- - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The recent shootings that took place at Umpqua Community College, Northern Arizona University, and Texas Southern University were tragic, and we pray for the victims and their devastated families who have been hurting so badly. With the shootings have come a lot of conversation and media analysis regarding our Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Our Constitution says, “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.” It is clear that our Founders were intent on having a strong militia and simultaneously enabling the citizens of each state to have the right to own and keep arms.

Any talk of gun control must be logical and preserve the rights given to Americans by the Second Amendment. Yes, there are areas of our society where there is an inordinate amount of gun violence, and sometimes very heavy weaponry is utilized. Instead of trying to control or confiscate guns though, it would be wiser to offer free, public gun-safety courses that educate the general populace. We also need to sit down and ask ourselves several questions, including: “Is there a way to ameliorate the situation? How do we keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of mentally ill individuals without compromising any provision of the Second Amendment?” When do we get to the point where people actually want to solve our problems, rather than just politicize everything? I think that is what the American people are sick and tired of. Let us not politicize this issue. Let us fix this issue.

We must recognize that it is the person behind the gun who pulls the trigger and ultimately kills, and so the heart of the matter is in fact the heart and soul of people. We need to be studying individuals so that we can figure out who is the dangerous person and rightfully intervene. This is not only to save the lives of people being shot, but also to save the lives of the shooters. Meanwhile, the right of individual American citizens to own and maintain legal arms is absolutely paramount, and that right can in no way be violated — any attempt to dissolve said right should be strongly opposed by “we the people.”

I listen to those Americans who are anti-gun because I truly believe that in order for our society to function, we must be willing to have constructive dialogue and rational conversations with one another. It has become evident that they want to see significant restrictions on the distribution of firearms in our nation, and others want to restrict types and quantities of ammunition. We must be sensitive to the worries and fears — particularly surrounding the safety of children and all citizens — of those who are upset by guns and violence. I acknowledge that many anti-gun advocates are good people with good hearts, yet too frequently they disregard a potential situation where Americans would need to physically struggle in order to protect their invaluable freedom.

Noah Webster said that tyranny would never come to America because the people are armed: “The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed.” I agree with his belief that the Founders wanted the American people to be able to fight for their freedom and for the protected values of this great nation. Abuse by leaders — with the idea of using force to shape America to their own will — would be possible if it weren’t for the fact that our citizenry can own and keep arms. Freedom is not free and it must be jealously guarded and fought for every day.

Whenever tragic events arise within our communities, I can’t help but think about how we as a country really need to start concentrating on instilling the right kinds of values, particularly in our young people. I believe that this nation has Judeo-Christian roots, and that our Judeo-Christian faith serves as the basis for many of our principles. Why are we so busy trying to give those away for the sake of political correctness? When you give away your identity, you give away your soul. Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” We can’t give away who we are, what our vision is, and what we stand for.

Dr. Ben Carson is a Republican candidate for president in 2016. He is the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

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