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One year and three months ago, the Marjorie Stonemann Douglas High School massacre took place in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen people and injuring seventeen more. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was formally charged with seventeen counts of premeditated murder. Not long afterwards, government control over the ownership of firearms has been one of the most highly debated topics through the leftist media; the idea of gun control legislation was well-received, and even demanded by the public. Like any concept, there was reasonable opposition. The truth is, control over firearm ownership would have disastrous results.
"These sort of proposals are rooted in a theory of gun control that has been around since the 1960s. The basic idea is that fewer guns equals less gun crime. But for this theory to have even a chance of working, drastic reductions in the supply of guns would have to be necessary. The rest just amounts to security theatre." Nicholas Johnson, professor of law at Fordham University, states in a video for Prager University. (Source: PragerU, "What Should We Do About Guns?", Nicholas Johnson, November 7, 2016, Source.)
Firearm possession control legislation sounds like it would be a good idea, but the results have been historically disastrous. Take a look at Serbia and Montenegro under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic, or the current states of Honduras and El Salvador for further proof. Less guns equals more violence, not less crime.
From 1990 to 2006, a ban on firearms in Serbia and Montenegro resulted in civilian violence, as well as drug cartels and gang warfare.
When the American public thinks of areas that have historically been rife with civilian warfare and gang violence, they think of Chechnya and Nicaragua almost immediately. The last area of the world many people picture is two nations that are roughly the size of Uruguay and Bolivia combined; although Serbia and Montenegro both have some of the highest rates of legal gun ownership in the world, being able to own firearms came at a hefty price. The year was 1990. General Manuel Noriega surrendered in Panama, ending the civil war. Lech Walesa became the president of newly-democratic Poland. The Persian Gulf War began when Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The bloody breakup of Yugoslavia began, resulting in one of the most violent civil wars since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. (Source: ThoughtCo, "Timeline Of The 1990s: The Last Hurrah Of The 20th Century", Jennifer Rosenburg, May 13, 2019, Source.) For five years, civilian violence, the international drug trade, gang warfare, and political unrest compared to that of present-day Nicaragua plagued a once-prosperous region one-third the size of Brazil; what started the war was the emergence of old ethnic tensions that had been ongoing for close to one hundred years. What does civil unrest have to do with gun ownership being illegal? A lot, actually. In the 2012 Vice News documentary series, titled The VICE Guide To The Balkans, journalist Thomas Morton states,
"We also have to remember that during the 90s, when the wars were going on [and Dr. Blasko Gabric was just getting into his Yugoslavian heritage], Serbia was still Yugoslavia. Milosevic was Yugoslavia."
Morton also goes on to state,
"As Yugoslavia fell apart in the 90's, gangsters bought up state assets and even led their own armies in the wars with the breakaway republics." (Source: VICE News, "The VICE Guide To The Balkans", Thomas Morton, January 15, 2012, Part 1, Part 2).
Former drug lord-turned-dictator Slobodan Milosevic outright banned the ownership of firearms in 1990, with the exception of the military; for sixteen years, both the underground arms and illicit substance trades became one massive international multibillion dollar empire, naturally. Milosevic was assassinated by the CIA in 2006; shortly afterwards, Montenegro was granted independence. Later on, gun ownership was no longer illegal, and reasonable firearms laws were implemented. Subsequently, many gangsters and cartels left Serbia and Montenegro for an area of the world where the opportunities would be endless: Honduras and El Salvador.
Honduras and El Salvador outright banned the ownership of firearms. The results were disastrous, unsurprisingly.
It's not hard to believe that El Salvador and Honduras are hotbeds for corruption, drug trafficking, organized crime violence, civil unrest, and homicide. According to a 2019 World Bank statistic on homicides, El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world, with 83 homicides per 100,000 individuals; Honduras has the second highest, with 57 murders per 100,000 people. (Source: World Bank, Intentional Homicides per 100,000 People, 2019, Source). The reason behind both countries' shockingly high murder rates is truly unsurprising; firearm ownership is illegal in El Salvador and Honduras. According to a 2015 article from The Guardian, titled "One Murder Every Hour: How El Salvador Became The Homicide Capital Of The World", writer Jonathan Watts states,
"Nobody is immune. Even before the latest surge, fear permeated daily life, particularly in the poor communities where the gangs stake out most of their territories." (Source: The Guardian, One Murder Every Hour: How El Salvador Became The Homicide Capital Of The World, Jonathan Watts, August 22, 2015, Source).
In a 2018 report regarding the present state of Honduras from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), titled "Honduras Crime and Safety Report," Honduras has one on the highest murder rates in the world; in 2011 alone, the murder rate was 86.5 per 100,000 individuals. The report also states that,
"Since 2010, the US Embassy has recorded 52 murders of US citizens; several US citizens have been murdered in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba shortly after arriving in the country." (Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council, Honduras 2018 Crime and Safety Report, 2018, Source).
Transnational crime syndicates such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (18th Street Gang) have capitalized on the firearm ban in both nations, making billions on the illicit arms trade. Illegal arms trafficking will fill the void left behind by law-abiding gun sellers.
The illicit weapons trade is a multibillion-dollar industry that shows no sign of slowing down. Restrictions will mean nothing to organized crime syndicates.
Like any Fortune Five Hundred company, the illicit weapons trade is a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow, and shows zero signs of stalling. The International Crime Police Organization (INTERPOL) defines firearms trafficking as a "lucrative business which, in turn, fuels and funds other types of serious crimes." (Source: International Crime Police Organization (INTERPOL), Firearms Trafficking, 2019, Source). The internet isn't doing much to put a stop to it; in fact, the underground firearms industry is growing faster than ever, because of the dark web. According to a 2017 publication from Research and Development (RAND) Corporation,
"The dark web is an enabler for the circulation of illegal weapons already on the black market, as well as a potential source of diversion for legally owned weapons." (Source: Development (RAND) Corporation, Behind The Curtain: The Illicit Trade of Firearms, Explosives, and Ammunition on the Dark Web, 2017, Source).
For example, a member of MS-13 in Honduras or El Salvador can very easily obtain a military-grade firearm from an organized crime member in Russia or Serbia more easily than ever, further fueling gang warfare, and organized crime operations. Although the illegal drugs and firearms traded boomed in Latin America as early as the mid-1970s, making guns illegal didn't solve any problems. The problems got worse.
All the scare tactics and legislation in the world won't bring back victims of gun violence.
Who remembers having to sit through an hours-long lecture about why you shouldn't use drugs, or get involved in gangs in elementary and middle school? All of you probably had to at one point or another, maybe even multiple times; oddly enough, you probably knew or went to school with countless individuals who were involved in drugs and/or gangs. Many of those people were probably either incarcerated or killed as a result of one of these, if not both. Although gun ownership, involvement in organized crime, and drug use are totally different things, it's not hard to understand why it just went in one ear and out the other for many of your peers. Scare tactics don't work at all, so it's not surprising why many people got involved in illegal activities. In a 2004 presentation from the Department of Health and Human Resources in West Virginia titled "Why Scare Tactics Don't Work", the National Institute of Health Pane, is quoted as stating,
"Programs that rely on scare tactics to prevent problems are not only ineffective, but may have damaging effects." (Source: Department of Health and Human Sources of West Virginia, "Why Scare Tactics Don't Work", Sarah Malich, Molly Stone, September 24, 2004, Source).
Fear-based approaches don't do anything to deter involvement in nefarious activities. The problem gets worse.
I talked to college students. Here's what they said.
Carla is just like any college student her age. She works hard to keep her grades up and plays sports. Like many of her fellow students, she binge-watches Netflix shows like Narcos, and likes going out with her friends and classmates on the weekends. When it comes to certain political topics, Carla is quite opinionated like her peers. Gun control is one of the many topics where she doesn't hold her tongue. Carla hails from Montenegro, a nation roughly the size of Uruguay that was once ravaged by civil war, bloodshed, and the international illicit drug trade; under Slobodan Milosevic, firearm ownership was banned, with the exception of the military.
"Where I grew up, you were better off either selling drugs, joining a gang, becoming a hit-man or becoming an illicit arms dealer just to make a living. It was morally wrong, but it was a reality of life for many," Carla said. "Although I'm proud to be both Montenegrin and American, I'm grateful to live in a country where I can freely own a firearm. Gun control sounds good in theory, but it's a terrible idea in reality," she stated. Carla went on to add, "It's a bad idea because it's not going to do a damn thing. The underground drug trade saw an opportunity and took it. The illegal substance and illicit firearms trade merged and wreaked havoc. I've seen it with my own eyes. Call me 'desensitized to violence' or 'ignorance', whatever."
Her statements couldn't be further from the truth. In a 2017 report by the United Nations Security Council, titled 'Human Cost of Arms Trafficking 'Runs Deep', Disarmament Chief Stresses as Security Council Debates Halting Illicit Trade on 'Dark Web', the illicit firearms trade shows no sign of ever slowing down. In the report, Izumi Nakamitsu stated,
"The human cost of the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation, and misuse of small arms runs deep." (Source: United Nations, United Nations Security Council, Izumi Nakamitsu, "Human Cost of Arms Trafficking 'Runs Deep', Disarmament Chief Stresses as Security Council Debates Halting Illicit Trade on 'Dark Web'", December 18, 2017, Source).
She later added,
"In my country, we love our guns. We love our guns because they were taken away from us for bogus reasons. People were murdered by their own government for owning a gun. It's inhumane."
Karen seems just like any young lady her age. She works hard to maintain grades that would make any parent proud. On the weekends, she likes going to the mall with her friends, and playing video games. Like most girls, she enjoys talking on the phone for hours on end. Unlike most young ladies, Karen knew infamous Marjorie Stonemann Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz. Although she doesn't like talking about it, she was an open book about her experience knowing Cruz.
"We went to school together. He just weirded me out. Being near him sent chills down my spine and made the hairs on my body stand up," she said.
Karen claims that Cruz "pursued" her;
"He liked me, but I didn't like him back. We grew apart, but that was probably a good thing. I wanted nothing to do with him, anyways." She also added, "It's terrifying when a mass shooting happens literally seconds away from where you live, but it's emotionally shattering when you saw the person who did it every day, and knew them personally. He would talk about guns the way most of the boys in my class talked about video games or girls that they liked. Nobody took him seriously; people thought he was messing around. Something in my gut told me he would act on it, and he did," Karen added.
Her mother, Maria, also had a few things to say.
"All I could do was just hold her. There wasn't really any other option for me, as a mother. If your daughter knew somebody so vile, all you could do is just hold her," Maria added, tearfully.
When it comes to gun control, Karen's opinion is a stark contrast from what you would expect.
"Gun control is a terrible idea for a variety of reasons," she stated. "All the campaigns and scare tactics in the world aren't going to do anything. It's just like any anti-drug campaign that we all had to do in middle school. What's the result of that? A ton of people you knew in middle school are doing drugs years later. The same thing is gonna happen, but with guns," she added.
Her comparison isn't too far from the truth. According to the 2014 VOX article "Why Anti-Drug Campaigns Like DARE Fail", "Scaremongering really doesn't work." (Source: VOX, "Why Anti-Drug Campaigns Like DARE Fail", German Lopez, September 1, 2014, Source).
"What happened in Parkland was a tragedy indeed. Many argue that it could have been prevented by stricter legislation. All the scare tactics and legislation aren't going to bring back the victims who died," Karen said.
Both young ladies may have different experiences, but they agree on one thing.
In conclusion, the results for illegalizing firearms will be nothing but disastrous and horrifying. Gun crime won't decrease, but it will increase, guaranteed. When populations are disarmed, the void will be filled in more ways than one. Whether through civil warfare, illegal trafficking, or both, the problem won't be solved. It will only get worse as time goes on. When something becomes contraband, people will always find a way to get a hold of it.