Top 5 Biggest Myths about Guns
In today’s Gunivore Fast Five, I’d like to take a look at the top five most troubling and destructive myths about firearms. My hope is that by addressing each of these common misconceptions individually, I will be able to provide the clear and concise arguments necessary for when my readers engage pro gun-control people in conversation. In my experience, the anti-gun Left have a dreadful tendency to argue and rationalize policies based on emotions in lieu of the hard facts. Although my old man has been telling me this for years, I never realized the true extent of it until I became a gun writer. But after all these years, I’m less angry and disappointed with the ignorant as I am with the people who know better and yet are not properly defending the 2nd Amendment and rights of gun owners. Besides for the firearm comfortably holstered on your side, every gun owner should be armed with the knowledge and facts to bury the Left in their own ignorance and hypocrisy. Just imagine that two weeks ago they were fighting to support the right for athletes to protest “systematic racism and police brutality” and now they are calling to take away the guns from the people and give them to the same exact government. I believe if our politicians, firearms producers, and lobbying groups were equipped with the right information (and were not afraid to use it), the gun control debate would go a lot differently.
LESS GUNS = LESS VIOLENCE
I don’t think anybody would dare to argue against self-defense being a basic human right, so why then are there such indiscriminate attacks on guns and gun owners?
I’m not sure there’s a clear answer to this troubling question, but my goal here is to tackle the most common arguments and illustrate that less guns does NOT equal less violence.
We need not look any further than our nation’s capital; Washington’s 1976 weapons ban was about as effective as a DVD rewinder. The facts show that the number of annual homicides doubled from 1976 to 1988 and rose even greater during the early 1990’s. In fact, it was only after the landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller struck down D.C.’s firearms ban that the rate of gun violence finally declined. Nevertheless, D.C. still has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws and is consequently one of the most dangerous cities in America.
The next case in point is the infamously precarious city of Chicago with its long history of Democratic mayors, strict gun laws, and astounding record of gun violence and murder. And while Chicago’s rate of firearm murder is still five times that of New York, cities with the most restrictive gun control laws, like NYC, LA, Baltimore and D.C., suffer the highest levels of firearm violence.
Furthermore, when people talk about the state with the most liberal (for lack of a better term) gun laws, almost everyone thinks of Texas. And yet, would you believe it, Texas doesn’t even fall within the top-25 states with the highest firearm mortality rates. Plus, the states with the lowest violent crime rates coincidentally all have right-to-carry laws. This point is strengthened abroad too; in Switzerland and Israel, for example, it’s relatively easy for law-abiding citizens to legally possess and carry firearms and yet they boast unusually low homicide rates.
Lastly, it is in those celebrated “Government-mandated gun-free zones” that most mass shootings take place. As a matter of fact, the Crime Prevention Research Center reported that nearly 99% of mass shootings in America since 1950 have happened in “gun-free zones”. I may be making a big jump here, but I don’t think most murderers and terrorists are stopped by gun-free zone signs. In fact, those are their favorite targets because they know they can inflict the most damage.
For those who argue that we have the government and law enforcement to protect the people, may I remind you that there are less than 1 million cops in the U.S. and over 320 million citizens. Furthermore, a recent survey of the National Association of Chiefs of Police established that almost 90% of America’s police chiefs and sheriffs support a nationwide recognition of concealed carry permits and oppose further gun control. An overwhelming majority of the same group of law enforcement officials also believe that “qualified, law-abiding armed citizens help law enforcement reduce violent criminal activity”.
To conclude, data from the Center for Disease Control confirms that while the number of guns per person has risen dramatically since 1993, the number of gun homicides has declined. Even if you’re not convinced that the correlation implies causation, the fact remains the same –America is a much less violent place than the Media would like you to think. Likewise, the figures don’t lie – regardless of what the gun-control advocates spew, more guns does NOT yield more violence. In truth, it is the increased presence of guns that curbs violence and keeps America safe.
TODAY’S GUN CULTURE IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE 2ND AMENDMENT
Some of the biggest debates about guns in the U.S. boil down to our Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. However, this argument is utter nonsense. For starters, the Supreme Court has already unquestionably ruled that the 2nd Amendment grants all citizens the individual right to possess firearms for law-abiding purposes. Unfortunately, even after District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290) finally struck down Washington D.C.’s detrimental ban on handguns, their clear as day verdict has still been often overlooked by lower courts. This was the case in Kachalsky v. County of Westchester (2nd Circuit 2012), which upheld New York’s right to prevent citizens from obtaining licenses to carry concealed firearms.
One of the biggest issues with the 2nd Amendment argument is that it encompasses a much larger debate regarding the Constitution’s flexibility. The sharp-witted Justice Clarence Thomas once addressed this issue with his masterful articulation:
“Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution – try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores. To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial”.
Opponents of the 2nd Amendment often focus on the phrase “Well-regulated Militia” in their arguments, but they tend to overlook the phrase “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The Founding Fathers intended the American populace to remain armed, because that way, the citizens could protect themselves, prevent governmental tyranny, and continue their way of life. In fact, in Thomas Jefferson’s drafts of the Virginia Constitution, he unequivocally declared that “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms”.
I generally prefer to avoid ridiculous and childish arguments, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I’ve often heard anti-gun advocates claim that the Framers only intended the citizens the right to bear arms such as the Musket and never intended the populace to be armed with AR-15s. Besides for the fact that the Constitution was purposefully ambiguous here, this argument is completely absurd. To the supporters of this view, I ask you: Does the freedom of press guaranteed by the 1st Amendment only apply to a printing press and exclude the internet? Does the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment not include new-found torture methods? One of the most interesting questions one can ask about the right to bear arms is why the Founding Fathers decided to make it the 2nd Amendment. Were they trying to illustrate that without the 2nd Amendment we wouldn’t have the 1st, that our right to bear arms is what guarantees that our most basic human rights of expression cannot be taken away? Either way, they clearly felt it was a fundamental right, at least enough to ratify it before Double Jeopardy and Trial by Jury.
Gun-control advocates, especially politicians, love to throw around the term “assault weapons”, but there’s a serious flaw in their rhetoric. As the Cato Institute so poignantly put it:
“The term ‘assault weapons’ is a political gimmick designed to foster confusion. The so-called ‘assault weapons’ are not machine guns. They do not fire automatically. They fire only one bullet each time the trigger is pressed, just like every other ordinary firearm. They are not more powerful than other firearms. To the contrary, their ammunition is typically intermediate in power, less powerful than ammunition that is made for big-game hunting”.
In reality, the people who utilize this argument have no idea how to differentiate between an automatic and semi-automatic rifle or an assault weapon and an assault rifle. I can understand preventing civilian access to automatic weapons, but believe it or not, they’ve already been significantly restricted since the National Firearms Act of 1934. On the other hand, since the expiration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, semi-automatic firearms labeled “assault weapons” are finally available again.
Whereas there is a clearly defined description of an “assault rifle”, provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency, “assault weapon” has still eluded definition. Consequently, left-wing politicians continue to sponsor bills that would ban firearms purely based on looks, generic definitions, and misinformation (ignorance?). One of my favorite examples is when the Colorado state legislature attempted to classify an old-fashioned double-barreled shotgun as an assault weapon. Keep in mind, these are the same people who protest male politicians from determining abortion laws because of their inability to identify with the people whom the regulations would impact.
In all seriousness, these potential “assault weapon” bans are extremely dangerous. These reckless acts of government overreach will effectively prohibit firearms indiscriminately. These bans often prohibit firearms based on their name alone, whether it has certain accessories, and regardless of caliber and action. Without a doubt, these efforts by politicians like Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and her cronies aren’t about how dangerous one gun is over another. Most firearms advocates are okay with some level gun-control, as long as it’s not done haphazardly by ignorant politicians with their own personal agendas!
Case in point, the Bushmaster rifle used by the Sandy Hook shooter wasn’t even technically an assault weapon under federal or Connecticut law. And yet, under many of the newly proposed gun-control bills, Bushmaster could continue to manufacture these firearms as long as they were under a different name. My point is not that the ban would have prevented the attack, rather, to illustrate that these thoughtless bans are ineffective.
GUNS IN THE HOME DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD
This might be the most harmful myth promulgated by the left. While many of these gun-control advocates will assure you that your family is safer in a gun-free home, this common fallacy is based on a flawed report from the New England Journal of Medicine. The study seemingly indicated that a firearm in the home is significantly more likely to hurt/kill a family member than an intruder. The problem is, the study neglected to account for cases where the assailant fled, was held at gunpoint until the authorities came, or was merely wounded. Instead, the data only included those situations where the perpetrator was killed. As a result, the data was skewed and thus wholly inaccurate.
In an article for Politico Magazine, Professor of criminology, Gary Kleck, said that in addition his National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS), nearly twenty similar national surveys all point to the fact that defensive gun uses are in fact quite common and effective. Furthermore, his research even indicated that these instances may even be more common than criminal uses. For instance, they found that less than one in a thousand instances of gun carrying involves a violent gun crime. All in all, Kleck concluded that a firearm in the house is about three to five times more likely to stop a crime than to commit one.
Gun-control activists might tell you that the total number of gun deaths (accidents, suicides and homicides) account for approximately 30,000 deaths per year (National Safety Council). In contrast, they’ll ignore the studies which show that these same guns are used defensively almost 7,000 times a day (2.5 million times a year) – that’s 80 times more often! What’s even more surprising is that of these incidents, the attacker is wounded or killed less than 10% of the time. In almost every situation, the armed citizen merely has to brandish their gun or shoot a warning shot.
Furthermore, armed civilians have proven to be an effective way to halt criminal activity. While this demographic kills twice as many criminals than the police on average, they are significantly more accurate. Even the left-leaning Newsweek conceded to this fact in a published a study proving that only 2% of civilian shootings resulted in an innocent person being misidentified as a criminal. On the other hand, the chances are five times more likely when the police are involved.
In addition to incidents where homeowners have needed to rely on their guns for defensive measures, there are countless burglaries and assaults avoided simply due to the possibility of them possessing a firearm. Without even addressing the fact that violence could be curbed in places like Chicago and NYC if the citizens were legally armed, there have been experiments which prove such a statement. In 1982, Kennesaw, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) passed a law requiring homeowners to keep at least one gun in the house at all times. Consequently, the burglary rate dropped a whopping 89% in the ensuing months and was still over 70% lower a decade later. It is clear beyond any doubt that besides their effective use at stopping crime, legally-owned firearms are also a great way to prevent crime.
GUN OWNERS ARE ALL OLD WHITE MALE CONSERVATIVES
While many politicians would like us to think that gun owners are a small portion of American society, research seems to say otherwise. In a recent Pew survey, they found that 30% of Americans own a gun. Additionally, of the 70% who don’t currently own a firearm, 11% said that they live with somebody who does and another 36% could see themselves owning a gun in the future.
Now more than ever, it seems that the government and media are trying to promote racial tension and prove that we are a divided nation. The problem is, we are all Americans and we are more alike than what they would like us to believe.
It is true that white males are more likely to own a gun, but that doesn’t negate the other statistics which show that firearms are used across all demographics. According to Pew’s survey, the percentage of black and Hispanic (combined) gun owners is actually higher than that of whites. And although only 22% of women said they own a firearm, there are many more who live in a household with a firearm and likely use it.
While it’s true that Republicans are significantly more likely to own guns, Democrats and Independents don’t shy away from them. As a matter of fact, the percentage of non-Republican gun owners is higher than that of the GOP.
Overall, gun ownership is on the rise and especially in the minority communities. The goal for many of these groups and communities is to raise firearm awareness, teach gun safety, and most often to provide a comfortable environment to own and operate these firearms. One of the best outcomes of these groups is that there is no longer a fear of acceptance. Whereas in the past, somebody may have been less inclined to own a gun due to their race, sexual preference, gender, or political views, the rise of these groups is slowly lowering the stigma of gun ownership in America.
Although there are more and more of these groups popping up every day, some of the most popular include: the Liberal Gun Club, the National African-American Gun Association, the Pink Pistols (who primarily cater to the sexual minority community), Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and Armed Empress (which focuses on American women of color).
Gun myths and preventing death: 6 things to know about U.S. mass shootings: More guns not safer; more laws fewer die https://t.co/wtn5NorR5u
— Jerry Barrett (@JerryPolitex) October 3, 2017
It is my firm belief that all of this opposition against guns and gun owners comes from the misguided and misinformed and that it is our responsibility to be armed with the information to completely dismantle their twisted ideas and policies. Nevertheless, I accept that most of these people are deeply rooted in their beliefs and will not budge. At the end of the day, the firearms community can only do so much and I hope that by addressing the opposition’s major concerns we can make a difference down the road.