The White House has announced new plans on gun control. House Democrats are pushing another universal background check bill, and high-profile Republicans in both chambers of Congress are campaigning for a new federal grant program that would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws. It is not overstating the case to say that there has never been a greater threat to due process and the Second Amendment.
“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked about last month’s shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Philadelphia.
Statements like this should infuriate the American people for multiple reasons. Never in American history have we seen our Second Amendment and due process rights under siege from so many different directions. In the midst of such a volatile and unprecedented situation, careless remarks like these from our nation’s leaders cannot be tolerated.
This is why, earlier this month, 40 of my colleagues in the South Carolina General Assembly joined me in a letter to President Trump and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott urging them to address the numerous factors that are being ignored on this issue, including the erosion of our civil liberties the dangers of gun-free zones.
Academic studies roundly demonstrate that more laws simply will not prevent mass shootings. On the contrary, the key to curtailing gun violence lies not in destroying our Constitutional liberties but in recognizing the sacred right of every law-abiding American to self-defense, both from violent crime and the threat of a tyrannical government.
Likewise, 94% of mass shootings actually occur in gun-free zones, according to research conducted by the Crime Prevention Center. Multiple studies elsewhere point to states and cities with the toughest anti-gun laws (such as Chicago and Washington, D.C.) as having the highest crime rates, rather than the other way around.
The Founding Fathers warned us to never trade liberty for security, but that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes. When law-abiding citizens are left defenseless against murderers, the last thing Congress should do is just “pass something”.
Our letter also points out the role the mainstream media holds in sensationalizing gun violence and setting a false narrative that violent crimes are on the rise. Just like the notion that gun-free zones make us safer, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, data gathered by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that violent crime in the United States has steadily decreased since 1993.
I have taken an oath before God to defend the Constitution and am proud of my fellow legislators for joining me on this defining issue. Even with such a stirring display of unity, however, vigilance and courage will be demanded of us as the federal government’s crusade against our Constitutional rights continues.
To the elected officials across the U.S. who still believe in liberty: Now is not the time to stop fighting. President Calvin Coolidge warned that “it is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” The inevitable slippery slope that follows when government neglects due process is one that we cannot afford to fall down. I hope that this attempt to further destroy our liberties fails.
Stewart Jones, a Republican, is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, currently serving on the Medical, Municipal, and Public Affairs committee.