I’ve dedicated (sadly) most of my blogging week to the aftermath of the Battle of Orlando. Every time there is a mass shooting, terrorist or false flag, or not) the knives come out for our guns. By “our” I mean “us” – the good guys and gals, the law-abiding, decent, civilized people.
Here’s how the hysterical “thinking” about gun control goes:
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Binghampton, Newtown, Pulse/Orlando – mass murder, mass murder, mass murder! The news reports usually start the same way: “IT has happened again!” For a good week after each mass shooting, until the fluff takes back over, all the talking heads can babble about is how dangerous America has become and how much of a gun problem we have. They especially concentrate on the “scary” looking guns like the 50+ year-old AR platform.
There is some truth in this mania. Guns are tools for killing (though they don’t act on their own – they are not inherently dangerous, in lawyer speak). There are more guns around than ever and Americans have for guns than anyone else in the history of the world. And, innocent people do die in large numbers in mass shootings – thus the “mass” label. Given all of this truth, why wouldn’t we benefit from more gun control?
Because, in spite of the shootings and the vast number of firearms out there, America is safer than ever. Actually, it’s not in spite of, but because of the guns we are safer.
If one puts aside the panicked view of the gun-grabbers and looks at the real, hard facts – the numbers – one sees a correlation between increased firearms ownership and lower crime rates. According to the government’s own figures, the U.S. homicide rate is the lower in over half a century. We are safer now than we have been since 1963. Here’s the chart:
The dramatic drop has come since around 1990. What’s doubly amazing and overlooked entirely by the grabbers is that since 1963 the U.S. population has essentially doubled as has the number of firearms in private hands. By there crazed “logic” you should be in a shooting right now. But you’re not. You are as safe right now, with all these guns, than you have been in modern history.
According to the CDC homicide doesn’t even rank in the top ten causes of death – it’s not even close. The leading causes are:
– Heart disease: 614,348
• Cancer: 591,699
• Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101
• Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053
• Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103
• Alzheimer’s disease: 93,541
• Diabetes: 76,488
• Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227
• Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,146
• Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773
Most of those leading causes are attributable to Americans’ horrible state of physical fitness. Even diabetes, cancer, the flu, and types of nephrosis can be eased through healthier lifestyles. Yes, Influenza means the flu – despite all those flu shots people get at the local drugstore. Eating less and exercising more will do more than any shot to boost the immune system and combat most pathogen-based ailments. Accidents and suicides (especially suicides) need attention. Paying attention will help prevent accidents. Caring more about each other will cut down on the suicides. But, all that, like healthy eating, requires personal action. That sounds like responsibility and work – neither of which are all that popular today. It’s so much easier to demand the government do something. Government needs to ban guns, for instance.
But we haven’t gotten to guns yet. Yes, guns factor into some of the accidents and suicides but, for mass shooting purposes, we’re talking about homicides here. Where do homicides fall in the rankings? One has to dig pretty deep.
Homicides don’t even make the top 15. They account for fewer deaths than medical malpractice or automobile deaths. You never hear a clamor to ban doctors or cars though. At its broadest measure, for the last year numbers were available – 2014 – there were about 16,000 homicides in America. Narrowly construing the numbers to account only for murder, the number drops even lower – 11,961. It drops into the range of Mexico’s 10,000-12,000 annual murders. Guns, all types, were used in 8,124 U.S. murders in 2014. The U.S. has about twice as many people as Mexico, giving Mexico a rate of murder twice that of the U.S.
Here’s a direct pictorial comparison of homicides in the U.S./Mexican border counties:
Center for Global Development.
Yes, the Mexican side is more dangerous. And, Mexico has the same “common sense” gun bans the left says will make America safer!
Criminals, by definition, do not obey laws. They don’t obey guns laws (or laws against murder) in Mexico and they don’t obey the same laws in places like Orlando. More laws just means more opportunity for criminals to act criminal.
Most of the mass shootings in the U.S. and elsewhere happen in “gun-free” zones. The Pulse nightclub in Orlando was gun free per Florida’s prohibition on firearms in places that serve alcohol. The patrons obeyed, the shooter did not. Columbine, Virginia, and Newtown were school shootings – in gun-free schools. Even the Fort Hood shooting happened this way. Despite being a military installation Fort Hood is a no-go zone for carrying most guns – even by soldiers, excepting MPs. The terrorist shooter did not observe the law.
We are safer today because most places are not gun-free. More people carrying more guns means more shoots fired back at criminals. Criminals do not like prey that shoots back. It’s almost simple. People just need educating.
As Pew has reported in recent years, in fact, the American public is “unaware” that the homicide rate in the United States has fallen by 49 percent over the past twenty years. And while Pew doesn’t report on it, it’s also a safe bet that the public is also unaware that homicide rates have collapsed as total gun ownership in the United States has increased significantly.
Over a recent 20 year period, the number of new guns in the US that were either manufactured in the US or imported into the US increased 141 percent from 6.6 million new guns in 1994 to 16 million in 2013. That means a gross total of 132 million new guns were added into the US population over that time period.
Naturally, these facts are steadfastly ignored by people who can’t do basic arithmetic, like the constitutional law Professor David S. Cohen who wrote Monday at Rolling Stone that the second Amendment must be repealed because it is “a threat to liberty” and a “suicide pact.”
Cohen’s argument rests largely on the idea that gun violence it out of control and that guns are different now than they were in the 18th century. One cannot argue with the former part. But are guns significantly different today from what they were twenty years ago? Clearly, the answer to that is no, and given that homicide rates have plummeted since then, Cohen needs to explain why repealing the second Amendment is advisable when increases in gun ownership have coincided with declines in homicides.
Moreover, we must ask ourselves if the US was engaged in a “suicide pact” in the 1940s and 1950s when homicide rates where at historic lows, when the Second Amendment existed, and when gun control measures were very weak by modern standards.
The observation of these trends and numbers is nothing new. John Lott wrote More Guns, Less Crime in 1998. I suggest you buy a copy if you haven’t read it already. Lott also concentrated on how many lives guns save every year – more than a million. The lefties always overlook that statistic though some are openly hostile to it. Some do not want people defending themselves under any circumstances.
Read this book.
By the way, the dreaded AR-15, other “assault-style” rifles, and all other rifles accounted for 248 murders in 2014 – less than knives (1,567), hammers (435), and fists and feet (660). Where’ the hysteria for banning feet and hammers?
The same people who incite hysteria over guns and gun control are generally the same folks who want more government. Do not give in to their irrational fear-mongering. Arm yourself with the facts.