Restricting firearms makes us less safe

From USA Today

Several states are passing Stand Your Ground laws and loosening their concealed carry laws, making it easier for people to defend themselves … and that’s a good thing.

Consider what happens when decent people can’t protect themselves.

Amanda Collins was a student at University of Nevada’s Reno campus in 2007. Even though she had a concealed carry permit, she was unarmed the night she was brutally raped by James Biela. She had left her gun at home because she was scared of what could happen to her if she was caught disobeying the laws prohibiting firearms on campus.

Amanda feels certain she could have used her gun successfully that night. “I would have at some point during my rape been able to stop James Biela,” she said.

Amanda has reason to be confident. There are women today who have escaped the ugliness of rape because a gun was nearby. Take the Missouri teenager who was rescued by her handgun-wielding mother one night last year. Craig Kizer jumped on the sleeping teenager but was forced to flee the house after the teen grabbed a knife and the mom entered the room with a firearm, police said.

Stand Your Ground laws have passed in many states, giving homeowners added legal protection when they use guns defensively. These laws, coupled with those recognizing the right of people to defend themselves with firearms outside the home, are saving lives.

Anti-gun extremists always claim that allowing citizens to carry guns will result in random shootouts. But the truth is that these Chicken Little predictions never materialize.

Take El Paso, which was ranked by CQ Press as America’s safest city in 2010. El Paso is situated in a very pro-gun state where people can easily carry concealed firearms. Residents there live quite peacefully, despite being located across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico— a town with very stringent gun control laws and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Restricting firearms only makes us less safe. So let’s applaud the almost 7,000 Americans a day who use firearms in self-defense to deter criminals.

Erich Pratt is the director of communications for Gun Owners of America, a grassroots lobbying group with more than 300,000 members.