WHICH HAS MORE GUN VIOLENCE–A COUNTRY WHERE ONLY CRIMINALS HAVE GUNS OR A COUNTRY WHERE BOTH CRIMINALS AND LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS HAVE GUNS?Sunday, October 25th, 2015
by Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council
Whenever laws are proposed that would regulate guns, the NRA and pro-gun extremists argue that only law-abiding citizens will be affected–not criminals. If tighter laws are passed, we will be living in a dangerous society and destined to be victims of gun violence because only criminals will have guns.
The facts are just the opposite. We would have a far safer society if only “criminals” had guns. How do we know this?
There is a country where only “criminals” have guns. 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 or marksmanship that only shoot 2 bullets at a time) or collector guns.
Criminals, of course, can illegally get all the guns they want. They can get semi-automatic handguns that shoot 32 bullets in under 15 seconds—like the Tucson murderer. They can get assault rifles that shoot 50 to 100 bullets per minute like the Aurora murderer.
Demographically, England is similar to the US. It has serious drug and gang problems, poverty, mental illness and immigration issues. English citizens hunt, collect guns and enjoy the sport of marksmanship. Because this is a country where only criminals have guns–even police do not carry guns–shouldn’t there be rampant gun homicides and gun crime assaults? England has 45 gun homicides per year.
Since the US is 5 times the size of England–300 million vs. 60 million–we should expect 5 times the number of gun homicides or 225 a year. Instead, the US has an astounding 10,000 gun homicides a year because not only do criminals have all the guns they want, so do law-abiding citizens.
Clearly it is “law-abiding citizens” with guns, not criminals, who are committing the great majority of US gun homicides. In fact, each of the recent high-profile gun massacres (Tucson, Aurora, Charleston, Umpqua, Roanoke, Chattanooga) was committed by a “law-abiding citizen” who was a legal gun owner—none were from the hand of a criminal with an illegal gun.
The NRA and pro-gun extremists use the threat that “only the criminals will have guns” to fight gun laws. The truth is the US would have a fraction of the gun violence it now has if “only the criminals had guns” and there is every point in passing gun regulations.
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