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News & Editorials

Is it the Gun? Is it the Knife?

by Jeremy D. Blanks, Ph.D.

Gun control supporters often use the "do it for the children" argument in their demonization of guns. These people claim that the presence of guns in the hands of honest citizens is the reason that we have school shootings. The cries of gun control and school shootings are not only limited to US sources. Following the Columbine attack, the main headlines in leading newspapers in Japan had such things as "How sick is the gun culture in the U.S.?" Of course, such thinking is not only absurd, but it has no basis. This point is magnified by a recent school attack in Japan.

In this school attack, a total of 29 students were stabbed along with several teachers. Of this group, 8 children died. Almost all of those attacked were young children in the first and second grades. Columbine was truly a horrific event, but this latest Japanese school attack is certainly an adequate rival. The reporting of this event also notes how crime is increasing in Japan to record levels. And this is a country with some of the most extreme gun control in the world, not to mention initiatives through the United Nations to ban guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens on an international level.

These Japanese children were attacked while in their school classrooms for the most part. Some were attacked while running away. A former school employee that apparently had mental problems attacked them. Of course, this is an all too common theme for Americans, with the only difference being that a kitchen knife was used instead of a gun. After the Columbine attack, guns were at least assigned some blame by the vast majority of the media and the calls for more gun control were common. The NRA was vilified and protested with people saying that the NRA should be ashamed. The mayor of Denver, Colorado was outraged that the NRA would dare hold their annual meeting in his city after Columbine. Leftist and gun control / "Million Mom March" supporter Rosie O’Donnell declared that "anyone who owns a gun should be thrown in jail." As if the NRA, a group formed in 1871 to promote firearm knowledge and safety was responsible for the actions of the two thugs at Columbine. Yes, the NRA and gun makers should be ashamed because two lunatics did a terrible thing and they happened to use a gun. Should the knife makers now be ashamed? Should all knife owners be vilified because they happen to own a knife? Should we expect to have knife show legislation proposed as was the case in Colorado, Oregon, and of course Congress last year? Or, does this not somehow fit into the agenda of those wishing to ban firearms from the hands of law-abiding citizens? Is this really about the children?

This terrible event in Japan proves once again that those that wish to commit terrible crimes will do so. Someone who is determined to carry out a crime at all cost is often successful. The best way to stop such people is to insure that their intended victims have a fighting chance. In this world, that means that a teacher or school administrator has access to a firearm and knows how to use it. Such an option has already stopped several attacks in US schools and if widely available would have stopped more.

To the families and relatives of the children killed in this terrible school attack in Japan, I send my most sincere sympathies. However, I ask the Japanese newspapers and gun control supporters world wide to understand a key point. The "illness" you like to talk about is not limited to the US, and it has nothing to do with guns. This is about the value that people place on human life. Stop focusing on inanimate objects and we might find a way to put an end to this phenomenon. If it is really about the children, then this discussion has nothing to do with guns or knives.

About the Author: Dr. Blanks is a Senior Research Scientist with the leading R&D company in the world. In the past, Dr. Blanks was supportive of many of the current proposals offered by gun control groups. However, through research into the effectiveness of such measures and the value of firearm ownership in the prevention of millions of crimes each year, Dr. Blanks is now an advocate for self defense and firearm ownership rights. He is a Board member of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws. Dr. Blanks can be reached at


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Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. — James Madison, The Federalist Papers No. 46 at 243-244.

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