When Congress reconvenes next month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to bring gun control back to the Senate floor. If this occurs, I will oppose any legislation that undermines Americans' constitutional right to bear arms or their ability to exercise this right without being subject to government surveillance.
Restricting Americans' ability to purchase firearms readily and freely will do nothing to stop national tragedies such as those that happened in Newtown, Conn., and in Aurora, Colo. It will do much to give criminals and potential killers an unfair advantage by hampering law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves and their families.Potentially on the table are new laws that would outlaw firearms and magazines that hold more than just a handful of rounds, as well as require universal "background checks," which amount to gun registration.We are also being told that the "assault weapons" ban originally introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not happening. We can only hope. But in Washington, D.C., bad ideas often have a strange way of coming up again.
These laws are designed to sound reasonable, but statistics have shown that gun control simply does not work.What constitutes reasonable? If limiting rounds and increasing surveillance were really the solution to curbing gun violence, why should we stop there? Because everyone knows that none of this actually curbs gun violence.
Gun control itself is unreasonable.Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the entire country — and one of the worst gun-crime rates, with more than 500 homicides last year. Compare this to Virginia, where in the past six years, gun sales went up by 73 percent, while violent gun crime fell 24 percent. The types of firearms and clips the left is currently so intent on banning are used in fewer than 2 percent of gun crimes — and how many of those crimes involve registered weapons? Few to none.
For every national tragedy that happens, there are hundreds if not thousands of examples of Americans preventing similar killings from happening, thanks to the use of personal firearms. Last June, for example, a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an armed intruder who broke into his home while he was baby-sitting his three younger siblings. The children were home alone on a Saturday afternoon when an unrecognized woman rang their doorbell. After the 14-year-old boy refused to open the door, he heard a loud bang, which indicated that someone was trying to break into the house. The boy hurried his younger siblings upstairs and collected a handgun from his parents' room. When the boy rounded the top of the stairs, there was a man standing in the doorway with a gun pointed at him. The boy shot at the intruder and saved the lives of his three younger siblings.
There have been would-be mass murderers who have walked into schools, churches, shopping malls, movie theaters and other public places who didn't get very far because, thankfully, an armed citizen was nearby. There have been countless home invasions, armed robberies and other assaults in which lives were saved, thanks to citizens possessing private firearms.These stories are heroic, but they don't become big headlines. We should all be glad that they don't become such headlines, thanks to the unsung heroes who prevent them from becoming potential national tragedies.
For these reasons, I will oppose any attempt by President Obama, Mr. Reid or anyone else in Washington who works against Americans' right to bear arms. Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz have decided to join in this effort.We do this not only because it is right — but because it is our duty as United States senators.
When I stood up for the Fourth and Fifth Amendments during a filibuster a few weeks ago to address drones and executive power, it was not because I was partial to those amendments, important as they are. When I came into office, I took an oath to uphold the Bill of Rights.
I took an oath to uphold the First Amendment. I took an oath to uphold the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment reads: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It doesn't say "might be" infringed. Nor does it say "could be" infringed. It read "shall not" be infringed. The current gun-control legislation being proposed unquestionably infringes.For these reasons, I will work diligently to stop any such gun-control legislation. Our Constitution, individual liberty and personal safety depend on it.
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.
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