Gun Control and What Crime Statistics Don’t Tell Us
Listening to the news is frustrating. I’m left listening for the rest of the truth they don’t mention. The talking heads were particularly vacuous after the last few public shootings so I wanted to fill in the holes they dug with their half-truths.
Despite what you hear from the media, gun control causes crime. Yes, you read that correctly. Fewer guns cause more crime, and the dynamics are simple. Most shootings are from inner city drug gangs shooting at each other. They have guns even in “gun-free” zones. You’re right, that is illegal, but since criminals get tons of drugs over the border they can easily get the guns they want as well. What gun control means to you and me is that the drug dealers and robbers will have guns while you and I won’t. I know that isn’t how gun control laws are written, but that is what happens in fact. The gun prohibitionists say they didn’t want to leave us as disarmed victims, but they don’t get to hide behind theory. We are judging by what really happens under gun control. Criminals prefer to work in gun control areas. That is why crime goes up in cities and states with gun prohibition.
The question is how to keep criminals from shooting us. Criminals break the law but they are not stupid. Criminals want to rob rich people who can’t defend themselves. They look for old disarmed people who can be robbed one at a time. That is why elderly people living alone need an alarm system and a gun. Thugs avoid a well maintained house with a flag flying and a USMC bumper sticker on the trucks out front because they think an armed man lives in that house. We see less violent crime where we find more honest people with guns. In those areas, criminals choose non-violent crime, like identity theft, rather than armed robbery, carjacking or hot burglary. Sexual assault also stops once the victim draws a gun because the victim is no longer powerless. Things are simple so far, but now the argument starts to get a little more complicated.
According to The National Organization for Women, there is a sexual assault every two and a half minutes. That shows us that many women are vulnerable. Few of these women are assaulted at gun point, but gun control advocates want more of us disarmed.. and rapists agree. Each gun control law disarms more innocent victims than criminals, even if it is a regulation as simple as a 10 day waiting period for each gun purchase or transfer. That means a woman must be defenseless for a time AFTER she tries to get a weapon for self defense. On average, men have a size and strength advantage over women. Gun prohibition keeps women at a disadvantage that predisposes them to become victims of violence.
We want children protected from guns for the same reason we want children protected from household chemicals. We could pass laws requiring that homeowners keep their guns locked in a gun vault each night. That would protect the children from their parents’ guns, and the solution works really well for rich celebrities with full time security. That solution doesn’t work so well for a poor single mom who rents a room in the bad part of town. Now she has to choose between obeying the law and keeping her family safe. There are other solutions that might work to keep her child safe from firearms. For example, she could use a small portable gun safe that she clamps to her bed frame, but the law often doesn’t recognize those solutions. The law was written for the benefit of the politicians rather than the benefit of a poor single parent family.
There is an another important distinction between household chemicals and a gun. A self defense weapon is more like a fire extinguisher than like a bottle of bleach. For example, it makes great sense to have child proof caps on household chemicals and to keep poisons in places children can’t reach. In contrast, you don’t want a lock and key between you and your fire extinguisher. You will need the fire extinguisher right now if you need it at all. The same is true of firearms used for self-defense in the home. You will need them immediately and without warning. Responsible adults have to balance the risk of a negligent firearm discharge with the increased risk of being a crime victim. That balance is easy for a single mom to do, but is hard for legislators to do from the state capital. One solution does not fit all circumstances.
It is obvious we don’t want crazy people to have guns. That poses the question who is crazy. Sure we want to keep guns away from people who are a danger to themselves or others. Unfortunately, there are also many good reasons for sane people to see a mental health professional, and those visits should not impact firearms ownership. For example, the prohibition against guns should not extend to every couple that seeks pre-marital counseling, or everyone who goes to an Al-Anon meeting because of their parents’ alcoholism. I bet we agree about that, but laws don’t always work as advertized. We now have girlfriends and boyfriends claiming verbal abuse as grounds for domestic violence charges against their former partner. These charges can lead to the partner being permanently prohibited from being near firearms. Yeah, laws can be abused, and no, the line isn’t clear at all. Responsible mental health laws have to balance the benefit of disarming people who can not manage their affairs with the risk of creating a disarmed victim for a lifetime.
We don’t want professional criminals to have guns. Does that apply to every convicted felon but not to those who are charged but not convicted? Does it apply to someone charged with drug abuse or a DUI? We have thousands of pages of regulations and minor offenses should not result in loosing your rights of self-defense. We could demand that any flaw on your record be a cause for disarmament, but I’ve yet to meet a perfect person who is alive today. What process do we put in place as a path to restore the rights of people who’ve been legally disarmed?
Professional criminals continue to get guns despite the rising sea of gun safety regulations. I doubt the next gun control law will disarm criminals without disarming honest citizens and creating more victims.
We don’t want people to have guns when they are intoxicated, but calling bars and restaurants a gun-free zone doesn’t stop criminals from shooting innocent people in bars and restaurants. If it did we could put up a sign and call the whole world a gun-free zone to stop violence. I guess the sign is broken.
We are trying to deter bad behavior by allowing armed citizens to defend themselves and others. Some gun owners will make mistakes, but many more will defend themselves responsibly. At some point gun control causes more harm than good by creating defenseless victims.
Now if I could only fit that into 15 second sound bites.