The New York Times Gun Control Op-Ed Steps in a Pile of Public Service

By Thomas Sowell

New York Times on Concealed Carry
The New York Times Gun Control Op-Ed Steps in a Pile of Public Service
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- Sometimes someone inadvertently performs a public service by bringing an unbelievably stupid and dangerous idea to the surface, where it can be exposed for what it is.

The New York Times can be credited — if that is the word — with performing this public service in a recent editorial against proposals to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed guns. They refer to what they call the National Rifle Association's “fantasy that citizens can stand up to gunmen by shooting it out.”

Nobody has suggested any such thing. Data collected over many years — but almost never seeing the light of day in the New York Times or the rest of the mainstream media — show many thousands of examples of people defending themselves with a gun each year, without having to pull the trigger.

If someone comes at you with a knife and you pull out a gun, chances are they will stop.

The only time I ever pointed a gun at a human being, it was when someone was sneaking up toward me from behind a shed in the middle of the night. I never fired a shot. I just pointed the gun at him and told him to stop. He stopped.

Actually having to shoot someone is the exception, not the rule. Yet the New York Times conjures up a vision of something like the gunfight at the OK Corral.

Concealed guns protect not only those who carry them but also those who do not. If concealed guns become widespread, then a mugger or a car jacker has no way of knowing who has one and who does not. It makes being a mugger or a car jacker a less safe occupation.

Gun control laws are in effect occupational safety laws — OSHA for burglars, muggers, car jackers and others.

The fatal fallacy of gun control laws in general is the assumption that such laws actually control guns. Criminals who disobey other laws are not likely to be stopped by gun control laws. What such laws actually do is increase the number of disarmed and defenseless victims.

Mass shootings are often used as examples of a need for gun control. But what puts a stop to mass shootings? Usually the arrival on the scene of somebody else with a gun.

Mass shooters are often portrayed as “irrational” people engaged in “senseless” acts. But mass shooters are usually rational enough to attack schools, churches and other places where there is far less likelihood of someone being on the scene who is armed.

Seldom do we hear about these “irrational” shooters engaging in “senseless” attacks on meetings of the National Rifle Association or a local gun show or a National Guard armory [or police stations].

The fallacy of believing that the way to reduce shootings is to disarm peaceful people extends from domestic gun control laws to international disarmament agreements. If disarmament agreements reduced the dangers of war, there would never have been a World War II.

The decades leading up to that war were filled with international disarmament agreements. As with domestic gun control laws, the agreements were followed by peaceful countries and ignored by belligerent countries that built up huge war machines, such as in Nazi Germany and imperial Japan.

The net result was that the belligerent countries had every incentive to start wars, and that they inflicted devastating losses on the peaceful countries that had drastically curtailed their own military forces.

Eventually the Western democracies got their act together and turned things around, after they belatedly beefed up their military forces. But thousands of lives were lost needlessly before that happened. World War II was in its third year before Western forces won a single battle.

Undaunted by history, the same kind of thinking that had cheered international disarmament treaties in the 1920s and 1930s once again cheered Soviet-American disarmament agreements during the Cold War.

Conversely, there was hysteria when President Ronald Reagan began building up American military forces in the 1980s. Cries were heard that he was leading us toward nuclear war. In reality, he led us toward an end of the Cold War, without a shot being fired at the Soviet Union.

But who reads history these days, or checks facts before leading the charge to keep law-abiding people disarmed?

About Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, as well as a prolific author including Black Rednecks And White Liberals. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read his articles visit his website above.

  • 41
    Leave a Reply

    Please Login to comment
    9 Comment threads
    32 Thread replies
    0 Followers
     
    Most reacted comment
    Hottest comment thread
    13 Comment authors
    TeddyRicochetCaptain Witold PileckiBill in Lexington,NCCharles Recent comment authors
      Subscribe  
    Notify of
    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    I would have had him bring the kids to the house. If he actually had kids with him, I’d have let them stay inside – safe and warm – while I helped with the truck. I’m guessing that your wife was also armed.

    You let fear keep you from being human. No brownie points from me.

    Captain Witold Pilecki
    Guest
    Captain Witold Pilecki

    @Bill in Lexington,NC: “You let fear keep you from being human. No brownie points from me.” Dude….NOTHING is more important to me than my life and my family’s lives, to include my boys (the dogs) and the sanctity of my castle. Not getting your “brownie points” doesn’t mean jack-shit to anyone but you. I did not and WILL NOT EVER allow some stranger in my house in the wee hours of the morning. If you think that makes me less human, then fine, I will be alive to tell the tale. If you want to open your door to an… Read more »

    Captain Witold Pilecki
    Guest
    Captain Witold Pilecki

    Here is my personal experience: We live in rural eastern CT with no town police department, only the six shift state troopers on patrol at any given time. On a good night, we can expect a trooper in 5 minutes at the latest, but in foul weather, trouble at the prisons or at UConn, we are basically on our own. At 1:00AM Christmas morning 2012, my wife and I were awakened by someone pounding on our front door. Our dogs were going berserk and my wife was frightened out of her wits. I went down stairs in my skivvies holding… Read more »

    Teddy
    Guest
    Teddy

    First of all, what is your issue, you should have just grabbed your gun you headass and pointed it at him, do you really think that he would kill you, if he wanted to kill you he could have entred your house without you knowing and shot you in our sleep, he could have done it many other ways, you didn’t need to get your white fat ass out of bed grab your gun and point it at him for merly seeking help, you are literally retard, WHO IN THERE RIGHT MIND WOULD DO THAT, you could simply politely ask… Read more »

    Mike Murray
    Guest
    Mike Murray

    “Gun control” in the US started as a way to keep slave and freed slaves from defending themselves. This was true during slavery, during Jim Crow, and continues to this day. The difference is that now it is the average wage-slave that the powers wish to disarm. Concealed Carry permit holders are also among the most law abiding people in the country. In fact, by percentage, CCW holders commit less murders than sworn police officers. Any logic or fact is wasted is wasted on the true believers, so I seldom bother.

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    That rather depends upon your definition of ‘gun control’ doesn’t it? To my mind, gun control comprises three elements: 1. Determine who is fit to own a gun. Optionally regulate types of guns available. 2. Remove guns from criminals (they don’t like obeying laws and must be compelled) 3. Deal with suicides Most developed countries manage 1 and 2, but fail on 3. In the US, 1 is half done, but 2 is messed up. Instead the effort goes into 1 over and over. Regulating barrel shrouds, magazine sizes, magazine sizes again, pistol grips. Did we regulate barrel shrouds enough?… Read more »

    Dave Eckart
    Guest
    Dave Eckart

    What is the purpose of limiting the types of weapons available? How does that control crime? As you pointed out in another post, the number of weapons available to law-abiding citizens isn’t the driver of the number of crimes committed. Who is “fit” to own a gun? If you mean those that are violent criminals or prone to violent psychoses, no one would have an issue with that. How do you propose to remove guns from criminals? It is already illegal for felons to obtain or possess firearms, but they seem to have no problem obtaining and using them in… Read more »

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    Some guns are more dangerous than others. An AR-15 rifle is arguably more dangerous than a Hawken rifle, and a handgun more dangerous than both since it is to hand when someone gets angry. So you might argue than restricting some guns is helpful. Most countries do this. In the USA, automatic guns are available but expensive, and they require an ATF license. In Australia, lever-action shotguns are in the least restricted category, except now Adler has produced a new version, which some people want to make more restricted. All countries have these laws, but they can’t agree about what… Read more »

    Dave Eckart
    Guest
    Dave Eckart

    Yes, some guns are more dangerous than others, and as you pointed out, the “feared” AR-15 and its variants are not the most dangerous available, but the gun control advocates surely hate them. I assume it is because they are racist – anything black they fear. I won’t get into what Australia has done and is proposing – this is the USA, not Australia. As you pointed out, they banned just about everything, but lever-action and now there are proposals to ban those, too. So, do you really believe we need to interview every gun owner and unconstitutionally ban them… Read more »

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    if the AR style rifles are so dangerous WHY do almost evety state prohibit their use in the taking of deer during hunting season? Because they are too feeble, lack the downrange energy to reliably produce a clean kill, and too many deer then wander off and die from infection days later, a miserable death and wasteful. These deer are, never harvested. Most states outlaw the use of the .223/5/56 round for taking of deer. Most states have a minimum of the 6.5 x 55 Swede, or the .243 Winchester. FAR more power, thus far more likely to produce a… Read more »

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    If you ask the average person if they know what AR stands for the majority of them will say assault rifle. I have even had uneducated gun owners tell me this.

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    Not so. WHO decides which persons can own guns, and what types they can own, and on what bases? And where to you get this nonsense about “founding fathers registered the m,ilitia’s guns”? I’ve studied that p[eriod of our history extensively and this is an absolute falsehood. READ their writings.. they ALL strongly preserved the INDIVIDUAL right to own whatever “arms” for everyone. Militia? “quite simply, the people”. NO move to register. I’ve read documents relating to the provisioning of various local militia groups, and one continuing problem is any given militia rarel even had a list of how many… Read more »

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    The first battle of the American Revolution was over the British coming to take the guns from the Colonist. They, the Brits and King George, tried to institute gun control.

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    Same thing at the start of the ACW. The Confederacy tried to take the rifles from a Union arsenal. Quick thinking, the officer sent his boxes of smoothbore muskets out the front door, and the crowd triumphantly carried them away. Subsequently, the office was then able to remove the rifled muskets without incident.

    Was this an example of gun control?

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    “And where to you get this nonsense about “founding fathers registered the militia’s guns”?

    “Gunfight” by Adam Winkler, a constitutional lawyer. Every year the militias were assembled, and the soldiers and guns recorded.

    Jim Macklin
    Guest
    Jim Macklin

    The British and later United States militia laws required each person subject to militia duty to possess a minimum “kit” so each person could fulfill their duty. The “kit” included a working firearm and ammunition, as well as other essential items such as a knife, blanket and the Person was counted, not their gun. The state would buy a gun for any person too poor to buy their gun. Typically the militia would muster on the town green for inspection and drill [training in military marching and even shooting. If you have ever wondered why every town in the USA… Read more »

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    Commits less murders? That would require some level of premeditation. You must have meant justifiable homicide. Big difference.

    Jim Macklin
    Guest
    Jim Macklin

    “Author: Francis King Comment: If you have 1.5 million defensive gun uses, and if they really are serious enough to justify pulling a gun on someone else, that doesn’t sound like a very peaceful society to me. I doubt that anyone would be able to find 1.5 million genuine examples each year. But still, a scary thought that they might.” A gun fulfills defensive gun use if a criminal stops an attack or never even begins an assault for fear the victim or another might be armed. A gun doesn’t have to be fired to be effective. Sometimes, “Go away,… Read more »

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    My state prohibits the possession of any firearms inside a bar/tavern. So most leave them locked up in the car outside…. with NRA, S&W, Mossy Oak, the Brownign Buck, etc, on their car/truck.. and thieves come round and steal the guns they know are inside the cars. We had an incident in the rural eastern part of the state a couple years back. New patron became a regular at a tavern, would sit, talk, visit, etc, through the evening. Was known only by his first name, a common one. After a few weeks, he was just part of the scenery… Read more »

    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    I suspect that he’s STILL a regular at that tavern.

    We are allowed to carry in taverns / restaurants serving alcohol in NC. We could probably also slide by with a single serving of alcohol. But, just in general, it’s best to avoid hooch while carrying.

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    Texas also prohibits from carry in bars and restaurants that make over 51% of their income from liquor. Also when stopped in Texas you must present you license and both drivers and carry (but you can have a gun in your car in Texas with no license). If you are drunk your gun license is revoked and even the slightest amount of alcohol in your system with get your CHL suspended.

    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    We have the level of “intoxicated” working for us to give us SOME wiggle room. But that is a very low hurdle and should not be relied on.

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    I was a cop for 25 years and of course drew my weapon while on duty numerous times. Before I was a cop I had one encounter with an angry driver who jumped out of his car and attempted to enter my car via the front passenger door. I pulled an unloaded .38 S&W ( I know shame on me for it not being loaded) and pointed it at him and he fled without incident. Since retiring I had two incidents where I had to pull a weapon, (loaded this time) in defense of myself or a third person. First… Read more »

    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    Except with well-guarded public facilities (courthouses etc), if my gun can’t go there, my wallet doesn’t either.

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    They have lock boxes for LEO’s in most Court Houses and in Massachusetts all I needed to do was flash my badge and I was allowed to go in armed and I was retired.

    Jim Macklin
    Guest
    Jim Macklin

    The strict gun control in the cities of Chicago, Trenton [the whole state of NJ], NYC, LA, etc don’t stop crime but they do tend to make honest people less likely to come to the aid of a crime victim. If a man or woman walking down the street hears a girl shouting RAPE, help me, RAPE, is illegally carrying a gun they are not likely to go to the rescue because that would get them a felony conviction for the illegal carrying of a gun. Of course the rape victim will just have to suffer and hope that murder… Read more »

    hippybiker
    Guest
    hippybiker

    A disarmed society? What a ludicrous idea. Or, as Thomas Jefferson said…”Those who beat their swords into plow shears will plow for those who don’t.”

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    “Data collected over many years — but almost never seeing the light of day in the New York Times or the rest of the mainstream media — show many thousands of examples of people defending themselves with a gun each year, without having to pull the trigger.”

    This is a change of policy. We’re down from ‘millions’ and ‘hundreds of thousands’ to ‘thousands’.

    Adam
    Guest
    Adam

    “Many thousands” was the actual phrase used

    Peer-reviewed and professionally published research by Gary Kleck, et al (an actual sociologist and a liberal who used to advocate for gun control) put a conservative estimate somewhere around 1.5 million defensive gun uses each year. His research also found that shots are very rarely fired (less than 5% of the time).

    His research was both before the wave of concealed carry reform in the 1990s and 2000s and the ~ 50% drop in violent crime nationally that occurred over the same period.

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    If you have 1.5 million defensive gun uses, and if they really are serious enough to justify pulling a gun on someone else, that doesn’t sound like a very peaceful society to me.

    I doubt that anyone would be able to find 1.5 million genuine examples each year. But still, a scary thought that they might.

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    re-read the final sentence of the post to which you respond… and pay attention to the “~50% drop in violent crimes nationally that occurred over the same period”. Correlation is not always causation, but in this case other evidence indiecates they are related statistics. In my state, some ten percent of resident adults have our Mother May I Cards and most of us carry out concealed weapons everywhere we lawfully can. In my town armed bank robbery used to be quite common. I cannot recall a single such incident here in at least fifteen years. And some had been so… Read more »

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    It is certainly true that correlation does not imply causation, Moreover, during the same period, other countries, like Australia, have had a reduction in gun violence. Usually, though, people don’t say things like “Australia had had a reduction in gun violence because of the increased number of guns”. Instead they says things like, “The reduction in gun violence has no link to the number of guns”. My conclusion is that it is more complicated than some people, like John Lott Jr, would have us believe.

    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    I can’t respond directly to Francis King, so I am posting this here. Australian violent crimes never took even a temporary dip. The gun was replaced. Its rapes are up.

    According to some of the resource I have seen, Australian gun ownership is back to previous levels. But now, they aren’t registered and can’t be confiscated.

    The Australians learned what the Americans have long known.

    Dave Eckart
    Guest
    Dave Eckart

    The writer stated, “many thousands of examples of people defending themselves with a gun each year, without having to pull the trigger.” The operative word being examples, he didn’t state how many actual self-defense uses. You need to read a bit more carefully or suffer the appearance of being an ignorant gun control advocate.

    Circlebee
    Guest
    Circlebee

    Oh I see your reasoning…since it isn’t millions or hundreds of thousands, that’s somehow changed the argument in favor of gun control. Well, if one of those mere “thousands” is someone you care about or yourself doesn’t that matter? Guess not in your dream world.

    Francis King
    Guest
    Francis King

    Somehow? The argument has always been this – that even though the number of people shot is very high, it’s still OK, because the number of defensive gun uses is much higher. Or not, depending upon the numbers at hand.

    Dave Eckart
    Guest
    Dave Eckart

    The number of people shot isn’t very high, nor even “just” high. The issue is that by definition, and statistically, law-abiding gun owners are not committing crimes, and are not the reason for criminal behavior.

    Making a private citizen defenseless only protects one group of people, and it isn’t the law-abiding. As you pointed out, the number of weapons available to the law-abiding isn’t the driving factor for criminal behavior. So why the push for gun control? It clearly isn’t limiting criminal behavior.

    Ricochet
    Guest
    Ricochet

    As far as the “number of people shot” goes, what the stats don’t explain is that it includes criminals shot by police, shot by victims in self-defense, etc. Justifiable homicides are included in the homicide numbers, so not all “homicides are murder. If the homicide rate stays the same, but the percentage of them that are justifiable goes up drastically, the actual murder rate has gone down, but the “homicide rate” wouldn’t show it. Furthermore, when stats of “gun related deaths” are given, those include accidental and suicides as well. You know the old expression that statistics don’t lie, but… Read more »

    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    You would take guns from law abiding people because of what those who use them for harm (killing by ANY means is illegal, no?) do.

    Should we then take the first amendment right of freedom of speech away from you because others use it to tell lies?

    Charles
    Guest
    Charles

    Bill, killing by any means is illegal is an incorrect statement. Laws provide for those that use their weapons in self defense and are justified.

    Bill in Lexington,NC
    Guest
    Bill in Lexington,NC

    I see that there is an exception taken to my earlier phrasing. Allow me to rephrase that portion as “MURDER by any means is illegal”. It is not the tool that is at issue (nor should it be), but the act.

    We’ve already banned murder. Banning the tool adds nothing to that discussion.