Last Updated: Tuesday 04 March, 2008 21:41
This editorial statement is in response tothis New York Times editorial entitled "Gun Crazy", published March 1, 2008. The NYT editorial missed the point so badly, I finally had to challenge their core belief in gun control as a public policy. I don't expect this will be published by the NYT, but I provide it here for your review.
As a public policy, so-called gun control is a failure.
The landmark legislation for gun control was the 1968 Gun Control Act which politicians hailed as "sensible" gun control. We were told that it would reduce crimes with firearms and give police the tools they needed to track down criminals. Yet, every year we see increasingly complex restrictions on firearms while crimes with guns continues unabated. Each of these new laws is touted, just like in 1968, as providing police "the tools they need" or they are proclaimed "common sense" measures. In several areas of the country it is nearly impossible to legally obtain a handgun, yet there is no shortage of them available to street gangs and common criminals.
If gun control as a public policy worked at all, we would have lower rates of crimes with guns than in 1968. But, we do not. I think forty years is enough time to prove the theory of "gun control" just doesn't work. As a public policy, it is a failure.
None of these restrictive laws, which now number over 20,000 laws nationwide, have shown, either individually or collectively, any significant impact on crimes committed against people or even crimes committed with guns in general.
A government report showed that the so-called "Brady Bill," touted as a "significant step" in reducing gun crimes, had no measurable effect on crime. We have also seen how the so-called "gun free zones" have turned school campuses into defenseless-victim killing zones.
"Yes, but..." begins the Gun-Control lobby when they go on the defensive. They will tell you that existing laws didn't go far enough or that the laws were compromised in legislative sessions. They'll tell you that if only they could enact comprehensive control - either an outright ban or a court's permission to have a gun - the numbers would show they are right.
Great Britain has, since 1997, had a ban on almost all firearms, especially handguns. Yet, as the 20th Century closed, the UK quietly began arming it's famous "Bobbies" with guns for the first time in over 100 years. One story in the British media described the "gun problem" by saying that in the last ten years there have been more reported gun crimes than in the thirty years before the ban. Our own Washington D.C. banned handguns and operational long guns in the home back in 1976. Since that time, the Capitol's murder rate has been the highest, or one of the highest, in the country. So much for a utopian gun control example.
Only one set of laws shows any appreciable statistical impact on personal crimes. Not too surprisingly, these laws are not restrictive, but liberally permissive in the classical sense. These laws allow citizens with clean records to legally carry concealed firearms after taking the state mandated training. While restrictive "gun control" laws do little or nothing to impact crimes against people, these "shall-issue" concealed carry laws can be shown reduce such crimes.
Why? Because criminals are no longer certain their victims are defenseless. A victim who fights back is fighting for their life, which the criminal threatens in robbery, rape and other crimes. And, they fight to win. With these laws it the criminal who is at a disadvantage, not the citizenry. A 1985 study by the National Institute for Justice shows criminals fear the armed citizen more than they fear the police.
So, what should we be asking our legislators to do? We should be tell them to focus on controlling criminal behavior instead of trying to control access to inanimate objects.
We should also make it clear that criminals can not profit from their illegal actions should they be injured during a crime. If they step "outside the law" by instigating the crime, they waive their rights to civil suits against their victims. To further discourage repeat offenders we should mandate maximum sentencing with no parole after a third conviction to keep the serious criminals off the street.
The Gun-Control Lobby continues to push against a door marked "pull", never quite realizing that even after 40 years, pushing just isn't going to open the door. At least, not until they realize they have been pushing in the wrong direction.
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