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Barry Evert Answering the Call
with Barry Evert


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Gun policy: Why we can't have kneejerk reactions

When we have a discussion about gun control, we have to look at the facts

I recently read an article by a fellow writer here on CorrectionsOne.  The author cites numerous reasons in his article to “ban” certain types of weapons and enact further gun control legislation. I was inspired by his article to write this rebuttal. 

When we have a discussion about gun control, we have to look at the facts.  We cannot compare ourselves to other nations, as we are a one-of-a-kind Republic.  We have to look at how our country was built. 

Constitutional rights

The constitution demands a freedom to own guns, right?

Amendment II, US Constitution:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment seems pretty clear; that is, until we start reading into it. The first part of the sentence is the basis for a lot of gun control advocates.

What was meant by a well regulated militia? Regulated by whom exactly? This question has allowed for the current gun control laws in place.

What was the intent of this amendment? I wasn’t there when it was written; however, taken in context with the rest of the Constitution, it becomes clear that the intent was to prevent a repeat of English rule. 

When we examine the latest Supreme Court decision, Heller V. District of Columbia, page 1-3, we see the Supreme Court agrees. The courts states (in part): “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

So now we have a clarification of fact by the highest court in the nation. Click here for a link to the decision for further reading.


Gun ownership does not increase violence

A survey done by GunPolicy.org, an anti-gun site, found that the countries with the highest rate of gun deaths have strict gun control laws in place.  Our standing in the world?  At first glance we are 10th in the world. 

We have 500 percent fewer gun deaths than the leading nation of El Salvador. A closer look at the number reveals that suicides are counted. Without the suicide number, we would rank 24th in the world. Switzerland, where many people own guns, did not even make the top 100. 

If we look at gun ownership, the United States ranks first. Switzerland is right behind us at number two.  The leader of gun deaths, El Salvador, is ranked at 101st. This study was done by the Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies.

What it teaches us is that the nations with the least available “legal” weapons have the highest rate of deaths by guns.


Illegal acquisition of weapons

There are those who say allowing legal sales of semiautomatic, or even automatic weapons, will put them in the hands of criminals.

This doesn’t even make sense. How many criminals do you know that will go to a gun store, fill out an application, and register his weapon before knocking off a neighborhood liquor store? 

The weapons will be stolen or bought from the black market. What is funny is that often the same people that make the argument that selling guns in the open will increase crime are the same people who argue that if we just sold marijuana in public there would be less crime.

I hear this a lot: “Why does someone need an AR-15 in their home?” My answer is always the same: “Why wouldn’t they?  Have you seen the news lately?” 

If it is a liberal friend of mine (yes, I have them), I make it a point that we should outlaw pajama pants and iPhones to those who are on welfare first; then we talk about gun control.

If an assault weapon ban goes through, we will be taking a major hit to the right to protect ourselves. It will leave civilians with small arms and maybe a few hunting rifles to protect themselves from criminals with AR-15’s, M-14’s and MP-5’s.

The bottom line:

There are two ways we can deal with the recent tragedies. We can knee jerk react, and ban a bunch of useful weapons, or we can step back, take a breath, and do what the constitution requires.

Had just one civilian been armed in any of the recent attacks, and ready to defend, the tragedy could have been minimized.

I do agree that we should train people who intend to carry their weapon in a concealed manner. This is for their protection, as well as the protection of everyone around them.

I also agree that we should take a close look at someone’s criminal and psychiatric history before selling them a weapon. This can all be done in less than 5 minutes.

Do you really believe that a psychopath who intends to kill multiple people in a location is going to buy a gun legally?


Emotion vs. fact

Before I start my conclusion, allow me to say that when I first heard of the recent school shooting, I literally cried for a few minutes. I have never had a news report hit me that hard, but this did. 

These children were innocents. May the shooter rot in the deepest pits of hell. I will let God forgive him. I offer my prayers to the officers, as they have seen unimaginable horrors that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

The temptation here is to legislate with our “feelings.” Despite what another author wrote, there is an absolute division of parties on this issue. 

I always make the comment to my liberal friends that they vote based on feelings, while I vote based on fact. They felt bad, so they voted for nationalized health care. 

They felt bad, so they voted to extend unemployment for another year. The examples are endless.

We cannot vote with our feelings this time. We have to vote with the facts. 

The fact is that our nation, unlike others, has demanded the right to bear arms. The fact is that increased gun ownership does not increase gun violence.

The fact is that restricting certain weapon types will only disarm the law abiding civilian. If you really want gun control laws, I hear El Salvador has great gun control laws. 

Feel free to voice your opinion below.


The opinions expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of CorrectionsOne or its staff

About the author

Sergeant Barry Evert has been with the department of Corrections since 1999, and has worked several high security prisons. Sergeant Evert is currently assigned to Pelican Bay State Prison, and has worked as a Sergeant since 2005. Sgt. Evert has 10 years experience in dealing with both street and prison gangs. His book, "Scars and Bars" is due out anytime, and is dedicated to helping new Officers efficiently survive their first two years on the job, both on the job and at home. To Sgt. Evert, correctional officer safety is paramount, and is the core of what he writes and teaches.




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