Tag Archives: Self-Defense

Facts vs feelings in the debate on gun control vs self-defense

I found a splendid at the Daily Signal article that ought to be read by everyone who has an opinion about the conflict between gun confiscation vs self-defense.

Here are the 8 points made in the article, then I’ll comment on my favorite one:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.

  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.

  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.

  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.

  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

Whenever we discuss gun violence, it’s very important to exclude suicides using a gun from the overall rate of gun deaths. Once you do that, you will find that the rate of violent crime has been declining as more and more law-abiding Americans have gone through the process to purchase a firearm for self-defense.

Let’s talk about the gun homicide rate and how the steady increase in firearm ownership has affected that. When you look at the graph below, keep in mind that two thirds of the homicide are suicides committed with a firearm.

Here is a graph:

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

The question I want to address is this: why would someone want to own a gun in the first place?

Here are the points from the list of eight points that are relevant to that question:

Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  • Switzerland and Israel have much higher gun ownership rates than the United States but experience far fewer homicides and have much lower violent crime rates than many European nations with strict gun control laws.
  • Higher rates of concealed carry permit holders are even more strongly associated with reduction in violent crime than are “right-to-carry” states. The probable reason for this is that “right-to-carry” studies often include “open carry” states, which have not been shown to correlate with more people actually carrying or even owning firearms. Rates of concealed carry permit holders are better indicators of the number of people who actually possess and carry firearms within a given population.

There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  • Homicide and firearm homicide rates in Great Britain spiked in the years immediately following the imposition of severe gun control measures, despite the fact that most developed countries continued to experience a downward trend in these rates. This is also pointed out by noted criminologist John Lott in his book “The War on Guns.”
  • Similarly, Ireland’s homicide rates spiked in the years immediately following the country’s 1972 gun confiscation legislation.
  • Australia’s National Firearms Act appears to have had little effect on suicide and homicide rates, which were falling before the law was enacted and continued to decline at a statistically unremarkable rate compared to worldwide trends.
  • According to research compiled by John Lott and highlighted in his book “The War on Guns,” Australia’s armed and unarmed robbery rates both increased markedly in the five years immediately following the National Firearms Act, despite the general downward trend experienced by other developed countries.
  • Great Britain has some of the strictest gun control laws in the developed world, but the violent crime rate for homicide, rape, burglary, and aggravated assault is much higher than that in the U.S. Further, approximately 60 percent of burglaries in Great Britain occur while residents are home, compared to just 13 percent in the U.S., and British burglars admit to targeting occupied residences because they are more likely to find wallets and purses.
  • It is difficult to compare homicide and firearm-related murder rates across international borders because countries use different methods to determine which deaths “count” for purposes of violent crime. For example, since 1967, Great Britain has excluded from its homicide counts any case that does not result in a conviction, that was the result of dangerous driving, or in which the person was determined to have acted in self-defense. All of these factors are counted as “homicides” in the United States.

Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  • In 2013, President Barack Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess existing research on gun violence. The report, compiled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, found (among other things) that firearms are used defensively hundreds of thousands of times every year.
  • According to the CDC, “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.” Recent CDC reports acknowledge that studies directly assessing the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found “consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
  • Semi-automatic rifles (such as the AR-15) are commonly used as self-defense weapons in the homes of law-abiding citizens because they are easier to control than handguns, are more versatile than handguns, and offer the advantage of up to 30 rounds of protection. Even Vox has published stories defending the use of the AR-15.
  • AR-15s have been used to save lives on many occasions [list omitted by WK]

Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

  • Noted criminologist John Lott found that, as a group, concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law-abiding people in the United States. The rate at which they commit crimes generally and firearm crimes specifically is between one-sixth and one-tenth of that recorded for police officers, who are themselves committing crimes at a fraction of the rate of the general population.
  • Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates dropped 16 percent and violent crime rates dropped 18 percent, even though the percentage of adults with concealed carry permits rose by 190 percent.
  • Regression estimates show a significant association between increased permit ownership and a drop in murder and violent crime rates. Each percentage point increase in rates of permit-holding is associated with a roughly 2.5 percent drop in the murder rate.
  • Concealed carry permit holders are often “the good guy with a gun,” even though they rarely receive the attention of the national media. Concealed carry permit holders were credited with saving multiple lives [list omitted by WK]

So, I think that those points provide a very necessary balance for the “ban guns” crowd. Gun ownership is a vital part of a free citizen’s right to self-defense. People who want to discuss gun confiscation vs self-defense need to be aware of the way guns are really used by law-abiding people to protect themselves and their families.

Law-abiding gun owner stops attempted mass shooting at church

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

I often struggle to explain to my Canadian and British friends what the second amendment is, and why Americans insist on being able to legally own firearms. I normally make the argument from academic studies to show that banning guns leads to more violent crime, while concealed carry laws reduce violent crime. But sometimes, it’s nice to illustrate the statistics with a case study.

MSN.com reports on a story of an attempted mass-shooting that occurred on the weekend at a church:

A gunman has killed one person and critically injured another inside a packed Texas church during a livestreamed service before he was shot dead by an armed member of the congregation.

[…]Video of the livestream shows a person wearing a large coat, with the hood covering his head, standing up and walking over toward another man at the back of the room.

The shooter appears to say something to the man, prompting him to point in a direction at the back of the church.

In a matter of seconds, the shooter whips out what appears to be a shotgun and fires two rounds.

One of the shots hits a man who stood up in the back of the church and the other shot hits the man the victim had spoken too.

After the second shot was fired, the gunman attempted to flee the scene before he was shot by an armed member of the congregation.

[…]According to one member of the church, the victim had spoken to one of the deacons in the back of the church before he opened fire.

The member wrote on Facebook that another deacon ‘who is a concealed carry instruction, and retired law enforcement officer, shot the guy before he could fire a third time!’

That deacon has not been identified but according to CBS 11, he is actually a former FBI agent and part of the church’s security.

Here’s some video coverage from the far-left CBS News:

More about the man who took down the criminal.

Here is what Joe Biden, leading Democrat presidential candidate, has to offer the Christians in that church:

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attacked Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this year for signing a bill into law that allowed lawful gun owners to carry firearms in places of worship, repeatedly calling Abbott’s decision “irrational.”

[…]“Dealing with firearms, it is irrational, with all due respect to the governor of Texas, irrational what they are doing,” Biden told reporters on September 2. “On the very day you see a mass shooting … and we’re talking about loosening access to have guns, to be able to take them into places of worship, it’s just absolutely irrational. It’s totally irrational.”

[…]Biden continued, saying that any weapon that was capable of carrying “magazines that can hold multiple bullets” should be banned – which is nearly all firearms.

[…]Later asked if there could be any compromises with Republicans on the issue, Biden responded, “None. None on this. I think this is no compromise. This is one we have to just push, and push, and push, and push, and push.”

Biden has armed security everywhere he goes. He just doesn’t want you to have armed security.

Just picture in your mind what would have happened in that church if Joe Biden had prevented law-abiding church members from carrying weapons to defend themselves. That is the goal of every Democrat – they want to disarm law-abiding people, and leave them at the mercy of criminals who don’t obey gun laws.

I want to link to this column from famous black economist Thomas Sowell to help people understand how frequently law-abiding Americans use legally-owned firearms to prevent crimes.

He writes:

We all know that guns can cost lives because the media repeat this message endlessly, as if we could not figure it out for ourselves. But even someone who reads newspapers regularly and watches numerous television newscasts may never learn that guns also save lives — much less see any hard facts comparing how many lives are lost and how many are saved.

But that trade-off is the real issue — not the Second Amendment or the National Rifle Association, which so many in the media obsess about. If guns cost more lives than they save, we can always repeal the Second Amendment. But if guns save more lives than they cost, we need to know that, instead of spending time demonizing the National Rifle Association.

The defensive use of guns is usually either not discussed at all in the media or else is depicted as if it means bullets flying in all directions, like the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. But most defensive uses of guns do not involve actually pulling the trigger.

If someone comes at you with a knife and you point a gun at him, he is very unlikely to keep coming and far more likely to head in the other direction, perhaps in some haste, if he has a brain in his head. Only if he is an idiot are you likely to have to pull the trigger — and if an idiot with a knife is coming after you, you had better have a trigger to pull.

Surveys of American gun owners have found that 4 to 6 percent reported using a gun in self-defense within the previous five years. That is not a very high percentage but, in a country with 300 million people, that works out to hundreds of thousands of defensive uses of guns per year.

Yet we almost never hear about these hundreds of thousands of defensive uses of guns from the media, which will report the killing of a dozen people endlessly around the clock. The murder of a dozen innocent people is unquestionably a human tragedy. But that is no excuse for reacting blindly by preventing hundreds of thousands of other people from defending themselves against meeting the same fate.

Although most defensive uses of guns do not involve actually shooting, nevertheless, the total number of criminals killed by armed private citizens runs into the thousands per year.

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

The book by economist John Lott 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. Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study found that after the UK banned guns, violent crime rates doubled in four years.

Pregnant woman uses legally-owned firearm to protect her family from home invaders

Women have a right to choose to defend their lives from criminals
Women have a right to defend their lives from criminals

I think it’s important for people to vote Republican to really understand all the different policies that Republicans stand for, even if they don’t agree with them. Pro-choice Republicans should understand the arguments for pro-life. Pro-union Republicans should understand the arguments for free trade. And anti-gun Republicans should understand the arguments for self-defense.

Here’s an article from Fox 9 local news that explains why it is that Republicans want law-abiding citizens to be able to own guns.

It says:

A Florida woman who was eight-months pregnant and came out wielding an AR-15 rifle reportedly saved her husband and pre-teen daughter last week from a pair of violent intruders who’d broken into the family’s home — with the gun-toting matriarch fatally striking one of the men, who was later found dead in a nearby ditch.

Jeremy King was at his home in Lithia, 25 miles southeast of Tampa, at 9 p.m. Wednesday night when two armed men, wearing masks and hoods, broke inside.

“As soon as they had got the back door opened, they had a pistol on me and was grabbing my 11-year-old daughter,” King told Bay News 9. “I’m telling them, ‘I have nothing for you,’ and they’re like, ‘Give me everything you got.’ It became real violent, real fast.”

King said one of the burglars pistol-whipped him and another kicked him in the head, creating a commotion that attracted the attention of his wife, who walked into the room to see what the noise was — and soon found herself dodging a bullet.

The woman, who was not identified, reportedly retreated and grabbed an AR-15 that was legally inside their house, returning to the room and shooting the intruders, hitting one of them.

“When he came toward the back door in her line of sight, she clipped him,” King said of his wife. “He made it from my back door to roughly 200 feet out in the front ditch before the AR did its thing.”

[…]“Them guys came in with two normal pistols and my AR stopped it. [My wife] evened the playing field and kept them from killing me,” King said, noting he suffered a fractured eye socket, a fractured sinus cavity and a concussion, and needed “20 stitches and three staples in my head.”

Now, what is it that Democrats have to offer this woman? They want to disarm her, by sending police door-to-door to confiscate her means of self-defense. The Democrats aren’t going to confiscate the weapons of the criminals – oh, no, no, no. Because criminals don’t register their firearms and pass background checks. The Democrats want criminals to keep their illegally obtained firearms. But the Democrats want the law-abiding taxpayers who pay their salaries to be disarmed.

What happens with women don’t have guns to defend themselves? Well, there was a good article about that from earlier in the week from the Daily Caller:

At least nine members of a Mormon family, three women and six children, were killed Monday in a deadly ambush while they were traveling near the southern border.

Three vehicles were traveling between the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora on Monday when cartel members attacked them, according to the attorney general of the State of Chihuahua, CNN reported. Alex LeBaron, a family member of the victims, said the attack took the lives of two infants, four children, and three women.

All of those killed held dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship, he said.

“Women and children (between 14 years old and 10 months) were massacred, burnt alive. Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop,” LeBaron said.

[…]One child was gunned down while trying to escape, and others were trapped inside a flaming vehicle.

Again, what would the Democrats have to offer these women and children? Well, the Democrats are glad that these women and children didn’t upset the nice criminals by defending themselves. You’ll recall that Obama even had an operation called “Fast and Furious” to supply the Mexican drug cartels with firearms, so that he could call for more gun control when those guns made their way back into America. Democrats are fine with guns in the hands of criminals – it’s YOU they don’t trust.

Democrat presidential candidate proposes door-to-door confiscation of legally obtained firearms

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

So, there was a debate on Tuesday night, and something interesting was said by Robert O’Rourke. He presented a solution to violent crime. Instead of proposing tougher sentences on criminals who commit crimes with weapons, he proposed sending armed policemen to the homes of law-abiding gun owners and confiscating their means of self-defense from armed criminals.

The Daily Caller reports:

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke conceded Wednesday that his proposed gun control plan might result in sending police officers door to door to enforce compliance.

After weeks of insisting that his plan — a mandatory buyback program for “assault weapons” such as AR-15s and AK-47s — would not lead to door-to-door confiscation, O’Rourke admitted to “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough that failure to comply would have to result in “a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm.”

Wow. So Democrats have more concern about the firearms of law-abiding gun-owners than they do about illegally-obtained firearms used by criminals to commit crimes. I can guarantee you that if you stiffened the penalties for using weapons during a crime, you would get fewer people using weapons to commit crimes. But Democrats don’t want to target criminals. They want to disarm the victims of criminals.

So let’s just take a quick look at some stories of law-abiding gun owners using their firearms to defend themselves. Remember, these stories of self-defense would become impossible if Democrats are elected.

The Daily Signal reports on self-defense stories from just last month alone – here are a few:

Sept. 1, San Antonio, Texas: A young woman shot and injured a man who was trying to break into her home through a back window at 2 a.m., police said. The man later was determined to be the woman’s ex-boyfriend, though she did not know who the intruder was at the time she fired.

Sept. 3, Houston: After a woman parked her vehicle outside her home in the early hours of the morning, two men approached the driver’s side window and attempted to rob her. The woman drew her firearm from her purse and fired two rounds at the men, who ran away, police said. One would-be robber was wounded in the process and later was charged with aggravated robbery. The woman told local reporters: “I got the gun for that purpose, but I never thought I would really have to use it. . . . I saved my own life.”

Sept. 8, Virginia Beach, Virginia: A Florida man was shot and paralyzed by his stepdaughter after he broke into his estranged wife’s Virginia home and assaulted both the wife and stepdaughter with a wrench. Investigators said they later found garbage bags, zip ties, duct tape, and various weapons in the man’s car, along with a journal detailing his plans to kill his wife.

Sept. 11, Cherokee County, Georgia: A homeowner used her firearm to defend herself against a man who started banging on her doors and windows. The homeowner did not know the man and yelled at him to leave, and he temporarily retreated. The man returned and became even more aggressive, threatening to kill the homeowner, who had armed herself with a firearm. When the man began to approach the homeowner, she shot and killed him, police said.

Sept. 19, Miami-Dade County, Florida: A lunch break for an armed Good Samaritan took a heroic turn when she intervened to stop a brutal robbery and assault occurring outside a Popeyes restaurant. The woman fired her handgun at an assailant as he pummeled a bleeding and helpless victim lying on the concrete, police said. The rounds missed the assailant, but the shots were enough to make him run away. The woman told reporters this was the first time she had fired her gun outside a gun range, and that although it was “an intense moment,” she just “had to stop” the assailant. “I just had to save the guy’s life,” she said. “That’s all I did was try to save someone’s life.” Police later arrested the assailant.

Sept. 26, Redding, California: A holder of a concealed carry permit helped intervene in a kidnapping after it became clear to him that another customer at a gas station was holding a woman against her will. Earlier in the evening, the man had assaulted the woman’s sister before forcing the woman into his car and driving off, police said. The permit holder noticed the woman was in distress, confronted the man, and held him at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived.

When I see Democrats talking about taking the legal firearms of law-abiding people, the first thing that comes into my mind is that they have armed security, and live in very wealthy neighborhoods with gates and security guards and security systems. They’ll be fine. Maybe that’s why they’re so care-free about depriving you of your right to defend yourself and your loved ones from criminals.

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).

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.

Joe Biden promises to confiscate all multi-round magazines, disarm church-goers

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

In the wake of mass shootings by people who don’t obey the law, Democrat presidential candidates are vowing to confiscate ALL semi-automatic pistols and rifles, as well as ban magazines with more than one bullet. They believe that by taking weapons from law-abiding Americans, they will be able to stop violence committed by those who don’t care about laws. Will that work?

First, let’s get the news from the Daily Wire:

Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden went far to the left on the issue of guns on Monday, telling reporters that he wants to ban magazines that hold “multiple bullets” — which means all magazines.

Biden, who made the remarks while talking to the press during a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said there should be “no compromise” on guns as he also voiced his anger at the state of Texas for allowing people to carry firearms in places of worship to defend themselves from those who seek to harm others.

“And we’re talking about loosening access, to have guns, to be able to take them into places of worship, I mean, it is absolutely irrational. It’s totally irrational,” Biden said. “The idea that we don’t have elimination of assault-type weapons, magazines that can hold multiple bullets in them, it’s absolutely mindless.”

“It’s no violation of the Second Amendment,” Biden falsely claimed.

Biden’s extreme gun control push, if ever enacted, would effectively ban the overwhelming majority of handguns, all semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, and many hunting rifles which use magazines.

We’ve actually had a number of mass shootings where left-wing atheists attacked Christians during worship. I guess Joe Biden has an alternative plan for protecting Christians from far-left atheist Democrats. Maybe he plans to show up at the mass shootings in churches, and have a talk with the shooters about following gun laws.

Not to be outdone, here’s another candidate promising to ban all semi-automatic weapons, pistols AND rifles.

The Daily Wire reports:

Far-left Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke announced over the weekend that if he is elected president, he intends to confiscate tens of millions of semi-automatic firearms from law-abiding Americans.

O’Rourke made the remarks while campaigning in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday when he was asked by a reporter how he plans to address peoples’ fears that the government is going to come and take many of their semi-automatic firearms.

O’Rourke responded: “I want to be really clear, that’s exactly what we are going to do. Americans who own [the technically undefinable sub-class of semi-automatic firearms referred to as “assault weapons”] will have to sell them to the government.”

It’s amazing to me that there is so much evidence that gun violence is caused by fatherlessness, but Democrats don’t want to do anything about it. If we stopped giving women welfare money for having babies before they are married, gun violence would dry up in a second. We’ve always had access to guns in this country, but it was wasn’t a problem when every child had a mother and father.

If strict laws were effective, then why do we see such high rates of gun violence precisely in Democrat-run areas where law-abiding people are prohibited from owning weapons to defend themselves from criminals? Mass shootings get a lot of press, but the truth is that more people died in Chicago last week in ordinary crimes than died in the most recent mass shooting in Odessa, TX.

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).

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.