Searching For The Truth Regarding Guns

Yesterday American Greatness posted an article detailing some of the lies the American people are currently being told about guns.

The article reports:

There’s a lot to unpack here about so-called “assault weapons.” The first challenge is the absence of any fixed legal definition of what constitutes an “assault weapon.” Numerous state laws have defined the phrase as everything from paintball guns to all semiautomatic firearms to Remington 11-87 shotguns, the latter famously used by former presidential candidate John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Labor Day in 2004 to demonstrate his legitimately good trap-shooting skills.

The vague term “assault weapon” is distinct from an assault rifle, however, which refers to a rapid-fire, magazine fed rifle that allows the shooter to select between semiautomatic (requiring you to pull the trigger for each shot), fully automatic (hold the trigger and the gun continuously fires) or three-round-burst modes. Assault rifles are, for all intents and purposes, already banned in the United States. More on that shortly.

The next lie is that the assault weapons ban worked:

Except it didn’t. “There is no compelling evidence that it saved lives,” according to Duke University public policy experts Philip Cook and Kristin Goss. A 2004 Department of Justice study found no evidence the ban had any effect on gun violence, stating “should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” Other studies have found no statistically significant relationship between “assault” weapons or large-capacity magazine bans and homicide rates.

There is also substantial misunderstanding surrounding what the Assault Weapons Ban, which passed in 1994 and sunset in 2004, actually did. It didn’t ban anyone from owning an “assault-style” (again, an undefined term) weapon. All magazines and weapons produced before the ban were grandfathered in, and some companies actually ramped up production of the soon-to-be-outlawed firearm components, drastically increasing ownership of what lawmakers were seeking to reduce.

The article mentions:

Also, given the frequently cited claim that “assault weapons lead to more murder,” it’s worth pointing out that at least 730,000 AR-15s (not an assault rifle, but more on that in a bit) were manufactured and legally sold while the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect, and the national murder rate declined.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We are being sold a bill of goods by people who want to take our Second Amendment rights away.

The article concludes with information about the shooting that recently occurred in Odessa, Texas:

The shooter was also prohibited under federal law from owning a firearm because a court previously had found him mentally unfit. He evidently had tried to purchase a gun in January 2014 but failed because the nationwide criminal background check system had flagged the mental health determination.

The federal Firearms Transaction Record, form 4437, required for all gun purchases, asks “have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?” Falsifying the form is a crime.

It was later revealed the shooter had a criminal record that included pleading guilty to criminal trespassing and evading arrest, both of which are misdemeanors in Texas. He did not receive jail time, but instead got two years of probation.

The Odessa shooting was a horror. But existing laws prevented it from happening sooner. And the fact that he got a gun at all tells us what common sense already teaches: motivated criminals don’t abide by laws.

As my boss, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said recently, the breakdown of the culture is more responsible for mass shootings than the availability of the guns themselves. There are myriad reasons for this, but lawmakers, he noted, need to set a better example for how to treat people before rushing to strip Second Amendment rights from the rest of us.

If guns are illegal, people who follow the law will not have them. If guns are illegal, people who do not follow the law will have them. It’s that simple.

A Unique, But Logical, Approach To Gun Violence

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article with the following headline, “To Reduce Gun Violence, Arm All Americans.” That is probably the only real solution.

The article reports:

So there was another shooting in Texas. At last count, including the perpetrator, there are seven dead and around 20 injured. We don’t really know anything much about the perpetrator except that he’s been identified as white. Apparently, what prompted the shooting was the perpetrator was stopped by the police, shot his way out, and then raced off, shooting other people until he was finally cornered and shot dead. (Prediction: we’ll find out he had a long criminal record and active arrest warrants for major crimes.)

Now because I’m sure some rental commenter is just waiting to start typing, yes I think it’s awful that people got shot and killed. On the other hand, five people have been killed and 42 injured in Chicago already this weekend. Just this weekend. And I can’t help but wonder why the extremely high murder rates in places like Chicago and Baltimore don’t seem to be news stories.

I’ll leave that for another rant, however, and point out that when you consider murder rates there is a very very high correlation between really stringent gun laws and really high gun violence.

Or put that another way: research shows that very high gun ownership rates correlate with low gun violence. This is true on a local level, and it’s true nationwide where gun ownership has grown dramatically while nationwide gun violence has dropped about 25 percent.

It’s also true that beyond a simple statistical observation, most of the specific recommendations or approaches that people have suggested have no effect. The famous assault weapons ban from the Clinton administration showed no particular effect, and when it expired there is no particular effect. When, after the Heller decision, gun ownership in D.C. went up, gun crime went down.

The only thing that we know is effective to reduce gun violence is to increase gun ownership.

That makes sense–criminals (who generally obtain their guns illegally) are less likely to attack a population that may be armed. A soft target, such as a school, restaurant, or movie theater is much more likely to be attacked. If the criminal knows that a restaurant or theater allows concealed carry, he is likely to pick another target.

We need to accept the fact that there are people who live among us that do bad things. Disarming law-abiding citizens does not stop people who want to do bad things from doing bad things. Law-abiding citizens with guns cause people who do bad things to think twice about doing them.

Senator, Please Read The Second Amendment

There were two horrific shootings in America yesterday. Actually there were probably a few more than that if you count Chicago and Baltimore, but there were two that made the headlines. There were two that were instantly politicized. There were two that reminded us that politicians don’t always think before they speak.

The Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday about Senator Kamala Harris’ response to the shooting in Texas:

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris gave details about her gun control proposals in the wake of the deadly El Paso, Texas shooting after she addressed union members at the AFSCME forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday.

When asked by the Washington Examiner if her plan would include legal gun owner databases or gun confiscation via law enforcement visits to residents who own banned firearms, she replied, “I’m actually prepared to take executive action to put in place rules that improve this situation.”

She continued, “I also have as part of my background and experience working on this issue, when I was attorney general [of California], and we put resources into allowing law enforcement to actually knock on the doors of people who were on two lists — a list where they had been found by a court to be a danger to themselves and others.

“They were on a list where they were precluded and prohibited from owning a gun because of a conviction that prohibited that ownership. Those lists were combined and then we sent law enforcement out to take those guns, because, listen, we have to deal with this on all levels, but we have to do this with a sense of urgency,” Harris added.

First of all, what firearms is she going to ban?

In June 2016, The Federalist reported:

But before we dive into whether the assault weapons ban was merely dumb, or if it was monumentally stupid and counterproductive, it’s important to define what the previous federal ban covered and how it defined an “assault weapon.” The 1994 assault weapons law banned semi-automatic rifles only if they had any two of the following five features in addition to a detachable magazine: a collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher.

That’s it. Not one of those cosmetic features has anything whatsoever to do with how or what a gun fires. Note that under the 1994 law, the mere existence of a bayonet lug, not even the bayonet itself, somehow turned a garden-variety rifle into a bloodthirsty killing machine. Guns with fixed stocks? Very safe. But guns where a stock has more than one position? Obviously they’re murder factories. A rifle with both a bayonet lug and a collapsible stock? Perish the thought.

A collapsible stock does not make a rifle more deadly. Nor does a pistol grip. Nor does a bayonet mount. Nor does a flash suppressor. And for heaven’s sake, good luck finding, let alone purchasing, 40mm explosive grenades for your rifle-mounted grenade launcher (and remember: the grenade launcher itself is fine, just as long as you don’t put the ultra-deadly bayonet lug anywhere near it).

The complete unfamiliarity with guns and how they work that led to the inept definitions in the 1994 law was on full display in a now-infamous television interview with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York congresswoman who backed the so-called assault weapons ban. In the interview, Tucker Carlson asked McCarthy to define “barrel shroud,” a firearm feature regulated by the law. Here’s how she answered:

CARLSON: I read the legislation and it said that it would regulate “barrel shrouds.” What’s a barrel shroud and why should we regulate that?

MCCARTHY:The guns that were chosen back in those days were basically the guns that most gangs and criminals were using to kill our police officers. I’m not saying it was the best bill, but that was they could get out at that particular time.

CARLSON: Ok. Do you know what a barrel shroud is?

MCCARTHY: I actually don’t know what a barrel shroud is. I think it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.”

Senator Harris, you can confiscate all the guns and rifles you want and criminals will still manage to get them. At that point you have created an unarmed general population that is more vulnerable to gun crimes. Is that what you really want?

 

What Second Amendment?

CBS News reported yesterday that Deerfield, Illinois voted on Monday to ban the possession, sale, and manufacture of assault weapons and large capacity magazines to “increase the public’s sense of safety.” My first reaction to that is, “Exactly what is an assault weapon? What about assault knives, assault baseball bats, assault wasp spray, and maybe assault china?”

The article reports:

CBS Chicago reports, anyone refusing to give up their banned firearm will be fined $1,000 a day until the weapon is handed over or removed from the town’s limits. 

The ordinance states, “The possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the Village of Deerfield is not reasonably necessary to protect an individual’s right of self-defense or the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”

The law does actually define assault weapons:

So, beginning June 13, banned assault weapons in Deerfield will include semiautomatic rifles with a fixed magazine and a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, shotguns with revolving cylinders, and conversion kits from which assault weapons can be assembled. And those are just a few of the firearm varieties banned. The list is long and includes all the following models or duplicates thereof: AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, Misr, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR, AR-10, AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, Olympic Arms PCR, AR70, Calico Liberty, Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle, Dragunov SVU, Fabrique NationalFN/FAL, FN/LAR, FNC, Hi-Point Carbine, HK-91, Kel-Tec Sub Rifle, SAR-8, Sturm, Ruger Mini-14, and more.

Antique handguns that have been rendered permanently inoperable and weapons designed for Olympic target shooting events are exempt, as are retired police officers.

“We hope that our local decision helps spur state and national leaders to take steps to make our communities safer,” Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said in a press release, after the ban on assault weapons passed unanimously.

At this point I should note that there was a federal assault weapons ban in effect from 1994 to 2004. Studies have shown that the ban had little impact on criminal activity. The action taken in Deerfield is in response to the recent school shooting in Florida. The actions in Deerfield do not line up with the facts. In 1990 the law was passed that created gun-free zones in schools. The law has had an effect opposite than what was intended–all but two of the mass shootings in school have taken place after schools were designated as gun-free zones. A gun-free zone simply tells the shooter that he will be unopposed until the police arrive.

So I guess Deerfield believes that guns are the problem and that making some guns illegal will solve the problem. How has that worked in Chicago and Washington, D.C.?

On April 2, ABC News reported:

London’s monthly murder rate has overtaken New York City’s for the first time in modern history, according to new figures from the Metropolitan Police and the New York Police Department.

…London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office said it was “deeply concerned” by the latest figures of knife crime in the capital, but insisted that London “remains one of the safest [cities] in the world.”

New York and London have similar-size populations of around 8.5 million each. But the U.S. city’s murder rate has dropped dramatically, by about 87 percent, since its peak in the 1990s.

London’s murder rate has in contrast risen by 38 percent since 2014 when the city had 94 killings. There were 119 murders in 2015, 109 in 2016 and 134 in 2017.

If Deerfield takes all the guns away from legal gun owners who have committed no crimes, do they honestly believe that criminals will not have access to guns? I hope I never have to shoot a home invader, but if I am ever faced with a home invader, I would rather have a gun than wait for the police to arrive.