Texas congressman and erstwhile Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is distancing himself from the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s plan calling for massively increased security in schools. According to Politico, the Libertarian Paul said that “government security is just another kind of violence.”
In a statement on his website, Paul railed against the expansion of federal government powers and characterized the NRA’s plan, as put forth Friday in a press conference by the group’s chief lobbyist Wayne LaPierre as the pursuit of “unobtainable safety,” and said “School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.”
“Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal,” he wrote, “because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another.”
Paul insisted that calls for stricter regulation on guns are doomed to be ineffective because of “the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.”
However, according to an extensive study released by researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in October of this year, states like Maryland that restrict access to guns by high-risk populations like drug and alcohol abusers and residents under 21 do enjoy lower rates of gun deaths per year.
A map compiled to show annual gun deaths by state, including “accidental shootings, suicides, even acts of self-defense, as well as crimes” indicated that, contrary to the NRA’s assertions, rates of mental illness are not at all associated with the prevalence of gun deaths. Regions with high poverty, citizens who largely lack higher education and, most importantly, permissive concealed carry laws that enable minors to carry guns undetected actually feature the highest numbers of gun deaths.
According to the study, “Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).”