The idea that you’re gonna cleanse a society like the United States — in which there are over 300 million guns in circulation — of those guns, and this will generally lower the crime rate, is not supported by the data. One of the weirdest things about American public opinion with regard to guns is that it’s so conflicting.

Debunking Gun Control


  Ben Shapiro


Daily Wire.com

Apr 23, 2021  

Hat Tip: Rip McIntosh



The Left constantly argues that gun control prevents crime. This ignores two pertinent facts. 


First, that criminals don’t tend to obey laws and you might need a gun to protect yourself. And it ignores the fact that gun control also removes power from individuals to band together to defend themselves against tyrannical governments. Democracies do have an ugly tendency to go too radical from time to time. So, weapons in the hands of the population help guarantee against that, as the founders knew.


By restricting the conversation to gun crime itself, the Left generally bases its belief on two things. First, gun crime statistics, rather than general crime statistics; and two; comparing non-comparable populations. 


The Left argues that nations like Great Britain have nearly no gun deaths. That’s true in many countries with heavy gun laws because there are fewer guns. But that also neglects the fact that Great Britain has far higher violent crime rates than the United States — which does make sense since guns tend to deter crime. According to Politifact, for England and Wales, the rate of violent crime was 775 per 100,000 as of 2013. For the United States, the rate was 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The UK had approximately double the rate of the United States.
 
Also worth noting: if more guns equal more crime, it’s very odd that the United States’ rates of gun ownership have skyrocketed in recent decades, while our rate of violent homicide by gun has sliced in half.


Second, the Left makes comparisons between non-comparable population groups — populations that differ in terms of age and culture, for example. The Left will claim that European countries that are largely homogenous and middle class have lower gun violence rates than the United States. 


But let’s take a look at Vermont. Vermont has the lowest incarceration rate in the United States and has always had the lowest levels of murders in the United States. As Charles Cooke of National Review points out, in 2012, there were eight murders there — just two of which involve firearms.
 
With those stats, you would probably assume there are no guns in Vermont. Nope. Vermont has virtually no gun laws. Nearly three-quarters of all Vermonters own firearms. As Cooke points out, well we can absolutely say that A) an abundance of firearms and a set of loose regulations do not inevitably lead to more crime, and B) that the widespread suggestion that they do is dishonest.
 
Leah Libresco is a former gun control advocate and data cruncher for FiveThirtyEight. She wrote in The Washington Post in October 2017, “My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.” 


According to Libresco, neither Britain nor Australia experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun-related crimes that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. 


What about Joe Biden’s supposed “common-sense” assault weapons ban?


ProPublica — far from a right-wing source — found in 2014 that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban didn’t affect gun crime in any meaningful way. Nearly all researchers agree with that assessment. 


One of the most bizarre arguments that you hear from people in the anti-gun community is only the police should have guns. The reality is that what guns are for in private hands is to respond before the police can. The police can only respond if somebody calls the police. If, however, somebody arrives at your house, and they intend to do you harm, many times you don’t actually have the ability to call a cop, and when you’re looking at major cities that are generally under policed, the best available defense may be your ability to wield a firearm — which is why during the riots of last year, there were a lot of people who were going out and buying guns and standing on top of their businesses, and basically warning people away. 


There are some folks who argue that if you require a license to drive, certainly you should go through a bunch of hoops if you want to legally own a gun. Now, pretty much everybody agrees that if you have a criminal history, you shouldn’t own a gun. However, if the argument is that “in order to defend myself, I have to have the state give me a license” — that is a very different argument than “in order for me to transport myself faster, I ought to have a license to drive.”


The Second Amendment was written specifically in order to ensure that states were able to resist predations. That is why the language of the Second Amendment suggests that a well-armed militia — being necessary for the preservation of a free state — the people have a right to keep and bear arms. 


The reason that the well-regulated militia clause is in there is that it is a justificatory clause: it is there to justify. The goal of that clause is to suggest that you should join a well-regulated militia — not a well “legally-regulated militia,” a “militia” that trains a lot. Like, they regulate. They were called regulars. 


If you get together and you train a lot and you form a militia, then you are able to stand up to grand federal predations. This was the explicit purpose of the Second Amendment. 


There are some morons who suggest that the Second Amendment ought not to apply to modern weapons; that it only applies to muskets. 
This is sort of like saying that freedom of the press only applies to printing presses because the founders never could have anticipated that people would be able to print things off of the computer. Freedom of the press was not restricted to the mechanisms of distribution of information, nor is the freedom to keep and bear arms restricted to the arms in common practice at that time.


People on the Left are constantly attempting to avoid the consequences of their own position, but the reality is that for many on the Left, they just don’t like the Second Amendment and would like to see it go away. But a lot of them will say, “I love the Second Amendment, I love guns and firearms, I go hunting.” And then the first move they make is “let’s get rid of assault weapons,” without any evidence that it will be effective. 


The reality is the vast majority of murders committed in the United States with guns are committed with handguns. None of this makes any sort of internal sense; if they were just going to be consistent, they would admit full-scale what they really want is gun confiscation. 


Ayn Rand once wrote, “Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.” That, of course, is exactly right; there is a reason why tyrannical states use, as their first move, an attempt to disarm the population. In Nazi Germany, gun regulations were high on the list of priorities. In Soviet Russia, gun regulations: high on the list of priorities. Tyrannies are constantly seeking to remove all possible threats of resistance, which is one of the reasons why tyrannical governments are so often in favor of gun control. 


A lot of gun control advocates deny the possibility that we might need guns to protect ourselves against a tyrannical government. They’ll say things like, “well, could you really fight back against a nuclear armed force?” Well, I mean, the fact is that small arms have generally been a pretty good defense against overwhelming power going all the way back to Vietnam. Guerilla warfare has been a successful tactic since the days of George Washington. 


But the broader question is whether governments tend to go tyrannical at all. To ignore the history of governments going tyrannical is to ignore pretty much all of history. Germany was a democracy before it was a dictatorship. Russia, after the tsarist regime, turned into a socialist democracy for a brief period of time before it turned into a full-scale USSR dictatorship. China was run not by Mao Tse Tung in the immediate aftermath of World War II, but rather by Chiang Kai-shek, who ended up actually founding Taiwan. Japan had a certain root level of democracy before it was a dictatorship. 


Countries routinely go through stages where they are democracies, and then they slide into dictatorship. So, the basic idea that you should never feel a threat from the government is simply an evolutionary hangover of the fact that the United States has never been — thank God — a dictatorship. 


One of the great things about our Constitution, of course, is that there is plenty of play in the joints when it comes to how local officials address issues with regard to guns. The general question as to whether the federal government ought to be involved in the gun issue at all is basically obviated by the Constitution, but the federal constitution was never actually meant to apply to the states. 


So, if you wanted a locality that really didn’t like guns, theoretically you could have that locality. Now, there have been some experiments along these lines. It turns out that if you ban guns in a particular community, and everybody knows that guns are banned, you know where criminals are more likely to rob a house? However, if everybody in the community has a gun, you know where criminals don’t actually want to rob a house in the middle of the night? 


One of the big talking points people on the right use, of course, is the idea that Chicago has heavy gun regulations, and yet gun deaths continue to be extraordinarily high in Chicago. The same thing is true of Washington, DC, for example. 


And it keeps getting worse: the Left will suggest that this is because people in Chicago go to the outlying areas, they purchase their guns, they bring them back to Chicago. If we could just shut down gun sales in the entire general region, then you wouldn’t have murder in Chicago. This ignores the fact that plenty of places — like these exact towns — where people buy guns and don’t kill each other. The real problem in Chicago is the lack of policing. 


A lot of people are worried about security at schools. Many are concerned that if you ban guns in the broader community, that maybe this will increase security at the schools themselves. 


That, of course, is pretty ridiculous. Most of the cases of school shootings that we’ve seen are people who have either violated the law in some way and obtained their gun illegally; or, alternatively, obtained their gun legally, and then violated the law to go into the school in the first place. Once again, criminals generally do not actually follow the law. 


Security at schools can be improved pretty easily: you need armed guards at schools. Every major Jewish day school in America — at least in the Orthodox community — has serious security standing outside. There is no reason we can’t have the same thing at schools around the country. If you want a job creation program, that would be a job creation program.
 
Many on the Left believe that if you get rid of guns, you create a safer society. And to a certain extent, you sort of understand the logic. If guns are used to shoot people, what if there just were no guns? Sort of like their argument about nuclear weapons: if you don’t want to go nuclear war, do you just get rid of all the nuclear weapons? 


Well, it’s pie in the sky in both situations. The idea that you’re gonna cleanse a society like the United States — in which there are over 300 million guns in circulation — of those guns, and this will generally lower the crime rate, is not supported by the data.


One of the weirdest things about American public opinion with regard to guns is that it’s so conflicting. 


So every time there’s a shooting and it gets a lot of media coverage, people will say, “we are very much in favor of gun regulations” — and then, as soon as you ask them, “how about this specific gun regulation,” they’re like, “nope, not interested in that one.”


The reality is that guns in the hands of a bad person are a weapon that can be used for bad things; and guns in the hands of a good, law-abiding person are weapons that can be used for good purposes. 
Guns are, like most other inanimate objects, tools. What really matters is who wields them.


As somebody who’s frequently threatened, I do own firearms. I don’t own them because I go hunting or because I enjoy target shooting; really not my thing. But I do own enough guns to protect myself and protect my family.


The Left constantly argues that gun control prevents crime. This ignores two pertinent facts. 
First, that criminals don’t tend to obey laws and you might need a gun to protect yourself. And it ignores the fact that gun control also removes power from individuals to band together to defend themselves against tyrannical governments. Democracies do have an ugly tendency to go too radical from time to time. So, weapons in the hands of the population help guarantee against that, as the founders knew.
By restricting the conversation to gun crime itself, the Left generally bases its belief on two things. First, gun crime statistics, rather than general crime statistics; and two; comparing non-comparable populations. 
The Left argues that nations like Great Britain have nearly no gun deaths. That’s true in many countries with heavy gun laws because there are fewer guns. But that also neglects the fact that Great Britain has far higher violent crime rates than the United States — which does make sense since guns tend to deter crime. According to Politifact, for England and Wales, the rate of violent crime was 775 per 100,000 as of 2013. For the United States, the rate was 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The UK had approximately double the rate of the United States. Also worth noting: if more guns equal more crime, it’s very odd that the United States’ rates of gun ownership have skyrocketed in recent decades, while our rate of violent homicide by gun has sliced in half.
Second, the Left makes comparisons between non-comparable population groups — populations that differ in terms of age and culture, for example. The Left will claim that European countries that are largely homogenous and middle class have lower gun violence rates than the United States. 
But let’s take a look at Vermont. Vermont has the lowest incarceration rate in the United States and has always had the lowest levels of murders in the United States. As Charles Cooke of National Review points out, in 2012, there were eight murders there — just two of which involve firearms. With those stats, you would probably assume there are no guns in Vermont. Nope. Vermont has virtually no gun laws. Nearly three-quarters of all Vermonters own firearms. As Cooke points out, well we can absolutely say that A) an abundance of firearms and a set of loose regulations do not inevitably lead to more crime, and B) that the widespread suggestion that they do is dishonest. Leah Libresco is a former gun control advocate and data cruncher for FiveThirtyEight. She wrote in The Washington Post in October 2017, “My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.” 
According to Libresco, neither Britain nor Australia experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun-related crimes that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. 
What about Joe Biden’s supposed “common-sense” assault weapons ban?
ProPublica — far from a right-wing source — found in 2014 that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban didn’t affect gun crime in any meaningful way. Nearly all researchers agree with that assessment. 
One of the most bizarre arguments that you hear from people in the anti-gun community is only the police should have guns. The reality is that what guns are for in private hands is to respond before the police can. The police can only respond if somebody calls the police. If, however, somebody arrives at your house, and they intend to do you harm, many times you don’t actually have the ability to call a cop, and when you’re looking at major cities that are generally under policed, the best available defense may be your ability to wield a firearm — which is why during the riots of last year, there were a lot of people who were going out and buying guns and standing on top of their businesses, and basically warning people away. 
There are some folks who argue that if you require a license to drive, certainly you should go through a bunch of hoops if you want to legally own a gun. Now, pretty much everybody agrees that if you have a criminal history, you shouldn’t own a gun. However, if the argument is that “in order to defend myself, I have to have the state give me a license” — that is a very different argument than “in order for me to transport myself faster, I ought to have a license to drive.”
The Second Amendment was written specifically in order to ensure that states were able to resist predations. That is why the language of the Second Amendment suggests that a well-armed militia — being necessary for the preservation of a free state — the people have a right to keep and bear arms. 
The reason that the well-regulated militia clause is in there is that it is a justificatory clause: it is there to justify. The goal of that clause is to suggest that you should join a well-regulated militia — not a well “legally-regulated militia,” a “militia” that trains a lot. Like, they regulate. They were called regulars. 
If you get together and you train a lot and you form a militia, then you are able to stand up to grand federal predations. This was the explicit purpose of the Second Amendment. 
There are some morons who suggest that the Second Amendment ought not to apply to modern weapons; that it only applies to muskets. This is sort of like saying that freedom of the press only applies to printing presses because the founders never could have anticipated that people would be able to print things off of the computer. Freedom of the press was not restricted to the mechanisms of distribution of information, nor is the freedom to keep and bear arms restricted to the arms in common practice at that time.
People on the Left are constantly attempting to avoid the consequences of their own position, but the reality is that for many on the Left, they just don’t like the Second Amendment and would like to see it go away. But a lot of them will say, “I love the Second Amendment, I love guns and firearms, I go hunting.” And then the first move they make is “let’s get rid of assault weapons,” without any evidence that it will be effective. 
The reality is the vast majority of murders committed in the United States with guns are committed with handguns. None of this makes any sort of internal sense; if they were just going to be consistent, they would admit full-scale what they really want is gun confiscation. 
Ayn Rand once wrote, “Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.” That, of course, is exactly right; there is a reason why tyrannical states use, as their first move, an attempt to disarm the population. In Nazi Germany, gun regulations were high on the list of priorities. In Soviet Russia, gun regulations: high on the list of priorities. Tyrannies are constantly seeking to remove all possible threats of resistance, which is one of the reasons why tyrannical governments are so often in favor of gun control. 
A lot of gun control advocates deny the possibility that we might need guns to protect ourselves against a tyrannical government. They’ll say things like, “well, could you really fight back against a nuclear armed force?” Well, I mean, the fact is that small arms have generally been a pretty good defense against overwhelming power going all the way back to Vietnam. Guerilla warfare has been a successful tactic since the days of George Washington. 
But the broader question is whether governments tend to go tyrannical at all. To ignore the history of governments going tyrannical is to ignore pretty much all of history. Germany was a democracy before it was a dictatorship. Russia, after the tsarist regime, turned into a socialist democracy for a brief period of time before it turned into a full-scale USSR dictatorship. China was run not by Mao Tse Tung in the immediate aftermath of World War II, but rather by Chiang Kai-shek, who ended up actually founding Taiwan. Japan had a certain root level of democracy before it was a dictatorship. 
Countries routinely go through stages where they are democracies, and then they slide into dictatorship. So, the basic idea that you should never feel a threat from the government is simply an evolutionary hangover of the fact that the United States has never been — thank God — a dictatorship. 
One of the great things about our Constitution, of course, is that there is plenty of play in the joints when it comes to how local officials address issues with regard to guns. The general question as to whether the federal government ought to be involved in the gun issue at all is basically obviated by the Constitution, but the federal constitution was never actually meant to apply to the states. 
So, if you wanted a locality that really didn’t like guns, theoretically you could have that locality. Now, there have been some experiments along these lines. It turns out that if you ban guns in a particular community, and everybody knows that guns are banned, you know where criminals are more likely to rob a house? However, if everybody in the community has a gun, you know where criminals don’t actually want to rob a house in the middle of the night? 
One of the big talking points people on the right use, of course, is the idea that Chicago has heavy gun regulations, and yet gun deaths continue to be extraordinarily high in Chicago. The same thing is true of Washington, DC, for example. 
And it keeps getting worse: the Left will suggest that this is because people in Chicago go to the outlying areas, they purchase their guns, they bring them back to Chicago. If we could just shut down gun sales in the entire general region, then you wouldn’t have murder in Chicago. This ignores the fact that plenty of places — like these exact towns — where people buy guns and don’t kill each other. The real problem in Chicago is the lack of policing. 
A lot of people are worried about security at schools. Many are concerned that if you ban guns in the broader community, that maybe this will increase security at the schools themselves. 
That, of course, is pretty ridiculous. Most of the cases of school shootings that we’ve seen are people who have either violated the law in some way and obtained their gun illegally; or, alternatively, obtained their gun legally, and then violated the law to go into the school in the first place. Once again, criminals generally do not actually follow the law. 
Security at schools can be improved pretty easily: you need armed guards at schools. Every major Jewish day school in America — at least in the Orthodox community — has serious security standing outside. There is no reason we can’t have the same thing at schools around the country. If you want a job creation program, that would be a job creation program. Many on the Left believe that if you get rid of guns, you create a safer society. And to a certain extent, you sort of understand the logic. If guns are used to shoot people, what if there just were no guns? Sort of like their argument about nuclear weapons: if you don’t want to go nuclear war, do you just get rid of all the nuclear weapons? 
Well, it’s pie in the sky in both situations. The idea that you’re gonna cleanse a society like the United States — in which there are over 300 million guns in circulation — of those guns, and this will generally lower the crime rate, is not supported by the data.
One of the weirdest things about American public opinion with regard to guns is that it’s so conflicting. 
So every time there’s a shooting and it gets a lot of media coverage, people will say, “we are very much in favor of gun regulations” — and then, as soon as you ask them, “how about this specific gun regulation,” they’re like, “nope, not interested in that one.”
The reality is that guns in the hands of a bad person are a weapon that can be used for bad things; and guns in the hands of a good, law-abiding person are weapons that can be used for good purposes. Guns are, like most other inanimate objects, tools. What really matters is who wields them.
As somebody who’s frequently threatened, I do own firearms. I don’t own them because I go hunting or because I enjoy target shooting; really not my thing. But I do own enough guns to protect myself and protect my family.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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