As with most sociological phenomenon, the “real” effect (facts) are often overshadowed by the emotional sensationalism often generated by media coverage of the phenomenon in question.
Many people believe the simplistic and naive argument that banning all guns will “cure” gun-related crimes. Yet I ask you, Who tends to abide by the gun-laws restricting their ownership or transfer? Law-abiding citizens or criminals? Furthermore, Why do criminals favor gun bans?
Another question I like to ask my students is, Why are there so few gun-related accidents in the military or in law enforcement?
Naive Americans get comfortable believing in the logic that more gun laws make our society a safer place to live. But let me ask you, How well do we enforce our existing gun-control laws?
After looking at statistics on gun-related violence, What are the types of communities that have the most crime related to firearms? What are the types of communities with the least firearm-related crime?
One of the questions related to gun-control is how do gun shows affect gun-related violence in America?
A related question to the ones listed above is How do we blur the distinction between toy guns and real guns?
How do emotions affect gun control beliefs?
MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME?
Most people adhere to the notion that guns cause “problems,” and thus, if we got rid of the guns, we would subsequently get rid of the “problems” associated with them.
In theory this sounds rational. However, there is a drawback. When gun buyback programs and confiscation programs are implemented, it is usually the law-abiding public that conforms to the newly-enacted gun laws. Criminals don’t really care about the laws; hence that’s why they are called criminals. Unless all guns are collected or confiscated simultaneously (or call it what you want), it will be only the criminals who have guns.
Since criminals operate in a self-preservation mode, it is in their best interest to have as many unarmed citizens as possible (potential victims). Inmates have been surveyed, and time-and-again they tell us that one of the most feared potential victims are citizens with guns. Hell, they even fear other armed criminals. They consistently comment about types of crimes that are the most dangerous: crimes involving the risk of a citizen or security personnel having a firearm.
In many cases, merely brandishing a gun in self-defense thwarts the attempted crime. The criminal who sees an armed citizen is likely to press for an escape, or in the case where the weapons are worn openly, they tend to “pick on” someone else. Where citizens can carry concealed weapons (legally), and criminals can’t be sure who is “packing”, the crime rate tends to decrease significantly. More guns; less crime?
Above: the logic implied in the book.
The older editions of the American Rifleman included a section on American citizens using a legal firearm to defend themselves, their family or their business.
I didn’t find the section in the public library’s issue of July 2015. However, I did find it in the online version.
The media rarely report on American citizens using a gun to legally protect their or defend themselves, their family or their business. Rather, the media does tend to sensationalize violent gun crime.
This documentary is very sad.
THE GUNS THEMSELVES ARE TO BLAME
If guns by themselves “cause” gun-related crimes (and accidents), then why aren’t there many crimes or “accidents” with guns in areas where a gun is a MANDATORY? For example, the military and law-enforcement personnel are REQUIRED to carry a gun. Yet why don’t we see many accidental gun deaths in these areas?
These people carry guns alright; however, they are trained to carry guns in a responsible manner. People kill each other and the responsibility should be on people. Personal responsibility is a paramount issue that tends to escape the gun-control debate. Many gun-control advocates put the blame on the guns and not on the people using them.
TOY GUNS VERSUS THE REAL MCCOY
Gun safety should begin with the children. But when the “real thing” and the toy are almost identical, is this sending the wrong message to children? Perhaps it blurs the lines between what is a play thing and what is a potentially dangerous implement? The law requires that a toy weapon have an orange tip. In some cases, the manufacturers even molded the entire toy in orange plastic. However, these totally orange toy weapons weren’t very popular. They were just too unrealistic in the minds of the children to whom they were meant be sold.
Look at the picture below. Which of the two weapons is the toy?
The toy gun has a small red logo behind the trigger guard.(right)
The one on the right is the toy. However, the real bayonet fits on the toy. The forward heat guards on the upper receiver fit both the toy and the real AR-15. The magazine fits into both “weapons.” Again I ask, is this type of toy blurring the lines between the real thing and the toys? The law requires that the toy guns have an orange tip to differentiate them from the real guns. However, many toy gun owners paint over the orange. These types purchased the toy with the intent of displaying it. The orange does stick out and ruins their display. However, if the toy guns and the real guns are identical-looking except for the orange tip, the blurred distinction can send the wrong message to children who may think a real gun is a toy. After all, to children who think literally, what’s the difference?
The law does NOT stipulate the “degree” of the orange that has to appear on the tip (10%-100%). The below picture depicts a toy gun display. Are you able to easily tell which guns are real and which ones are toys? (they are all toys)
AGGRESSIVELY ENFORCE THE GUN LAWS ON THE BOOKS
We need to enforce the laws that we already have on the books. On average, 150,000 people that tried to buy a gun, yet were legally barred from owning or purchasing a gun, were not apprehended after they indeed attempted to buy a weapon. We need to actively and aggressively enforce not only the current laws, but also aggressively enforce the gun safety violators.
We didn’t get to this point, but in the dichotomy of gun control, we overlook some safety loopholes. Although we have waiting periods (which no data show is significantly effective) we should examine our gun-show practices. Some don’t like this idea because it causes some personal inconveniences. If gun-people are serious about gun safety, and many gun show are taking this seriously by requiring any gun purchased AT THE SHOW to first be cleared by a background check.
ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
Many feel they would be safer with a ban on assault weapons. Yet how many gun-related crimes are the result of assault weapons? Not that many. In most gun-relate crime, a hand gun is used to perpetrate such illegal activities; NOT AN ASSUALT WEAPON.
How many are assault weapons?
So the notion that banning assault weapons from the streets would reduce gun violence is misguided. The weapons pictured above are from FBI Uniform Crime Reports. It was President Clinton who said, “We will ban these assault weapons from our streets that have no other purpose than to kill.” President Clinton could not be more wrong. Law-abiding citizens use these types of weapons every day at gun ranges across the country, in well-regulated settings. In fact, President Clinton himself must be preparing to become a killer, unless he can explain why it is OK for him to engage in firing these types of weapons on a safe gun range.
M-4 and AK-47
Clinton is seen here firing a Tommy gun, a full-automatic weapon that must have another purpose other than to kill. He himself is seen here using one at a safe gun range. On the table in front of him are an M-4 (a shortened M-16) and an AK-47. But these guns “have no other purpose than to kill.”
How often are assault weapons used in crimes? The data is surprising given all of the media attention dedicated to banning assault weapons. The laws regulating assault weapons gets interesting given that it’s difficult to define them. However, enacting gun laws means that such weapons must first be defined before they can be restricted or outlawed.
“According to a Department of Justice study, the firearms that the AWB would ban were used in only 2% of gun crimes.”
Gun laws are not enacted in a vacuum. Before any gun legislation is signed into law, there is normally some sort of debate. Meanwhile, the gun manufacturers may become aware of a gun ban that is likely to be enacted in the future. The fact that the gun will be “rare” sometime in the near future makes them more valuable, and more desireable (people tend to like what they aren’t suppose to have). Thus, some manufacturers begin selling the weapon(s) as fast as possible. This may lead to MORE of these types of weapons “on the street.” If a ban on AK-47s was announced to be enacted in 6 months, Russian and Chinese manufacturers would send every boat possible loaded with “product.” And they would make a killing (pun intended).
In fact, while a graduate student living in Arizona at the time of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), I noticed MORE weapons and banned gun magazines available for sale (the logic: bans are usually entail some sort of grandfather clause and those that are imported BEFORE the ban goes into effect are allowed. Thus, the Clinton AWB may have actually put more assault weapons “on the streets” than before the ban.
GUNS AND CHILDREN
Gun control is also often rife with propaganda showing small children as the victims of gun related violence. This plays on the emotions of those with children. The picture showing the child with a gun is often the result of poor parenting (e.g. no gun locks or gun safes). But that part of the equation is ignored.
The debate about “gun control” is often emotional, and fraught with complexities that most Americans are unaware of. Thus, the media tends to frame the issue in an artificial dichotomy; either someone is FOR gun control or they are AGAINST gun control. These aren’t the only two choices. Not to mention that “gun control” is not always the same as “gun elimination.” Gun control may refer to something as simple as more background checks. Gun control may be more sweeping as with the Clinton administration’s AWB. But many Americans adhere to the artificial dichotomies and on top of that, let their emotions get the best of them. Don’t believe everything the media says (either MSNBC or FOX). Investigate for yourself and learn the intricacies about any type of ban (cigarettes, marijuana etc).