Dear Mr. Bad Guy: Turn Over Your Guns, Would You Please? (Or, Why Gun Control Won’t Work)

Dear Mr. Bad Guy: Turn Over Your Guns, Would You Please? (Or, Why Gun Control Won’t Work) July 7, 2015

On Wednesday, June 17, a 21-year-old white man by the name of Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina during a weekly Bible study meeting and opened fire, killing six women and three men including the church’s pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney.

On Thursday, June 18, President Obama spoke to the press about the Charleston church shooting, and used the opportunity to take a swing at opponents of gun control.  “We don’t have all the facts,” he admitted to members of the media gathered in the White House Briefing Room,

“…but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”

By Joshuashearn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Joshuashearn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons. Original image owner GunNewsDaily.com
Well now, once again our great Uniter-in-Chief used a tragedy to advance his personal policy goal–in this case, disarming the American citizenry. “Let’s be clear,” he says, repeating the phrase which has been his hallmark and which, according to Language Monitor, came up 1,006 times in the first two years of his presidency,

“…At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Way to go, Mister President: Instead of using your voice as America’s leader to present our nation in the best possible light, tell nations around the world that they’re all So Much Better Than We Are. Look at the warped behavior of one disturbed young man, and use your bully pulpit to criticize the majority of American citizens who obey the laws, and the majority of gun owners who never fire a weapon unlawfully.

Critics of the President’s policy are justifiably concerned that if he were successful in forcing people to give up their guns, it would be law-abiding citizens who would lose the protections guaranteed them by the Second Amendment. Those criminals who use guns illegally would just as easily acquire them illegally; only under harsher gun control laws, they would be unopposed by law-abiding citizens who would have no means of self-defense.

*     *     *     *     *

Granted, President Obama has had to wrestle with the issue of gun violence before: In December 2012, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza took the lives of 20 schoolchildren and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama called it “the worst day of my presidency.” This is, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, the 14th statement the president has issued on a mass shooting since taking offfice. That such a thing should happen at all is a cause for mourning and for introspection.

But how accurate is the Obama Administration’s assertion that reducing guns in American households would reduce crime and gun violence?

The independent website JustFacts offers a detailed statistical analysis. Here are a few of the points they make with regard to use of firearms:

Roughly 16,272 murders were committed in the United States during 2008. Of these, about 10,886 or 67% were committed with firearms. 

* A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone “almost certainly would have been killed” if they “had not used a gun for protection.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”

* Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.

* Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.

* A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun “for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”

* A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.

* A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found: 

  • 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”
  • 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”
  • 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”

Check out JustFacts for much more information, and for detailed footnotes and resources to support these statistics.

*     *     *     *     *

What did earlier U.S. Presidents believe about gun control?

President George H.W. Bush said,

“I believe law-abiding citizens ought to be able to own a gun. I believe in background checks. The best way to protect our citizens from guns is to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns.”

President John F. Kennedy was a member of the NRA and was known as an avid shooter of both shotguns and rifles. He was one of the early advocates of the M16/AR15 platform. It was believed that Kennedy owned two AR-15s, and that he kept one of them on his boat.

President Bill Clinton did, in fact, support some measures of gun control. His administration was known for enacting the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban. Even he, though, did not threaten to take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.

*     *     *     *     *

And what about the other part of President’s claim? Are other “advanced countries” free from unlawful gun violence?

Umm…. No. A cursory check of the web brought up the following incidents:

ENGLAND – On August 19, 1987, a young man by the name of Michael Ryan murdered 16 people in the small market town of Hungerford, England. After being cornered by police, he committed suicide rather than face capture.

CANADA – On December 6, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lepine burst into Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college. Once inside he building, he shot at women he encountered, killing nine of them before turning the gun on himself.

SCOTLAND – On March 13, 1996, a troubled 43-year-old man, Thomas Hamilton, killed 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in an elementary school in Dunblane. He then turned the gun on himself.

AUSTRALIA – On April 28, 1996, the seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania was the site of 35 murders, when 29-year-old Martin Bryant burst into a cafeteria and opened fire, killing 20. As he drove away, he killed 15 others. Bryant was captured and imprisoned.

GERMANY – On April 26, 2002, a student who had been expelled, Robert Steinhaeuser, killed 13 teachers, two former classmates and a police officer before committing suicide.

FINLAND – On November 7, 2007, an 18-year-old high school student named Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed eight people in his school, after posting a warning on YouTube.

Also in Finland, on September 23, 2008, a 22-year-old man, Matti Saari, walked into a vocational college in Kauhajoki and opened fire, killing 10 people and burning their bodies with firebombs. He then shot himself in the head.

AZERBAIJAN – On April 30, 2009, Farda Gadyrov entered the prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in the capital city, Baku, and killed 12 people before turning the gun on himself. He was armed with an automatic pistol and clips.

NORWAY – On July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in twin attacks: a bombing in downtown Oslo, and a shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the town. Breivik, who confessed to both attacks, was a self-styled anti-Muslim militant.

And locally? Just for comparison, I happened to note one recent weekend in June 2015, when Detroit saw an unusually large number of gun victims. I noted the stories:

  • Few clues in “urban terrorist” shooting that left 1 dead, 12 wounded
  • 1 killed, 1 injured in Greektown shooting
  • Woman shot in the head while driving with family
  • Cook shoots and kills robber at Detroit restaurant
  • Mother, child shot following dispute between neighbors
  • Teen girl shot in front of Five Guys restaurant in Greektown
  • Police investigating 2 violent incidents along I-96

Gun control advocates: Please note that in just one of these incidents was the shooter the “good guy.” In that case (in the restaurant), the good guy shot and killed a robber.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Will

    Despite the list above, the murder rate in Europe is FAR less that in the United States. Perhaps some of this is due to the overall crime rate, family issues, educational issues, racial issues, poverty, and income inequity. Certainly some of the difference in the murder rate between Europe and the United States is due to the availability of guns.

    • RE Hafner

      Nonsense! No the murder rate is Europe is not far less than the USA, actually higher. Now please peddle your nonsense elsewhere.

      • Raymond

        Evidence please.

        • RE Hafner

          Use your browser search international murder rates and be sure to separate justified homicide from actual murders. You will find the USA around 34 in a world wide comparison.

          • Korou

            Quite true – but first when compared to other developed nations. It doesn’t look so good when you point to poverty-stricken, crime-riddled, war-torn countries and say “Well at least we’re doing better than them.”

          • RE Hafner

            Do you consider Mexico, Brazil , Argentina, Peru, Chile, South Africa etc war torn nations?

          • Korou

            I certainly don’t consider them to be as rich or as advanced as the USA. Do you?

      • OverlappingMagisteria

        Seems Will is kinda right. Murder rate in US is 4.7 per 100,000 while Europe overall has 3 per 100,000. This is according to United Nations office on Drugs and Crime.

        See pg 22 here: http://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf

        EDIT: (I originally looked at the wrong stat and mixed up the US with all of the Americas. Oops!)

        • RE Hafner

          Don’t forget to separate justifiable from unjustified. makes a big difference. The USA stats had the Boston Bomber as a gun victim. Of course we could eliminate about 75 percent of violent deaths here in the USA by eliminated ghetto rats and illegals.

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            The stats I linked were for murder, so the Boston bomber wouldn’t qualify. And are you saying that illegals and “ghetto rats” being murdered is justified? Wow.

          • RE Hafner

            Guess again, they are committing the murders, killing each other at a hell of a pace. Check out Chicago last weekend. Don’t bet your so called stats do not incline justifiable homicide. BTW, is English your first language?

          • Korou

            “Don’t bet your so called stats do not incline justifiable homicide.”
            I could not understand that sentence. Is English your first language?

          • ramrodd

            typical Obamatron

          • Korou

            Hmmm. No capital letter, no full stop. You don’t need to be ashamed of it, I’m sure with some work you’ll get the hang of the language.

          • ramrodd

            you cant read…you dont stop….you have nothing

            this is the internet maggot

            come back when you have a real argument

          • Korou

            Sounds like that was exactly what he was saying. Ugh.

    • Tec Sg Beatty

      Most European countries are much more homogenous in the makeup of their populations. Also, Europe as a whole doesn’t suffer from the “thug culture” that we have here in the states.
      Urban gangs and druglords have had a great impact upon the cities. Add to this the outright animalistic behavior of the inner city crowd, as we witnessed in Cincinnati over the past weekend, and you’re comparing apples to asteroids.
      Do away with inner city gangs and thugs, and if you subtract minority murders committed in large urban areas, most usually black on black crimes, our overall murder rate(s) would be well below that of European countries.

  • Korou

    It seems pretty clear that the USA is unique among developed nations in having high rates of gun violence. It seems strange to say that this couldn’t have anything to do with dangerous firearms being freely available to anyone who wants them.
    http://www.humanosphere.org/science/2014/03/visualizing-gun-deaths-comparing-the-u-s-to-rest-of-the-world/
    Wow – look at that graph. The USA certainly seems to be standing out, doesn’t it?
    And this:
    http://www.citylab.com/politics/2013/01/gun-violence-us-cities-compared-deadliest-nations-world/4412/
    “The sad reality is that many American cities have rates of gun homicides
    comparable to the some of the most violent nations in the world.”

    President Obama is doing his job by highlighting this. If you have a problem, the right thing to do is to face it and try to fix it.

    • ramrodd

      such leftist crap

      • Korou

        Thank you for your contribution. So good to see the pro-gun side field its best arguments.

        • ramrodd

          youre not worth the time

          • Korou

            You are. You’re hilarious!

  • ramrodd

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our
    enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?”
    –Joseph Stalin

    “One man with a gun can control 100 without one. Make mass
    searches and hold executions for found arms.”
    ― Vladimir Ilich
    Lenin

    The US is the last bastion of Freedom on the planet – after gun confiscation, Freedom gone.

    • Korou

      “The US is the last bastion of Freedom on the planet – after gun confiscation, Freedom gone.”
      Are you saying that the people in, say, the UK aren’t free?

      • ramrodd

        The UK is basically a Socialist country with no constitution who is giving way to islam..

        the US is following closely since the US constitution has been shredded over the decades……….

        When guns are confiscated here – there is no stopping the elite..
        History backs my theory

        • Korou

          Well, thanks for the laugh. Been to Britain a lot, have you?
          I hope it didn’t blow your mind when you found that we put Charles Darwin on our money!
          Anyway, carry on. Paranoia so intense it borders on incoherence makes the pro-gun side so credible.

          • ramrodd

            you have no real reply other than sarcasm and attacks

            hang a gun free sign on your home

            you are the problem

          • Korou

            The best thing is to just let you talk more. You’re doing a fine job showing your own lack of understanding on your own.
            And by the way – if I were to hang a “gun free” sign on my door nobody would notice or care because I live in a grown-up country where dangerous toys are not handed out to all and sundry.

          • ramrodd

            you wont because youre a blowhard coward

          • RE Hafner

            Did you expect anything coherent from a leftist cockroach ?

      • RE Hafner

        No the UK is not free, you cannot even defend yourself, family, or property.

        • Korou

          We have police to do that. And we have a far lower rate of gun-related deaths than you.

          • RE Hafner

            The police do not protect you or your property. Homicide is homicide. We as free people have the means to protect ourselves, we are citizens while you are nothing but lowly subjects in a socialist welfare state.

          • Korou

            Wow. Amazing that you have such a high rate of gun-related deaths, then.
            Well, it’s been fun chatting with you but I don’t really have the time it would take to talk you out of your delusions that the USA is the only free country in the world (it isn’t), that Britain is a socialist state (it isn’t) or that the USA has lower rates of gun violence than other developed countries (rather the opposite).
            Hopefully one day you’ll realise you’re not living in the Wild West and be ready to join the rest of the civilised world in controlling guns responsibly. Until then, enjoy your life in Freedomsville, assuming that one of your fellow gun-toters doesn’t shoot you.

          • RE Hafner

            Take a hike fool, we kicked your asses out over 200 years ago and do not need advice from the likes of you!

          • Korou

            Ah well, it’s been fun playing but it wouldn’t be fair to push this any farther.
            Do some research and you’ll see that the USA is indeed far behind other developed nations when it comes to gun violence. I hope that one day you can sort this problem out.

  • Fesantplucker

    Careful, Mark Che isn’t going to be your friend after this.