Opposing the Opposing View of More Gun Control as a Solution

Opinion

Firearms Coalition: 'Solutions' Won’t Save Lives
Firearms Coalition: ‘Solutions' Won’t Save Lives

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- My brother Chris and I were invited to submit an “Opposing View” editorial to USA Today newspaper last week, in advance of the student “March for Our Lives” events scheduled for March 24 2018.

We've done these types of editorials in USA Today a few times in the past, and appreciate the opportunity to share our side of the story with a wider audience.

Still, it is always a somewhat troubling experience because we are offered very little space, typically only 300 words. That’s not a lot. On top of that, the Editorial Board gives themselves almost twice as many words to express their view. And while they insisted that we provide links to validate our claims, they don't seem to be quite as worried about showing chapter and verse for their own assertions.

The biggest problem with the USA Today Editorial Board's position proceeds from a seriously flawed assumption: that gun control laws can reduce “gun violence.”

They begin their editorial questioning whether the students can “push an immovable Congress to do more to fight gun violence?”

To reply directly to the question, it’s very possible that the political pressure being generated may result in changes in the law, and those changes might be intended to “fight gun violence.” But we hold that most of the laws being pushed so far will never reduce crime, and in fact could have negative effects.

No gun control law anywhere has ever been definitively linked to a statistically significant reduction in violent crime, or “gun crime.”

The specific proposals being touted by the Editorial Board and the students (with a whole lot of help from other media, gun control groups like Mike Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety, and leftist groups like MoveOn.org and the Women's March) have been tried, and failed, in numerous states, and in the case of the “assault weapons” ban, at the federal level.

As Chris and I pointed out in our op-ed, the students and much of the nation have been misled, and worse, their grief exploited for political gain in the wake of the atrocity in Parkland, Florida. The “solutions” being fed to well-intentioned people will do nothing – can do nothing – to prevent another attack like Parkland.

We feel the same grief and frustration. The difference is that we understand that the gun control proposals being put forward won’t save a single life. Not one.

A crazy idea isn't crazy if it works, but even the most brilliant idea is foolish if it doesn't work. When you know it doesn't work, and you implement it anyway, that is beyond foolish.

Assault Weapon (whatever that is) Ban

Banning “assault weapons” – a made-up marketing term – has never been proven to work. Witness mass shootings with “assault weapons” from Mumbai to Paris to Sandy Hook (all of which had “assault weapon” bans in place), and a 10-year experiment by Congress.

Flawed & Incomplete Gun “Safety” Research

We were able to link to the most widely quoted study of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, a 2004 research paper by Christopher Koper of the University of Pennsylvania for the National Institute of Justice. But we didn't have room to detail its findings or its shortcomings.

Clinton Assault Weapons Ban: 2004 research paper by Christopher Koper of the University of Pennsylvania

This was actually the third of three reports that Koper and his team generated, and in it he concluded that there was no clear evidence that the ban had resulted in any detectable reductions in the incidence of murders or mass murders, or any clear reductions in the number of people killed or injured or the number of shots fired per incident.

But he let the door open for further research by suggesting that the data left room for doubt because of the large number of “assault weapons” that were already in circulation and not subject to the ban.

Koper suggested that given a longer time frame, the ban might have proven effective. We have to look at this conclusion with suspicion, especially given Koper's admission that “assault weapons” are involved in such a small number of criminal incidents, and that mass shootings are such relatively rare events, that completely removing them from the record would have very little statistical impact. His “mixed results” conclusion, along with his insertion of data from what he called “High Capacity Magazine weapons,” appears to be more about seeking additional grant money for future studies, than about accurately reporting statistical findings.

We pointed out that “strengthening background checks” is really about prohibiting private sale or transfer of personal firearms, and that those laws are unenforceable, and easily ignored by criminals, while often entrapping innocents, but we didn't have room to debunk the claims from pollsters that 80% to 90+% of Americans support these laws. We'd like to have noted that the polls, with their artfully-worded questions, continue to register high numbers, actual votes on these proposals have been defeated, or barely passed, despite strong support from media, and massive, 8 to 1 spending from billionaires like Bloomberg. While people like the idea of these laws, they stop supporting them once they learn the details.

GVRO's

On the subject of “gun violence restraining orders,” we noted that they ignore the real problem – the person. Every state already has provisions for involuntary mental health evaluations. Why take away guns, rather than treat the person who is a danger? Does anyone actually believe that knocking on a suicidal or homicidal person's door, and telling them that they must turn their guns in to authorities within 24 hours, will prevent tragedies? Who wants to volunteer to deliver that message?

Normal Magazine Capacity

Restricting magazine capacity is just silly, ignoring the fact that a person intent on doing significant harm can carry multiple magazines or even multiple weapons. It also overlooks the existing stock of millions upon millions of gun magazines, and the simplicity of what a magazine actually is – a box with a spring, that works like a PEZ candy dispenser.

We concluded by calling on everyone involved to stop rushing to “solutions” that don't work, and instead focus on what we know does work:

  • Hardening schools against attack with barriers and surveillance.
  • Involving law enforcement when threats first arise.
  • Having the means to quickly stop an attacker..

The recent shooting in Maryland was stopped by an armed school officer. A school murderer in Pearl, Mississippi was stopped by (illegally) armed principal Joel Myrick. USAToday linked to a New York Times story about him with a headline saying he opposes armed teachers. But buried in the piece is that he supports armed security:

“Despite Mr. Myrick’s firm stance against arming faculty members, he has long advocated placing trained personnel, possibly retired law enforcement officers, in every school, as a deterrent. ‘We protect our banks that way,’ he said. ‘We protect things we love. America protects things it loves. We don’t care if it’s expensive.’”

Locked doors have saved lives. Guns in the hands of the right people have saved lives. Disarming good guys does nothing to make anyone safer.
But supporters of gun control never let a crisis go to waste.


Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

  • 13 thoughts on “Opposing the Opposing View of More Gun Control as a Solution

    1. I Cite a Law Review of 3/14/18.
      Enjoy the read!

      “LAW COMMENTARY”
      Here Are 8 Stubborn Facts on Gun Violence in America
      John G. Malcolm / @Malcolm john / Amy Swearer / @Amy Swearer /
      March 14, 2018 / comments

      Global statistics show that higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.
      COMMENTARY BY
      John G. [email protected]_john
      John G. Malcolm is the vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, overseeing The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law. Read his research.
      Amy [email protected]
      Amy Swearer is a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
      In the wake of the tragic murder of 17 innocent students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students, educators, politicians, and activists are searching for solutions to prevent future school shootings.
      As emotions morph from grief to anger to resolve, it is vitally important to supply facts so that policymakers and professionals can fashion solutions based on objective data rather than well-intended but misguided emotional fixes.
      Are there ways to reduce gun violence and school shootings? Yes, but only after objectively assessing the facts and working collaboratively to fashion commonsense solutions.

      Here are eight stubborn facts to keep in mind about gun violence in America:
      Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out how you can support the efforts of The Daily Signal >>
      1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.
      2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.
      3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.
      4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.
      5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.
      6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.
      7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.
      8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.
      Each of these facts is firmly based on empirical data. Here’s a deeper look.
      1. America is relatively safe, and the trend is toward becoming safer.
      • According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, violent crime has been declining steadily since the early 1990s.
      • The 2011 homicide rate was almost half of the rate in 1991, and according to the Pew Research Center, the 2013 gun-related death rate was half of the rate in 1993.
      • The number of nonfatal firearm crimes committed in 2011 was one-sixth the number committed in 1993.
      • In the past few years, there have been minor increases in certain types of violent crimes, mainly in large metropolitan areas. However, these increases are nowhere near those seen in the 1990s and are largely related to gang activity.
      • It should be remembered that it takes at least three to five years of data to show true trend lines. It appears that the collective homicide toll for America’s 50 largest cities decreased modestly in 2017 after two consecutive years of increases.
      2. The principal public safety concerns are suicides and illegally owned handguns.
      • According to the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of America’s annual gun deaths are suicides. Since 1981, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began
      • publishing data, gun suicides have outnumbered gun homicides. In 2010 alone, 19,392 Americans used guns to kill themselves.
      • Most gun-related crimes are carried out with illegally owned firearms—as much as 80 percent according to some estimates.
      • The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports prove that the overwhelming majority of gun-related homicides are perpetrated with handguns, with rifles of any kind accounting for less than 3 percent of gun-related homicides. In 2013, 5,782 murders were committed by killers who used a handgun, compared to 285 committed by killers who used a rifle. The same holds true for 2012 (6,404 to 298); 2011 (6,251 to 332); 2010 (6,115 to 367); and 2009 (6,501 to 351).
      • More people are stabbed to death every year than are murdered with rifles.
      • A person is more likely to be bludgeoned to death with a blunt object or beaten to death with hands and feet than to be murdered with a rifle.

      3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.
      • Where do you live? Murders in the United States are very concentrated. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 50 percent of murders occur in 2 percent of the nation’s 3,142 counties. Moreover, gun-related homicides are heavily concentrated in certain neighborhoods within those counties: 54 percent of U.S. counties had zero murders in 2014.
      • Who is your partner? According to a recent scholarly article in the Hastings Law Journal, people recently or currently involved in an abusive intimate relationship are much more likely to be victims of gun-related homicide than is the rest of the population, especially if the abuser possesses firearms.
      • Are you in a gang? According to the Department of Justice’s National Gang Center, particularly in urban areas, significant percentages of gun-related homicides (15 percent to 33 percent) are linked with gang and drug activity. Gang-related homicides are more likely to involve firearms than non-gang-related homicides are.
      • Are you a male between 15 and 34? The majority of standard gun murder victims are men between the ages of 15 and 34. Although black men make up roughly 7 percent of the population, they account for almost two-thirds of gun murder victims every year.
      • Women and children are more likely to be the victims of mass shootings and homicide-suicide shootings than they are to be the victims of a “typical” gun-related homicide.

      4. The perpetration of gun-related murders is often carried out by predictable people.
      • According to studies, almost all mass public shooters have extensive histories of mental health issues (whether delusional/psychiatric or depression/anger), disturbing behaviors, or interpersonal violence.
      • Intimate partner conflict and domestic violence history are major risk factors for homicide-suicides, even for those not involving intimate partners.
      • Especially in urban areas, offenders are typically responsible for the majority of gun violence.

      5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.
      • Switzerland and Israel have much higher gun ownership rates than the United States but experience far fewer homicides and have much lower violent crime rates than many European nations with strict gun control laws.

      • While some will argue that the guns carried by Swiss and Israeli citizens are technically “owned” by the government in most cases, this does little to negate the fact that many citizens in those countries have ready access to firearms.
      • Canada is ranked 12th in the world for the number of civilian-owned guns per capita and reports one of the world’s lower homicide rates—but even then, some provinces have higher homicide rates than U.S. states with less restrictive laws and higher rates of gun ownership have.
      • Although many gun control advocates have noted that “right to carry” states tend to experience slight increases in violent crime, other studies have noted the opposite effect.
      • Higher rates of concealed carry permit holders are even more strongly associated with reduction in violent crime than are right-to-carry states. The probable reason for this is that right-to-carry studies often include “open carry” states, which have not been shown to correlate with more people carrying or even owning firearms. Rates of concealed carry permit holders are better indicators of the number of people who possess and carry firearms within a given population.
      • Further, as with most correlations, there are many other factors that can account for increases in concealed carry permits—including the fact that people who live in already dangerous neighborhoods seek out means of self-defense. The Huffington Post noted that the rate of concealed carry permit requests in Chicago has soared in recent years after the city loosened restrictions, in large part, according to the Chicago Tribune, because law-abiding residents are increasingly worried about rising rates of violent crime in the city.
      • The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than it is among African-Americans, but the murder rate among African-Americans is significantly higher than the rate among whites.
      • Similarly, the rate of gun ownership is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but urban areas experience higher murder rates.

      6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.
      • The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ironically makes this clear with its ratings for states based on gun laws. “Gun freedom” states that score poorly, like New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, and Oregon, have some of the lowest homicide rates. Conversely, “gun control-loving” states that received high scores, like Maryland and Illinois, experience some of the nation’s highest homicide rates.
      • The Crime Prevention Research Center notes that, if anything, the data indicate that countries with high rates of gun ownership tend to have lower homicide rates—but this is only a correlation, and many factors do not necessarily support a conclusion that high rates of gun ownership cause the low rates of homicide.
      • Homicide and firearm homicide rates in Great Britain years immediately following the imposition of severe gun control measures, even though most developed countries continued to experience a downward trend in these rates. This is also pointed out by noted criminologist John Lott in his book “The War on Guns.”
      • Similarly, Ireland’s homicide rates spiked in the years immediately following the country’s 1972-gun confiscation legislation.
      • Australia’s National Firearms Act appears to have had little effect on suicide and homicide rates, which were falling before the law was enacted and continued to decline at a statistically unremarkable rate compared to worldwide trends.
      • According to research compiled by Lott and highlighted in his book “The War on Guns,” Australia’s armed and unarmed robbery rates both increased markedly in the five years immediately following the National Firearms Act, despite the general downward trend experienced by other developed countries.
      • Great Britain has some of the strictest gun control laws in the developed world, but the violent crime rate for homicide, rape, burglary, and aggravated assault is much higher than that in the U.S. Further, approximately 60 percent of burglaries in Great Britain occur while residents are home, compared to just 13 percent in the U.S., and British burglars admit to targeting occupied residences because they are more likely to find wallets and purses.
      • It is difficult to compare homicide and firearm-related murder rates across international borders because countries use different methods to determine which deaths “count” for purposes of violent crime. For example, since 1967, Great Britain has counts any case that does not result in a conviction, that was the result of dangerous driving, or in which the person was determined to have acted in self-defense. All these factors are counted as “homicides” in the United States.

      7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.
      • In 2013, President Barack Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess existing research on gun violence. The report, compiled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, found (among other things) that firearms are used defensively hundreds of thousands of times every year.
      • According to the CDC, “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.” Recent CDC reports acknowledge that studies directly assessing the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found “consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
      • Semi-automatic rifles (such as the AR-15) are commonly used as self-defense weapons in the homes of law-abiding citizens because they are easier to control than handguns, are more versatile than handguns, and offer the advantage of up to 30 rounds of protection. Even Vox has published stories defending the use of the AR-15.
      • AR-15s have been used to save lives on many occasions, including:
      • Oswego, Illinois (2018)—A man with an AR-15 intervened to stop a neighbor’s knife attack and cited the larger weapon’s “intimidation factor” as a reason why the attacker dropped the knife.
      • Catawba County, North Carolina (2018)—A 17-year-old successfully fought off three armed attackers with his AR-15.
      • Houston, Texas (2017)—A homeowner survived a drive-by shooting by defending himself with his AR-15.
      • Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (2017)—A homeowner’s son killed three would-be burglars with an AR-15 (the man was later deemed to have acted in justifiable self-defense).
      • Ferguson, Missouri (2014)—African-American men protected a white man’s store from rioters by standing outside armed with AR-15s.
      • Texas (2013)—A 15-year-old boy used an AR-15 during a home invasion to save both his life and that of his 12-year-old sister.
      • Rochester, New York (2013)—Home intruders fled after facing an AR-15.

      8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.
      • Lott found that, as a group, concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law-abiding people in the United States. The rate at which they commit crimes generally and firearm crimes specifically is between one-sixth and one-tenth of that recorded for police officers, who are themselves committing crimes at a fraction of the rate of the general population.
      • Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates dropped 16 percent and violent crime rates dropped 18 percent, even though the percentage of adults with concealed carry permits rose by 190 percent.
      • Regression estimates show a significant association between increased permit ownership and a drop-in murder and violent crime rates. Each percentage point increase in rates of permit-holding is associated with a roughly 2.5 percent drop in the murder rate.
      • Concealed carry permit holders are often “the good guy with a gun,” even though they rarely receive the attention of the national media. Concealed carry permit holders were credited with saving multiple lives in:

      • Rockledge, Florida (2017);
      • Antioch, Tennessee (2017);
      • Arlington, Texas (2017);
      • Lyman, South Carolina (2016);
      • Winton Hills, Ohio (2015);
      • Conyers, Georgia (2015);
      • New Holland, South Carolina (2015);
      • Chicago, Illinois (2015);
      • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2015);
      • Darby, Pennsylvania (2015);
      • Chicago, Illinois (2014);
      • Portland, Oregon (2014);
      • Spartanburg, South Carolina (2012).

    2. Gun (actually people) control laws do not work simply because us law abiding Citizens don’t commit crimes in the first place and criminals will ignore them just like they do other laws. I’ve said it before, laws don’t necessarily prevent (well except for those who are not inclined to engage in criminal actions) crimes, they codify what society deems wrong behavior and (theoretically) attach penalties for those wrong actions.
      I have yet to see a single proposed “gun control” law that targets criminals, ALL of them place even more onerous restrictions on We the People.

    3. There is nobody that will admit to the problem of these mass shootings.First I would like to have them admit that Planned Parenthood has murder more babies than all AR’s combined in America.As I have said before,God,pray,any patriotic thing that has to do with America.They are taught left wing liberal views of American history.Until that changes back,this is what is going to going.The gun free zones are just a invitation for more acts of violence

    4. The best arguments for pro second amendment rights can be made after a careful study of what is outlined in the Jaeger documentary “Molon Labe”. Watch it free online, or buy a copy of the DVD, and become familiar with all the facts that they forgot to tell you about in high school history class.

    5. You never hear any of the anti gun people talking about how the strict gun laws in Chicago are working.
      The gun isn’t the problem with the mass shootings but the anti folks will never admit it.
      It’s the nut using it who is the problem.

      1. @missouriborn…I debate the anti’s all the time through websites, they make up their own stats about Chicago, I prove them wrong through the FBI website, gun control failed in Chicago so now they blame Indiana an Iowa, we told em, if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them, we proved right with Chicago

    6. Emma Gonzolez of the infringement march and hangs around CNN’s puppet boy, her dad escaped communist cuba, I’m sure he supports gun control, lets here from him

    7. @Mark take a look at the old geezer after all he probably held his position until they had to carry him out and I doubt if there is any gray matter left up there. He doesn’t know if he is afoot or on horseback. Any Supreme Court Justice in their right mind knows that your last sentence says it all.

    8. Well now we have a retired Justice
      say to ban ALL guns ! ( Nut case )
      When All the Bad guys Give up theirs ,
      We ( might ) give up ( some ) Ours !
      Lest we become who we fought against
      to become the USA. Not Happening !

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