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rebuttals to "Gun Control"
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The Bill of Rights Sentinel (formerly The Firearms Sentinel) aims to give its readers intellectual ammunition to fight the battle against "gun control." Part of the "gun control" war is fought with statistics. The gun prohibitionists frequently cite statistics in the media. It is often hard to question the figures without having the facts.
The now-famous 1995 Tennessee Law Review article entitled "Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence or Pandemic of Propaganda?", written by Don B. Kates, Henry E. Schaffer, John K. Lattimer, George B. Murray, and Edwin H. Cassem, powerfully discredits the myth that "gun violence" is an epidemic that only "gun control" can cure. This 1995 article shows how much of the statistical evidence the gun prohibitionists use is skewed, falsified, or massaged. When all of the statistics are accounted, however, they tend to show that the public health argument is a sham.
The Bill of Rights Sentinel is pleased to provide some of the important logical points and counter statistics for gun rights advocates to use. This important information follows in the handy table format below. The information comes from the 1995 article by Kates, et. al.
|Gun Prohibitionists' Argument||The Data Required To Support Their Argument||What The Data Actually Show|
|Widespread firearm ownership has for decades been a major factor in crime.||Many scholarly articles and studies in the literature.||No studies in the 1960's; Research started in the 1970's.1|
|Criminologists agree that firearm ownership presents a high risk of violence, and that gun control laws work.||Many scholarly studies by criminologists supporting "gun control;" few opposing "gun control."||Large number of scholarly studies by criminologist showing firearms ownership does not increase risks of violence, and that "gun control" does not work.2|
|The Second Amendment does not guarantee a personal right to own firearms.||Largely unanimous opinion of legal scholars and judges, reflected in published articles and opinions.||Over thirty law review articles and several books argue that "gun control" laws are not constitutional.3|
|The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to the States, not to individual citizens.||Several Supreme Court cases affirming this position, followed by lower court decisions.||Several Supreme Court decisions note that the term "the people" mentioned in the Second Amendment refers only to individual citizens; no Supreme Court decision to the contrary.4|
|It is safer to submit to a felonious attack than to resist with a firearm.||Statistics showing that persons who submit are injured less often than those who resist with a firearm.||Study data show that a victim with a firearm is 50% less likely to be injured than one who submits.5|
|It is safer to use weapons other than firearms for self-protection from felonious attack.||Statistics showing a lower injury rate for victims who used weapons other than firearms for defense.||Study data show that victims who use firearms for self-defense are 67% less likely to be injured than those using other kinds of weapons.6|
|Screaming and running away are safer than using a firearm to resist a rapist.||Statistics showing a lower injury rate for victims who screamed and ran away.||Study data shows that screaming and running away is far more dangerous to the victim than using a firearm to resist a rapist.7|
|Scientists have discredited all studies purporting to show the effectiveness of using firearms for self-defense.||Many scholarly articles debunking such studies; the authors receiving no professional recognition for such studies.||Gary Kleck's book Point Blank received the American Society of Criminology's highest award in 1993 as the single most important contribution to criminology in several years; even "gun control" advocates praised it; only a few articles criticized the book's studies and conclusions.8|
|All the "pro-gun" literature comes from firearm manufacturers, the NRA, and "gun nuts."||No articles, favorable to the civil right to be armed, authored by anyone outside of the "gun lobby."||Gary Kleck is not a firearm owner, and is a political liberal and ACLU member; other scholars who have published study results not favorable to "gun control" are likewise political liberals and non- firearm owners.9|
|Other countries' severe limits on firearms ownership have reduced murder, suicide, and crime rates.||Statistical data showing definite and uniform correlation between restrictive "gun control" laws and lower murder, suicide, and crime rates.||Studies by David Kopel and others of foreign "gun control" laws show no consistent correlation between "gun control" laws or gun ownership rates, and the rates of murder, suicide, and crime.10|
|Other countries' experience shows that more restrictions on firearms ownership decreased homicides and suicides in those countries; the more available firearms are, the higher a country's incidence of violence.||Statistical data showing that homicide and suicide rates in Europe dropped when very restrictive "gun control" laws took effect.||
The incidence of violence in European countries was low long before
restrictive "gun control" laws were enacted. European suicide rates are
much higher than U.S. suicide rates. If homicide and suicide rates are
combined, the U.S. is still below the median of 18 major nations.11
Israel has a policy of encouraging widespread firearm possession also has the lowest homicide + suicide rate.12
|Very restrictive licensing requirements in Switzerland result in very low incidence of "handgun deaths."||Statistics showing that: the Swiss cannot easily get handguns and thus own few handguns; handguns are not generally available to the Swiss.||Swiss law requires licensing of all handguns. Swiss government routinely lends handguns to millions of civilians, however. Swiss law allows widespread carrying of handguns. Handguns are widely available.13|
|Restrictive handgun licensing laws in Israel result in very low incidence of "handgun deaths."||Statistics showing that: Israelis cannot easily get handguns and thus own few handguns; handguns are not generally available to Israelis.||Israeli government routinely lends handguns from its armories to civilians; Israeli law promotes the carrying of concealed handguns to maximize the likelihood that citizens in public places will be armed.14|
|Fully-automatic weapons are so dangerous that enlightened governments entirely ban private possession of them.||Statistics showing that no "civilized" nation permits its citizens to possess fully-automatic weapons.||Any law-abiding, responsible, and trained Israelis may draw a sub- machine gun out of a government armory.15|
|When nations enact restrictive "gun control" laws, homicide rates fall to low levels.||Statistics showing that in most nations, the stronger are the "gun control" laws, the lower is the homicide rate.||Taiwan's murder rate is higher than the U.S. rate -- although possession of a firearm in Taiwan is a capital offense. South Africa has very restrictive "gun control" laws, yet its homicide rate is double the U.S. rate.16|
|The greater the availability of handguns, the higher will be the rates of fatal "gun accidents."||Statistics showing that as the number of handguns increased in the U.S., the higher was the rate of fatal "gun accidents."||From 1967 to 1986, the number of handguns owned in the U.S. increased by 173%; the per capita rate of fatal "gun accidents" in this period fell by two-thirds, and the total number of such accidents decreased by 50%, in spite of increased population over the same period.17|
|The greater the availability of handguns, the higher will be the homicide rates.||Statistics showing that as the number of handguns increased in the U.S., the homicide rates also consistently increased.||From 1973 to 1992, the number of handguns owned increased by 110%; the per capita rate of homicide was unpatterned and varied erratically over the same period, and was 9.5% lower in 1992. Fewer homicides were committed with firearms in 1988 than in 1973.18|
|Handguns account for only 20% of the firearms in use today, but are involved in 90% of criminal and unintentional firearm injuries.||Published statistics supporting these assertions.||These assertions are false and fraudulently reported. There are no data to support them.19|
|Most murderers were law-abiding citizens before they pulled the trigger.||Published statistics supporting these assertions.||Studies show that 75% of murderers have adult criminal records before the murder; half of the remaining 25% are juveniles with no "adult" record; murderers tend to be rather extreme aberrants with histories of violence, crime, and substance abuse.20|
|Most shootings are not committed by felons or mentally ill persons, but are acts of passion involving use of a handgun owned for home protection.||Published statistics supporting these assertions.||(Same as above).|
* NOTE: The facts set forth in this chart were believed accurate when posted in 1997. The various laws cited may have changed in ensuing years; statistics for different time periods may be different. The data provided in this chart debunked the prevailing myths at that time, and the points remain persuasive. Thus, for example, the myth that widespread possession of firearms necessarily produces high violent crime rates was disproved by the available data from Israel and Switzerland. If crime rates were to increase significantly in those nations in, say, 2005, then it would make sense to look for some cause other than firearms ownership to explain the increase.