Monday, March 16, 2015

Gun Control

Gun Control
Thomas Allen

[Editor's note: This article was written in 1988.]

    Gun controllers are out to disarm the country. They use many false arguments to support their untenable position. They seek to disarm private citizens and leave them at the mercy of criminals and omnipotent government, which is the ultimate criminal.
    Most gun controllers are liberals, and nearly all liberals are gun controllers. All gun controllers are statist, and most are political, social, and economic egalitarians, who abhor the physical equality that guns bring.
    Gun controllers display their hypocrisy by advocating harsh laws against law-abiding gun owners while cuddling criminals. They have a lax attitude toward real crime. They persist in putting dangerous criminals back on the streets as quickly as possible. Then they propose to disarm the law-abiding citizens, who are threaten by these thugs. (The American Civil Liberties Union shows the perverse hypocritical mind of a good liberal. It has advocated registering firearms and licensing owners, yet it is ready to go to court to prevent school officials from checking student lockers-for illegal weapons.) Their objective appears to be to use criminals to frighten a disarmed populace into demanding more oppressive laws and a stronger police state.
    Gun controllers plan to disarm the population piecemeal until all handguns and long-guns are removed from the general population. If they were to try to ban all guns at once, their opposition would be too great; and they would be trounced and routed.
    Gun controllers usually take the approach of advocating banning “Saturday night specials” (whatever that is) in the name of fighting crime. (Is it not amusing that these worshipers of the “poor” want to disarm the poor, who are victimized by criminals more than the well-to-do, by outlawing cheap guns?) Eliminating this class of firearm will not reduce crime. Then the gun controllers will push for abolishing all handguns in the name of reducing crime. Even this ban will not reduce crime — as will be shown below. Next the gun controllers will go after rifles and shotguns. He can now achieve his goal of banning all privately owned guns, but crime will still not be reduced.
    If everyone, except the police and military, were completely disarmed, the government (police and military) would possess a monopoly of legal firepower. The disarmed civilians would stand naked before the government and would become, like the Chinese peasants, defenseless victims of whatever the government wishes to do with or to them. To have a defenseless populace is the gun controllers’ goal. Only when the people lack the means to resist effectively oppressive government will the liberals feel secure in remaking mankind in their own image. (A government that cannot trust an independently heavily armed citizenry is a government that cannot be trusted and is in need of replacement.) Even if criminals were initially disarmed along with the law-abiding, they would soon rearm themselves by stealing weapons from the police and military. The disarmed population would be easy prey for them.
    Great Britain has very stringent gun laws. Private ownership of a gun is allowed only under the most extraordinary circumstances. Carrying a gun is illegal. Since Great Britain abolished the death penalty in the late 1960's, the use of firearms in the commission of crimes has risen dramatically: thus evidencing the deterrent effect of capital punishment.
    Great Britain also depicts the path followed by gun controllers. Handguns were banned to curb violent crime. Naturally, this ban proved a failure. So the government did what governments are prone to do; instead of admitting that it was wrong and repealing its bad laws, it extended controls to long-guns. There is much greater use of guns in crimes today with stringent gun control laws than there was before 1920 when there were no gun control laws.
    To conceal their real reason for disarming private citizens, gun controllers resort to a number of sophisms.
    Gun controllers often claim that much of today’s crime problem arises from a heritage of frontier violence and lawlessness. This myth is debunked by a study done by Roger McGrath, a professor of history at UCLA.
    McGrath’s study shows that shootings generally occurred among roughnecks, badmen, hoodlums, and other similar characters. The law-abiding citizens, the young, the old, and women (except prostitutes) were seldom involved in shootings. These people have now become the principal victims of many of today’s shootings.
    His study also shows that the crimes that are most common today — robbery, theft, burglary, and rape — were of no great significance in the old west. Rape was almost nonexistent. A principal reason for the lack of these crimes was the widespread ownership of firearms. This widespread ownership of firearms and the willingness to use them contributed greatly to the relative safety of the average citizen.
    Highwaymen hesitated to rob stagecoaches with armed guards. Instead they held up unguarded coaches. Then they usually limited their theft to the express box. They feared taking money and valuables from passengers, for they knew such action would put an angry posse of citizens ready to turn to vigilantism on their trail. Fear of swift and sure penalty deterred their greed.
    Banks were seldom robbed because employees were armed. Individuals were seldom robbed because most were armed and willing to fight. Most victims of robbery were staggering drunk. Again fear of swift and sure penalty deterred the thief's greed.
    McGrath’s study shows that instead of encouraging crime and violence, the widespread private ownership of guns discourages them. The law-abiding citizen is more secure armed than he is disarmed.
    Gun controllers claim that guns need to be controlled to prevent accidental death by shooting. They claim that accidental death by gun shot is at or near the top of the list of accidental death. To the contrary, accidental death by shooting is near the bottom. Less than 2 percent of all accidental deaths are caused by firearms. Almost 27 times as many people die of automobile accidents as from accidental shootings. More than six times as many die of falls; and three times as many, from drowning. If the objective is to reduce accidental death, causes other than firearms need to be emphasized.
    Gun controllers claim that registration and licensing will reduce death by shooting as well as the number of violent deaths in general. Unfortunately, this claim is false. Two deadly objects exist in the United States in approximately the same number. One object is registered, and its users are licensed while the other object is seldom registered and its users are seldom licensed. Which object involved in the greater number of deaths? The gun controllers would claim that the unregistered object with unlicensed users would cause the greater number of deaths. They would be wrong. More people in the United States die by automobiles than by firearms. There are about as many privately owned firearms in the United States as automobiles. Most firearms are unregistered and most of their users are unlicensed. Automobiles are registered, and their users are licensed. Yet the automobile is involved in more deaths. Almost 40 percent more people die of automobile accidents than from gun shots, including murder and suicide. Registration and licensing do not deter death.
    Registration is often more of a hindrance to police than a help. Criminals steal most guns used in crime. Registration does not lead police to the criminal but to the unfortunate person whose gun has been stolen and who must now prove his innocents.
    Cuba and Germany offer examples as why registration of firearms needs to be opposed. In Cuba Batista, who ruled Cuba before Castro, required gun owners to be licensed and to register their guns. The police records contained a description of the weapon along with its owner’s picture and finger prints. When Castro overthrow Batista, he confiscated all the guns in Cuba: A task that Batista’s registration system made very easy.
    In Germany Hitler enacted a law that required a person to have a permit to buy a gun and another permit to own a gun. Of coarse, Jews and other undesirables, those in the greatest need of weapons to protect themselves from Hitler’s oppression, were denied permits. The permits left a paper trail that made the confiscation of guns very easy. Hitler was, however, thoughtful enough to exempt high-ranking governmental officials, the police (regular and secret), and certain other governmental agents from his gun control law. Thus, he disarmed the victims of his oppression while arming their oppressors.
    Gun controllers claim that homeowners are safer if they offer no resistance to burglars and that homeowners are more likely to be injured if they resist with a gun. Gun controllers often claim that a person who uses a gun for protection is more likely to be injured than someone who offers no resistance. They also claim that private ownership of guns do not deter crime. A study by Dr. Gary Kleck of Florida State University refutes these claims.
    He estimates that firearms are used defensively by private citizens about one million times per year in the United States. In more than 60 percent of these incidents, handguns are used. He has found that guns are used more often defensively than criminally. Most of the time the weapon is not fired and the criminal is not injured. Less than 2 percent of the time is anyone killed or wounded. Between 1500 and 2800 criminals are killed annually by private citizens using firearms in self-defense. This is about two and a half to seven times as many as are killed by police.
    Kleck’s study shows that victims of robbery or assault who use guns for protection are less likely to be attacked or injured than are victims who respond otherwise, including not resisting at all. There is a much greater chance of being hurt during an assault (two and a half time as great) or robbery (one and a half time as great) by not resisting at all than by using a gun for protection. In a majority of cases where a person who uses a gun for protection is injured, the injury preceded the use of the gun to resist. Also those who use guns against would be robbers are less likely to lose their property than those who use other means of resistance or who do nothing.
    The chances of a burglar or other violent criminal encountering a private citizen who will use a gun against him is as great as being arrested. Of coarse the potential victim wielding a gun is much more of a deterrent than the future threat of an arrest because the consequence is immediate and potentially more severe than any punishment offered by the legal system.
    In the United States where many households are armed, burglars tend to avoid occupied dwellings. In countries where private gun ownership is much less than in the United States, burglars are much more likely to enter occupied houses. Burglars fear facing an armed homeowner. This fear reduces confrontations between buglers and victims. The result is fewer deaths and injuries. Thus, firearms reduce death and injury.
    The armed homeowner and storekeeper offer a much greater deterrent to crime than do the police and court system. The police and court system are not designed to prevent crime, but to apprehend and punish after a crime has been committed. The armed homeowner and storekeeper offer a quick, sure, and severe penalty that is directly and immediately related to the crime. This action is a much greater deterrent to crime than the police and court system where arrest and conviction are lengthy and uncertain.
    Kleck’s study also shows that where gun ownership and training are highly publicized, crime tends to decline. His study clearly demonstrates that laws which reduce the ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens would benefit the criminals of society. Widespread ownership of guns by the law-abiding reduces crimes and their concomitant injuries and deaths.
    Gun control laws make self-defense a crime. Perhaps the most notable case is the Bernhard Goetz case. Goetz shot four men in self-defense on a New York subway. The jury found him innocent of all charges brought against him except violating New York’s gun law. For violating that law he was sentenced to six months in prison, fined $5000, and directed to undergo psychiatric treatment (shades of the Soviet Union) plus other penalties. There are other examples of people being punished for using a gun in self-defense. A man in the District of Columbia holds three burglars with his pistol until the police arrive to take them into custody. The three thieves are set free while the man is charged with possessing an improperly registered handgun. In Massachusetts a man shoots and kills another man who is trying to knife him. The jury acquits him of all charges, but the judge sentences him to the mandatory one-year imprisonment for failing to obtain a license for his handgun. In Oak Park, Illinois a filling station operator is arrested for possessing a handgun (private ownership of handguns is prohibited in Oak Park) when he used it to shoot at some robbers that held him at gun point. The result of gun control laws is to penalize an otherwise law-abiding citizen.
    Firearms are the “great equalizer.” They enable a small weak person to stand on equal footing with a larger, stronger adversary. Is it not odd that the same egalitarians who constantly aver the political equality of democracy, economic equality of socialism, and social equality of integration object so strongly to the greatest physical egalitarian invention of man, the gun? They oppose private ownership of guns because they realize that their mad dreams of equality can only be achieved by oppression. If the victims of their egalitarian nightmare are armed, then the victims are on more equal footing with the government and are more capable of successfully resisting oppression.
    In the present union, which Yankeedom controls, law-abiding Southerners must always fear having their guns confiscated and, thereby, being placed at the mercy of criminals and despotic government. The time has come to alleviate this fear. The time has come for a free and independent confederation of free and independent Southern States in which law-abiding Southerners may possess guns without fear of molestation and may use them to protect themselves from criminals and despotic government.

Copyright © 1988 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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