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.

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.

Armed support officer ends attempted school shooting in Maryland

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

The mainstream media is using naive students like sock puppets to push an anti-self-defense agenda. I saw a clip where one of the children was explaining that armed teachers or security guards would not prevent school shootings. Instead, the solution being suggested by those on the left is to ban all semi-automatic weapons – which would mean confiscating nearly every firearm used for self-defense against criminals by law-abiding citizens.

So, does having an armed security guard on staff work?

Here’s a story from the Daily Caller:

The Great Mills High School student who injured two others Tuesday morning was stopped by the school’s armed resource officer.

According to St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron, the school resource officer (SRO) fired a round at the shooter, who fired a round in return. The shooter is now dead, Cameron confirmed Tuesday morning, and an investigation will determine whether the SRO’s bullet struck the shooter.

The incident is now over, though the shooter managed to injure two students. One of them is in critical condition in the hospital, Cameron said. The SRO was not injured during the incident.

In fact, almost all mass shootings happen in “gun-free zones”, where there are no armed security guards.

Economist John Lott explains:

Since 1950, more than 98 percent of public mass shootings in America have taken place where citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, every mass public shooting in history has occurred in a gun-free zone. And Europe is no stranger to mass public shootings. In the past eight years, it has experienced a per-capita casualty rate 50 percent higher than that of the U.S.

With permit holders preventing dozens of mass public shootings in recent years, it is unsurprising that killers try to avoid resistance.

Last year, a young Islamic State sympathizer planned a shooting at one of the largest churches in Detroit. A FBI wiretap recorded his reasons for picking the church: “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus it would make the news.”

These killers might be crazy, but they aren’t stupid. Picking defenseless targets means being able to kill more people. A long list of killers explicitly have stated this reasoning, including the 2015 Charleston, S.C., church shooting, the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., and the 2015 attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

[…]In March 2013, 86 percent of police officers surveyed by PoliceOne, the 450,000-member private organization of police, said that casualties would have been prevented if legally-armed citizens had been able to carry guns in places such as Newtown and Aurora.

[…]Last summer, professor Gary Mauser and I released a survey of all economists and criminologists who had published peer-reviewed empirical research on firearms.

[…]By 66 percent to 32 percent, economists and criminologists answer that gun-free zones are “more likely to attract criminals than they are to deter them.”

Allowing some teachers to voluntarily train and arm themselves would be a deterrent to school shootings. But this is not the solution that the leftist gun-grabbers are looking for. They don’t really want to solve the problem of school shootings. They just want to confiscate all legally-owned guns and abolish self-defense completely.

Legal handgun owner shoots and kills man trying to drown 3-month-old twins

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

Here’s the story from ABC local news in Oklahoma.

Excerpt:

An Ada man was shot and killed by a neighbor Friday after he tried drowning twin babies.

“It’s awful because I’ve held the babies and, like, I’ve played with them and I just gave them clothes yesterday,” said neighbor Summer Pierce.

Officials say Leland Foster was allegedly threatening the mother of the children with a knife during the ordeal.

A 12-year-old girl who was in the home ran to a neighbor’s house for help.

The neighbor, Cash Freeman, rushed back over to the home to find Foster trying to drown the 3-month-old twins, a boy and a girl, in the bathtub.

He then shot Foster twice in the back with a gun.

The babies survived. But because so many people in America view the use of force by legal handgun owners (especially men) with suspicion, the hero was afraid of what the lawyers would do to him.

More:

We spoke to Freeman off camera and he told us when he saw what was happening in the bathroom, he did what he had to do to save the babies. However, he told us he was concerned that he could be in trouble.

That was his feeling after he saved the babies. He did the right thing, but in America, land of the Second Amendment, he was afraid of the lawyers who might try to punish him for being a man, and doing what men do: protect children from danger.

What a world.

I’m thankful that this happened in Oklahoma, though, and so there was a happy conclusion.

ABC local news reports:

Police questioned and released Freeman, but the district attorney was tasked with determining if the shooting was a criminal act.

[…]A little more than a month after the shooting, officials say the case is closed.

On Thursday, the Pontotoc County District Attorney announced that the shooting was a ‘justifiable use of deadly force under Oklahoma Law.’

The decision to not prosecute this man apparently came out a month later than his interrogation by police. Imagine what that month must have been like for him. Is this the way that want men to feel when they do the right thing? And is it wise to attack and punish men who use force for self-defense and for defense of others? If I were in a position to use deadly force to protect someone else, the first thing on my mind would be what the police and the lawyers and the government would do to me. And that is just sad. But that’s the world we live in, where so many people who are afraid of guns (while knowing nothing at all about them). I think many people would blame this man for being “violent” without caring about the context for his actions.

Why do progressives oppose guns? I think because they hate conservatives in a way that is not reciprocated. Progressives think that conservatives are evil, whereas conservatives  think that progressives are merely wrong. Progressives don’t like guns, because if they had them, they feel that they could not stop themselves from killing. There are many examples of this: the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot at Republican legislators, or the gay activist who opened fire in the Family Research Council building. Progressives project their own lack of self-control onto conservatives, and that’s why they want to ban guns and criminalize self-defense. But conservatives use guns for good, not evil.

Ohio woman shoots intruder after he attacks her in her parents’ home

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

If people only ever read the mainstream media on crime and self-defense issues, they would never learn why people choose to get gun licenses and buy guns. The would only ever learn reasons to ban guns and to disarm law-abiding citizens.

This story was reported in the Washington Free Beacon:

An Ohio woman and her elderly parents are safe while the man who attacked her on Friday is in prison facing several pending charges.

Kim Sinnott of Hamilton, Ohio, was at her parents’ home in the early morning hours of Friday celebrating her father’s 75th birthday when the home’s alarm went off. She and her twin sister Tamie Lesher went to investigate the disturbance.

“About 1:30 a.m. the alarm went off in the house,” Sinnott told Pantagraph. “We noticed the light on in the garage. We saw somebody walking in the garage.”

That’s when the pair came across a man police later identified as 21-year-old Mykale B. Davis. Sinnott pointed her father’s .32 caliber pistol at the man.

“I told him that I had a gun,” she said. “I was standing there looking at him with the gun pointing at him. I told him a hundred times not to come out because I had a gun and that I would shoot and that we were waiting for the cops, that we had the cops on the line right now.”

That’s when the intruder lunged at Sinnott and attempted to wrestle the gun away from her.

“Anything could have happened by just the way he lunged at me, and I had the gun in his face and told him not to come out because I would shoot,” she told the paper. “He probably thought I wouldn’t shoot.”

But Sinnott did shoot the intruder.

“When he grabbed me and pulled me down I was fearing for my life,” she said. “I shot him just for him to let me go. I don’t know if it was in the leg or in the foot. I was scared to death.”

The shot caused the man to flee out of the garage and down the street where police later apprehended him.

[…]Sinnott said the incident has shaken her and her entire family. “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle, but I’m about done,” she said.

People who oppose guns typically oppose them because of feelings. Guns are loud and makes me feel scared, they say. But if you actually look at the scientific data, you’ll see that guns do reduce crime rates.

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.

If you still think that guns are somehow bad for reducing crime, why not check out a formal academic debate featuring 3 people on each side of the debate?

If you want to know why the Democrat parts of the United States have such high rates of violence, then you need to look at the enormously high out-of-wedlock birth rates in the Democrat parts of the United States. Having babies before marrying causes fatherless children, and fatherless children are more likely to commit crimes. When Democrats stop paying single mothers money to have fatherless kids, then the crime rates in the Democrat parts of the United States will go down. It’s a personal responsibility issue.

 

Homeowner uses legally owned handgun to catch burglar for the police

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

This is from the Washington Free Beacon, and it’s a good reminder of why America has the Second Amendment.

Full text:

A burglar is in custody after coming face to face with a Florida homeowner and her revolver on Friday.

Cape Coral Police arrested 20-year-old Jacob Cintra after he allegedly broke into Jim Gibbons’s car and tried to break into his home. Gibbons told reporters he and his wife were sleeping when they heard a commotion. Jim went to open his blinds and see what was happening when he spotted Cintra just in front of him trying to break into the home.

“I yelled to my wife, ‘Go get the gun!'” he told NBC2.

As Gibbons’s wife returned with her revolver, Cintra spotted her and thought better of trying to break in.

“He just had a dumb look on his face,” Gibbons told WINK. “Why would you be surprised? There’s two cars in the driveway and dogs are barking in the house,” he said.

Cintra then ran off. Gibbons said his wife was prepared to defend them if he had come through the door.

“She said if he had been fiddling with the door, trying to open it, she would have shot him,” he told NBC2.

Neighbors applauded the Gibbons. “That’s cool that we still have the Second Amendment for that,” David Jean-Jacques told the news station.

The burglar wasn’t on the run for long. Once the police arrived the Gibbons’s dog alerted them to where Cintra was hiding.

“Did you tell them you’re the hero?” Gibbons asked his dog in front of the NBC2 cameras. “Yeah, you’re the hero.”

Cintra is currently being held without bond in Lee County Jail on two burglary charges.

“He’s lucky,” he said. “He’s pretty dumb and he’s lucky.”

People who oppose guns typically oppose them because of feelings. Guns are loud and makes me feel scared, they say. But if you actually look at the scientific data, you’ll see that guns do reduce crime rates.

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.

If you still think that guns are somehow bad for reducing crime, why not check out a formal academic debate featuring 3 people on each side of the debate?

If you want to know why the Democrat parts of the United States have such high rates of violence, then you need to look at the enormously high out-of-wedlock birth rates in the Democrat parts of the United States. Having babies before marrying causes fatherless children, and fatherless children are more likely to commit crimes. When Democrats stop paying single mothers money to have fatherless kids, then the crime rates in the Democrat parts of the United States will go down. It’s a personal responsibility issue.