guns would be akin to throwing out the Constitution or burning the Gettysburg Address. The end of the matter is simple: Guns are an integral part of American culture and, in a real sense, part of what keeps our government on the pseudo-straight and narrow. u

Aaron Davis is a sophomore English major who's gunning for his rights.

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