Tag Archives: Gun Control

Did Australia’s ban on guns lower violent crime rates and lower suicide rates?

Gun ownership up, gun violence down
Gun ownership up, gun violence down

Someone asked me about what I thought of Australia’s experience banning the use of handguns for self-defense against criminals, and so I thought I would link to an article from The Federalist, then explain what peer-reviewed studies say about the issue.

Let’s start with The Federalist.

It says:

The argument, as Vox’s headline puts it, is “Australia confiscated 650,000 guns. Murders and suicides plummeted.”

The piece, along with many gun control advocates, cites a Harvard University study whose conclusion begins with this line: “It does not appear that the Australian experience with gun buybacks is fully replicable in the United States.” Not a great start for Vox’s angle, but I digress.

The study doesn’t conclude that “murders and suicides plummeted” in Australia after the 1996 gun ban, as Vox claims in its headline. Instead, it focuses solely on firearm-related murders and suicides.

After the gun ban, violent crime rates were up:

Yes, as with the gun-happy United States, the murder rate is down in Australia. It’s dropped 31 percent from a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people in 1994 to 1.1 per 100,000 in 2012.But it’s the only serious crime that saw a consistent decline post-ban.

In fact, according to the Australian government’s own statistics, a number of serious crimes peaked in the years after the ban. Manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and unarmed robbery all saw peaks in the years following the ban, and most remain near or above pre-ban rates. The effects of the 1996 ban on violent crime are, frankly, unimpressive at best.

It’s even less impressive when again compared to America’s decrease in violent crime over the same period. According to data from the U.S. Justice Department, violent crime fell nearly 72 percent between 1993 and 2011. Again, this happened as guns were being manufactured and purchased at an ever-increasing rate.

So although you have fewer firearm-related deaths when you disarm law-abiding civilians, violent crime increases, because there is now NO deterrence to criminals. Even a criminal with a knife can rob, rape and murder someone who is unarmed.

What about suicide rates?

Look:

The Australian gun ban’s effect on suicide in the country isn’t any better. While Vox repeats the Harvard study’s claim that firearm-related suicides are down 57 percent in the aftermath of the ban, Lifeline Australia reports that overall suicides are at a ten-year high. The Australian suicide prevention organization claims suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians 15 to 44 years old. So, while Australians kill themselves with firearms less often, it seems they don’t actually take their own lives any less often than before the ban.

So, overall suicides are not down, people simply found other ways to kill themselves. So the gun ban had no effect on the overall suicide rate. But it did raise the violent crime rate. Should we be surprised by this? Actually, this is consistent with peer-reviewed research.

Gun crime also skyrocketed after the 1996 gun ban. The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Excerpt:

Australia has seen a rise in gun crime over the past decade despite imposing an outright ban on many firearms in the late 1990s.

Charges for crimes involving firearms have increased dramatically across the island nation’s localities in the past decade according to an analysis of government statistics conducted by The New Daily. It found that gun crimes have spiked dramatically in the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania. In Victoria, pistol-related offenses doubled over the last decade. In New South Wales, they tripled. The other states saw smaller but still significant increases.

Experts said that the country’s 1996 ban on most semi-automatic firearms has actually driven criminals to those guns. “The ban on semi-automatics created demand by criminals for other types of guns,” professor Philip Alpers of the University of Sydney told The New Daily. “The criminal’s gun of choice today is the semi-automatic pistol.”

[…]Regardless of the reasons for the jump in gun crime, the numbers reveal the true size of Australia’s illegal gun market. “Taken together, the data suggests that despite our tough anti-gun laws, thousands of weapons are either being stolen or entering the country illegally,” The New Daily said. “The fourfold rise in handgun-related charges in NSW in the past decade points to the existence of a big illegal market for concealable firearms that seems to have been underestimated in the past.”

If you take guns away from law-abiding people (which is what Australia did), then only criminals will have guns. And that means that the criminals will become bolder in the face of their disarmed victims.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

One of the common mistakes I see anti-gun advocates making is to use the metric of all “gun-related deaths”. First of all, this completely ignores the effects of hang gun ownership on violent crime, as we’ve seen. Take away the guns from law-abiding people and violent crime skyrockets. But using the “gun-related deaths” number is especially wrong, because it includes suicides committed with guns. This is the majority of gun related deaths, even in a country like America that has a massive inner-city gun violence problem cause by the epidemic of single motherhood by choice. If you take out the gun-related SUICIDES, then the actual number of gun homicides has decreased as gun ownership has grown.

For a couple of useful graphs related to this point, check out this post over at the American Enterprise Institute.

Why should law-abiding Americans be allowed to own handguns?

A message from Females with Firearms
A message from Females with Firearms

Here’s a news story from the Washington Free Beacon that shows what happens when law-abiding Americans are allowed to own handguns.

Excerpt:

A Florida police officer is alive and the suspect who was beating him is dead thanks to the intervention of an armed citizen on Monday.

The incident began when Deputy First Class Dean Bardes, a 12-year-veteran of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, attempted to pull over a car. When the driver refused to stop, a high-speed chase ensued. When the suspect did finally stop, witnesses say he attacked Bardes.

“There was a lot of other lives that he was putting at risk, including mine and my daughter’s,” one witness, Nicole Ambrosini, told ABC affiliate WZVN. “I saw a car approaching me from behind at a very fast rate.”

“I saw the deputy and the suspect out of their cars with the doors both wide open and they were some type of altercation,” she continued.

The suspect appeared to gain the upper hand during the altercation.

“He just kept beating him and beating him,” a second witness, Shanta Holditch, told the news station. She said the suspect was “throwing him to the ground and punching him in all different directions.”

That is when witnesses say an armed man got out of his car and yelled at the suspect to stop hitting the officer. Holditch said the suspect “refused to get off the officer and the officer kept yelling, ‘shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.’”

Then witnesses heard three shots and saw the suspect collapse on top of the officer.

“I heard like three shots,” another witness, identified as Mr. Smith, told WZVN. “He fell down on top of the police officer. After a moment, the police officer rolled him back over, got on his mic, then rolled over back on the ground besides the guy.”

WINK News reports that the suspect may have been armed, but it is unclear if he or Bardes fired any shots during the altercation. He died after being shot by the citizen who intervened to help Bardes. That citizen holds a Concealed Weapons License, according to WINK.

Bardes was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment and has since been released.

According to this web site, Florida has some of the best gun laws for self-defense of any of the 50 states. If a policeman was attacked in a state like Illinois or New York or New Jersey, that policeman would be dead.

What would the secular leftists who oppose gun ownership say to the police officer in this situation? “Too bad” or maybe “have a nice death”. What about all the left-wing lawyers and progressive judges who have mistrust and contempt for law-abiding citizens? They’d say “let the policeman die” or “the criminal is the real victim”. It’s very fashionable in progressive circles to favor criminals over police officers. And they have no respect for a man’s traditional role to be a protector of his family and others in the community. Progressives don’t think about the real consequences of taking guns away from law abiding people. They want to feel good, and preen for others, but they don’t really aim to DO good.

Let’s go beyond feelings, though, and look at the peer-reviewed literature, so that we can have accurate beliefs about reality.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[…]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people. The book by economist John Lott, linked above,compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, but both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

Katie Courie defends deceptive editing in her pro-gun-control documentary

 

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Don’t believe the liberal media

This story from the Washington Free Beacon is very useful for explaining what happens when a person relies on the leftist mainstream media to tell them about reality.

It says:

The makers of a new Katie Couric documentary on gun violence deceptively edited an interview between Couric and a group of gun rights activists in an apparent attempt to embarrass the activists, an audio recording of the full interview shows.

At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene.

However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.

It’s impossible to purchase a gun in the United States without a background check, unless it is a person to person private sale. Even if you order a gun on the Internet, it has to be shipped to a store where you pick it up – after the background check has been run. However, people on the left love to lie about gun purchases.

Now, the deceptive editing was pointed out to Katie Couric, and what do you think that she did? Did she apologize and pull the documentary?

Of course not, as David French explains in National Review:

At this point, a responsible documentarian either immediately apologizes, promises to investigate exactly how the deception occurred, and pledges to re-edit the film — or they contest the VCDL’s evidence. Instead, Soechtig issued this statement:

There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple’s response was exactly right, saying that he’s “scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse.” But, as he notes, it’s not just an excuse, it reads as an admission. She’s not contesting the VCDL’s claims.

This is exactly the point where a former network anchor — a person who still enjoys respect in the news business — should step in and impose adult supervision. But in her own comment on the controversy, Couric not only said that she was “proud of the film” she also supported Soechtig’s statement.

Dear Yahoo, let me put this in plain English for you. Your premier news personality is “proud” of lying. She “supports” a statement that purports to justify those lies as a form of creative “pause.” This would be a firing offense at any decent opinion journal, much less an organization that purports to objectively report the news. Americans can no longer trust a single news report or a single interview from Couric. They now know that she will unashamedly and proudly deceive them to advance her own ideological agenda.

Previously, I blogged about studies that actually document how far the media is biased to the left. I understand that people on the left want to be lied to, and they are entitled to consume reports from sources that affirm the lies they want to believe. But those who prefer truth should be wiser.

 

Man uses legally-owned concealed carry handgun to prevent robbery

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns are for self-defense against criminals

Another in my series of posts to help non-Americans understand why Americans are passionate about the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the right to bear arms.

The news story is from the Washington Free Beacon:

A good samaritan saved a 7-11 clerk on Sunday by shooting a hatchet-wielding man who had attacked the store.

A 60-year-old man with a valid concealed carry license was drinking his morning coffee when a masked man, later identified as 43-year-old Steven Blacktongue, entered the convenience store and began attacking the clerk, Kuldeep Singh. The attacker slashed Singh across the stomach several times without saying a word. At that point the concealed carrier drew his firearm and shot Blacktongue, killing him.

Police said that the concealed carried did nothing wrong and ended up saving lives.

“This could have been disastrous. Had this [customer] not shot, who knows what would’ve happened,” King County Sergeant Cindi West told KIRO. “We might have a dead clerk right now and instead, we have a dead bad guy. We do not see any wrongdoing on the part of the customer.”

“In fact, he probably saved lives in this case.”

Singh said he feared for his life during the attack and is glad to be alive. A friend of his, who also works at the convenience store, told the news station that the concealed carrier was a “good guy” for intervening and stopping the attack. The concealed carrier was not expected to face any charges.

Here’s the news report from KIRO 7 News:

This happened in ultra-leftist King County, Washington, of all places. I’m surprised they even let law-abiding people who pass a background check carry firearms, there. But at least this story leaves no doubt about why concealed carry permits exist.

Merrick Garland and the Second Amendment

This might be a useful story to send to Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee – a radically leftist who opposes the second amendment.

Washington Free Beacon again:

Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has a record of opposing gun rights as a federal judge, which includes a vote to undo a landmark gun rights ruling.

Garland was one of four judges who voted to rehear the case of Parker v. District of Columbia with a full ten-judge panel after a smaller panel struck down the District of Columbia’s total ban on handguns. Garland’s vote for this en banc hearing indicates that he may believe the decision to strike down the city’s gun ban was mistaken.

The other six judges on the appeals court voted not to rehear the case, and the Supreme Court went on to rule in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms in the case.

So, he’s a radical on gun control, well outside the mainstream.

As usual, we end all second amendment posts with an examination of the peer-reviewed literature on gun ownership and rates of violent crime. This evidence is not generally understood by people on the left, who tend to be guided more by emotions and peer approval than evidence when forming their views on controversial issues.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[…]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people. The book by economist John Lott, linked above,compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, but both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

65-year-old woman uses legally-owned gun to deter 23-year-old man who tried to rob her

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns are for self-defense against criminals

First, let’s see this news story from the CBS local news.

Excerpt:

Police say a 65-year-old woman shot a man who tried to rob her Monday night, leading to that man’s arrest.

Michael Bontaites, 23 of Manchester, was charged with attempted robbery and held on $5,000 bail. He was charged and arraigned Tuesday at Elliot Hospital, where he had gone for treatment after he was shot.

The incident began after the woman noticed an unknown dark-colored sedan following her as she was driving home from her job around 11:30 p.m. Monday night, which she said gave her “heightened concern.”

“Your instincts will tell you. Your gut will tell you when something isn’t right,” the woman, who did not wish to be identified, told WBZ-TV.

The Manchester grandmother said the sedan followed her into the parking lot of her apartment complex on South Porter Street and parked near her. When she left the car to walk into her building, she said a man in a dark hooded sweatshirt got out of the sedan, ran to block her path, and reached out to grab her.

The woman, who holds a valid concealed carry gun permit, pulled a handgun from her pocket and shot the man once in the chest at close range.

[…]The woman tells WBZ she has had her permit to carry for 10 years.

“No one has the right to do that to anybody,” she said of the would-be robber. “And if you can defend yourself, all the power to you.”

Now, over at the Manchester Union Leader, we find out that this guy was actually able to avoid serious jail time for a previous crime:

The alleged mugger shot on Monday by a Manchester grandmother once threatened a woman with a knife after an automobile accident, according to records.

Michael Bontaites, 23, who is now in Valley Street Jail with a bullet wound in his chest, pleaded guilty to felony criminal threatening after a June 2012 traffic accident on Route 28 bypass in Derry, according to a Rockingham County prosecutor. Derry police say he got out of the car with a knife in hand, had words with the driver and passenger and then drove off.

Bontaites was facing felony charges that could have landed him in prison for 3 1/2 to seven years. But as part of a plea bargain, he agreed to six months of incarceration at Rockingham County jail. The sentence also called for an anger management evaluation and a year of probation.

Liberals are always trying to release criminals early – in fact, Obama recently released a whole bunch of criminals. That’s what Democrats do. The Obama administration has released convicted drug offenders. The Obama administration has released radical Islamic terrorists. The Obama administration ran guns to Mexican drug cartels. Criminals released early have murdered cops. Illegal immigrants with prior convictions murdered an innocent woman. Radical Islamic terrorists slipped through security screening to murder more innocent Americans. And so on.

Democrats are not serious about protecting the public – they even opposed sanctions against sanctuary cities. But now all that pro-criminal behavior is being taken a step further, and it has something to do with the self-defense story above.

Obama’s gun ban

What if the old woman in the story was not allowed to own a firearm? Well, it turns out that this is exactly what Obama would like to do.

The leftist Washington Post explains:

The most legally problematic part of the White House statement involves persons who are, in the terms of Gun Control Act, “adjudicated as a mental defective.” 18 U.S. Code sect. 922(g)(4). Under the Social Security Act, a beneficiary can designate a personal representative  to manage payments and interactions with the Social Security bureaucracy; for example, a widow who has no experience in financial affairs might designate a family member as her representative.

Should any Social Security beneficiary who has designated a personal representative be considered “adjudicated as a mental defective”? This question was raised by an Obama administration proposal in 2015. It was resisted by a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress. Imposing a gun ban on Social Security beneficiaries who have designated a financial representative would contradict almost half a century of established interpretation of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Nobody who advocated for the 1968 gun law suggested that it would have any impact on Social Security beneficiaries.

The Tuesday White House “executive action” regarding Social Security was simply an announcement of a plan to promulgate a regulation according to the ordinary process. Because a new regulation has not yet been published in the Federal Register, it is impossible to say whether the White House plan is constitutional. The devil will be in the details.

So, if you are collecting Social Security, and you have designated someone to be your personal representative, then the Obama administration thinks that maybe you shouldn’t own a gun, and be able to defend yourself from criminals. So I guess if the older lady in the news story happened to be in that situation, then maybe she should just let herself be robbed, raped and murdered, instead of fighting back.