Friday, 24 May 2024

    Gun Control Lobby Gets It Wrong

    By LtCol Tim Wilson

    For many years now, arguably at least several decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of legal civilian gun owners in the United States. Over the same period there has been a steady decrease in violent crime and murder. The two events correlate closely over such a long period that, while correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, when combined with the common sense factor that criminals are less likely to attack armed victims (including the fact that the great majority of mass shootings occur in “gun free zones”), cause and effect seem highly likely.

     Now we see the gun control lobby, as evinced by a recent article in The Atlantic magazine titled “The Data Are Pointing to One Major Driver of America’s Murder Spike”, trying to blame the recent surge in murders in America on the Second Amendment, particularly the recent increase in gun sales. Unfortunately for the fantasists who wrote the article, they ignore a number of contradictory facts.

     While it is true that gun sales surged by record numbers across the country, much of the US did not suffer an increase in gun murders and shootings, indeed almost all of the increases in homicides are in geographically limited areas – the big cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington DC account for most of the increase. Indeed 17% of all murders in the USA (of which about 80% are committed with a gun) take place just in the above 7 cities.

     If more guns actually led to more murders, those murders would take place across the country rather than in locations that have strong gun controls in place. The cities listed above are where the restrictions on buying firearms placed on law-abiding citizens make the process expensive and time-consuming. Indeed some of them make the process almost prohibitive, despite the Second Amendment, denying the right of armed self-defense particularly to minorities and the poor. Yet these are the places where murders have surged, in some by more than 50%.

     The claims made in such gun control articles also minimize or ignore other factors such as:

    • The timing of the surge in gun sales lagging behind the surge in homicides and shootings, much of which is directly correlated with the riots, looting and violence related to the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
    • The shutting down of large parts of the criminal justice system, both judicial and by law enforcement, in early 2020 due to the pandemic.
    • The political success of the Defund the Police movement, and of the actions by radical District Attorney’s to “decriminalize” numerous felonies and misdemeanors (including illegal weapon possession in some).
    • The disengagement of communities as a result of pandemic isolation as evinced by the drop in the number of 911 calls dropping by half for reporting gun injuries and deaths.

     Furthermore, over recent decades we have seen a number of States and geopolitical areas reduce their restrictions on gun possession and ownership, with more than 20 now allowing “Constitutional Carry” (and at least another 4 likely to do so within the next 2 years). Despite the dire predictions of the gun control lobby, murder rates did not increase in those States which reduced restrictions on who could carry guns (both openly and concealed), indeed FBI data indicates murder and violent crime rates both dropped there.

     It makes sense that a criminal is going to be deterred from committing murder and violent crime by the possibility of their chosen victim being armed. Even more by the possibility that others close by will also be armed and may respond to their threat of violence with lethal force. Perhaps the gun control lobby should consider the Law of Unintended Consequences and the possibility that it is their policies which are creating the conditions for the increased number of murders in areas where their ideas hold sway? They might also consider the possibility that the Founding Fathers knew the character of the average citizen better than they, and that the decision to enable unrestricted gun ownership by law-abiding citizens was better for society?