Larry Pratt, the executive director of the Gun Owners of America, discussed the future of the battle over gun control and analyzed gun control as public policy this Thursday evening.
Gun Owners of America is a right wing, no-compromise lobbying organization. The talk was sponsored by the William and Mary Rifle Club.
During the speech, Pratt spoke about the recent landmark case, D.C. v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to keep and bear arms
He also discussed the likely implications on gun control policy of the incoming Obama administration and a
Congress controlled by Democrats. He predicted that there will be a legislative attempt to renew the Clinton gun ban within two years among other pro-gun control agendas.
According to Pratt, in any given year, upwards of 2 million guns are used in self-defense, but only 5 percent of these cases involve the actual firing of a gun, and even fewer cases result in the death of the assailants.
Pratt also included that in states like Virginia, where concealed-carry licenses are fairly easy to get, murder and crime rates are lower than those in states with more restrictive policies.
He stated that criminals obtain guns regardless of legislative control, and that gun control is a counterproductive strategy for lowering crime rates.
“Criminals are dependent on gun control laws,” Pratt said, adding that gun control “creates a better working environment for criminals.”
Intervention by law enforcement officials is ineffective at preventing crime, Pratt said, since most violence has already been carried out by the time that help arrives.
Pratt suggested that locations where firearms are prohibited become “soft targets,” areas that are vulnerable to armed attack. He included the College of William and Mary in this category.
He clarified that the College is unlikely to be a target of an organized terrorist attack, but said that it is unprepared to respond to an attack even by a lone gunman. Pratt said that the only way to reliably protect against an attack would be to allow eligible, registered individuals to carry firearms on campus.
In the end, he quoted a Swiss saying that a society with gun controls was a society in chains.
“The emblem of a free man is a gun, the emblem of a slave is no gun,” he said.