By John Gaver
Forget everything that you\'ve been told about guns. Ignore the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. Disregard all of the dramatic press reports. Regardless of how good the arguments on either side of this issue may seem to their proponents, most of them will have absolutely no effect upon their detractors. That is because they do not answer the single most important question to all involved.
What About ME?
What about ME? What about MY personal safety? What about MY children? What about MY family? Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, it all comes down to the question of YOUR OWN personal safety and that of your loved ones. Any argument that does not address this question will fall on deaf ears.
With that in mind, let me demonstrate conclusively that any restriction placed upon gun ownership is not only contrary to your best interest, but does in fact, increase the likelihood that you or a loved one will become the victim of a violent crime.
The most revealing fact in the gun-control controversy is that among ALL of those criminologists who have EVER changed their opinion on gun control, EVERY LAST ONE has moved from a position supporting gun control to the side skeptical of gun control and not the other way around. NOT EVEN ONE!
Think about the significance of that one simple fact. Criminologists are the experts who study crime, criminals and their motivation. They collect and analyze statistics surrounding crime and the tools of crime. These are the people who make it their business to know and understand how, when, where, why and by whom guns are used. And, like anyone in any job, they learn more as they grow in the job. So, if the evidence were there to support gun control, wouldn\'t you expect that at least a few Criminologists would have switched from opposing gun control to supporting it? The mere fact that the more a Criminologist learns, the more likely he will be to oppose gun control, should tell you something. Criminologists who started out supporting gun control are having to face the fact that gun control has not worked anywhere that it has been tried and that you are safer in a society where guns are not restricted, than in one where gun control laws are in effect.
Even Dr. Gary Kleck, the nation\'s leading scholar on crime and firearms, began his research as a staunch gun control advocate. He is a member of the ACLU, Amnesty International USA, and Common Cause. He is not and has never been a member of or contributor to any advocacy group on either side of the gun control debate. Yet today, he has moved, by his own words quoted in The Denver Post, November 28, 1985 \"beyond even the skeptic position.\" That is quite a shift.
James Wright, a gun control advocate who received a grant to study the effectiveness of gun control laws from President Jimmy Carter\'s Justice Department, was surprised to discover, during the course of his research, that neither waiting periods, background checks, nor ANY gun control laws were effective in reducing violent crime. In an article titled \"Second Thoughts About Gun Control\" in the spring 1988 issue of \"The Public Interest\" Wright said, \"I am now of the opinion that a compelling case for stricter gun control cannot be made.\"
I challenge any of my readers to provide even one single example of any respected criminologist who has published works skeptical of gun control and then later published works supporting it. Such evidence does not exist, because the more they learn, the more obvious it becomes that gun control has NEVER WORKED anywhere that it has been tried.
In a thesis titled \"Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun\", in the Northwestern University School of Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, issue 1, 1995, Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz revealed some interesting facts.
Principal among these facts is that Guns are used for self-defense as many as 2.5 Million times every year. The following facts relate directly to this fact.
In the vast majority of those self-defense cases, the citizen will only brandish the gun or fire a warning shot. In less than 8% of those self-defense cases will the citizen will even wound his attacker. Over 1.9 million of those self-defense cases involve handguns. As many as 500,000 of those self-defense cases occur away from home. Almost 10% of those self-defense cases are women defending themselves against sexual assault or abuse. This means that guns are used at least 60 times more often to protect the lives of law-abiding citizens than to take a life. At a 250 million US population, it also means that an average of 1 out of every 100 people that you know will use a gun for self-defense every year. Dr. Kleck also wrote in his book titled \"Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (Social Institutions and Social Change)\" that burglars are more than three and a half times more likely to enter an occupied home in a gun control country than in the USA. Compare the 45% average rate of Great Britain, Canada and Netherlands with the 12.7% of the USA. He continued to point out that citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals every year as do police (1,527 to 606). In a related article titled, \"Are We a Nation of Cowards\'?\" in the November 15, 1993 issue of Newsweek Magazine, George Will reported that police are more than 5 times more likely than a civilian to shoot an innocent person by mistake.
The Wall Street Journal reported, in an August 28, 1996 article titled \"More Guns, Less Violent Crime,\" that a University of Chicago study revealed that states which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%. The most impressive single statement in the University of Chicago Study (which is an ongoing study) is the very first sentence of the Abstract on the first page. \"Using cross-sectional time series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without increasing accidental deaths.\"
A 1979 Carter Justice Department study found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32% were actually committed. That number dropped to only 3% when the woman was armed. That means that a woman carrying a gun is more than 10 times less likely to be raped than an unarmed woman is. Think about it.
Since England passed its strict gun control laws, their previously low murder rate has almost caught up to that of the USA and according to a Reuters article on October 11, 1998 most other violent crime in England has passed the US crime rates. This is also supported by an October 1998 report of the Bureau of Justice Statistics
How About Accidents?
The National Safety Council, Injury Facts: 1999 Edition, Deaths Due to Injury table for 1996 reveals that you are more likely to die from natural environmental factors, such as injuries caused by animals, plants or exposure to the elements than from an accidental gunshot. Think about it. The same report shows that you are just as likely to choke to death on a piece of food (1,126 deaths) or die from falling down stairs (1,239 deaths) as to die from an errant bullet (1,134 deaths). You are three times more likely to die in a fire (3,741 deaths) or drown (3,488 deaths). The simple fact is that there are many things that we take for granted in life that are much more dangerous than guns. In 1996, there were 43,649 motor vehicle deaths, 8,872 poisoning deaths, 2,919 deaths from complications or misadventures of surgical or medical care and 14,986 total falling deaths.
According to the National Safety Council, the total number of accidental deaths in 1996 was 150,298. That means that gun related deaths amount to far less than 1% of all accidental deaths.
Don\'t Count On The Police
The police realize that when a crime of violence is being committed, every second counts. Yet, in 1989, the Justice Department reported in the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics -- 1990, (1991) that there were 168,881 crimes of violence where police took more than 1 hour to respond. Of the roughly 700,000 combined full time law enforcement officers in the U.S., only about 150,000 are on duty on the streets at any given moment to protect a population of over 250 million. That means that there is one policeman to protect almost 1700 civilians. They cannot be everywhere at once.
In fact, the courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled consistently that the police are responsible only to the public at large and not to individual citizens. This means that even when police do their best, the courts recognize that there may be some individuals who they just can\'t to get to in time. It happens all too often. When it does, the citizen is left to fend for himself until the police arrive. That is the time when even gun control advocates wish that they had a gun, as happened with many gun control advocates during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Imagine their distress when they learned that they had to wait 15 days.
And don\'t think that just because the police are trained in the use of firearms that they are less likely to kill an innocent person. A University of Chicago Study revealed that in 1993 approximately 700,000 police killed 330 innocent individuals, while approximately 250,000,000 private citizens only killed 30 innocent people. In fact, because police often live on the edge, they naturally tend to shoot first and ask questions later. Although they are trained to repress this instinct, it does not always work, as evidenced by the number of innocent people killed by police.
Is a picture beginning to develop here?
The sources quoted above are impeccable and the picture that these facts paint is clear. Even if you don\'t own a gun, the mere fact that you or others around you might own a gun significantly reduces the likelihood that you will become the victim of a violent crime. The chances that you will be killed or severely injured as a result of a violent crime drop even more if you do own a gun. The remarkably low incidence of gun related accidents is overwhelmingly offset by the significantly reduced likelihood that you might some day become a death statistic on this page.
The facts don\'t lie. Your personal safety is very dependent upon the right of you and those around you to legally own and carry a gun, whether you carry one or not.
Don\'t Believe Hollywood!
It is interesting to note that despite the wide availability of accurate statistics, the Hollywood elite always seem to have to make up wildly erroneous statistics for their various television shows and movies, so as to advance their agenda. For example, in an episode of \"Pacific Blue\", one of the policeman characters talking to a child made the preposterous statement that you are twice as likely to be shot by accident as by a gun fired in anger. In fact, according to the easily accessible National Safety Council, Injury Facts: 1999 Edition, Deaths Due to Injury table, in 1996 there were 1,134 accidental gun deaths. Compare that to 14,037 homicides or to the nearly 2.5 MILLION times a year that a gun is used in self-defense. Such blatant mischaracterization is common in the movies and on TV.
The Hollywood elite have their own agenda. They don\'t care about YOUR safety. If you believe what you hear from the Hollywood elite or what you hear in the movies, you are doing yourself a severe injustice. Remember, the Hollywood elite all have bodyguards who carry (you guessed it)... GUNS.
Don\'t Believe the Media!
You must keep in mind that the media industry is exactly that, an industry. They must make greater and greater profits to satisfy their stockholders. Dramatic reports of a child that is shot by another child increase ratings much more than reporting that 28 women used a gun to fight off rape today and every day (average), for that matter. A heart rending image of a mother who just lost a child to a drive-by shooting drives ratings much higher than a dry report that violent crime is down in states with the least amount of gun control. The simple fact is that VIOLENCE SELLS!
Follow the money. If Vermont style gun laws (see sidebar) were enacted nationwide, violent crime across the country would drop dramatically, taking media readership, listenership and viewership with it. Media stocks would plummet. To prevent this, those in financial control of media corporations use their media outlets to sway public opinion and prevent an end to gun control.
The Vermont Concealed Carry Law states very succinctly that any person may carry a concealed weapon with NO permits, fees or registration, yet according to the FBI, Vermont enjoys the 2nd lowest crime rate in the nation. Think about it.
This is not just something that they only do for gun control either. Media moguls often use similar tactics to create splashy news regarding many other subjects, including race relations, the environment and welfare.
The logic is simple. Splashier news makes for more profit. You cannot blame someone for wanting to make more money. So, it is imperative that you remember that those in control of the media have their own agenda and that agenda does NOT serve YOUR best interest. Since VIOLENCE SELLS and legal unrestricted gun ownership reduces violence, it is in the media\'s business interest to promote restrictions on legal gun ownership.
I have provided in this article, as a starting point, many links to impeccable sources for factual information on guns and gun control. Don\'t trust the Media. Do your own research.
Watch Your Government!
For a number of years now many in government, on both sides of the aisle, have been chipping away at the rights guaranteed us in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Even ignoring the fact that one of those rights is the right to keep and bear arms, those who would take away our other rights cannot afford even a remote chance that an armed populace might some day revolt. I\'m not talking about some group of militia flakes. You can only take so much away from anyone before he finally says, \"NO!\" If enough people say \"NO\" at one time and they are armed, those who are subverting our rights have a serious problem. If we can be disarmed, it becomes merely an inconvenience.
I am not suggesting that there is some great government conspiracy. Quite the contrary, a conspiracy would be a godsend. The media would have a heyday. (Remember splashier news makes for more profit.) What we are facing is serious self-interest among many individual elected officials. Wealthy Americans are leaving the USA in record numbers and those who are staying are investing record amounts of money offshore, hiring bodyguards and adopting a siege mentality. The BATF and IRS have become ever more aggressive in pursuit of citizens whose only crime is attempting to protect their rights and possessions as guaranteed them by the Constitution. It is simply not in the interest of those who would subvert our rights to have an armed populace.
There are some in Congress who are doing everything that they can to protect our rights. Unfortunately, it is not enough.
YOU must get involved. YOU must keep up with the changing issues. YOU must keep up with what your elected officials are doing and how they are voting.
A good starting place is Congressman Ron Paul\'s Freedom Watch. You can also see how your Congressman is voting on gun related issues at: http://www.gunowners.org/106hvote.htm or see how your Senators vote at: http://www.gunowners.org/106svote.htm. Don\'t count on the media, your government, Rush Limbaugh or even me. Follow the other links on this page and start doing your own research. But, by all means, GET INVOLVED! And if you don\'t have one, GET A GUN! And, learn how to use it!
Copyright 2000 John Gaver