Last week's tragic events brought back to the spotlight the subject of gun ownership. In the events that took place in the tiny town of Southerland Springs, a responsible gun owner, Stephen Willeford, stopped a mentally ill man who shot and killed dozens of members of the First Baptist Church.
The massacre fueled both sides of the debate. On one hand, the gun control advocates say that the tragedy illustrated how easy it is to access guns. On the other hand, gun rights supporters use Willeford heroic actions to highlight the need for access to firearms.
Libertarians support the 2nd amendment. It is a constitutional right which should be protected. The responsible citizen should not need any permission to participate in a peaceful activity. Guns, by themselves, do not constitute violence.
Prohibiting gun ownership does not prevent organized crime from accessing weapons, nor does it prevent them from profiting from the black market. A result of the prohibition of firearms will not be fewer criminals with guns, but rather countless lawful citizens will find themselves defenseless against them.
Libertarians believe that everyone has a right to defend themselves. Had there not been a responsible gun owner in the First Baptist Church in Texas, the death toll will have likely have been higher. A criminal is more likely to think twice before committing a crime if they believe that the victim will be armed, yet they do not think twice when they are confronted with the possibility of conviction and imprisonment.
The responsibility should lay where it belongs, on the owner of the gun. Responsible, peaceful citizens should not have their constitutional rights limited. Responsible gun ownership should be praised and encouraged with the proper education needed to ensure safe conditions, while negligent owners should be punished for the effects of this negligence. It is vital to ensure that those who commit crimes with their guns be entirely responsible for their actions under the full extent of the law