Friday was a day of horror, heartbreak, and prayer. Despite this, some of our progressive brethren couldn’t resist using the tragedy to make a case for risking lives by preventing families a means of self-protection via their Second Amendment rights. Let us have a frank discussion: Progressives believe that our Second Amendment rights are what perpetuated the horrific massacre in Sandy Hook. They believe that if firearm ownership was illegal then Adam Lanza wouldn’t have murdered. They say that Americans shouldn’t be able to own “assault weapons,” as they call them.
Where have these mass tragedies occurred? Virginia Tech. Aurora, Colorado. Schools, the majority of them. What do these locations have in common? They are designated “gun-free” zones. Are progressives unable to recognize that their gun control was already in place? Guns were already forbidden? The only solution left is “confiscation,” which goes beyond what they imply by “control.” I would like to hear it explained how a gun-free school zone, in a state with some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country, would have prevented the actions of a man whose intent was not following the law that day?
One of the interesting characteristics of mass shootings is that they generally occur in places where firearms are banned: malls, schools, etc. That was the finding of a famous 1999 study by John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago, and it appears to have been borne out by experience since then as well.
What did recent shooters like Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner, and James Holmes have in common? They were disturbed young men that no law could deter from their intended destruction. Why were the warning signs ignored? All of these men were clearly troubled, all three were on medication. Loughner’s warning signs went ignored. We don’t yet know if Lanza’s family knew he was experiencing problems or if they witnessed warning signs. Holmes was severely medicated and apparently abused his regimen.
Lanza could not have legally obtained the firearms he used because it is illegal in Connecticut to purchase or possess a firearm under the age of twenty-one. Lanza was twenty. You must have a permit to purchase and carry a handgun in CT and pass a background check to merit a handgun eligibility certificate. He stole his mother’s firearms. That is not a failure of gun laws, it is a failure of personal responsibility. What will more, redundant laws do when the laws already in effect fail to stop a criminal — who, by the very definition of the word, has no intention of following the law anyway? More laws for criminals to not follow? Chicago’s homicides have exceed 436 this year, beating last year’s figures. Pretty high for a state which previously banned guns, right? I’d like for the left to explain how it is people are dying from gun shots in Chicago when the city explicitly banned them? (The ban was overturned by a court of appeals this week but has not yet been implemented; the city has 180 days from the ruling to apply). Does the left expect criminals and mad men who already don’t follow the laws on the books to suddenly become law-abiding citizens because progressives pass new anti-gun laws? I would like to know where the absence of outrage is from the left: many Sandy Hooks take place every month in Chicago, the progressive model for gun control.
Can the left explain how responsible practitioners of the Second Amendment are liable for the warning signs missed by Lanza’s family and professionals around him? Is the left arguing that Adam Lanza wouldn’t have shot innocents had he no mental issues? A law-abiding citizen plus a firearm does not a mad gunman make. Sometimes evil doesn’t even need firearms. Sometimes it’s textbook terrorism.
And what of the argument from the left that the protection should be left to the police? Unfortunately, the Supreme Court disagrees with you. Castle Rock vs Gonzales was a case involving a mother who sued Castle Rock, Colorado and a number of police officers for failing to protect her and her children from her estranged husband:
… the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Gonzales had no substantive due process claim, but reversed with regard to the procedural due process claim. The court found that mandatory language in the Colorado statute regarding restraining orders created an entitlement for Gonzales to receive protective services from the police, and that she stated a claim for deprivation of procedural due process because of the failure of the police officers to arrest, or even to attempt to arrest, her husband pursuant to the order.
The Supreme Court ruled against Gonzales 7-2. If an intruder has broken into your home are you going to pray that they leave your family alone and simply call 9-1-1 with the hopes that law enforcement will save you? How long will you have before police arrive at your home, office, wherever? In Atlanta, it’s 11 minutes. Nine minutes in Nashville. Quite a lot can happen in that span of time. And we know from the Supreme Court ruling that there isn’t a legal obligation for anyone else to protect your life. Are you OK with those odds? You may be, but I’m not, and I will resist the urge of anyone whose goal is to erode my right to protect myself and my family.
I am not willing to disarm the helpless and punish those who are law-abiding. They are the ones who fall victim to those who chose to flout the law. Guns are neither good nor bad. Motive is. Intent is. Character is. Inanimate objects have no such qualities. Let’s not risk more lives by pretending that “gun control” works.
Between 2008 and 2009, the FBI’s preliminary numbers indicate that murders fell nationally by 10 percent and by about 8 percent in cities that have between 500,000 and 999,999 people. Washington’s population is about 590,000. During that same period of time, murders in the District fell by an astounding 25 percent, dropping from 186 to 140. The city only started allowing its citizens to own handguns for defense again in late 2008.
A three-year prison term for violating a gun-free zone represents a real penalty for a law-abiding citizen. Adding three years to a criminal’s sentence when he is probably already going to face multiple death penalties or life sentences for a murderous rampage is probably not going to be the penalty that stops the criminal from committing his crime.
Examining all the multiple-victim public shootings in the United States from 1977 to 1999 shows that on average, states that adopt right-to-carry laws experience a 60% drop in the rates at which the attacks occur, and a 78% drop in the rates at which people are killed or injured from such attacks.
Many have argued that it is the increased availability of ﬁrearms that has led to increased gun homicides, that the use of guns in the commission of violent crimes increases the likelihood of injury and lethality, or that decreased availability reduces homicide.
Although many of these positions seem intuitively obvious and have shaped arguments for increased control and restrictions on ﬁrearm availability and access, the
overall prevalence of handgun use in the commission of all violent crimes is relatively low. A handgun was used in approximately 9 percent of all violent offenses.
The NSC estimates that in 1995, firearm accidents accounted for 1.5% of fatal accidents. Larger percentages of fatal accidents were accounted for by motor vehicle accidents (47%), falls (13.5%), poisonings (11.4%), drowning (4.8%), fires (4.4%), and choking on an ingested object (3.0%).
The Florida Model [my emphasis]:
“Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws severely limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense”. (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1992)
The total Violent Crime Rate is 26% higher in the restrictive states (798.3 per 100,000 pop.) than in the less restrictive states (631.6 per 100,000).
The Homicide Rate is 49% higher in the restrictive states (10.1 per 100,000) than in the states with less restrictive CCW laws (6.8 per 100,000).
The Robbery Rate is 58% higher in the restrictive states (289.7 per 100,000) than in the less restrictive states (183.1 per 100,000).
The Aggravated Assault Rate is 15% higher in the restrictive states (455.9 per 100,000) than in the less restrictive states (398.3 per 100,000).
Using FBI data (1992), homicide trends in the 17 states with less restrictive CCW laws compare favorably against national trends, and almost all CCW permittees are law-abiding.
Since adopting CCW (1987), Florida’s homicide rate has fallen 21% while the U.S. rate has risen 12%. From start-up 10/1/87 – 2/28/94 (over 6 years) Florida issued 204,108 permits; only 17 (0.008%) were revoked because permittees later committed crimes (not necessarily violent) in which guns were present (not necessarily used).
Of 14,000 CCW licensees in Oregon, only 4 (0.03%) were convicted of the criminal (not necessarily violent) use or possession of a firearm.
Americans use firearms for self-defense more than 2.1 million times annually.
By contrast, there are about 579,000 violent crimes committed annually with firearms of all types. Seventy percent of violent crimes are committed by 7% of criminals, including repeat offenders, many of whom the courts place on probation after conviction, and felons that are paroled before serving their full time behind bars.
Two-thirds of self-protective firearms uses are with handguns.
99.9% of self-defense firearms uses do not result in fatal shootings of criminals, an important factor ignored in certain “studies” that are used to claim that guns are more often misused than used for self-protection.
We hear the sad statistics, but what about the good ones? The ones where intruders are fended off by responsible gun owners?
Here is one of many repositories full of news stories detailing how firearms save lives.
Remember what I said about police wait times? This woman was on the phone for ten minutes. She had to pull the trigger when the intruder broke into her home after her. The woman is upset after firing because she fears she may have hurt him — even though she feared for her life. That’s compassion. Does that sound like the caricature of an out-of-control, gun wielding “RWNJ” to you?
I’ll also add this: it would be something if the people who cared about the children senselessly lost in the Sandy Hook massacre were as equally opposed to the senseless slaughter of innocent life that takes place every day in abortion clinics around the country. Gun control won’t solve a massive erosion of values. We need soul control. We need values control.
Lastly, let’s compare quotes.
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country.” – Adolf Hitler
Additionally: Gun laws in Nazi Germany.
”What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” – Thomas Jefferson
”Congress by the power of taxation, by that of raising an army, and by their control over the militia, have the sword in one hand and the purse in the other. Shall we be safe without either? Let him candidly tell me, where and when did freedom exist, when the sword and purse were given up from the people?” – Patrick Henry
While praying for the families who lost these precious innocents, it is important that we do not double-down on senselessness. No more tragedies.