More Guns, Less Crime

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. William Burroughs

The two recent murders in Canada by men who have been linked to Islamic terrorism show us just how vulnerable Western communities are to violent acts.

Of course, it is impossible to prevent all crime occurring. When violence and murder are in the human heart, it cannot all be stamped out by legislation, or by anything any community can do. But what we can do is pass legislation so that law-abiding citizens have access to firearms.

Why is this so critical? Despite the best intentions of police, they cannot be everywhere. It is thus foolish in the extreme to severely limit community ownership of firearms. What inevitably results is that every community becomes almost powerless to prevent or even limit violent acts when they begin to unfold.

This has been shown, time and time again, both in the US, in Europe and in Australia. “Gun-free zones” become places that attract violent criminals, because they know they’ll be able to continue with a shooting rampage for a long time, until police arrive. There will be no law-abiding, armed citizens to stop them. And that may be hours.

This has been the consistent theme behind the US tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood and Newtown, the British school massacre at Dunblane, the Norwegian tragedy perpetuated by Anders Breivik in 2011, when 77 people were murdered, and Australia’s Port Arthur massacre in 1996: no law-abiding citizen around with a firearm to stop a mass murderer.

Guns are used to perpetuate crime, but guns are used very commonly by police and citizens to stop criminals. Some of the important statistics to remember in this context, from the US Journal of Quantitative Criminology in 1993, are these ones:

  1. Criminals with ill intent and potential homicidal incentives are fended off by firearms around 498,000 times per year.
  2. A major survey of felons imprisoned across the United States found that 34% of the inmates had been scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim at least once. An even greater 40% actually did not commit a crime due to the fear that the victim was carrying a gun, thus showing how an armed public actually stops crime.
  3. The United States Centers for Disease Control has found that firearms prevent home break-ins over 490,000 times per year.

This is an issue that is consistently misunderstood all over the world, and the fact is this. Banning guns or severely limiting the public’s access to weapons, does not make any community any safer. It means the community becomes more vulnerable to violence and murder.

Legislation controlling the use of firearms in the United States varies from State to State. Some States have restrictive legislation, some have little legislation. The results have been astonishing. Based on the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the eight states with the most restrictive gun laws (District of Columbia,* California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland) have an average of 4.4 gun murders per 100,000 people. But the eight States with the least restrictive gun laws (Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma) have an average of 2.8 gun murders per 100,000 people.

States with the most restrictive gun laws have 60% more gun murders per 100,000 than the states with the least restrictive gun laws.

(*The District of Columbia is not a State. For the purpose of these comparisons, the District of Columbia is listed as a state for the purpose of these comparisons. After all, it is a separate unit of government like the states, and it has more population than Vermont or Wyoming.)

Let’s examine the history of a unique US city, Kennesaw (population 32,000). Google tells us

Several Kennesaw officials attribute a drop in crime in the city over the past two decades [in 2002] to a law that requires residents to have a gun in the house.

In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously passed a law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition.

The ordinance states the gun law is needed to “protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.” Then-councilman J.O. Stephenson said after the ordinance was passed, everyone “went crazy.”  “People all over the country said there would be shootings in the street and violence in homes,” he said. “Of course, that wasn’t the case.”

In fact, according to Stephenson, it caused the crime rate in the city to plunge. Kennesaw Historical Society president Robert Jones said following the law’s passage, the crime rate dropped 89 percent in the city, compared to the modest 10 percent drop statewide. “It did drop after it was passed,” he said. “After it initially dropped, it has stayed at the same low level for the past 16 years.”

Mayor Leonard Church was not in office when the law was passed, but he said he is a staunch supporter of it. “You can’t argue with the fact that Kennesaw has the lowest crime rate of any city our size in the country,” said Church, who owns a denture-making company in Kennesaw.

In a 25-year period, New York City has had more than 15,000 murders (2245 in 1990 alone), while Kennesaw, Georgia, had 1.

What happened at the Canadian Parliament, on 23rd October? The Sergeant of Arms, upon hearing that there was an armed man in the building threatening violence, went to his office, got his handgun from the drawer, confronted the gunman, and shot him. It took just one law-abiding 58 year old grandfather to stop the murderer in his tracks.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                              

When there are millions of law-abiding armed people in a nation, criminals know they will be forcibly opposed by them, not just the police. It makes them think twice about crime. It will almost certainly reduce rates of violent crime. The community or nation will be safer.

What do we really need? More guns. It will lead to less crime.