According to Ariel Moutsatsos, a one-time Mexican diplomat and journalist who now writes for the Huffington Post, guns are no longer something that can be considered outside the context of terrorism. In an article, titled, “Orlando’s Game-Changing Lesson: See A Gun, Think Terrorism,” he writes, “from now on, we must see guns as potential terrorist weapons and we must do something about it.”
The “something” isn’t specified, but when he cites changes in U.S. law that came in the knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 as an illustration of what we now should do with regard to guns, he removes any doubt as to what he isn’t saying. But does he have any evidence that new measures—however vague we will be about the details—would do any good?
Moutsatsos has a poor example in his home country. Mexico’s gun laws are infamous, but their overall homicide rate, as of 2014, was 27.41 per hundred thousand. Despite their gun laws, or perhaps because of them, the gun homicide rate is three times ours. And given the slow-boil civil war with drug cartels and the ineffective nature of the country’s government at all levels, murder in Mexico is a crime that all too often goes unpunished.
The USA PATRIOT Act and the other laws, regulations, and agencies that came into being after 9/11 aren’t good examples for him, either. Abuses go back to the years right after these new measures were enacted. Investigations of persons or situations of interest have become lax about constitutional rights, especially when minorities are involved. The recent debate over the terror watch list is in fact nothing new. I always ask why the gun control advocate I’m talking to supports a secret list with no clear appeals, in fact little due process at all, and no meaningful oversight, and when I do, I’m accused of wanting to arm terrorists. At the back of my mind, I wonder what my students ever did to be considered enemies of the nation, but if the FBI comes to me, claiming that someone enrolled in my class is “under suspicion,” I have to answer—and I can’t tell the student. At least I’m allowed to make a general statement at the start of the semester. Allowed for now, that is.
Contrary to what Moutsatsos seems to believe, strict gun laws show no promise of stopping the terrorist attacks that he claims is the justification for such laws after Orlando. France has a set of laws that are exactly what gun control advocates claim to want, and yet, the Charlie Hebdo attack and following assault on Paris were committed with illegal guns. We’re told that France’s homicide rate is lower than ours, but that’s a dodge on the specific point here that terrorism wasn’t prevented.
Moutsatsos wraps up his article by wondering, “Would people be willing to compromise their right to own high-caliber weapons in exchange for protection against terrorism?’ We should all feel insulted by someone who wants us to believe that a 5.56mm caliber rifle is a large bore, but given the frequent inaccuracies that gun control advocates repeat, I’ll let that point pass. The more important error in the argument being made here is explained by Benjamin Franklin. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Perhaps Moutsatsos hasn’t read that, or perhaps he doesn’t care. But we’d commit an act of shameful ingratitude if we set aside this foundational principle of our nation. What constitutes a victory for terrorists isn’t altogether clear. I can say for a certainty, though, that if we give up our rights out of fear, we will lose, and we’ll deserve to do so.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.