Newsweek's Stone Asks 'Is Gun Violence the Cost of Freedom?'

"The Second Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms is part of America’s founding fabric. So is senseless violence brought about by guns also American?" asked Newsweek's Daniel Stone in a January 13 post at the magazine's website.

Stone noted that his question was inspired by a similar query posed recently by a Russian journalist Andrei Sitov to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.:

Is occasional violent tragedy a distasteful byproduct of a free society? I walked out of the briefing room with Sitov, who appeared to realize the impact that his question had on the roomful of Americans. “It’s an obvious question and nobody asks that question,” he told me through his thick Russian accent. “This is a cost that your country pays for freedom.”

Of course the cost of freedom with any right is that evil and/or deranged people will abuse it to the harm of others, but Stone's piece seems to focus on civilian gun ownership as though it is mostly a societal liability without considering the real benefits private gun ownership have in protecting life, liberty, and property.

For example, since 1958, the National Rifle Association has been collecting news clippings from across America of everyday citizens using a firearm to defend their lives and property.

The feature, entitled, “The Armed Citizen”  has documented "thousands of incidents of law-abiding Americans using firearms to halt or prevent crime."

"Editorial space allowing, the total could have been far greater of course, as award-winning survey research shows that each year in the U.S. gun owners use firearms for protection as frequently as 2.5 million times," the NRA notes.

What's more, the rare but deadly violence wrought by crazed gunmen is hardly a purely American phenomenon, as Stone suggested in his post. Indeed, the Hungerford Massacre of 1987and the Dunblane Massacre of 1996 both prompted fresh rounds of gun control in the United Kingdom.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters