Difference between revisions of "Gun control"
(pro and con)
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* Outright bans on private possession of firearms, though this has never occurred in the United States
* Outright bans on private possession of firearms, though this has never occurred in the United States
===Arguments in favor==
===Arguments in favor==
"The only purpose of a gun is to kill people."
"The only purpose of a gun is to kill people."
Revision as of 12:50, 28 March 2013
Gun control laws restrict the purchase or ownership of guns, even though guns are typically acquired for defensive and/or sporting purposes. Studies show that more gun ownership results in less crime, but liberals push gun control because it increases the dependency of voters on government for protection. The political effect of gun control is to shift voters leftward, and hence the primary supporters of gun control are the liberal media and leftist politicians. In the United Kingdom, which already has the strictest gun control in Europe, leftists demand control over 120,000 deactivated guns, even though their activation and use constitute only 0.04% of all gun offenses there. But leftists want gun control because fewer guns means greater dependency on government.
Gun control is a denial or limitation by governments of the right to armed self-defense, as promised by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Genocide has occurred only after gun control first disarmed the citizenry.
Gun control laws cause enormous hardships. In May 2012, a gun control law resulted in a 20-year prison sentence against an African American woman for merely firing warning shots against her husband, and there was widespread outrage in Florida against this unconscionable sentence.
In the United States the three primary federal gun control laws are:
These laws have further been amended by other laws such as the Firearms Owners Protection Act (1986) and the Omnibus Crime Bill (1994).
Fed up with federal gun control, in 2009 States began considering (Utah) or passing (Montana) laws "making guns that are made and kept within state boundaries exempt from federal regulations" including "background checks, licensing and registration."
- 1 The Fallacy and Motivation for Gun Control
- 2 Trends
- 3 Overview
- 4 Constitutional Debate
- 5 Racism of gun control
- 6 Sexism of gun control
- 7 Elitism of gun control
- 8 Gun control outside the United States
- 9 Gun Control and Genocide
- 10 Gun Control and young mass murderers
- 11 Other terms
- 12 See Also
- 13 External Links
- 14 References
The Fallacy and Motivation for Gun Control
Gun control potentially causes an increase in crime by restricting its main deterrent: self-defense. A study by Professor Gary Kleck, initially a liberal critic of gun control, caused him to change his mind on this issue when the evidence showed that crime was predominantly prevented when people could carry guns. See Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America. In the United States, law-abiding uses of guns outnumber criminal uses by about a factor of 1000 to 1, and the removal of guns from everyone eliminates the lawful use of self-defense and its deterrent effect. "Americans use firearms to defend themselves from criminals at least 764,000 times a year." Specific examples of guns being used successfully in self-defense are easy to find. "In 1982, a survey of imprisoned criminals found that 34% of them had been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim." When Florida began allowing its citizens to carry a concealed weapon, Florida's firearm homicide rate fell by 37% while the national average increased by 15%. As explained below, the political effect of gun control is to cause voters to become more dependent emotionally on government and more supportive of bigger government.
Studies by John Lott and others indicate that gun control causes higher crime rates. Washington, D.C. has one of the highest crime rates in America even though it completely bans private handguns. "Switzerland, Israel, Denmark and Finland, all of whom have a higher gun ownership rate than America, all have lower crime rates than America, in fact, their crime rates are among the lowest in the Western World." Lott demonstrates that in Britain, Australia and Canada, increased gun control in the late 1990s led to increased crime, the exact opposite of what the proponents of the gun control promised. States in the U.S. that have enacted concealed-carry laws enjoy lower crime rates.
In Australia, where gun ownership was less widespread and the gun control measures were less strict, there was an immediate increase in robbery and armed robbery after the gun control went into effect in 1996 (see chart at right).
There is no clear evidence supporting a decrease in crime from gun control. Although from 1979 to 1996, 11,110 Australians died by gunshot representing an annual average of 617. In the seven years after new gun laws were announced (1997 to 2003), the yearly average almost halved, to 331. In the decade up to and including Port Arthur There have been 11 mass shootings where 100 people were shot dead and another 52 wounded, while in In the 10 years since 1996 and the new gun laws, not one mass shooting (more than five victims) has occurred in Australia (although in 2002 a gunman killed two and wounded four at Monash University) 
Subsequent to gun control in England:
- "from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now [as of 2002] six times greater than in New York. England's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America's, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world's crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people."
Gun control in Britain and Australia has been followed by a predictable shift to the left politically by voters as they lost their instrument of self-defense and became more emotionally dependent on government. Contrast that with the United States, where an effort to push gun control after the Columbine massacre failed in 2000 and the government has remained as conservative -- if not more so -- ever since.
The emasculation of the citizenry by gun control also arguably reduces the resistance of a society to intimidation, and exacerbates fear of consequences from causing offense. Subsequent to the passage of strict gun control in England some teachers have avoided teaching controversial subjects such as the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Crusades during history classes. Teaching Emotive and Controversial History 3-19] (p.15) The anti-self-defense attitude of British authorities has also turned criminals into "victims" and victims who fight back into "criminals." One particularly egregious case involved a farmer being sentenced to life imprisonment for defending himself in his home after the home was repeatedly burglarized 
After decades of increasing gun control laws, the current trend in the United States is in the direction of more gun rights. The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill included a ban on certain new rifles labeled assault rifles solely because of features of their appearance, and on new high-capacity magazines. This law recently expired and was not renewed by Congress. Also, Washington D.C.'s gun ban was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 9, 2007.
By removing the deterrent effect of guns, gun control causes dramatic increases in crimes committed with other weapons:
- You are now six times more likely to be mugged in London than New York. Why? Because as common law appreciated, not only does an armed individual have the ability to protect himself or herself but criminals are less likely to attack them. They help keep the peace. A study found American burglars fear armed home-owners more than the police. As a result burglaries are much rarer and only 13% occur when people are at home, in contrast to 53% in England.
Supporters of gun control argue that homicide with guns is much less in England than in the United States, but that was true even before gun control and is likely due to cultural reasons. "A study comparing New York and London over 200 years found the New York homicide rate consistently five times the London rate, although for most of that period residents of both cities had unrestricted access to firearms. When guns were available in England they were seldom used in crime. A government study for 1890-1892 found an average of one handgun homicide a year in a population of 30 million."
Gun control laws are often seen to conflict with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which recognizes the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
The "right to keep and bear arms" is a right guaranteed to the American citizen by the Bill of Rights through the virtue of a selective reading of said Bill. The phrase "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" precedes the statement, and most federal Courts of Appeals have held that this phrase requires that the "right to bear arms" relates to the collective rights of state militias, as opposed to the individual's rights to have any weapon desired. Just recently, the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit went against nine other circuits in holding that the Second Amendment constitutes an individual right. However, according to the judge writing for the majority in this case, its decision does still allow for "reasonable restrictions" on gun ownership and use, such as carrying of guns by intoxicated individuals, or in churches.
"Gun control" can include:
- Restricting which persons can own firearms.
- Restrictions on the number of firearms a person may own, or purchase during a given time period
- Requirements that privately owned firearms be registered with the government.
- Bans on certain types of firearms; for example, "handguns" or assault rifles
- Restrictions on where firearms may be carried, for example into restaurants or post offices
- Requiring a "background check" and/or a "waiting period" to purchase a firearm
- Restricting when and where firearms may be bought and sold, for example banning their sale through the mail
- Requiring licenses or some other form of permission from the government to buy and/or sell a firearm
- Requiring some form of permission from the government to carry a firearm in public, either concealed or openly
- Laws granting special gun rights for some people, for example retired law enforcement officers, which are denied the rest of the public, which was used in several southern states.
- Outright bans on carrying firearms in public
- Outright bans on private possession of firearms, though this has never occurred in the United States
Arguments in favor
"The only purpose of a gun is to kill people."
Ann Coulter wrote, "Numerous studies, including one by the National Institute of Justice, show that crime victims who resist a criminal with a gun are less likely to be injured than those who do not resist at all or who resist without a gun. That's true even when the assailant is armed." 
The Second Amendment reads:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Most constitutional scholars agree that since the amendment refers to "the right of the People" instead of the right of the militia, it protects an individual right to own guns. The reason for this was the fact that the supplying of guns for the military and militas was already provided for in Article I Section 8 as a power of Congress. The extent of that right was something hotly debated for decades, until the Supreme Court ruling of 26 June, 2008, Heller v District of Columbia.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, held for the first time that the Constitution provides an individual right to bear arms, such as for self-defense, rather than a right that applies only to a state militia.
The decision upheld an appellate court ruling striking down Washington, D.C.'s 1976 handgun ban. The case marked the first time in more than 70 years that the Supreme Court had addressed the Second Amendment and the first time it spoke directly about the implication of an individual right. The court struck down two of the District of Columbia's gun control laws: its handgun ban and its requirement that other firearms kept at home have a trigger lock or be disassembled.
Relying on the broader historical record, Justice Scalia wrote:
|“||putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.||”|
Scalia noted that the ruling should not be interpreted to "cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings." 
Racism of gun control
In the United States of America, gun control has a strong racist origin and reasoning. Before the Civil War ended, State "Slave Codes" prohibited slaves from owning guns. After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery was adopted and the Civil War ended in 1865, States persisted in prohibiting blacks, now freemen, from owning guns under laws renamed "Black Codes." They did so on the basis that blacks were not citizens, and thus did not have the same rights, including the right to keep and bear arms protected in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as whites. This view was specifically articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in its infamous 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford to uphold slavery.
The United States Congress overrode most portions of the Black Codes by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The legislative histories of both the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as The Special Report of the Anti-Slavery Conference of 1867, are replete with denunciations of those particular statutes that denied blacks equal access to firearms. [Kates, "Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment," 82 Mich. L. Rev. 204, 256 (1983)] However, facially neutral disarming through economic means laws remain in effect.
After the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1878, most States turned to "facially neutral" business or transaction taxes on handgun purchases. However, the intention of these laws was not neutral. An article in Virginia's official university law review called for a "prohibitive tax...on the privilege" of selling handguns as a way of disarming "the son of Ham," whose "cowardly practice of 'toting' guns has been one of the most fruitful sources of crime.... Let a negro board a railroad train with a quart of mean whiskey and a pistol in his grip and the chances are that there will be a murder, or at least a row, before he alights." Thus, many Southern States imposed high taxes or banned inexpensive guns so as to price blacks and poor whites out of the gun market.
Today, "gun control" laws continue to be enacted so as to have a racist effect if not intent:
- Police-issued license and permit laws, unless drafted to require issuance to those not prohibited by law from owning guns, are routinely used to prevent lawful gun ownership among "unpopular" populations.
- Public housing residents, approximately 3 million Americans, are singled out for gun bans.
- "Gun sweeps" by police in "high crime neighborhoods" whereby vehicles and "pedestrians who meet a specific profile that might indicate they are carrying a weapon" are searched are becoming popular, and are being studied by the U.S. Department of Justice as "Operation Ceasefire."
- Some U.S. cities with high minority populations, such as Washington, D.C., are singled out for gun bans.
- "Project Exile" began in the U.S. city of Richmond, Virginia and mandated that people arrested for technical firearms violations (note: not for violent crimes committed with a firearm, but for technical violations of the law) be tried in federal court where they would be subject to lengthy mandatory minimum sentences rather than in state court under the more lenient Virginia laws. As with many other restrictions this was aimed primarily at the city's Black residents. It has since been copied in many other cities.
Sexism of gun control
Firearms, especially lower recoiling ones such as many handguns, allow any person to wield enough power to stop another person from attacking them. Many women (quite reasonably) fear the threat of attack by a physically stronger man, and a firearm could prevent many of these attacks, but gun bans leave these women vulnerable. Take the case of the “North Side Rapist” in Chicago, a city where hand guns are banned, as an example: The rapist broke in to the womens homes, and at least one of the women heard him break in and then climb the stairs. Had this woman had a handgun, she almost certainly could have stopped the rapist before it was too late. This would have prevented her from enduring such a horrific crime, as well as preventing the rapist’s future victims from experiencing the same thing. Instead, Chicago law prevented her from being able to defend herself, and gave the advantage to the rapist/home-invader. This is not an isolated incident, and similar events happen every day across the county.
Elitism of gun control
Many of the most ardent American anti-gun politicians, such as Chicago’s Mayor Daley, are protected by taxpayer-sponsored armed body guards, but deny law abiding citizens the right to defend themselves with a gun.  These politicians seemingly believe themselves to be part of an elite group who deserve to be protected against violent criminals, while ordinary law-abiding citizens are left with less-effective means to defend themselves, and must instead rely on the police arriving in time.
Gun control outside the United States
Gun control advocates cite foreign countries to argue that gun control can reduce crime, but such comparison can be difficult due to the presence of other factors. For example, they cite Singapore as having gun control and a lower crime rate than the United States, but Singapore has less than 5 million persons and one of the highest literacy and average wealth in the world. It lacks many of the freedoms found in the United States and strictly imposes harsh physical punishment, such as caning and the death penalty, for crimes that are not punished so harshly in the United States. The real issue of the security in Singapore is its tight criminal control, not the gun control itself.
Gun control supporters also cite Japan's gun control laws, which severely restrict gun ownership and crime rates are relatively low. But Japan also lacks many freedoms and diversity which exist in the United States, and Japan has strong cultural deterrents to crime. Ironically, Japan is home to Tokyo Marui, the world's largest airsoft gun manufacturer, which designs airsoft guns that are made to the same scale and with the same materials as the real counterpart and which have been mistaken by police for real guns.
In the European Union, gun control is more strict than in the United States, but gun ownership differs widely between member states, from 36 per 100 people in Cyprus to one per 100 in Poland." In Switzerland, on the other hand, gun ownership is quite widespread, which no doubt contributes to its reputation as a peaceful and neutral country. In November 2007, the European Parliament passed legislation to tighten and harmonize gun control across the EU, and oblige each member state to set up a computerized database of firearms, as it "hoped to prevent Europe from becoming a gun-friendly culture like the United States". Parliament wanted to limit cross-border trade from states with less control to those with tougher laws, such as from Lithuania, where replica guns can cost as little as €100 (US$150), to the United Kingdom, where most replicas are outlawed.
In Australia, gun violence has always been significantly lower than other types of violence.. Australia has not experienced considerable violence problems with legally purchased guns. It has always had a much lower homicide rate than the more violent culture in the United States. From 1979 to 1996, 11,110 Australians died by gunshot representing an annual average of 617. In the seven years after new gun laws were announced (1997 to 2003), the yearly average almost halved, to 331. In the decade up to and including Port Arthur There have been 11 mass shootings where 100 people were shot dead and another 52 wounded, while in In the 10 years since 1996 and the new gun laws, not one mass shooting (more than five victims) has occurred in Australia (although in 2002 a gunman killed two and wounded four at Monash University).
Gun control began in Australia in response to fears that guns would be used by home-grown Communist Revolutionaries. The most restrictive reforms were made in 1996 and 2002, following highly publicized shootings.
Both sets of reforms (1996 and 2002) were lead by Prime Minister John Howard of the Coalition(Australia’s conservative government). Howard was well known as an anti-gun advocate. The move offended gun supporters, many of whom had traditionally supported the Coalition. Despite the loss of this voting group, Howard won elections following both reforms (in 1998 and 2004).
There is controversy over the success of Australia’s gun restrictions. Studies suggest overall gun violence has decreased since the 1996 and 2002 bans. However, Australia’s bike and drug gangs, the main perpetrators of gun violence, still easily access illegal firearms. Further, the overall homicide rate remains constant.
Gun Control and Genocide
- In 1911, Turkey imposed gun control and then, from 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million defenseless Armenians were killed.
- In 1929, the Soviet Union imposed gun control and over the next 24 years about 20 million defenseless dissidents were killed.
- In 1935, China established gun control from 1948-1952 20 million political dissidents were killed.
- In 1938, Germany imposed gun control and then over the next seven years 13 million defenseless Jews and other victims were exterminated. 
- In 1956, Cambodia established gun control and between 1975 and 1977 one million oppositionals were exterminated.
- In 1970, Uganda imposed gun control. Between 1971 and 1979 300,000 Christians and political oppositionals were killed.
"The Nazis made only two important changes to the Weapons Law that was in place when they came to power. First, they forbade Jews from owning guns or any other weapon. Second, they exempted members of the Sturmabteilung (SA) and many Nazi party officials from the law's strictures." The German Firearms Act of 1937 stated "No civilian is to have a firearm without a permit and permits shall not be issued to persons suspected of acting against the state. For Jews, this permission will not be granted. Those people who do not require permission to carry weapons include the whole of the SS, and the SA - including the Deaths Head group, and the officers of the Hitler youth." 
Adolf Hitler said, "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so." 
Josef Stalin, former dictator of the USSR and murderer of over 20 million people, infamously supported gun control in the fear that his evil regime might be torn down and so only soldiers could have firearms.
Gun Control and young mass murderers
Main article: Young mass murderers
Strict gun control failed and still fails to prevent mass murderers from starting killing sprees while the victims are unable to defend themselves.
Compare the cases of Pekka-Eric Auvinen (Finland) and Robert Steinhäuser (Germany) with the case of Matthew Murray. The latter was stopped by an armed citizen before he could harm more victims; Auvinen killed 8 people and Steinhäuser killed 16. Both Finland and Germany have gun control laws.
Other terms sometimes used by those who are opposed to gun control include:
- Rights restriction
- Victim disarmament
- Gun control quotes
- Essay:US Armed Citizens and Crime Control
- John Lott
- Second Amendment
- Gun Control in Nazi Germany
Opposed to gun control
- Second Amendment Sisters
- The National Rifle Association
- Armed citizens defending themselves.
- A Human Right Discussion of the human right to self defense with a firearm.
- Learn About Guns Firearm information and politics.
- Gun Owners of America A no-compromise pro-gun lobby in Washington, D.C.
- What Liberals Say - Category: Gun Control
- GunCite: Gun Control and Second Amendment Issues
- Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
- National Shooting Sports Foundation
- Students for Concealed Carry
In favor of gun control
- Gun Control and the Second Amendment
- Myth: Switzerland proves that high gun-ownership doesn't increase murder
- Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
- Violence Policy Center
- League of Women Voters
- Quotes of Leftists Demanding Gun Control
- "In contrast to most other weaponry, firearms are preeminently defensive in effect." Washington University Law Quarterly
- People who support gun control claim or pretend that gun control laws significantly reduce violent crime. Why People Are Irrational about Politics
- Gun control primarily restricts the lawful acquisition and use of guns. Over 99% of the guns restricted by most gun control regulation are used in a lawful manner.
- http://www.americanselfdefense.com/gunfacts3.0.pdf (p. 60)
- "This figure is the lowest among a group of 9 nationwide surveys done by organizations including Gallup and the Los Angeles Times." (Just Facts - Gun Control)
- Two 70-ish store owners stopped armed robberies of their stores by shooting at the bandits. "The person came in and pointed the gun at him and my father shot him. I'm proud of him." Buffalo News
- John Lott's Website
- District of Columbia Crime Rates 1960 - 2006
- Slashdoc - gun control
- John R. Lott Jr. and Eli Lehrer - Add Gun Control To Litany Of Misbegotten Gov't Plans
- Cato report
- Gun control passed in Australia because "public was immediately whipped into a gun control frenzy by the press" after the "Port Arthur massacre" in Tasmania on April 28, 1996, in which 32 were shot dead and 19 injured. "Although polls done prior to the massacre indicated that the public was satisfied with the amount of 'gun control' they already had, a major newspaper did a poll just a few days after the massacre (while all minds were "clear") and, not surprisingly, found high levels of support for extreme gun control measures. This poll would be used forever by the commonwealth government and other gun controllers to claim that Australians supported the new gun laws to come." - Gun Control in Australia (by gunsandcrime.org)
- Results of the Australian Gun "Buyback" & New Gun Laws, October 2001
- Study showing lack of promised benefits from gun control
- However this increase in recorded violent crime between 1997 and 2001 is explained by the Home Office as a result of changes in the definition of violent crime and new counting rules introduced in 1998. Violent Crime in England and Wales According to the British Crime Survey, which is considered a more reliable guide to trends in crime, violent crime fell 24% between 1997 and 2001/02, and burglary fell 40% over the same period.Trends in BCS incidents of crime
- The New York Times - Appeals Court Says Gun Ban Violates 2nd Amendment
- The Washington Post - D.C.'s Ban On Handguns In Homes Is Thrown Out
- In 2005/06, the total number of victims of homicide by shooting (including crossbows) in England and Wales was 50 and there were 212 victims of homicide by sharp instruments. [Home Office Statistical Bulletin - Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2005/2006 The data for gun deaths in the United States include guns used in self-defense, as in fending off an assault, robbery or rape, and there were a total of 11,350 gun deaths (including deaths of criminals) in 2005.[US Department of Justice, FBI - Crime in the United States by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants, 1986 - 2005
- The New York Times - Court Rejects Strict Gun Law as Unconstitutional
- FOX News - Appeals Court Strikes Down Washington, D.C. Handgun Ban
- David Kopel, "The Democrats and Gun Control," Wall St.J., Page A19, April 17, 2008 
- Supreme Court Opinion, District of Columbia v Heller
- Comment, Carrying Concealed Weapons, 15 Va L. Reg. 391, 391-92 (1909); George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal (GMU CR LJ), Vol. 2, No. 1, "Gun Control and Racism," Stefan Tahmassebi, 1991, p. 75.
- Gun control in Switzerland
- In Australia the gun related homicide rate is 0.44 per 100,000 of population. In the US it is about 8 times as high at 3.72 per 100,000 of population.
- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1083528 This study discusses the parallel policies of early-mid 20th century Britain and Australia.
- http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/a-safer-place-after-howards-gun-buyback/2006/04 /27/1145861484114.html?page=2
- "[A] society's weapons policy might be one of the institutional arrangements that contributes to the probability of its government engaging in some of the more extreme varieties of outrage. ... [I]t is  an arresting reality that not one of the principal genocides of the twentieth century, and there have been dozens, has been inflicted on a population that was armed." Washington University Law Quarterly
- The True Face of Gun Control, Dean Speir, The Gun Zone RKBA, Accessed December 26, 2007
- The Journalist's Guide to Gun Policy Scholars and Second Amendment Scholars, Professor Eugene Volokh, FreeRepublic.com, March 15, 2000