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Gun control and invincible ignorance

Thomas Sowell's picture

Must every tragic mass shooting bring out the shrill ignorance of “gun control” advocates?

The key fallacy of so-called gun control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available.

If gun control zealots had any respect for facts, they would have discovered this long ago, because there have been too many factual studies over the years to leave any serious doubt about gun control laws being not merely futile but counterproductive.

Places and times with the strongest gun control laws have often been places and times with high murder rates. Washington, D.C., is a classic example, but just one among many.

When it comes to the rate of gun ownership, that is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks. For the country as a whole, handgun ownership doubled in the late 20th century, while the murder rate went down.

The few counter-examples offered by gun control zealots do not stand up under scrutiny. Perhaps their strongest talking point is that Britain has stronger gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates.

But, if you look back through history, you will find that Britain has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries — and, for most of that time, the British had no more stringent gun control laws than the United States. Indeed, neither country had stringent gun control for most of that time.

In the middle of the 20th century, you could buy a shotgun in London with no questions asked. New York, which at that time had had the stringent Sullivan Law restricting gun ownership since 1911, still had several times the gun murder rate of London, as well as several times the London murder rate with other weapons.

Neither guns nor gun control was the reason for the difference in murder rates. People were the difference.

Yet many of the most zealous advocates of gun control laws, on both sides of the Atlantic, have also been advocates of leniency toward criminals.

In Britain, such people have been so successful that legal gun ownership has been reduced almost to the vanishing point, while even most convicted felons in Britain are not put behind bars. The crime rate, including the rate of crimes committed with guns, is far higher in Britain now than it was back in the days when there were few restrictions on Britons buying firearms.

In 1954, there were only a dozen armed robberies in London but, by the 1990s — after decades of ever tightening gun ownership restrictions — there were more than a hundred times as many armed robberies.

Gun control zealots’ choice of Britain for comparison with the United States has been wholly tendentious, not only because it ignored the history of the two countries, but also because it ignored other countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico. All of these countries have higher murder rates than the United States.

You could compare other sets of countries and get similar results. Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.

Guns are not the problem. People are the problem — including people who are determined to push gun control laws, either in ignorance of the facts or in defiance of the facts.

There is innocent ignorance and there is invincible, dogmatic and self-righteous ignorance. Every tragic mass shooting seems to bring out examples of both among gun control advocates.

Some years back, there was a professor whose advocacy of gun control led him to produce a “study” that became so discredited that he resigned from his university. This column predicted at the time that this discredited study would continue to be cited by gun control advocates. But I had no idea that this would happen the very next week in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. [Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is] COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM


S. Lindsey's picture

....,and I will ask it again.

Someone, anyone please show me where a Gun Ban has worked in ANY Free Country including ours.

Diane Frankenstein has proposed a Gun ban to include well basically everything but muskets and some shotguns if they hold one shell.. but don't worry she is going to grandfather your guns that you already own... there is just a few things you have to comply with...

<cite>Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National</cite>
Firearms Act, to include:
<strong>Background check of owner and any transferee;</strong>

In other words if you own a gun you will be investigated. A clear 4th violation. Privacy laws be damned...

<strong>Type and serial number of the firearm;<strong>

Your collection will be cataloged..and recorded. Easy for authorities to seize any weapons that are banned in the near future.

<strong>Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;</strong>

You will be treated just like a Criminal. Again should you try to leave the State with your weapons a easy BOLO can be issued for your arrest.

<strong>Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law;<strong>

In other words should "LOCAL" Law Enforcement decide that you cannot have say a Glock then they would be able to deny ownership... The 2nd Amendment need not apply.

<strong>Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.</strong>

Taxpayer paid stormtroopers to enforce house to house search and seizures if necessary.

Folks if this passes it will make any gun owner a criminal and make them subject to intrusive searches and probable seizures.

This is why you CANNOT give an inch. Why if you submit to knee-jerk emotional
reactions and forget that our Constitution has Governmental limits placed on them FOR A REASON this is what we get.

Today it is the AR-15/AK-47/Semi-Auto Pistols tomorrow it's something you want or do. You may think they will stop at just this but when has Government EVER done enough?

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

that want to regulate guns are those that know the least about them.

The socialists are in power, you had just better get use to it for the next several years. Individual freedom is under attack, darkness will fall across our great land and it will continue for quite a while. Marching under the banner of "the greater good", the socialists are going to make it a 1984 Orwellian adventure Lindsey. You won't believe your ears in the coming months on proposals put forth by these "friends of the masses". We are just seeing the beginning of it.

“If we are unwilling to be aware of the dark, we cannot see the light.” - John Cowan

rolling stone's picture

[quote]“If we are unwilling to be aware of the dark, we cannot see the light.” - John Cowan[/quote]

<em>"Darkness? What darkness?"</em>- The Light

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Look it up. There is probably 10 Mayan 14's for every Aurora. Why can't we acknowledge that?

I can't imagine why I would ever go out to a movie, but if I did - guess what I would have with me.

Live free or die!

SPQR's picture

You are so very correct. It appears the downward spiral has begun. Be prepared for some very nasty stuff on the way to the bottom.

A majority of Americans do not favor restrictions on the ownership of assault rifles, according to a USA Today Poll in the December 27 issue.

Lindsey has hit the nail on the head. The bigger issue is other freedoms that will be restricted after big government, centralized bureaucrats have taken away our weapons. The whole reason for these recent killings is that mentally unstable people got guns. We believe in the freedom to own guns. We believe in freedom generally. And, we believe in freedom so that someone who is mentally incompetent can be removed from society after a very, very strong showing. Adam Lanza's mother struggled with his legal freedom not to be detained. Likewise with the Batman theatre shooter, a shrink was a afraid to have him committed. But restricing gun ownership is not the answer.

I have thought for a long time that the best bumper sticker the NRA could come up with would be " Guns are only the Beginning ".

Laxed Gun regulations are doomed to failure. Token or symbolic controls are meaningless.

What is required is unversal registration of all guns based on serial number. All guns, like cars will be tracked and registered in a unversal federal database.

Half meausres are doomed to faliure and foster the mindless crap saying controls will not work.


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