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J Michael Kearney

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Gun Bans Don't Ban Violence
by J Michael Kearney   

Last edited: Monday, January 27, 2003
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2001

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Gun control is NOT crime control and it is not designed to be. Why? Because laws are only obeyed by the law-abiding. Criminals, by definition, exist outside the law. Even banning all gun sales wouldn't stop enterprising thugs from getting or making their own weapons - rudimentary zip guns are very simple to make.


That’s right, gun control is NOT violence control and you’d think that that’s all that has to be said, but John Lott goes even further in his book “More Guns, Less Crime.” A lot (pardon the pun) further.

Before you start thinking that John R. Lott, Jr. is some loose cannon, gun nut, consider that he is a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School (not exactly a hot bed of right wing radicalism) and was the Chief Economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 1988 & 1989.

This book is not a commentary, but a meticulously well researched tome, packed with statistics and graphs, all evidence of the decades that Lott has spent studying this problem.

Opponents of the Second Amendment always point to the fact that the U.S. has the highest rate of gun violence in the world, ergo there must be a correlation between guns and crime.

Right?

Wrong, at least according to John R. Lott, Jr. “Worldwide, there is no relationship between gun ownership and crime rates. Many countries, such as Switzerland, Finland and Israel, have high gun ownership rates and low crime rates, while other countries have both low gun ownership rates and either low or high crime rates. For example, in 1995 Switzerland’s murder rate was 40% lower than Germany’s despite having a three times higher gun ownership rate.”

What Lott’s book demonstrates is what gun owner’s have said all along, that “guns aren’t the problem, people are.”

No one will deny that we have a violence problem here in America. One could say, “Violence is as American as Apple Pie,” and not be wrong – sarcastic maybe, but not wrong. But rationalizing gun control because there are predators in our midst’s, is like supporting a ban on food, because some people tend to poison others, or banning the automobile because some people insist on driving drunk. The fatal flaw for gun restrictions, according to Lott, should be obvious – CRIMINALS DON’T OBEY LAWS.

I guess that’s why they’re called “outlaws.” Anyway, according to John Lott, the only thing that gun restrictions have accomplished in places like NYC and Washington, D.C. is the disarming of the law-abiding citizens in those areas. Criminals in places like that have no problem getting hold of illegal guns and the crime rates in those cities tend to reflect that.

Colin Ferguson’s LIRR rampage and the Spring 2000 Wendy’s massacre are far more likely to happen in places like New York because criminals are virtually assured of an unarmed populace.

Why?

Shocking revelation number two: VIOLENT CRIMINALS TEND TO BE COWARDS. They always take the path of least resistance, an older victim is better or easier than a younger one, a female preferable to a male, a person with a cast, a limp, or crutches, even better.

Another factor to consider is how easy it is to make simple firearms, like zip guns. Many people have the means and skills to fashion more sophisticated handguns and rifles, so even a “gun ban” will only stop the likes of Remington and Mossberg from producing firearms, not those individuals determined to use them. Criminals will always get weapons – be they stolen from the military or police impounds.

Criminals are nothing, if not resourceful. Thugs are scared to death at the specter of an armed citizenry. Consider that after Bernard Goetz shot four teens who attempted to rob him on a Manhattan subway car, NYC subway violence plummeted to near record lows, until Goetz was caught!

I can recall another very vivid example of why gun control doesn’t translate to crime control. On March 10th, 1990 at around 9 p.m., Julio Gonzalez was getting rebuffed by a coat check girl at the Happyland - an illegal social club in the Bronx. Julio was so disappointed that the girl’s opinion of him wasn’t as high as his own, that he got a container of gasoline at a filling station down the street and returned to light up the one and only exit of the club. As a result, eighty-seven people lost their lives that night.

This mass murder sparked the deployment of a joint Fire-Police "Social Club Task Force" and reams of studies aimed at getting a handle on why Mr. Gonzalez did what he did. It’s too bad, because I could’ve saved them a lot of money.

Did you ever see those nature shows that never fail to impress upon us that attack behavior, on the part of wild animals, is pretty much standard fare?

We’re always given the stern admonition, “That’s what they do!” Well the same can be said of human predators – “It’s what they do.”

When people who are chronically stupid, emotionally disturbed and prone to violence get angry, attack behavior is usually the result. It seems like common sense; Unstable people do unstable, often dangerous things. There's no mystery there.

Still, after reading John Lott’s book, I began to realize where the fervor for gun control is really coming from. On page 160, he says, “Many factors influence crime, with arrest and conviction rates being the most important. However, non-discretionary concealed-handgun laws are also important, and they are the most cost-effective means of reducing crime. The cost of hiring more police to change arrest and conviction rates is much higher, and the net benefits per dollar spent are only at most a quarter as large as the benefits from concealed-handgun laws.”

That may sound the death knell for every one of Lott’s common sense arguments right there. I mean, how many people have ever heard of a politician who would rather spend less money?!

Web Site: JMKearney.com


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Reviewed by susie harrison 3/20/2002
Well researched and founded. I couldn't agree more. Further, I know of a few examples that validate your great article.
A small town in Maine, who believes in our right to bare arms has a sign posted upon entering the city limits,
'All home owners carry registered weopons'
This town has the lowest crime rate in America.
I sometimes wish that anti-gun activists would post a sign in front of their homes,
'There are no weopons in this house'
and see what happens.
A woman in Luby's cafe went to lunch with her parents but left her legal gun in the trunk of her car, after all she was a law abiding citizen and felt she would get into trouble taking it in her purse into the restaurant. Moments later she watched helplessly as two men shot her parents and other helpless customers in the head. This supports your claim that criminals don't care about gun laws.
I have heard about the Australian Gun Crisis. Infact a few years ago, there was a plea from an Australian group to American's to fight gun registration laws stating that it was that their guns were registered and that is how their government new who had weopons and prosecuted legal gun owners that did not abide by the new law.
Many other points i could agree with you on, but this is suppose to be merely a review, sorry.
Good article
Reviewed by John Martin 12/31/2001
Well, said, well written. If you get the chance, check out what's going on in Australia since they confiscated all personal protection weapons. It proves your point.
Reviewed by Victoria Murray 12/30/2001
I agree with your well stated article, but I personally am afraid of guns! (great article!)
Victoria
Reviewed by Victoria Murray 12/28/2001
Great article!

I always keep a clean pistol in the trunk just in case I over react. My shotgun is a quarter inch over regulation.
Reviewed by Victoria Murray 12/26/2001
Very well laid out.

I haven't needed a gun yet, but maybe I should get a couple just in case.


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