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Myths About Gun Control


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October 19, 2005

Myths About Gun Control

By John Stossel

Guns are dangerous. But myths are dangerous, too. Myths about guns are very dangerous, because they lead to bad laws. And bad laws kill people.

"Don't tell me this bill will not make a difference," said President Clinton, who signed the Brady Bill into law.

Sorry. Even the federal government can't say it has made a difference. The Centers for Disease Control did an extensive review of various types of gun control: waiting periods, registration and licensing, and bans on certain firearms. It found that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth.

I wanted to know why the laws weren't working, so I asked the experts. "I'm not going in the store to buy no gun," said one maximum-security inmate in New Jersey. "So, I could care less if they had a background check or not."

"There's guns everywhere," said another inmate. "If you got money, you can get a gun."

Talking to prisoners about guns emphasizes a few key lessons. First, criminals don't obey the law. (That's why we call them "criminals.") Second, no law can repeal the law of supply and demand. If there's money to be made selling something, someone will sell it.

A study funded by the Department of Justice confirmed what the prisoners said. Criminals buy their guns illegally and easily. The study found that what felons fear most is not the police or the prison system, but their fellow citizens, who might be armed. One inmate told me, "When you gonna rob somebody you don't know, it makes it harder because you don't know what to expect out of them."

What if it were legal in America for adults to carry concealed weapons? I put that question to gun-control advocate Rev. Al Sharpton. His eyes opened wide, and he said, "We'd be living in a state of terror!"

In fact, it was a trick question. Most states now have "right to carry" laws. And their people are not living in a state of terror. Not one of those states reported an upsurge in crime.

Why? Because guns are used more than twice as often defensively as criminally. When armed men broke into Susan Gonzalez' house and shot her, she grabbed her husband's gun and started firing. "I figured if I could shoot one of them, even if we both died, someone would know who had been in my home." She killed one of the intruders. She lived. Studies on defensive use of guns find this kind of thing happens at least 700,000 times a year.

And there's another myth, with a special risk of its own. The myth has it that the Supreme Court, in a case called United States v. Miller, interpreted the Second Amendment -- "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" -- as conferring a special privilege on the National Guard, and not as affirming an individual right. In fact, what the court held is only that the right to bear arms doesn't mean Congress can't prohibit certain kinds of guns that aren't necessary for the common defense. Interestingly, federal law still says every able-bodied American man from 17 to 44 is a member of the United States militia.

What's the special risk? As Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals judge and an immigrant from Eastern Europe, warned in 2003, "the simple truth -- born of experience -- is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people."

"The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do," Judge Kozinski noted. "But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed -- where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."

http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-10_19_05_JS.html

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"The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do," Judge Kozinski noted. "But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed -- where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."

What a profound statement. People have been duped into believeing that the government and the police will take care of you when there is no possible way for them to do it. Other idiots have you believe that we are just too damn ignorant to responsibly defend ourselves. In states with the right to carry laws, crime is lower. Why? What criminal really wants to get shot? Its the weak that gets preyed upon. I pray that none of you ever have to experience any kind of personal attack. I also pray that if you do, you are armed.

Brazil just tried to ban arms. Their crime rate is horrendous. Their police response is even worse. The Brazilians rejected it. Even they know that criminals will always be armed whether or not its legal.

Linky-dinky

Don't be tricked into thinking tha gun owners are nuts. One day they may be the only thing standing between you and a badman. In that case get behind them and thank them for standing up for your rights.

And gun owners, never give up your arms in an emergency. No law short of martial law can force you to do that. The New Orleans Police tried to do that. Didn't stop the looters or the rapist, but did try to take law-abiding citizens guns away. Travesty. The only thing standing between them and the looters, and the police want to take that away.

Linky-dinky

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The first thing I say to a gun control advocate is usually, "If law abiding people giving up their guns will make us safer, let the police and the army start."

After that, the next thing I usually say is, "Smile when you call me that."

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Has anyone on this board or anyone in the mainstream of American politics recently advocated taking people's guns away?

192570[/snapback]

What do you as the resident lib consider "the mainstream of American politics"?

Even if no one in the mainstream of American politics has recently advocated taking people's guns away, does that mean there are not those who are working to do so?

Or that it is not a topic to discuss?

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Has anyone on this board or anyone in the mainstream of American politics recently advocated taking people's guns away?

192570[/snapback]

What do you as the resident lib consider "the mainstream of American politics"?

Even if no one in the mainstream of American politics has recently advocated taking people's guns away, does that mean there are not those who are working to do so?

Or that it is not a topic to discuss?

192584[/snapback]

Folks can discuss any topic they want. I didn't say "why the hell did you post this?" I just wondered if it was in response to anything; if you saw it as a clear and present threat; who you thought was wanting to do it, etc. In other words, discuss it.

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"We will challenge the constitutionality of this special interest extravaganza in every court where the rights of gun violence victims are being threatened... This bill is an unprecedented attack on the due process rights of victims injured by the misconduct of an industry that seeks to escape the legal rules that govern the rest of us." — Dennis Henigan, of the anti-gun Brady Center on the recent bill limiting liability suits against gun manufacturers and dealers
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I, living in a household with guns, have no problems with background checks, and waiting periods for CERTAIN firearms, I think these laws do protect citizens, on the mere chance some felon is stupid enough to try to "legally" purchase a gun. These laws IMO, help protect us gun owners from those who abuse this constitutional right.

That being said, I am NOT for taking away, blocking the right, for law-abiding citizens to be armed. Our country was founded on, (to quote the movie, the Patriot) "farmers with pitchforks" that took up arms and beat an entire army backed by the King of England. If we, as a Country, stray from these basic rights given to us in the Constitution, then we are putting ourselves back to where we started as the 13 colonies.

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I, living in a household with guns, have no problems with background checks, and waiting periods for CERTAIN firearms, I think these laws do protect citizens, on the mere chance some felon is stupid enough to try to "legally" purchase a gun.  These laws  IMO, help protect us gun owners from those who abuse this constitutional right. 

That being said, I am NOT for taking away, blocking the right, for law-abiding citizens to be armed.  Our country was founded on, (to quote the movie, the Patriot) "farmers with pitchforks" that took up arms and beat an entire army backed by the King of England.  If we, as a Country, stray from these basic rights given to us in the Constitution, then we are putting ourselves back to where we started as the 13 colonies.

192728[/snapback]

Well said channonc!

Are there any Democrats on the national scene who say the same thing? If so, who?

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I, living in a household with guns, have no problems with background checks, and waiting periods for CERTAIN firearms, I think these laws do protect citizens, on the mere chance some felon is stupid enough to try to "legally" purchase a gun.  These laws  IMO, help protect us gun owners from those who abuse this constitutional right. 

That being said, I am NOT for taking away, blocking the right, for law-abiding citizens to be armed.  Our country was founded on, (to quote the movie, the Patriot) "farmers with pitchforks" that took up arms and beat an entire army backed by the King of England.  If we, as a Country, stray from these basic rights given to us in the Constitution, then we are putting ourselves back to where we started as the 13 colonies.

192728[/snapback]

WOW! Logic from the slight left. You will lose your card for this.... :poke:

I have no problem with the instant background check. But I do not like the waiting period. If you are qualified through a background check, then why wait. I also advocate if you have a carry permit, then no check, no wait. It has already been done.

But I also would be curious to know just exactly what "CERTAIN" applies to. I may not have an issue with the same gusn you do. And that is where many people differ.

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I, living in a household with guns, have no problems with background checks, and waiting periods for CERTAIN firearms, I think these laws do protect citizens, on the mere chance some felon is stupid enough to try to "legally" purchase a gun.  These laws  IMO, help protect us gun owners from those who abuse this constitutional right. 

That being said, I am NOT for taking away, blocking the right, for law-abiding citizens to be armed.  Our country was founded on, (to quote the movie, the Patriot) "farmers with pitchforks" that took up arms and beat an entire army backed by the King of England.  If we, as a Country, stray from these basic rights given to us in the Constitution, then we are putting ourselves back to where we started as the 13 colonies.

192728[/snapback]

Well said channonc!

Are there any Democrats on the national scene who say the same thing? If so, who?

192749[/snapback]

With the exception of supporting the assault weapons ban, I would say most national Dems would basically support what Channonc said. Howard Dean consistently received the NRAs highest rating when he was governor of Vermont. I think Wes Clark and John Edwards had similar views, except for supporting the assault weapons ban.

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