Gun Control or People Control?
One of the biggest issues in the United States today seems to be gun control. The government is constantly proposing legislation for more and more gun control. Slowly they are chipping away at our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You must ask yourself: For what reason does the government want to restrict law abiding citizens from owning guns? Certainly government is not so naive to think criminals will adhere to gun control laws. There just may be an underlying motive for gun control. After all, people would be easier to control if they were defenseless. Few public policy debates have been as dominated by emotion and misinformation as the one on gun control.
Banning guns to reduce crime makes as much sense as banning alcohol to reduce drunk driving. Indeed, convincing evidence shows that civilian gun ownership can be a powerful deterrent to crime. In 1966 the police in Orlando, Florida, responded to a rape epidemic by drafting a highly publicized program to train 2,500 women in firearm use. The next year rape fell by 88 percent in Orlando (the only major city to experience a decrease that year); burglary fell by 25 percent. Actually, of the 2,500 women not one ended up firing her weapon; the deterrent effect of the publicity sufficed. Five years later Orlando's rape rate wasstill thirteen percent below the pre-program level, whereas the surrounding standard metropolitan area had suffered a 308 percent increase.
During a 1974 police strike in Albuquerque armed citizens patrolled their neighborhoods and shop owners publicly armed themselves; felonies dropped notably. In March 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia, enacted a law requiring members of each household to keep a gun at home; house burglaries fell from 65 per year to 26, and to 11 the following year. Comparable publicized training programs for gun-toting merchants distinctly reduced store robberies in Highland Park, Michigan, and New Orleans; a grocers organization's gun clinics produced the same result in Detroit.
Gun control advocates note that only two burglars in 1,000
are driven off by armed homeowners. However, since a huge
majority of burglaries take place when no one is home, the
statistical citation is deceptive. Several criminologists
attribute the predominance of daytime burglary to burglars' fear of encountering an armed resident. Indeed, a burglar's chance of being sent to jail is about the same as his chance of being shot by a victim if the burglar breaks into an occupied residence (one
to two percent in each case).
Gun control is based on the faulty notion that ordinary
American citizens are too hazardous and ill-tempered to be trusted with weapons. Only through the blatant revocation of specific constitutional rights is gun control even possible. It must be enforced with such violations of individual rights as officious search and seizure.
It most severely victimizes those who most need weapons for self-defense, such as blacks and women. Many advocates of gun control believe that legislation in their favor will create a decrease in violent crime. To the contrary, Great Britain, a country with gun control, reports a frightening 1,200 percent increase of violent crimes against individuals in the last thirty three years (between 1960 and 1993). The number of robberies in this same time period has increased by 2,700 percent. Great Britain's overall crime rate has risen by 680 percent.
Gun control advocates--those who favor additional legal
restrictions on the availability of guns or who want to outlaw
certain types of guns--argue that the more guns there are, the
more crime there will be. There is no simple statistical relationship between gun ownership and homicide or other violent crimes. In the first 30 years of this century, U.S. per capita handgun ownership remained steady, but the homicide rate rose tenfold. Consequently, between 1937 and 1963, handgun ownership rose by 250 percent, but the homicide rate fell by 35.7 percent. Switzerland, through its militia system, issues both
pistols and fully automatic assault rifles to all adult males and
requires them to store their weapons at home. Further, civilian
long-gun purchases are basically unregulated, and handguns are
available to any adult without a criminal record or mental defect.
Nevertheless, Switzerland suffers far less crime per capita than the United States and almost no gun crime.
Perhaps we should look beyond guns as the cause of violence. The fact is, violence and crime are perplexedly linked with collapsing educational standards, increasing delinquency and a deteriorating society worldwide. In Australia, a 1989 Parliamentary Inquiry into literacy found that more than one million citizens are functionally illiterate and some 32 percent had problems completing job histories. Corresponding with this is a crime rate that parallels other countries. Between 1973-1974 and 1991-1992 the number of serious assaults has risen 391 percent and the robbery rate increased by 190 percent.
Most police officers agree that gun control laws are
ineffective. A 1986 questionnaire sent to every major police
official in the country produced the following results: 97
percent believed that a firearms ownership ban would not reduce
crime or keep criminals from using guns; 89 percent believed that
gun control laws such as those in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and
New York City had no effect on criminals; and 90 percent believed
that if firearms ownership was banned, ordinary citizens would be
more likely to be targets of armed violence.
Guns do not turn ordinary citizens into murderers. Substantially, fewer than one gun owner in 3,000 commits homicide; and that one killer is far from a typical gun owner.
Studies have found two-thirds to four-fifths of homicide offenders have prior arrest records, commonly for violent felonies. A study in 1977 by the pro-control Police Foundation of domestic homicides in Kansas City disclosed that in 85 percent of homicides among family members, the police had been called in before to break up violence. In half the cases, the police had been called five or more times. Thus, the average person who kills a family member is not a non-violent solid citizen who reaches for a weapon in a moment of temporary insanity. Instead, he has a past record of illegal violence and trouble with the law. Such people on the fringes of society are unlikely to be affected by gun control laws. Indeed, since many killers already had felony convictions, it was already unlawful for them to own a gun, but they found one anyway.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."(Samuel Adams) I could not have said it better. By allowing the government to take away our right to keep and bear arms, we are setting the precedence for the abolishment of all our rights and the eradication of the Constitution of these United States of America.