Guns and violence
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by those running the site but are for informational purposes only.
Paul Craig Roberts
Blaming violence on guns and fanning hysteria
over accidental deaths to children from firearms are staples of antigun
propaganda. Media help gun-control zealots spread false information that
gun ownership and self-defense are certain paths to injury and death.
Handgun Control Inc., gives erroneous advice that if you are attacked,
the best way to avoid injury "is to put up no defense." Anti-gun zealots
blame the actions of criminals on guns and argue that disarming
law-abiding gun owners is the best way to reduce the crime rate.
Scholars such as Gary Kleck, Don Kates and John Lott have
demonstrated the falsity of these claims. Now comes an important new
book from Harvard University Press. "Guns and Violence" by Bentley
College history professor Joyce Lee Malcolm brings new evidence that
guns reduce violence.
Professor Malcolm's carefully researched book is a study of guns
and violence in England from the Middle Ages through the present day.
When the English were armed to the teeth, violent crime was rare. Now
that the English are disarmed, violent crime has exploded. Indeed, crime
in England is out of control.
Offering instruction for the U.S., the English experience will be
covered in a subsequent column. Professor Malcolm presents many facts
about guns and violence in America, and it is to these we turn first.
Did you know that water is 19 times more dangerous to a child than
a firearm? In 1996, 805 children died from accidental drownings and 42
died from firearm accidents. (Gun control zealots inflate "child"
firearm deaths by including teenage drug gang members killed in turf
Bathtubs are twice as dangerous to children as guns. Fire is 18
times more dangerous to children than guns. Cars are 57 times more
dangerous. Household cleaners and poisons are twice as dangerous.
Did you know defensive gun use prevents far more crimes than the
police? National polls of defensive gun use by private citizens indicate
that as many as 3.6 million crimes annually are prevented by armed
individuals. In 98 percent of the cases, the armed citizen merely has to
brandish his weapon. As many as 400,000 people each year believe they
saved a life by being armed. Contrary to Handgun Control's propaganda,
in less than 1 percent of confrontations do criminals succeed in taking
the gun from the intended victim.
Did you know that the testimony of incarcerated felons supports the
large number of defensive gun uses? Thirty-four percent of felons said
they were scared off, wounded or captured by victims who turned out to
Convicted felons say they are more deterred by armed victims than
by the police. In the U.S. where roughly 50 percent of households are
armed, only 13 percent of burglaries occur with residents at home. In
contrast, in Britain, where homeowners are disarmed, 50 percent of home
burglaries take place with the residents present.
Gun control zealots claim that the availability of guns is the
primary cause of homicides. Between 1973 and 1994, the number of guns in
private ownership in the U.S. rose by 87 million. During this period,
both the homicide rate and the percent of homicides committed with
Another test of the relationship between guns and violence is
provided by the concealed-carry laws now in force in 33 states. Gun
control zealots predicted that traffic accidents and other altercations
combined with an armed public would result in a bloodbath. Professor
Malcolm confronts this false prediction with empirical evidence: "In all
the decades of experience with concealed-carry laws in an increasing
number of states, there is only one recorded incident of the use of a
permitted handgun in a shooting following a traffic accident, and that
was determined to be a case of self-defense."
The 17 states and the District of Columbia without concealed-carry
permits enjoy an 81 percent higher rate of violent crime. Their
restrictive gun laws produced 1,400 more murders, 4,200 more rapes,
12,000 more robberies, and 60,000 more aggravated assaults.
Professor Malcolm disproves the claim that family members are the
main victims of gun ownership. This myth results from FBI reports that
most victims are "known" to the murderer. In the category of "known to
the murderer," the FBI includes members of rival drug gangs, prostitutes
and their pimps, and even cabdrivers killed in robberies by "customers."
Far from the picture of hot-tempered spouses turning the family
firearm upon one another in moments of rage, it turns out that 90
percent of adult murderers have prior criminal records involving major
felonies. Three-quarters of juvenile murderers and their victims have an
average of 10 prior criminal arraignments.
The English Bill of Rights guarantees English citizens "arms for
their defense." Politicians and bureaucrats stole this right from the
people by subterfuge. In England today, only outlaws have guns. Sens.
Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, John McCain, Arizona Republican,
and Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, are working to duplicate the
English calamity by stealing gun rights from the American people. Do
these three senators represent the criminal lobby? Are they trying to
create a black market in guns?
This is the first of two parts