Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ban Guns = Bad Idea

Blaming violence on guns and fanning hysteria over deaths from firearms are staples of anti-gun propaganda.
Media help gun-control zealots spread false information that gun ownership and self-defense are certain paths to injury and death. Handgun Control, Inc., gives erroneous advice that if you are attacked, the best way to avoid injury "is to put up no defense." 

Anti-gun zealots blame the actions of criminals on guns and argue that disarming law-abiding gun-owners is the best way to reduce the crime rate. 

Scholars such as Gary Kleck, Don Kates and John Lott have demonstrated the falsity of these claims. 

Now comes an important new book from Harvard University Press. "Guns and Violence" by Bentley College history professor Joyce Lee Malcolm brings new evidence that guns reduce violence. Malcolm's carefully researched book is a study of guns and violence in England from the Middle Ages through the present day. When the English were armed to the teeth, violent crime was rare. Now that the English are disarmed, violent crime has exploded. Indeed, crime in England is out of control. 

Did you know that defensive gun use prevents far more crimes than the police? National polls of defensive gun use by private citizens in the US indicate that as many as 3.6 million crimes annually are prevented by armed individuals.

In 98 percent of the cases, the armed citizen merely has to brandish his weapon. As many as 400,000 people each year believe they saved a life by being armed. Contrary to Handgun Control's propaganda, in less than 1 percent of confrontations do criminals succeed in taking the gun from the intended victim.

Did you know that the testimony of incarcerated felons supports the large number of defensive gun uses? Thirty-four percent of felons said they were scared off, wounded or captured by victims who turned out to be armed.
Convicted felons say that they are more deterred by armed victims than by the police. 

In the United States, where roughly 50 percent of households are armed, only 13 percent of burglaries occur with residents at home. In contrast, in Britain, where homeowners are disarmed, 50 percent of home burglaries take place with the residents present.

Gun-control zealots claim that the availability of guns is the primary cause of homicides. Between 1973 and 1994, the number of guns in private ownership in the United States rose by 87 million. During this period, both the homicide rate and the percent of homicides committed with firearms dropped. 

Nov. 8, 2002 Orange County Register Editorial

One of the biggest fallacies of gun-control supporters is their idea that guns in and of themselves are an evil that needs to be wiped out. That idea motivates gun controllers to support any number of limitations and regulations geared toward reducing the raw number of guns in the public's hands.

But an attack in Laguna Hills recently shows how beneficial gun use can be, when used by potential victims protecting themselves against an armed attacker.
Dana Kiefer and her 10-year-old daughter, Hana, were at Ms. Kiefer's parents' house when Dana's ex-husband Eric Kiefer broke into the home wielding a hatchet. Mr. Kiefer had a history of drug abuse and of abusing Ms. Kiefer during their marriage. He had a restraining order placed on him to stay away from her.

The court decree didn't stop him from assaulting his ex-wife, and it certainly didn't stop him from breaking into his ex-in-laws' house, grabbing his daughter, then trying to force her to drink some form of caustic liquid, according to news reports.

Fortunately, Ms. Kiefer's boyfriend fatally shot Mr. Kiefer with a shotgun, thus ending a confrontation that could have cost five people their lives. It's the latest example of what John R. Lott Jr. calls the underreported story of citizens who use guns to protect themselves from criminals.

"When was the last time that you heard the national evening news reporting about a citizen using a gun to save lives?" Mr. Lott, author of "More Guns, Less Crime," wrote in a newspaper article. "Few realize that people use guns defensively to stop about 2 million crimes a year, according to national surveys."

That's an astounding statistic. In a sense, gun-controllers use a utopian argument for banning or limiting guns. They assume that if guns were eliminated, then people who would no longer be able to use them for evil. Therefore, there wouldn't be any need for average citizens to have guns to protect themselves and their families.

But guns will always be with us. There are millions of guns in the United States, so it's hard to imagine eliminating them all, especially from criminals.

Mr. Kiefer was attacking his ex-wife and daughter with a hatchet. Without guns, the attacker with the biggest knife or strongest physique would succeed. Guns are a great equalizer - which is why even some feminists are coming around to the pro-gun rights argument.

An Orange County judge told the Register that the Laguna Hills incident shows that some people who violate restraining orders need to be held in custody until a judge can evaluate their mental health.

That's a good point. But it's not enough. Innocent people shouldn't have to risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones by going unarmed and hoping the justice system will get its act together.

Guns can save lives. If you doubt that, think about what might have happened to Dana and Hana Kiefer had their household been unarmed.

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