Ron Paul on Guns

Ron Paul is running for president, again.  And like in previous elections, one has to wonder if he has any real chance at winning the Republican nomination.

A recent Fox News survey had Ron Paul in fourth among the Republican candidates: Speaker Gingrich was in first at 23%, Romney in second at 22%, Herman Cain in third with 15% (down from 24%), and Ron Paul in fourth with 8%.

What’s clear is that despite having one of the most loyal and most active fan bases, Ron Paul has not crossed over to the mainstream.  The question is why?

One reason is that in the eyes of many conservative talking heads, his viability as a real contender has always been questioned.  The reason it has been questioned is because he is, in many ways, a free thinker.

The pundits who dismiss Paul point to many of his “radical” positions, most notably his isolationist stance with failed states like Iran.  Paul believes that meddling with the affairs of sovereign nations only serves to strengthen anti-American sentiment abroad, which in turn creates more terroists.

So whether it’s the legalization of pot or Paul’s laissez-faire foreign policy, it’s clear that many of his positions directly challenge the Republican establishment and, as a result, he doesn’t get the respect he probably deserves.

But for anyone who has been following his campaign, it’s clear that Paul should be a viable candidate, especially when one considers his position with respect to the 2nd Amendment.

Here are some of his thoughts and musings on guns and gun ownership from an essay Paul wrote in 2008, “Gun Control: Protecting Terrorists and Despots.”

“Gun control advocates tell us that removing guns from society makes us safer. If that were the case why do the worst shootings happen in gun free zones, like schools?”

One will certainly recall the shooting this past summer in Norway as an example of this phenomenon.

But Paul continues with the following sentence, “And while accidents do happen, aggressive, terroristic shootings like this are unheard of at gun and knife shows, or military bases. It bears repeating that an armed society truly is a polite society.”

Well, as we now know, and as points out, “At Ft. Hood in Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009, a gunman shot and killed 13 people and wounded 29 others. The shooting was a terroristic attack; the gunman had written, ‘fighting against the US army is an Islamic duty.’ Numerous of his victims were armed soldiers; at least two fired at the shooter during his rampage.”

So, one can argue that there are certain limitations to this theory (Paul did write his essay prior to the Fort Hood attack).  In the end, crazy people will do crazy things regardless of who owns a gun.

The counterpoint to this is that, yes, crazy people will do crazy things, but the damage they potentially do can be mitigated by responsible, law-abiding gun owners.  This is a point that Paul makes repeatedly.  And one he’s tired to make through his power as a lawmaker.

Earlier this year Paul introduced H.R. 2613, the Citizens Protection Act of 2011, which would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and remove all federally created criminal safety zones.

This would permit law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves, as well as others, everywhere they go.  H.R. 2613 would probably save lives.

Paul concludes his essay by saying something truly profound, and often forgotten by the general public, “Your safety has always, ultimately been your own responsibility, but never more so than now. People have a natural right to defend themselves. Governments that take that away from their people should be highly suspect.”

Paul is right here.  Your safety is your responsibility.  While other candidates seem to echo this maxim in the debates, at speeches in front of gun owners, etc., it’s clear that Paul really believes it.  And that’s why I give Ron Paul 4.5 out of 5 stars on guns.

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