1. Gun ownership, support of the Second Amendment, or “gun culture” do not lead to higher murder rates
There are three major things to compare when addressing a correlation between guns and loss of life: statistics across US states, statistics across countries and statistics over time, and I intend to address all three. First, let’s agree to use the homicide rate, not the gun death rate, for two reasons: gun death rate includes suicides, which, while equally tragic, aren’t related to the topic of guns and domestic violence, seeing that suicide has existed since the beginning of time and it doesn’t include murders by non-firearms. If a city banned guns outright and gun murders went down by 1000 but knife murders went up by 2000, why would we consider that gun control law a success even if the firearm related death rate went down?
First, let’s start by comparing time periods. From 1993-2013 the gun homicide rate has plummeted by 49%, while the number of privately owned firearms went up by 56%. The two problematic issues I find with these numbers is it doesn’t adjust for population change and it only counts gun murders, not homicides as a whole. When counting for population change, homicide rate plummeted by a staggering 52.63% while guns per capita increased by 28.22%, so after improving the data, the notion that more guns equates to less crime still isn’t less true.
Unfortunately, not every country has been as lucky as America in this regard. In 1997, the United Kingdom implemented a handgun ban throughout the county, and from 1996 to 2002 alone, when crime in the US and most countries was plummeting, the homicide rate skyrocketed 51.4%. Sadly, the Washington Post article I referenced to cite the UK handgun ban failed to mention that minor detail involving a historic hike in crime, and when the author mentioned the Cumbria rampage in 2010 when 13 people were killed in Britain, it didn’t blame the laws of the land, it just said it could’ve been worse if the gun laws didn’t exist.
If we were to look nationally, there really isn’t firm evidence either way. States like Wyoming, North Dakota and Idaho have some of the highest gun ownership rates in the country and all have a murder rate lower than 2 according to the CDC, while Delaware has the lowest gun ownership rate in the country at around 5.2% and a homicide rate of 7, higher than the national average. Gun control advocates can cherry pick too and point to states like Arkansas and Louisiana as violent gun environments or to New Hampshire as a gun free utopia.
Internationally, there seems to be a much more obvious conclusion: well-armed civilian populations generally have low crime, and vice versa. Look at the numbers and you’ll find that Russia and nearby states, Sub-Saharan Africa and most of Latin-America are evidence of gun-free countries with uncontrollable crime, while Central Europe, the Gulf states and North America represent gun-loving countries with limited domestic crime. However, the best representation of 178 countries can be seen in the image I provided with facts from the UN.
2. Gun rights are a women’s rights issue
The trend of the past few decades is a spike in female gun ownership and a decline in male gun ownership. In 1980, the gender gap calculated by male gun ownership minus female gun ownership was 40.2%, which has fallen to a mere 23.4% in 2014. In 1990, that number was 42.8%, which is also the first year I can find statistics for the forcible rape rate, which was 41.2 until falling to 26.6 in 2014. (This is per 100,000 people) There’s no questioning the correlation here: a 41.8% drop in the gender gun ownership gap matches a 37.9% drop in the forcible rape rate. Correlation doesn’t mean causation, but there are a few indicators that would encourage us to assume causation.
First, are female purchases of firearms for personal protection? Women certainly think so, as female gun owners are over three times more likely than male owners to say protection is the only reason they have a gun. The same source finds that 58% of female owners never go hunting compared to 35% of men. There are many instances of this, including the case of Catherine Latta, who was raped and assaulted by her ex-boyfriend in 1990. She illegally purchased a handgun after being informed a permit would take a week to obtain, and she fatally shot her ex-boyfriend that day when he attacker her outside her home. Amanda Collins was raped when she was a senior in college, and while she had a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to carry a firearm on campus in most states across America.
If one were to stipulate leftist and feminist talking points that a rape culture persists in America, what would the solution be to combat this? Getting liberal sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., John Conyers, Kevin Spacey and Al Franken out of power, fired or exposed brings justice. However, is this the best form of deterrence and does it prevent the vast majority of sex offenders that aren’t sitting senators or Hollywood actors from committing horrible acts? My immediate answer is no.
As much as I think it would be wonderful to snap my fingers and change the behavior of every sexual predator along with every murderer and thief, it’s unrealistic to think we can dramatically change this centuries-old phenomenon overnight. The police response time isn’t nearly quick enough to prevent most rapes and much of the far-left distrusts the police anyways. If altering the behavior of the perpetrators is unrealistic and using a third party (law enforcement) to help with prevention is just as idealistic, the objectively best solution is to help the possible victims, which is usually women. Biologically, men on average have 40% more pounds of upper body mass than women, meaning they are at a disadvantage for defending themselves with handheld melee weapons, leaving the great equalizer to be guns, not safety pins, to help prevent rape.
3. Rifles aren’t normally used in murders
I would express confusion and bewilderment to the Democratic Party’s calls for bans on assault rifles or rifles in general if I wasn’t fully aware that liberals and left-wingers from Vox to Piers Morgan were excellent at cherry-picking or just blatantly ignoring data. In 2016, over 11 million firearms were produced in the United States, 48.5% were pistols or revolvers (“handguns”), 36.87% were rifles, 7.38% were shotguns, 7.25% were miscellaneous firearms. Because I don’t like to fabricate numbers, I subtracted the weapons exported and added those imported so we only count in weapons sold domestically, changing the numbers to 55.67%, 31.47%, 9.6% and 3.26% respectively. These numbers have been fairly consistent across the years and reflect the national amount.
Now, out of all the gun murders in 2016, how many were because of those awful children-killing rifles like the AR-15 that the left hates? After rounding up, 3.4%, compared to 64.57% for handguns and 2.38% for shotguns. So why are liberal politicians and organizations like “March for our lives” spreading false propaganda about rifles? I do not know. All I can tell you is that this misbelief can be added to the long list of lies from the gun control activists.
4. The Australia buyback program wasn’t successful
First off, the notion that the Australian buy-back program was respectful of any freedom that gun owners should have is ridiculous. The gun owners didn’t consent to have their 640,000 firearms taken away from them and didn’t have a role in the money given to them as compensation. In addition, to pay for this, the Australian government levied a 0.2% hike in the Medicare tax to pay for this, raising an expected $500M. (If you count for the Australian inflation rate, this would cost $833.4M today, or $1302 per firearm) Keep in mind, this only took away one third of all firearms in the country. If this were tried in the United States where there are 1.01 firearms per person based on the 2009 numbers, and a 2017 population of 324 million, and then adjusting for the US CPI of 249.62 compared to 112.1 for Australia, would cost just shy of $318B, roughly equal to the GDP of Colombia ($322B). Obviously, I don’t expect the left to care about the fiscal repercussions, but the reality is it would be a strain on the economy if that was ever adopted here.
Australia also hasn’t had a remarkably low homicide rate because there aren’t many guns. In a 2007 study taken after major buy backs, the nation ranked 42nd in the world out of 187 countries for guns per capita. Not only that, but it really didn’t prevent homicides, even though there were few homicides in Australia to begin with. In 1996 when the buyback program began, there were only 354 homicides in the country total. There would be 364 in 1997, 334 in 1998 and 385 in 1999. Did I miss the part where homicides plummeted?
5. Do these specific gun control proposals even work?
One of the biggest reductions in crime nationally in the United States occurred in the 1990s, and the authors of Freakonomics (Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt) concluded that the data doesn’t support the claim that tougher gun laws had anything to do with it. The Brady Bill and Federal Assault Weapons Ban were the two major pieces of gun control laws from the Clinton era.
Let’s paint a picture of a country with remarkably similar gun control laws as the ones that many of these “March for our lives” protestors are calling for. This country has no right in their constitution that guarantees private firearm ownership, citizens are required to have licenses that come with automatic background checks, they are prohibited from having automatic weapons, homemade firearms, armor-piercing ammunition and long guns with shortened barrels. Owners are limited to only purchase five firearms, open carry is illegal, the country has seized at least 2000 firearms every year since 2012 and it only has 6.2 guns per 100,000 people, which is 14 times less than the United States. The country I’m thinking of? Honduras, the country with the highest homicide rate in the world at a whopping 91.6, according to the United Nations. To put that in perspective, if the US had that homicide rate in 2011 when that number was taken, an additional 270,167 people would’ve been killed that year.
6. Most perpetrators of gun crimes aren’t committed by the legal owner
This is not a controversial fact. The University of Pittsburgh found that in the 893 firearms uncovered from crime scenes, only 18% were used by the lawful owner. In a University of Chicago study, less than 2.9% of inmates that possessed a firearm purchased the weapon at a gun store, you know, the place where peaceful gun owners go to buy their firearms. Why are all of these gun control activists focusing on the marginal cases of homicide and trying to pry away guns form the owners that are disproportionately less likely to commit crimes with it?
David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez have all the passion in the world to march across the country and call for ludicrous gun control measures, yet none of the facts. Emma went on a podium to say “They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS.” Every bone in my body hopes she reads this article or really anything for that matter, and I genuinely hope she references something resembling a statistic, fact or academic journal in her future rants. I would print something from 17 year old David Hogg, but I don’t want to publish a poorly articulated collection of word vomit littered with profanity, but I’ll post the link to the data-free eye sore here. The problem is that the facts don’t support the claims or any policy proposal I’ve heard thus far. I didn’t make a natural rights argument and I don’t believe the Constitution or Bill of Rights are impeccable or sacred documents, otherwise the 7th Amendment wouldn’t have ignored the concept of inflation and the issue of slavery would’ve been dealt with. I look at the facts as objectively as I can, and I print it. I challenge David and Emma to a debate on the issue as long as it’s civil, and I warn everyone a final time: rights aside, most of these gun control measures will cause more destruction than prosperity.
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