“Never let a good crisis go to waste” has become the ethos of the left these days, so I guess it is of no surprise that as soon as the mass murder of children in CT was reported, we immediately started to see the anti-gun crowd posting online petitions for an “assault weapons” ban, social media comments on how the 2nd Amendment is no longer needed or relevant in modern society, and anti-gun venom in general. Although I usually don’t get involved in online debates and political hotbutton issues, I felt that in this case it was important to counter all of the heated anti-gun passion and distortions of the truth that were being posted. And of course I heard all of the same tired old anti-gun arguments. What was interesting though, is I found that when you counter those arguments with facts and historical truths, it tends to shut most anti-gunners down. They tend to base their arguments on emotion, not logic, and many of them do not have an academic or scientific basis for their beliefs. One FB anti-gunner simply responded to my facts and figures by saying that he thinks they are B.S. It didn’t matter that they were provided by, and could be verified with the federal agencies that compiled them- this was just a flat out denial of reality. When I gave him all of the back up data, he banned me from the conversation then continued to respond to make it appear as though he got the last word, after which I had been silenced. It took that as a sign that he felt like he was failing in his efforts to win the debate.
So for those of you who could use some data to beef up and backup your anti gun control arguments, I have posted information from some of these social media conversations, with the names and responses edited out. Since I took the time to compile and post much of the info, I thought it might be of help to others. Feel free to use whatever you like, but because all of the data was researched by outside sources I cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of it. The sources for most of the information can be found by clicking on the links at the end of the article.
Guns are used roughly 60 times more often to protect and innocent life, than to take a life (innocent or otherwise). Another fact that this exposes is that you are more likely to die from falling (20,823 per year), than from a gun homicide (12,791 per year) and accidental gun-shot wounds (642 per year) combined. The data comes from two very reliable sources. The death rate data comes from the Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control for 2006; the federal agency tasked with collecting and compiling such data. The gun self-defense data comes from a report in the The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, (Fall 1995) titled, “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun,” by renowned criminologists Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz.
Well let’s examine gun homicides of 4 or more as a whole, throughout the entire 20th century, throughout the world, shall we? In the 20th Century: Governments murdered four times as many civilians as were killed in all the international and domestic wars combined. Governments murdered millions more people than were killed by common criminals. How could governments kill so many people? The governments had the guns – and the people, the victims, were unable to resist. The victims were unarmed. Evil governments did wipe out 170,000,000 innocent non-military lives in the 20th Century alone.
In 1994, 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered in Rwanda. In 1979 guns were made illegal and the government confiscated weapons from the Tutsi population. Between 1975 – 1979 2 million were murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Guns and ammo were licensed, registered and inspected by the government quarterly. The Khmer Rouge started their mass executions by starting with all citizens that had registered guns. In Uganda, guns were confiscated with a firearms law in 1970. From 1971-1979 300,000 Ugandans were murdered by the government. In 1964, Guatemala banned guns and proceeded to murder 100-200,000 Mayan Indians until 1981. In 1938, the Nazi weapons law went into effect banning possession of guns by Jews. We all know what happened after that. In 1926, Russia banned possession of weapons and from 1929 – 1945 the government murdered 20 million of their own. In 1915, Ottoman Turkey banned possession of firearms. From 1915-1917 1-1.5 million Armenian Christians were systematically murdered.
See a pattern here? Gun bans = ethnic cleansing, genocide and mass murder.
You are not worried about the government? Our government massacred Native Americans and Blacks in the past 100 years. I guess people back then thought the same way you do. As long as it doesn’t effect ME and MY family, right?
It is a proven fact of history that during WWII the Japanese had plans to invade the west coast of California but reconsidered because they feared they would encounter mass armed resistance from the population. So they bombed Pearl Harbor instead.
I think history is clear- if you want to prevent mass killings and genocide, you maintain an armed populous. Only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
No place in the world where gun bans have been enacted has seen an increase in safety and security and a decrease in violent crime. On the flip side, there are many well documented instances of places that made access to guns for self defense easier for law abiding citizens, and seen a marked decrease in crime and major improvements in the security of its citizens.
Your articulate, well-written commentary sounds logical and well thought out. You sound like you come from Academia, or at a minimum have some advanced degrees. The problem is several of your arguments do not add up. For instance your comparison to illegal narcotics. While your argument about increased use of illegal narcotics in areas where there are less restrictions may be accurate, it is not valid to equate a tool (firearm) with a consumable drug. Take my own hometown of Chicago for example. Chicago banned all handguns for civilians in 1983 – 2009. It was strictly illegal for any Chicago resident to own, possess or transport a handgun and most rifles. The end result was Chicago’s gun murders skyrocketed. Chicago has had a high level of gun violence throughout this time and continues to have one of the highest murder rates in the country. Irregardless of the McDonald case which struck down’s Chicago’s ban as unconstitutional in 2009, firearms are still strictly controlled and difficult to get ; you need a $150 permit, background check and 5 hour training class to own a single handgun. You are only allowed one. There are no gun stores or practice ranges in Chicago- they are prohibited. There are very few gun stores at all in Cook County, the greater Chicago area. Yet they consistently have higher levels of gun violence than most other cities in the nation. By your reasoning, because there is less access to guns, there should be less gun violence in Chicago. Since the greater Chicago area has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and no gun stores, we should see lower levels of gun crime than most cities in America. But this is not the case. On the flip side, Arizona and Montana should have higher levels of gun crime than just about anywhere in the country, because in those states guns are everywhere and accessible to practically anyone. A drivers license in those states gives you the right to walk down the street carrying a gun. But we do not see higher levels of gun violence in those states. In fact, if you read Professor John Lott’s academic treatise on the subject entitled “More Guns, Less Crime” you will find that his exacting statistical analysis on the subject found that in most cases, the more guns and easier access to guns that law abiding citizens have, the lower levels a gun and weapons crimes we see in general. Case and point: The town of Kennesaw, Georgia. It is located in the most populous county if the state- Cobb county, GA which is part of the Atlanta metro area, which is plagued with crime and gun violence. Kennesaw was named as one of the top 10 towns for families, and hasn’t seen a single murder in 25 years. In 1982, the town passed a mandatory firearm ownership law that requires each household to own at least one gun. Kennesaw has the lowest crime rate in Cobb County, and from 1982 when the law was enacted to 2009, they have had one murder. What more proof do you need that an armed society is a peaceful and law abiding society?
Your comments about Israel are also wrought with inaccuracies. You say “Most of the civilians who possess firearms there are current or former members of the military who have gone through strict background checks and firearm use training”. This is inaccurate for two reasons. First, almost ALL members of Israeli society are current or former members of the military since serving in the army and reserves is compulsory. Therefore, this is really no restriction at all. Israel’s Defense Forces are estimated to total 2 million, which is roughly one-third of the population. Second, any civilian with a legitimate purpose can walk into a police station and ask to check out a firearm for concealed carry. On a daily basis, teachers, tour guides, Rabbis, and various people who are responsible for the care of others are allowed to carry concealed firearms. These same people can purchase, own, and carry Uzi’s and other military rifles as well as concealed handguns with a simple permit. Also, characterizing the population of Israel as homogenous with relatively common societal values represents a gross mischaracterization. Israel’s population is roughly 75% Jewish, 16% Muslim, and the rest a mix of Christian, Druze, Bedouins, Cicassians and other sects, who all serve in the IDF and are given the same weapons training and access. Out of those 75% of Jewish Israelis, there are secular Israelis, Ethiopian Jews, Orthodox Jews, Haredi Jews, Sefardic Jews from Arab lands, Russian Jews, Eastern European Jews and North African Jews; all with different customs, societal values and cultural values. The Jewish population in Israel is likely one of the most diverse in the world, and is anything but “homogenous”. The racial makeup of Israel roughly mirrors the racial demographics in the United States, just with a different racial makeup (for example no significant Hispanic population like in the U.S.). In the U.S. 75% of the population is Christian of some sort and 75% of the population is of White/European ancestry.
You also expressed your disagreement with the author’s comments concerning difficult enforcement, and having gun control laws is counterproductive and impractical is like saying that because it is difficult to enforce effective control of alcohol sales to minors and the possession of alcohol by minors, underage drinking should be legalized. Again, you are not comparing apples to apples. The author is correct; we tried banning alcohol in this country and it failed miserably, giving rise to the likes of Al Capone and organized crime. Underage drinking is difficult to enforce and is symbolic at best. But if we compare guns to another dangerous tool like knives, the picture becomes more clear. With 300,000,000 guns already in circulation, banning or severely restricting guns would be next to impossible. If we ban or restrict knives, you would have to essentially cease all importation, manufacture, distribution and sales; an almost impossible task. But what about the hundreds of millions of knives already in circulation? Do you go house to house with secret police searching for contraband to confiscate? Let’s say with the waiving of a magic wand you are able to accomplish that, what prevents people from using baseball bats, machetes, axes, screwdrivers or nail guns as weapons? How about people who make their own homemade knives and guns? Almost anything can be used as a weapon or made into a weapon. It is a losing battle. So why not focus on the real problem- people’s propensity and desire to do violence to their fellow man. In the U.K. and Australia we have seen the effect that banning guns has on crime. Gun crimes go down, and violent crimes go up. In both countries, assaults, home invasions, and robberies have gone up, and murders with knives and bludgeons replace the decrease in gun crimes. And both of those countries are basically islands surrounded by water which makes controlling contraband coming into their ports much easier to control than the U.S. Notwithstanding, If you speak to law enforcement agents in both places, like I have, they will tell you that organized gangs and mafias still outgun the police, and can get anyone anything they want for the right price. So you can make all the laws you want in the U.S., enforce the laws we have more aggressively, and find all kinds of creative ways to restrict guns from law abiding citizens, but the guns aren’t going anywhere. They are here to stay, so we better figure out a way to get at the root causes of violence rather than focusing on the tools of the trade.
I am suggesting that if we look at the data, it clearly shows that in modern times, more innocents were killed by evil governments who disarmed them first, than any other type of violence. I am also suggest that the 2nd amendment to the U.S. constitution was created by the founding fathers to prevent exactly that.
And although you are correct that some restrictions were established in the Wiemar Republic in 1928, a ban on possession by Jews, among other prohibitions was established by the Nazi Weapons Law of March 18, 1938. And do I think storm troopers would have hesitated if Jews had a few pistols…because it happened. It was called the Warsaw ghetto uprising. A small gang of resistance held off thousands of Nazi troops, frustrating their deportation operations for 4 months, with a few smuggled or stolen weapons and some Molotov cocktails. Although the Nazis eventually won by razing the entire Ghetto with flame throwers, tanks, artillery and heavy machine guns, it is obvious that the impact of their efforts would have been much greater had weapons been readily available to them. This is echoed by Aish Hatorah’s Rabbis Ellis and Selinsky who wrote:
“Although the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was not really very successful, it was the first time in all of German-occupied Europe that there was any organized uprising against the Nazis. Word got out, and it set a climate. And afterwards, there was Jewish resistance in many other places, including some of the camps.”
And the United States Holocaust Museum wrote this about it: “Even after the end of the uprising on May 16, 1943, individual Jews hiding out in the ruins of the ghetto continued to attack the patrols of the Germans and their auxiliaries. The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the largest, symbolically most important Jewish uprising, and the first urban uprising, in German-occupied Europe. The resistance in Warsaw inspired other uprisings in ghettos (e.g., Bialystok and Minsk) and killing centers (Treblinka and Sobibor).”
So do I think that if European Jewry had the type of access to guns that we have here in the United States things would have been different? You bet. I think the impact of an uprising like we saw in the Warsaw ghetto would have been immeasurably multiplied many times over.