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News & Editorials

Dear Gun Control Activist

by Clint Cook

Dear Anti-Gun Activist,

Have you ever asked yourself why you are truly opposed to private gun ownership? You may say that your fight against guns is motivated from a desire to make America safer, maybe you feel guns are the cause of violence and every gun owner sooner or later will use his/her gun to commit a violent act. Maybe you feel there is no need for guns, and that the cost to society out weighs giving a few sportsmen something to do on the weekend? Maybe you believe that guns used for self-protection is just a myth supported by the NRA, and other pro-gun activists. Whatever you claim your reason to be, I believe that most of you care less about saving lives, and preventing injury, than you do about gun restrictions. Not true you say. What if I told you there was something else in America that was just as dangerous as guns? The only use for this item is recreational; no one claims it has a useful purpose. What if I told you that any adult could purchase this item, regardless of past acts, and a mandatory background check is not required? The cost for this item is much less than any gun, and if you are a typical American you probably have this item in your home. Would you support tighter regulations, limited access, waiting periods, and licensing, for this item?

If your anti-gun motivation comes from what you believe guns cause, and not the guns themselves then logically you should be opposed to anything that causes even more pain and suffering than guns. In fact one could insinuate that anything causing more death than guns should be fought against with more zeal than guns.

Have I tweaked your curiosity yet? Are you ready to fight to make America safer for everyone, are you ready for your new cause? The complete ban of Alcohol! You got it, no more beers with the buddies, no more wine to compliment the perfect dinner, no more champagne on anniversaries, and no more stiff drinks to drown your sorrows. Let's make America dry!

No way! Is your response? Let me attempt to guess some of your reasons.

First, it's been tried before and didn't work. Just because a huge black market was created with the alcohol ban, and many normally law abiding citizens stepped outside the law to quench their thirst, does not mean a gun ban would cause the same problems. A gun ban would not cause a black market for firearms; criminals would not find ways to gain possession of a gun. Everyone knows you can't trust history, because we are much smarter today, and we would fix the problems that plagued the past.

Another excuse you may use is that it is unfair to the millions of Americans who choose to consume alcoholic beverages responsibility. But you've told me that what is truly important is saving lives and preventing injury so that must outweigh the personal rights of all responsible American Citizens. So please tell me why it would be fair to take away the guns of law abiding Americans. It does not seem to matter that the majority of gun owners are responsible and have never committed any crime, yet alone, a crime with their gun. Maybe your right, those who choose to consume alcohol are more important, more responsible, more intelligent, than gun owners and therefore and can be trusted, while gun owners can't.

Let me guess, you don't want to ban alcohol because studies show small portions of alcohol may be good for you. You're right again; the minor health benefits that come from limited alcohol consumption far outweigh the thousands of lives lost to alcohol. But wait a minute; guns are used everyday in America to prevent brutal assaults. The government's own numbers show that resistance with a gun makes a victim less likely to be harmed than resistance without a gun, or complying with the attacker. With alcohol any small health benefit to an individual is more import than the lives that could be saved if it were banned, so why does this argument not apply to guns?

About now you probably think I've completely lost it. Everyone knows that alcohol doesn't kill, and no one wants alcohol banned. Look at the following numbers.

Traffic deaths that were alcohol related in 1998 15,935 (

Murders by guns in the US for 1998 9,143 (1998 Uniform Crime Report)

You read the number right, alcohol killed nearly 7,000 more people in the United States then all the gun-toting murderers.
What about the cost to society, and I'm referring to dollars.

Alcohol-related crashes cost society $45 billion, yet this conservative estimate does not include pain, suffering and lost quality of life. These indirect costs raise the alcohol-related crash figure to a staggering $116 billion in 1993. (Miller et al, 1996b)

Firearms injury costs upwards of $4.0 billion annually, with $19.0 billion in additional indirect costs, such as lost potential earnings. (American College of Physicians, 1998)

Alcohol related injuries cost 10 fold more than gun related injuries. Alcohol kills thousands of people every year, and costs billions, but where is the public uproar, where is the media coverage, why is it not a political tool used to gain election? Because most Americans are not willing give up their rights due to the actions of others, and since most Americans consume alcohol in some form or another, they are not willing to give up that right, because some people just can't control themselves when drinking.
Well there you have it, a new and better cause that will save lives and prevent injury. I could name many other similarities between guns and alcohol but I'll stop here. You can now drop your anti-gun placard and jump on the anti-alcohol wagon. If you're true motive is save people from injury and death then you should start campaigning for a dry America with as much zeal and effort that you put forth in your fight for gun restrictions. Anything less would be hypocritical.

What's that? You're not going to fight for a ban on alcohol. Oh I see you like your occasionally beer or glass of wine. You don't want to fight for an unpopular cause that will gain little popular support, and you know the media will be against you. I guess these are valid reasons, but are they more valuable than the lives you'd be saving? Let's be honest, for whatever reason you hate guns, you don't own a gun, you don't enjoy gun sports, and want guns banned. If your true purpose were to make society safer you'd already be fighting for the abolishment of alcohol. But you just aren't willing to fight against a freedom that you enjoy (i.e. no more cold ones), but taking a freedom from others is fine, so long as it does not affect you.

I doubt I have converted anyone, and I guess there is little I can do, so sit back and enjoy that relaxing drink, after all no one is trying to take it away.

Clint Cook

Note from the author:

My intent with this article is not to promote a second prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Nor do I wish to offend anyone. While I have chosen not to consume alcohol, I have no problems with others who choose to drink. Any adult who chooses to drink responsibly is fine with me. Just because I do not choose to exercise this freedom, does not give me the right to take that same privilege from another. I feel the same about guns. Just because an individual chooses not to own a gun, it does not give that individual the right to take away my own personal freedom of gun ownership.

I understand that many people abuse the right of gun ownership and they should be punished. Many people abuse the right to consume alcohol, with equally deadly results, and these people should be punished. The remaining millions of responsible Americans should not have their rights infringed on, simply because someone did not show proper discipline when exercising the same right. They only thing I ask is that before you fight to take away any freedom that you carefully look at both sides of the issue, and ask yourself, if the shoe was on the other foot would you still believe in your cause.

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Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty; it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. William Pitt

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