Skip to comments.An Honest Liberal Writes about Gun Control
Posted on 12/17/2012 5:49:02 AM PST by Kaslin
I wrote earlier this month about an honest liberal who acknowledged the problems created by government dependency. Well, it happened again.
First, some background.
Like every other decent person, I was horrified and nauseated by the school shootings in Newton, Connecticut.
Part of me wishes the guy hadnt killed himself so that he could be slowly fed into a meat grinder.
And my friends on the left will be happy to know that part of me, when I first learned about the murders, thought the world might be a better place if guns had never been invented.
Sort of like my gut reaction about cigarettes when I find out that somebody I know is dying of a smoking-related illness or how I feel about gambling when I read about a family being ruined because some jerk thought it would be a good idea to use the mortgage money at a casino.
But theres a reason why its generally not a good idea to make impulsive decisions based on immediate reactions. In the case of gun control, it can lead to policies that dont work. Or perhaps even make a bad situation worse.
Ive certainly made these points when writing and pontificating about gun control. But Im a libertarian, so thats hardly a surprise. Were people who instinctively are skeptical of giving government power over individuals.
But when someone on the left reaches the same conclusion, thats perhaps more significant. Especially when you get the feeling that they would like ban private gun ownership in their version of a perfect world.
Thats why I heartily recommend Jeffrey Goldbergs article in The Atlantic.
Here are some of the most profound passages in the article, beginning with a common-sense observation that theres no way for the government to end private gun ownership.
According to a 2011 Gallup poll, 47 percent of American adults keep at least one gun at home or on their property, and many of these gun owners are absolutists opposed to any government regulation of firearms. According to the same poll, only 26 percent of Americans support a ban on handguns. There are ways, of course, to make it at least marginally more difficult for the criminally minded, for the dangerously mentally ill, and for the suicidal to buy guns and ammunition. But these gun-control efforts, while noble, would only have a modest impact on the rate of gun violence in America. Why? Because its too late. There are an estimated 280 million to 300 million guns in private hands in Americamany legally owned, many not. Each year, more than 4 million new guns enter the market. Americas level of gun ownership means that even if the Supreme Courtwhich ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment gives citizens the individual right to own firearms, as gun advocates have long insistedsuddenly reversed itself and ruled that the individual ownership of handguns was illegal, there would be no practical way for a democratic country to locate and seize those guns.
Which is why prohibition was a flop. Which is why the current War on Drugs is so misguided. And so on and so on.
The author then wonders whether the best way of protecting public safety is to have more gun ownership.
Which raises a question: When even anti-gun activists believe that the debate over private gun ownership is closed; when it is too late to reduce the number of guns in private handsand since only the naive think that legislation will prevent more than a modest number of the criminally minded, and the mentally deranged, from acquiring a gun in a country absolutely inundated with weaponscould it be that an effective way to combat guns is with more guns? Today, more than 8 million vetted and (depending on the state) trained law-abiding citizens possess state-issued concealed carry handgun permits, which allow them to carry a concealed handgun or other weapon in public. Anti-gun activists believe the expansion of concealed-carry permits represents a serious threat to public order. But what if, in fact, the reverse is true? Mightnt allowing more law-abiding private citizens to carry concealed weaponswhen combined with other forms of stringent gun regulationactually reduce gun violence?
He cites examples where armed citizens stopped mass killings.
In 1997, a disturbed high-school student named Luke Woodham stabbed his mother and then shot and killed two people at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. He then began driving toward a nearby junior high to continue his shooting spree, but the assistant principal of the high school, Joel Myrick, aimed a pistol he kept in his truck at Woodham, causing him to veer off the road. Myrick then put his pistol to Woodhams neck and disarmed him. On January 16, 2002, a disgruntled former student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, had killed three people, including the schools dean, when two students, both off-duty law-enforcement officers, retrieved their weapons and pointed them at the shooter, who ended his killing spree and surrendered. In December 2007, a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two pistols entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and killed two teenage girls before a church member, Jeanne Assama former Minneapolis police officer and a volunteer church security guardshot and wounded the gunman, who then killed himself.
The author also punctures the lefts mythology about concealed carry laws.
In 2003, John Gilchrist, the legislative counsel for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, testified, If 200,000 to 300,000 citizens begin carrying a concealed weapon, common sense tells us that accidents will become a daily event. When I called Gilchrist recently, he told me that events since the states concealed-carry law took effect have proved his point. Gilchrists argument would be convincing but for one thing: the firearm crime rate in Ohio remained steady after the concealed-carry law passed in 2004.
Today, the number of concealed-carry permits is the highest its ever been, at 8 million, and the homicide rate is the lowest its been in four decadesless than half what it was 20 years ago. (The number of people allowed to carry concealed weapons is actually considerably higher than 8 million, because residents of Vermont, Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, and parts of Montana do not need government permission to carry their personal firearms. These states have what Second Amendment absolutists refer to as constitutional carry, meaning, in essence, that the Second Amendment is their permit.) Many gun-rights advocates see a link between an increasingly armed public and a decreasing crime rate. I think effective law enforcement has had the biggest impact on crime rates, but I think concealed carry has something to do with it. Weve seen an explosion in the number of people licensed to carry, Lott told me. You can deter criminality through longer sentencing, and you deter criminality by making it riskier for people to commit crimes. And one way to make it riskier is to create the impression among the criminal population that the law-abiding citizen they want to target may have a gun. Crime statistics in Britain, where guns are much scarcer, bear this out. Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, wrote in his 1991 book, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, that only 13 percent of burglaries in America occur when the occupant is home. In Britain, so-called hot burglaries account for about 45 percent of all break-ins. Kleck and others attribute Americas low rate of occupied-home burglaries to fear among criminals that homeowners might be armed. (A survey of almost 2,000 convicted U.S. felons, conducted by the criminologists Peter Rossi and James D. Wright in the late 80s, concluded that burglars are more afraid of armed homeowners than they are of arrest by the police.)
That last bit of info is very powerful. The bad guys are more afraid of armed homeowners than the police. Surely, as I explained here, that tells us that gun ownership lowers crime.
Heres another no-sh*t-Sherlock observation from the article.
It is also illogical for campuses to advertise themselves as gun-free. Someone bent on murder is not usually dissuaded by posted anti-gun regulations. Quite the oppositepublicly describing your property as gun-free is analogous to posting a notice on your front door saying your home has no burglar alarm. As it happens, the company that owns the Century 16 Cineplex in Aurora had declared the property a gun-free zone.
I recently mocked the idea of gun-free zones with several amusing posters. Its unbelievable that some people think that killers care about such rules.
One place that isnt likely to see any massacres is Colorado State University.
For much of the population of a typical campus, concealed-carry permitting is not an issue. Most states that issue permits will grant them only to people who are at least 21 years old. But the crime-rate statistics at universities that do allow permit holders on campus with their weapons are instructive. An hour north of Boulder, in Fort Collins, sits Colorado State University. Concealed carry has been allowed at CSU since 2003, and according to James Alderden, the former sheriff of Larimer County, which encompasses Fort Collins, violent crime at Colorado State has dropped since then.
I also recommend this video, which makes fun of those who support gun-free zones.
Here is Goldbergs conclusion.
But I am sympathetic to the idea of armed self-defense, because it does often work, because encouraging learned helplessness is morally corrupt, and because, however much I might wish it, the United States is not going to become Canada. Guns are with us, whether we like it or not. Maybe this is tragic, but it is also reality. So Americans who are qualified to possess firearms shouldnt be denied the right to participate in their own defense. And it is empirically true that the great majority of Americas tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners have not created chaos in society.
Goldbergs article, by the way, doesnt even mention the value of private gun ownership when government fails to maintain public order, as occurred after Hurricane Sandy and during last years British riots.
I have a couple of final things to share, including this this video about a woman who lost her parents because she decided to obey a bad government law. And heres a great study from Cato about individuals using guns to protect themselves.
No part of me ever thinks a world where the weak are defenseless against the strong, numerous and ill-mannered would be a better place.
Thanks for posting.
Scientists have discovered a new species?
Too bad we are falling back on reactionary politics, the left is exposed here. We could crush them on so many levels, but especially what they do in schools. And for those who want to attract minorities to the GOP a good many minorities hate the white libs who run the school system.
Scientists have discovered a new species?”
...that’s what I was thinking. There’s no such thing. He’ll realize the error of his ways and get back to destroying all liberty and freedom in just a moment.
Your point is a good one. Before there were guns, there were other tools, like swords, that were used as weapons. Before any types of weapons were invented, and as is true in the animal kingdom, the biological strength of the individual organism determined who was in charge and who was vulnerable. In American society today, as in any human society, there is an imbalance in protective abilities among individuals. Firearms can help protect the weak and vulnerable from the strong and immoral.
It seems to me tragedy could’ve been averted had the shooter’s mother stored her guns in a safe. I know there are those who don’t like safe storage laws, but it seems to me that if you’re going to have crazy people visiting the house, keeping the guns under lock and key might be a good idea.
Of course, people should be permitted to store their own guns however they want. As far as I’m concerned, the primary purpose of privately owned guns is political, rather than bump in the night type protection. So storage in a safe works for me.
I’ll have to find the link to this article and post it on the FB page of a woman from my Church who is horrified at the mere notion of guns and thinks more gun control is the answer.
It’s funny. If the Atlantic author actually believes that Canada is gun free, he’s really ignorant. Their rate of gun ownership is really quite high. It’s just in the few big cities where it is low. Of course plenty of the population is there, but once you get further north or out west guns are quite common. I also looked into Canadian gun laws recently, and they were not nearly as arduous as I had suspected. Worse than I would like, but nowhere near as bad as the UK.
Did Obama give arms to Libyans?
Did Obama arm Syrians?
Did Obama arm the Turks?
Did Obama sell small arms to Bahrain?
Did Obama arm the Mexican drug cartel?
And yet, Obama seeks to disarm law-abiding Americans.
To a liberal every crisis is just another opportunity to take away freedoms from those who do not agree with them.
In Rwanda, the machete was a popular weapon for mass killings in the most recent civil war. It never runs out of ammunition.
Last week in China, 22 school children were knifed.
For some odd reason that never made the front page of the NY Times.
After all, the First Amendment Freedom of the Press was written for an era when type had to be set by hand and papers were printed one page at a time. It's totally unsuitable for the modern era when one person can speak to the entire world at once electronically, and newspapers buy ink by the barrel.
when I first learned about the murders, thought the world might be a better place if guns had never been invented.Sort of like my gut reaction about...
Before guns/firearms there were swords, arrows, and spears...
And before that, sticks and stones...
If the Rwandan population had been armed, those machetes would’ve been much less effective. If the population is armed, the defender usually has the advantage, and the attacker usually has a short lifespan.
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