Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gun Control Facts and Fallacies



Talking facts often lead to heated and unfounded debates among those who wish to enforce their lifestyles upon others. Gun control zealots often spout the rhetoric that because England has stricter gun control laws and lower murder rates than The United States, the gun laws obviously are the difference. However, one can easily compare Germany to Switzerland and discover that gun ownership is three times as high in Switzerland, yet the Swiss have a much lower murder rate. This is true in many other countries as well: Israel, New Zealand and Finland, for example. Rural Areas in the United States have higher rates of gun ownership, and lower murder rates. And, for the country as a whole, gun ownership doubled in the late 20th century followed by a decreasing murder rate. Stricter gun laws create more death. This is a simple fact, based upon dozens of empirical studies. These facts are rarely commentated on in the media, however.


The fallacious arguments continue. The media and anti-gun advocates argue guns serve only one purpose, to kill. This is true, but there is also a reason guns are considered “the great equalizer.” Many gun control advocates claim the atrocious shootings of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and more are caused by a lack of gun control laws. Once again this comes in direct conflict with facts and logic. It is gun free zones where American’s are the least safe. All of the following areas were gun free zones where the only person with a gun was the shooter: New York City Pizza shop (employee shot 15 times, two officers killed), The Amish West Nickel Mines School in Pennsylvania (5 children murdered), Columbine (killing 13 and injuring 23), Virginia Tech (32 killed and many injured), and finally Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas where Dr. Suzanne Gratia Hupp complied with the gun free zone law and placed her gun in her glove compartment before entering the restaurant (23 murdered, 20 injured –Dr. Hupp had to watch her parents being murdered, fully aware her gun was sitting in her glove compartment). These horrific tales are merely the beginning, and if American’s do not begin to understand the concept and morality behind the rights to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” we shall be doomed to repeat our past mistakes.


But, what about the children? Many people for and against gun laws explain their biggest problem with the debate is the fact that many children die in gun related incidents. To most this sounds like a great reason to ban guns, yet those willing to see facts will understand the illogic. Most children killed by guns are not merely toddlers who happened upon a loaded weapon lying around. The majority of those ‘children’ are members of teenage criminal gangs who purposefully terminate each other. Unfortunately, there are some children who do in fact die by gun related incidents, but fewer than die in bathtubs. I doubt anyone will advocate banning baths, or fire, knives, chairs, swimming pools, electric cords, or the biggest killer of children: vehicles.


Having a gun in the house will increase a family’s chance of being harmed is one of the most popular gun related dogmas. The reasoning behind this idea is that if a criminal breaks in and sees you holding a gun he is more likely to attack. Once again factual research tells us the exact opposite is true. People who have not resisted have gotten hurt twice as often as people who resisted with a firearm. Of course, those who resisted without a firearm got hurt the most.


People who are in favor of gun control laws because they believe stricter laws leads to less gun related deaths are not the problem. These individuals will easily be swayed once they read some facts on the matter. The problem lies with those who advocate and have the power to ignore such facts. Many books and studies have been released and are available to the public, yet the vast majority of people perpetuate the fallacious arguments. Books such as Pointblank by Gary Kleck, Gun and Violence by Joyce Lee Malcolm, and one of the most researched books, More Guns, Less Crimes by John lott; Mr. Lott analyzed 18 years of crime data from all 3,054 U.S. counties, and he discovered that there was nothing more decisive in lowering violent crime rates than the passage of ‘right-to-carry’ gun laws. In Counties with populations of 200,000 or more, the concealed-carry laws lead to an average drop in murder rates of 13 percent. Sadly, these facts are rarely discussed in gun control advocate circles. When John Lott attempted to give some of his initial studies to a gun control advocacy group, she refused. After the book was published, ABC contacted the leader of that group to garner her comments; she said the study was flawed. When Lott later phoned her to ask how she could say the study was flawed when she refused to even look at the study, she hung up. People who base their reasoning on unsound logic must deny all facts or their so-called ‘logic’ will crumble like a house of cards.


The evidence on the other side is just plain silly. One of the most cited studies was done in the New England Journal of Medicine back in ’93. This article claimed that guns in the home increase the risk of violence and death. The way they ‘discovered’ this was based on comparing people who were killed in their homes with a sample of similar people in the general population. Those who were killed at home owned guns more often than the others. This is equivalent to the fallacy of judging hospitals by their death rates. People who go into hospitals are more likely to die than people who don’t go to hospitals. Does this mean hospitals are dangerous? Or could it mean that people who go to hospitals already have health risks? Death rates are higher in world-class medical facilities than in the local county hospital, but the reason for this is people go to those hospitals with worse ailments than those who go to county hospitals. It is just as fallacious to assume that people with guns in their homes were in no more danger initially than those who do not have guns in their homes. Some of these people with guns in their houses were criminals to begin with and were killed by the police.


These facts continue on endlessly. Criminals are more likely to back off if they see a potential victim is carrying a weapon. Many school shootings were stopped by a person with a gun, schools such as: Edinboro, Pa., Appalachian Law School and Peal, Miss. Yet, only 1 percent of news stories pointed out the fact that the killers were stopped by a person with a gun. In one incident (Appalachian Law School in Grundy Va.,) an off duty Sherriff/law student got his gun out of his car and pointed it at the perpetrator who then raised his hands and dropped the gun. Fellow students then tackled the suspect. Upon a search of all the news stories reported it is almost always stated that the gunmen was merely ‘tackled by students,’ with no mention of the sheriff student. The idiocy behind believing a group of students simply ‘tackled’ an armed gunman is too much for words. One last fact worthy of mention is only 12 percent of bad guys purchase firearms from gun stores or pawn shops; according to the U.S. Department of Justice.


2nd Amendment rights are under attack. People here on campus, and all over the world, espouse the belief that we must increase gun control laws. Leaving guns in the hands of civilians is a dangerous undertaking they say. The majority of the population believes in the fallacy that ordinary people are too careless to own guns, and we’d be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals paid by the government. Herein lies our greatest danger. When a government has nothing to fear from its people, its people will be defenseless against their government.


Look to history for proof. The main tool for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South was disarmament. In Florida, patrols would search blacks’ homes for weapons and would confiscate them and punish the owners. In contrast, the North allowed blacks to own guns and they were able to sometimes defend themselves against racial mob violence. There are many atrocities throughout history which showcase the error in allowing government to control all weaponry: Stalin’s mass murders, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name a few. Imagine a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto holding off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with merely a handful of weapons. Then imagine 6 million Jews armed with rifles being herded into cattle cars; not likely.


Fortunately for us, our framers were intelligent enough to embed our right to defend ourselves in our Constitution. It may be hard to believe now that someday our government will force us to comply with their wishes, however, a free people can only make that mistake once. We must never forget the words of one of our greatest fore-fathers Benjamin Franklin when he said “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

12 comments:

LENGJAIHK said...

This argument isn't completely grounded. I lived in Hong Kong for a couple years, and I would see young children around 5 or 6 walking home from school - by themselves. I saw this in every area I've been there. There is a strict gun control in HK and because there are no guns, the streets of HK are pretty safe. So, to say that gun control laws cause more violence is wrong. It isn't a reality, well, maybe for you but for the world it isn't.

cedrac said...

care to cite statistics for me, please? It is easy to say you didn't "see" any violence, less easy to prove none existed. I actually don't see violence in America, does that mean it doesn't exist? I don't mind criticisms, but if you are going to post something like this on a strangers blog you should at least back it up with some semblance of logic.

Anonymous said...

" Stricter gun laws create more death. This is a simple fact, based upon dozens of empirical studies."

You are mixing causality and correlation. They are often not the same. In this example, one could argue that in regions where crime was escalating, e.g., Washington D.C., because of perceived threat from availability of guns, people were more prone to enact gun control laws. The increase in violent crime may be independent, or weakly associated, with the availability of guns, however.

I had a high school history teacher who showed two graphs over the same time period. One was the increased viewing of television, the other an increase in crime. He concluded that watching TV causes crime.

Anonymous said...

umm, http://home.comcast.net/~shooter2_indy/essays/paulharvey.html

Anonymous said...

this argument is fallacious becuase it ignores why we need more gun control laws which is to prevent criminals from getting guns in the first place. The numbers don't tell the whole story.

Anonymous said...

Gun control laws won't keep gun smuggling from happening. People know about guns and there is nothing that can be stopped about it. Guns will always be used as weapons. Laws won't do anything but cause more people to get them illegaly. People who abide those laws will just be put in danger because criminals will use it to their benefit to take advantage of others. Quit comparing America to places like Hong Kong. We live in totally different environments and economies. Why don't you compare Germany and Switzerland? Every country is different and just because somewhere like Hong Kong deals with guns differently, doesn't mean we should be more like them. China runs their government differently...should we change our government then too? If you don't like how things are done in America, then go somewhere else like Hong Kong if you like it better there.

Anonymous said...

Rather than go and live somewhere else I would prefer to change the laws here to make gun ownership more reasonable for everyone.

Of course gun control laws will not stop every person with intent to do harm from getting a handgun. That isn't the objective here. If we can stop the majority of people from committing violent crime because access to handguns becomes more difficult then we have succeeded.

Anonymous said...

most countries and states haven't even tried to make guns illegal so how would they know what would happen if they did?! that is what frustrates me!!!!

Anonymous said...

stripping Americans of their second amendment rights puts us in danger by those who have no respect for the letter of the law

Kevin Doyle said...

Excuse me, but this is 'reason'? I hardly think so.

Anonymous said...

Had there been guards or willing people at Sandy Hook Elementary carrying concealed firearms lives would have been saved. Instead of squabbling about gun control laws when there are already 240 million plus guns out there in the US we need to do something now to protect our children and other innocents in our public institutions. With that in place then we can start working on long terms solutions to gun violence. If we can put Air Marshals on private airlines we certainly could do the same for our schools....

Jason said...

How's that ban on drugs working in Amerika? How about that gun control in war zone Mexico?

I travel to the PRC about every 6 months. That disgruntled farmer in Kunming did a number on that government office when she set off a home made bomb. I saw armed guards at many of the banks due to armed robbery with GUNS! And in Beijing the PLA were on the streets this August because the crime has gotten so bad.