Friday, August 10, 2012

Does Gun Control Reduce Crime and Mass Shootings?

Guest post by blog reader J. Vanne. Thanks J for the well written article!
I'll discuss some of the videos in our next post, pointing out some things you guys should keep in mind.

The utterly horrific Colorado shooting is still being processed, as I write, into the collective conscience of America. First, clearly the care for the wounded and survivors must be paramount for everyone. Let us all labor with one goal to that end at present. Once this is over, however, there will be time for reflection on what has caused this tragedy. Here are some preliminary thoughts – that join my thoughts and prayers for the victims - that may be worth reflecting on in the months ahead:

Is it guns, or people, that kill? As the old saying goes, Teddy Kennedy’s cars have killed more people than all the guns of 99% of all gun owners in America.  And this true around the world.  My brother lived in ultra-safe Switzerland for years. Why is Switzerland so safe? Is it because guns are outlawed?
Wikipedia notes: “If you were a Swiss man, you would be a soldier as well. Every able-bodied Swiss man must go to the army in Switzerland for 90 days (Rekrutenschule-Ecole de recrue) and then every 2 years until the age of 42, he must return for practice for 19 days. This allows the government to raise an army of 400,000 men, fully armed, within 24 hours, as every soldier has an assault gun in his house, complete with ammunition. But there is more to this than a picturesque democratic institution.” http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/swiss-business-guide/swiss-army.html “; moreover, “Each individual is required to keep his army issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm SIG 550 rifle for enlisted personnel or the SIG 510 rifle and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified personal retention quantity of government issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56/48 rounds 9mm…)http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/gun_politics_in_switzerland.” Meanwhile, in gun-control happy Chicago – which has banned guns for all practical purposes - the city has become the leading “alpha” city for gun murders in the world. For comparison, drug war ridden Mexico City 8.0 murders a year per 100,000, Moscow 9.6, Sao Paolo 15.6 and Chicago 19.4Similarly, Washington DC, which has banned concealed carry since 1975, has one of the highest rates of murder in the U.S.

Could it be, as former gun control advocate turned gun rights supporter Dr. John Lott of Univ. of Chicago maintains, in his eponymous book More Guns, Less Crime, that we are safer with more guns? Certainly, a single trained concealed carry theatre-goer in Colorado would have put an end to the rampage much earlier, with significantly less loss of life. As Exhibit A: scarcely one week before the Colorado tragedy, a similar situation had an opposite ending in Florida, where 71 year old Samuel Williams stopped an armed robbery when two masked men entered the Palms Internet Cafe around 10 p.m. Friday, July 13, 2012. Make your own conclusion from the the surveillance camera, which captures it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZNC2VwyaPU&feature=player_embedded#t=0s. Exhibit B: Scarcely a month after the Colorado theatre shooting, on the opposite side of the country, an Orange County, CA. jewelry and coin dealer thwarted and armed robbery – and possible employee deaths – by defending herself with her pistol. Video surveillance footage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjXJBpV9YRI  Dr. Lott documents many thousands of similar situations, but here is one woman, in her own words, discussing after the fact how her gun saved her life: http://bcove.me/zgbghtxu. As a matter of fact, Gun Owners of America, at http://gunowners.org/sk0802.htm, cites statistics indicating guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense, or around 80 times a day (other statistics estimate this number could range as low as 1.5 million, but either number is a lot!). This includes 200,000 women a year using guns to defend themselves against sexual abuse. As a matter of fact, as of 2008, armed citizens killed more violent bad guys than the police (1,527 vs. 606).

The unfortunate thing about the Colorado shooting is that, while Colorado has concealed carry laws, the theatre where the shooting occurred was a gun free zone - despite what Roger Ebert fallaciously stated in the New York Times (as a matter of fact, Warner Houston at Breitbart.com wrote in 2009 that an Alaskan member of a gun owner’s message board had wanted to enter a Cinemark theatre, but was refused entry because it was gun free zone). So, what about other locales in Colorado where concealed carry is allowed, and a shooter began a rampage?  We have exact, historical records: In Dec., 2007, five people were shot (two killed) when gunman Matthew Murray, packing a semi-automatic rifle and two pistols, attacked the New Life Church in Colorado Springs (he had gone to another site previously, killing two, while wounding others). This might have been a tragedy similar in scope to the recent Batman movie shooting – except that the gunman was shot by church security office Jeanne Assam with here personally owned concealed weapon.  Similarly, on April 22nd – scant months before this tragedy, and also in Aurora, CO. – a convicted felon shot and killed the mother of the Pastor, Delano Stephan of New Destiny Christian Center as the service was ending. We don’t know how far this could have escalated – as the shooter was shot and killed by someone with a concealed gun. (See http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/04/22/2-shot-outside-aurora-church/
Incidentally, Aurora, CO., where the tragic Holmes shooting occurred, has some of the most strict gun laws in the state, including:
  • “Dangerous weapons” including firearms prohibited.
  • Revocation of license for furnishing a firearm to a minor or someone under the influence.
  • Window displays cannot include firearms with barrels less than 12 inches long.
  • Unlawful to carry concealed “dangerous weapon.”
  • Unlawful to discharge firearms, unless by law enforcement on duty or on shooting range.
  • Unlawful to possess firearm while under the influence of intoxicant.
  • Unlawful to have loaded firearm in motor vehicle.
  • Unlawful for a juvenile to possess a firearm.
Of course, all the explosives in Holmes’ apartment were “illegal,” too.
One state to the west, Utah, saw a similar situation where on Feb. 12, 2007, Muslim Sulejman Talovic, who told his girlfriend the day before his rampage that his martyrdom would be “the happiest day of his life,” opened fire in the crowded Trolley Square mall, killing five.  Unfortunately for Sulejman, there was was an armed bystander, off-duty Ogden policeman Ken Hammond. Officer Hammond pinned down Talovic – preventing futher deaths - until a SWAT team arrived and provided the martyrdom Talovic wanted. Hammond was credited with saving “countless lives” – something, unfortunately, the gun free zone in Aurora, CO. did not experience.
It appears George Washington had it right, when he said “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” Thomas Jefferson  certainly felt the same way, saying "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

What about concealed carry? Statistics from the recent past show states that passed concealed carry reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5% and robbery by 3%. Florida, which passed concealed carry in 1987, saw its higher than average homicide rate drop 52% during the following 15 years after passage, to below the national average.  And no, concealed carry does not result in chaos, as the average Floridian is more likely to be attacked by an alligator than by a concealed carry holder.
As a matter of fact, the US. Dept. of Justice, in its (admittedly dated) publication, “The Armed Criminal in America: A Survey of Incarcerated Felons, Research Report July, 1985,” stated that 60% of felons they surveyed agreed that “a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun”; 74% agreed with the statement “one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime”;  and finally, 57% of felons agreed that “criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into police.”

Meanwhile as gun sales climb to record highs - 47% of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property, and given that many gun owners have multiple guns, there may be more guns now than Americans -  2010 FBI data shows violent crime continuing to fall (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010 ) in the United States, with homicides dropping out of the top 15 causes of death in the country. The statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups that “more guns equal more crime.”  The reverse is true. As Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.  Noted, “These statistics vividly demonstrate that the lawful possession and use of firearms by law-abiding Americans does not cause crime…There have never been more firearms in civilian possession in the history of the United States, and crime, including homicide, continues to decline throughout the country.”

The truth is, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. The truth is, that the Colorado shooter would still have found ways to get, or make weapons, even if they had been made illegal (certainly, Timothy McVeigh and the leftist Unibomber found a way!). The truth is if guns kill people, then pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk, and spoons made Oprah fat. The truth is that one never sees gun murders at gun shows, where guns are seemingly every two steps one takes. And finally, the truth is that, as Stephen Dubner wrote, “far more children die each year in swimming pool accidents than in gun incidents.”
And the truth is practically illustrated in Kennesaw, GA – where gun ownership is mandatory for every head of household, per ordinance [Sec 34-21], which states: (a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore, and (b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.”

Kennesaw – contrary to what the gun grabbers would have you believe - is not the Wild West, but rather was voted by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation’s “10 best towns for families.” (http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/money/10-best-towns-for-families/?page=4) The city website also claims Kennesaw ““has the lowest crime rate in Cobb County” – this in one of the most populated counties in Georgia. In fact, from 1982 through 2009, Kennesaw, with a population of just under 25,000, had only one murder, in 2007. Compare this to gun-free New York City,  which in a recent 25-year period had more than 15,000 murders – 2, 245 in 1990 alone (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NYC_murders.PNG) – while Kennesaw, Georgia, had 1. Yes, these are different cities – but twenty five thousand to one?? I, for one, am not going to even bother with doing the math for this.  The truth is that it is the inter-generational socio-pathology that the left has created that has created this society of killers and psychopaths (see http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2936).

Moreover, if we are to ban guns, may I humbly suggest that we also ban hands and feet, as well as butterknives? As http://personalliberty.com/2012/08/01/time-to-ban-hands-feet-and-the-fda/?eiid= notes, in 2010 alone, 742 people were killed by hands or feet, with 540 people killed by blunt objects. (and let’s not forget the 82,724 people who died as a result of FDA approved drugs). In contrast, only 0.1% of all homicides involved five or more victims. Even the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence admits that, since 2010, a grand total of 35 people have been killed in 9 separate incidents in which an assault weapon was involved (even if the gun was not the murder weapon). Perhaps, it the gun grabbers really want to keep us safe, perhaps they could ban the FDA?  Similarly, within a month of the Colorado tragedy, nine people were killed and others wounded in a knife attack in China (see http://news.yahoo.com/chinese-teen-kills-eight-knife-attack-reports-102629246.html)
On a broader level, guns also have historically ensured American freedom. Bill Bonner wrote “When King George sent troops to put down the revolution a letter appeared in the London paper. It came from a man who had lived in the colonies. He told his countrymen that if they were shipping out to fight the Americans they should be sure to write their Last Wills and Testaments before they left. Because the Americans all had guns and knew how to use them.
And King George wasn’t alone: Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief, Imperial Japanese Navy, killed in action, April 1943, said “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
But what about other countries? I’m glad you asked!

For England, as the article Barbarians Within the Gates, Part III, Schwarz Report, Oct. 2011, p. 5 noted, “The UK’s ban on handguns in  1997  “did not stop actual crimes committed with handguns. Those crimes rose nearly 40% according to a 2001 study by King’s College London’s Centre for Defense Studies, and doubled by a decade later, according to government statistics reported in the London Telegraph in October 2009.”   Just for good measure, England has a 10 year sentence for possession of “any knife with a blade more than three inches long” (I literally have no idea if this includes butterknives!). No word yet if England has banned running with scissors or people using pencils with sharp points.
Across the English Channel, Holland’s draconian gun laws certainly haven’t helped – witness the recent report at http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-202_162-20052416.html , entitled 7 Killed 15 Wounded in Dutch Mall, while across the border Nazi guns laws against Jewish firearm owners 60 years ago, as Stephen Halbrook has written, “played a major role in laying the groundwork for the eradication of German Jewry in the Holocaust. Disarming political opponents was a categorical imperative of the Nazi regime” (a full rendering of Nazi gun control laws, including ones against the Jews, is found at http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/hitler-leftist/id14.html). The experience with Hitler was anticipated by the Second Amendment, which declares: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This right reflects a universal and historical power of the people in a republic to resist tyranny, was not recognized in the German Reich – and led to disaster.
Perhaps one might care to examine Russia, which also has relatively strict gun control laws, under their Federal Weapons Act of 1996 (see http://www.gunlab.com.ru/excerpts.html). Did their laws prevent the 2002 theatre siege by Chechen militants, which saw killed 118? See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/oct/28/chechnya.russia6 or YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbvKhdVGOoo if you need to refresh your memory
In Australia after they banned guns recently, armed robberies were up 69%; assaults with guns up 28%, gun murders up 19% and home invasions up 21% (except the Australian government still refuses to define what a “home invasion” is (no word if they have defined what the meaning of “is” is, either). Full details at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p8RDWltHxRc

Closer to home, as a dual US/Canadian citizen, who has spent half my life in both countries, Canada has some of the strictest gun control legislation in the world. From having a very close friend having a neighbor murdered right outside her front door, to my brother in law telling me about a knife murder at a mall down the street, to the week we moved from Canada, when someone with an illegal gun committed murder on Elgin St. in Ottawa, the whole gun grabber thing is a disaster in Canada. The results of strict Canadian gun control laws?
On Jan. 13, 2011 the Ottawa Citizen, even acknowledged that Canadian gun legislation is an abject failure:
“As strict as Canadian gun laws appear, they do not prevent the movement of illegal firearms in or out of this country, nor their possession, and only cover those firearms that have been registered. Last year, Canadian police services reported some 8,000 victims of violent gun crime, ranging from assault to robbery and homicide — a rate of almost one person per hour victimized by violent gun crime. On average, more than 1,200 Canadians are killed and more than 1,000 injured with firearms each year.” 
And if you thought the Giffords shooting in Arizona was bad (and it was!) in 2006 a Canadian gunman uploaded pictures of himself posing with a rifle. He bragged on his blog that he loved the Internet game based on the Columbine shootings. One day he decided to stop playing. He went to a Montreal college and, when all was said and done, he killed one person and seriously wounded another 19 before he shot himself. Less than 10 days after the Colorado theatre shootings, Toronto had a shooting that killed two and wounded 21 (http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/17/one-dead-several-injured-in-scarborough-shooting); in turn, this had been preceded a month  earlier by a Toronto mall shooting at the Eaton Centre, which killed one and injured seven (http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/02/world/americas/canada-mall-shooting/index.html). The stories in Canada go on, but I won’t
Canada’s stringent gun laws, in the form of Bill C-68, apply to handguns and rifles. This has been universally acknowledged as an abject failure, including over $1 billion dollars lost on something that didn’t work. Here’s the details for those of you that aren’t aware:
There are nearly 7 million registered long guns in Canada. Since 2003, when mandatory long gun registration was introduced, of the 2,441 homicides in Canada, less than 2% (47 to be exact) have been committed by those registered guns (figures cited from Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics). According to Statistics Canada, in 2008 there were around 23,500 victims of violent crime committed with a knife, with homicides and attempted murders about 1/3rd of such incidents (cited from Lawyers Weekly, 21 May, 2010). No word yet whether leftists will introduce a “long butterknife” bill -  you know, you can never be too careful about those doggoned table settings, including possible strangulation by napkins!! 
Let me conclude with an anecdotal story to help reify the matter.  Canadian John Myers writes about a personal experience in Alberta (and which is borne out by Dr. John Lott’s aforementioned book, “More Guns, Less Crime”: at http://www.personalliberty.com/conservative-politics/civil-liberty/with-gun-control-canadian-criminals-are-making-a-killing/?eiid=&rmid=2011_01_26_PLA_[PIZ0411C]&rrid=238494331.   Myers writes:
“I never imagined that a time would come where I would have to level my shotgun at a person; that I would take deadly aim with it. But that happened when I as a senior at the University of Calgary and was cramming for a final. Around midnight I heard a car screech to a stop outside my parent’s home which sat on an isolated street. I was home alone with the family dog, Elsa, a Great Dane with a gentle disposition.

In the news had been reports that two men were terrorizing women on Calgary streets. Two young women, Laurie Boyd and Debbie Stevens, had been dragged from their cars at night and murdered. I heard pounding at the front door. I knew something was seriously wrong when I opened the door to find my girlfriend Angela standing before me crying. Before I could even ask her what was happening a second car pulled into our driveway with the high-beams on.
I took Angela inside and went outside to see what the commotion was about. I brought the family dog with me and kept her leash wrapped tightly around my hand. Two men were walking straight towards the door; neither one saying a word and neither showing any regard for me or our dog which was growling and barking.

I dragged the dog back inside and gave her to Angela. I remembered the Remington that I kept in the front closet. I found it and then fumbled for the single target load shell that I kept in the corner of the hat shelf. It was all the ammunition I had, but I was damn happy to have it.
I was shaking, but I loaded the shell. I slipped back outside. I was surprised at how close these strangers were to me; perhaps fewer than 20 paces. I remember the taller of the two had his hand reached inside his coat.

It was dark so at first I don’t think they noticed my shotgun. But they knew it was there when I raised it to my shoulder and pumped the fore-end, chambering the shell. In a split second they spun and ran to their car, roaring off into the darkness.
More than a year later two men, Jim Peters and Rob Brown, were charged and convicted on multiple charges of murder. My girlfriend Angela later became my wife. To this day we don’t know if those men were the Calgary serial killers. All these years later we remain certain of two things: These men had evil intentions and we were damned lucky to have that shotgun.”
There’s more to gun ownership in America than meets the eye. Don’t let the leftists take the moral high ground on this one -  that belongs one hundred percent to the gun owners.
J. Vanne


Anonymous said...

Well Said!

StoopidIS... said...


Criminals don't care if it's against the law to have a gun. I'd rather have one and shoot back!

I know that I'm not gonna cause trouble, just finish it.

Anonymous said...

You've got every single point covered in that editorial. Great job!

Thanks to Ferfal for allowing the guest post.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, excellent article. I wish I could pin it to Pinterest !

Anonymous said...

The idea of most people having guns or any weapon for that matter is just too unsavory.

Dan said...

"The idea of most people having guns or any weapon for that matter is just too unsavory."

It is only a problem if you believe that most people are a danger to you. Do you believe that? How sad.

Anonymous said...

Fear of thy neighbor is largely the reason for lax gun laws. The exception being the U.S. I don't see any nation eager to follow their example. Truth is the U.S crime rate is far too high to serve as a recommendation of their gun laws.

Gun control is rather silly in the U.S now because it's already saturated with guns.

KeithC said...

"Fear of thy neighbor is largely the reason for lax gun laws. The exception being the U.S. I don't see any nation eager to follow their example. Truth is the U.S crime rate is far too high to serve as a recommendation of their gun laws."

Seems like quite the opposite to me. "Fear thy neighbor" seems to be the high-horse war cry of gun control. "The occasional maniac goes on a spree, which is proof positive that those millions of gun owners who didn't should be further prevented from being able to defend themselves. In fact, the fact that they're willing to defend themselves with violence shows that they're unstable sociopaths themselves!"


And it appears the "gun-light" nations, while showing far fewer gun-related violence, show a marked increase of violence in general over the U.S. for the same period. Strange, that....


Maldek said...

The level of gun control in a country equals the amount of fear goverment (=ruling elite) has of their people.

Anonymous said...

The difference can largely be explained by the rate of incarceration and muslim immigration. Saying that, I can't say the liberal gun laws in the U.S didn't also have an effect.