The entire practical case for concealed carry is based on a comparison between the number of crimes that can be prevented by brandishing a weapon versus the number of incidents where firearms are misused. Basically, supporters of the 2nd amendment (the right to bear arms) argue that the number of successful defensive handgun uses is high, and the number of accidents is low.
Take a look at this defensive handgun usage story from WSB TV: (H/T John Lott, Michelle Malkin)
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A group of college students said they are lucky to be alive and they’re thanking the quick-thinking of one of their own.
Police said a fellow student shot and killed one of two masked me who burst into an apartment.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones met with one of the students to talk about the incident.
“Apparently, his intent was to rape and murder us all,” said student Charles Bailey.
Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.
“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.
Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.
That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.
The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.
“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window,” said Bailey. . . . . .
If you are a supporter of gun control, how does a story like this fit into your worldview? What if the number of defensive handgun uses was 1 million per year, but the number of accidental incidents was less than a 100? Is that worth looking into, or is this an issue where facts must yield to emotions and intuitions?
RELATED: I found a story recently in Reason magazine in which the writer explains how the banning of handguns in the UK in 1997 DOUBLED the violent crime rate in the next 4 years. The whole point of the case for permitting the concealed carry of legally owned handguns is that it dramatically reduces violent crime.
The illusion that the English government had protected its citizens by disarming them seemed credible because few realized the country had an astonishingly low level of armed crime even before guns were restricted. A government study for the years 1890-92, for example, found only three handgun homicides, an average of one a year, in a population of 30 million. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world. A hundred years and many gun laws later, the BBC reported that England’s firearms restrictions “seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld.” Guns are virtually outlawed, and, as the old slogan predicted, only outlaws have guns. Worse, they are increasingly ready to use them.
Nearly five centuries of growing civility ended in 1954. Violent crime has been climbing ever since. Last December, London’s Evening Standard reported that armed crime, with banned handguns the weapon of choice, was “rocketing.” In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.
Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless environment. From 1991 to 1995, crimes against the person in England’s inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England’s rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America’s, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world’s crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.
This sea change in English crime followed a sea change in government policies. Gun regulations have been part of a more general disarmament based on the proposition that people don’t need to protect themselves because society will protect them. It also will protect their neighbors: Police advise those who witness a crime to “walk on by” and let the professionals handle it.
So, given this data regarding legal gun ownership and violent crime rates, what should our policy be?