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Gun Fact # 1: Carrying a Gun Does Not Provide Self Defense

“Law abiding citizens have the right to carry guns to defend themselves” is the meme that drives our gun laws.  Relying on this meme, laws have been passed that allow conceal and open carry, guns in public places ranging from restaurants, bars and movies, to churches and offices.  There is pressure from the NRA and gun extremists to pass laws allowing guns on college campuses, on airplanes and to do away with gun free zones.

But the fact is that the meme is false, it is a fiction; carrying a gun does not provide any realistic possibility of self defense—the element of surprise always defeats the gun carrier.

The criminal does not approach and say “draw.”  They have a gun to to the back of your head before you know they are there.  And you will not dare move as they take both your money and your gun.

President Regan was surrounded by secret servicemen and local police carrying guns and looking for trouble.  A would be assassin with a $45 handgun was able to shoot all six of its bullets, hitting four people including Regan, Jim Brady (his press secretary) and two officers before bring subdued. (Imagine how many people would have been hit if they had had a semi-automatic handgun.)

Police officers carry guns, yet 40% of all gun homicides of Police officers are due to ambushes or being surprised by suspects with firearms.  (Johnson, USA TODAY, 8/25/2011).

Just recently, on August 13, 2012, two armed police officers were wounded and one murdered at College Station Texas.  The shooter started shooting when a constable serving an eviction notice approached his house.   On August 16, 2012, two armed Louisiana police officers on patrol were killed and two wounded in a trailer park ambush.

Carrying a gun in public does not provide self defense.

Enabling insane gun laws to be passed and sane gun laws to be rejected on the basis of a fictional meme is tragic; it is time to end it.

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Gun Fact # 2: If Only The Criminals Had Guns, U.S. Gun Homicides Would Plummet.

An ongoing NRA meme states that it would be dangerous to pass any sane gun control laws because law abiding citizens will follow them but criminals will not. Thus, we will be left with a country where only the criminals have guns. On a visceral le

vel this does not appear to be a good outcome. However, the reality is that we would have a far safer society if “Only The Criminals Had Guns.” How do we know this?

There is a country where only the criminal have guns—England. In England handguns have been outlawed. No one can own them. The only guns private citizens can own are long guns (the kind used for hunting) and they can only shoot 2 bullets at a time. Further, there are strict requirements for a private citizen to obtain a license for the long gun including references, interviews with the applicant and people who know them. FIREARM LICENSES ARE NOT GRANTED FOR SELF DEFENSE, WHICH IS NOT CONSIDERED A LEGITIMATE REASON FOR OWNING A GUN. However, the criminals illegally get all the guns they want. They can get semi-automatics hand guns that shoot 32 bullets at a time – in under 15 seconds—just like the Tucson murderer. Or assault rifles that shoot 50 to 100 bullets at a time just like the Aurora murderer.

England is a country very similar to ours. They hunt, they collect guns and marksmanship is a big sport. They have serious drug problems, poverty, gangs and immigration issues. Because this is a country where only criminals have guns, we would expect there to be rampant gun violence – huge numbers of gun homicides and gun crime assaults. Even the police do not carry guns. England has 75 gun homicides per year.

As our population is 5 times that of England’s (300 million vs. 60 million) we should expect 5 times their gun homicides each year or 375. In fact, because our gun laws are not sane, we have 12,000 each year. But in our country, not only do criminals have all the guns they want*, but so do the law-abiding citizens.

There is only one explanation for these facts: It is the law-abiding citizens with guns, not the criminals, who are committing the majority of the gun homicides. Each of the recent high-profile gun massacres (Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Oikos University and the Sikh Mosque) was committed a law abiding citizen—not one was from the hand of a criminal.

We would have a fraction of the gun homicides we have if only the criminals had guns. Criminals are interested in getting money and goods, not in killing people. 2/3 of U.S. gun homicides are due to arguments not criminals. Juvenile gang – gun homicides are 7%-8% of all firearm homicides. (FBI Annual Uniform Crime Reports “Murder Circumstances by Weapon”)

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* The NRA and gun lobby block any law that would make it harder for criminals to get guns. WHY?, Because sales to criminals represent 25% of the Gun Industry’s annual sales. (Source: Expert witness report filed as part of the 1999 NAACP lawsuit vs. the Gun Industry.) Then the NRA claims everyone needs to carry a gun at all times to protect themselves from armed criminals.

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Gun Fact # 3: A Hundred Times More US Police are Killed Than English. Why?

In the U.S. between 1990 and September 18, 2012 there were 1,302 police officers killed of which 1,132 (87%) were killed by a firearm (75% were handguns)*. In England for the same period, there were 45 police officers killed, of which 10 (22%) were

killed by a firearm—including 2 female police officers on September 18, 2012**. British police officers do not carry guns ours do.

What can we draw from these facts? Clearly carrying a gun in public, as U.S. police officers do, does not offer protection from the element of surprise (see Gun Fact # 1: Carrying a Gun Does Not Provide Self Defense.

Conclusion # 1: We should not allow private citizens to carry guns in public either concealed or openly; they do not, as claimed, provide self defense.

In England handguns have been outlawed. The only guns private citizens can own are long guns for hunting and they can only shoot 2 bullets at a time. However, the criminals illegally get all the guns they want. They can get semi-automatic handguns that shoot 32 bullets at a time like the Tucson murderer or assault rifles that shoot 50 to 100 bullets at a time like the Aurora murderer.

Since our population is 5 times England’s, if only criminals had guns in the U.S., we would have expected 50 police officers to be killed by firearms between 1990 to September 18, 2012.

However, as we have both criminals and “law-abiding citizens” carrying guns, and we have “non-sane gun laws” (which are based on maximizing sales for the gun industry) and not England’s sane gun laws (which are based on protecting the public’s safety), we have over 20 times the number or police officers killed by guns than we would forecast.

Conclusion # 2: Our gun laws should not be based on maximizing sales for the gun industry.

Conclusion # 3: We would have far less police killed by gunfire if only criminals had guns.

* FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Law Enforcement Officers Feloniously Killed and Assaulted Program: 2000, 2010, 2011; Officer Down Memorial Page September, 2012

** List of British police officers killed in the line of duty-Wikipedia; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/uknews/9551123/Two-female-police-officers-shot-dead-in-Greater-Manchester.html

 

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