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Keene: “Guns save lives”

MARCH 23, 2012
by Shannice Singletary ’14, Contributing Writer

“Our influence, our ability to protect the second amendment, comes from you . . . and if we don’t renew those rights, then our rights will die out.”

National Rifle Association President David Keene’s talk, titled “Guns Save Lives,” began with a focus on the importance of gun rights, as well as the personal responsibility that comes with those rights. The lecture was sponsored by Furman’s Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow and Allen Arms.

Keene spoke on Tuesday to an audience of about 150 that was a blend of Furman students, community members and NRA members. His address seemed to appeal to the sensibilities of those with varying positions on gun rights.

Keene stressed the importance of gun use in terms of personal security, protection of self and family, and the traditional American ideal of personal responsibility.

“Police [don’t] have an obligation to protect individuals, but the community. If they don’t make it in time, you’re on your own,” he said.

Keene was introduced by President Rob Smolla, whose introduction focused on a brief analysis of the 2nd Amendment, as well as the variety of ways the amendment could be interpreted. He also touched on how this interpretation has led to the enforcement or denouncement of individual gun rights.

Keene urged the audience to not denounce gun rights due to the usual negativity associated with those rights, such as issues with public safety and crime.

“If you’re dealing with criminals, deal with the criminal, not the tool,” he said. “There are laws on the books that can be enforced to punish the criminal who uses the tool and not the tool itself.”

Keene left the audience with a call to more clearly examine the legal “assaults” against the 2nd Amendment. He explained why we should care: because these are also attacks against individual rights.

“Second Amendment decisions are vitally important . . . to us, to all of us, not just members of the National Rifle Association, but to all Americans. Because what we’re talking about is the fundamental character of this country as defined by the Constitution.”

Keene left the audience with one more tidbit that perhaps summarized and answered most of the caution surrounding public opinion of gun rights.

“Protecting gun rights does not mean that gun fights are going to break out.”

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