Posts Tagged ‘Gun Facts’

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

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

“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 Reagan 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 Reagan, 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 #8 Common NRA claims and the actual facts

Sunday, June 24th, 2012
Money Instead of SafetyDespite its claims and appeals to patriotism, the NRA’s primary function is to maximize sales for the gun industry—without regard for public safety.
Weaker Guns Laws Mean More MoneyWhereas tightened gun laws reduce gun sales, weakened gun laws improve gun sales which explains the NRA-backed efforts in the last decade to legalize “concealed carry” and guns in more public places. This means more money for gun manufacturers at the expense of your safety.  Below are common claims the NRA uses to get these money-making laws passed.
SELF DEFENSEThe NRA and gun owners claim they need to carry guns at all times for self defense. But the element of surprise makes it virtually impossible for them to defend themselves–criminal do not yell “draw” like in the movies. The element of surprise is the reason 40% of armed policemen who are killed by guns. Studies also show that carrying a gun makes someone 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault.
ONLY CRIMINALS WILL HAVE GUNSThe NRA claims that if we pass sane gun laws only criminals will have guns because they do not follow laws.  But in England, where no one can legally own a handgun or assault rifle so only criminals have them, there are approximately 75 gun homicides per year! Adjusting for population, if we had England’s gun laws—and only “criminals” had guns—we would expect 375 homicides per year. But the U.S. has 12,000 gun homicides a year courtesy of “law abiding citizens” who have handguns and assault rifles in addition to the criminals.
SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTThe NRA claims gun owner’s Second Amendment right to own guns makes it unconstitutional to pass any laws that regulate that right. This is clearly false.
 
We have a constitutional right to vote, but to exercise that right we are required to register.  Regulation does not infringe on our constitutional right to vote.  Unregulated gun ownership does infringe on our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
PLENTY OF LAWS EXIST ALREADY—JUST ENFORCE THEMThe loopholes in our current gun laws make guns available to the mentally disabled, felons, and drug users. Prohibited from buying guns in stores, they can purchase them at gun shows or through online private sales where background checks are not required–and they do. Suspected terrorists on the terrorist watch list can also legally buy guns. These loopholes mean there are no laws to enforce and any law that would make it harder for criminals to buy guns is blocked by the NRA to protect sales to the criminal market which, according to published reports, accounts for 25% of annual gun sales. And there are other major gun laws that do not exist and therefore cannot be enforced–unlike cars, guns are not registered, gun owners are not licensed, and guns do not carry insurance!

 

 

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Gun Fact #7 The only reason we have the 2nd amendment was to enable slavery

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

2ND AMENDMENT AND SLAVERY
 
The principal purpose of the 2nd amendment was to preserve the slave system that existed in the late 1700’s.  While Professor Lepore (“Battleground America” New Yorker April 23, 2012) gives an excellent summary of the interpretive evolution of the 2nd Amendment, she neglects to speak to its origin. The 2nd Amendment was the price that had to be paid to secure ratification of the Constitution.   (See “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment” by Carl T. Bogus.) 
 
The slave states relied on their militias to control their slaves and to suppress rebellion. The militia was required because the slave population in the slave states was such a large proportion of the total population. For example, as per the 1790 census, in Virginia slaves were 39 % of the total population, in South Carolina 43%, in Maryland 32%.  (The brutal methods of the state militias, murder, fire, terror were adopted by the Ku Klux Klan.)
 
Nine states were needed to ratify the constitution drafted in Philadelphia in 1787.  At the time of Virginia’s Ratifying Convention (Richmond June 1788), eight states had ratified but of the other five, Virginia was the only realistic hope, for number nine.  During the debate in Richmond, Patrick Henry who opposed the Constitution, reminded the delegates that “The militia were the last and best defense against slave insurrection.”
 
Commitment to including the second amendment in the Bill of Rights removed the threat of Congress using its constitutionally granted power to disarm the state militias. This was the price that had to be paid for Virginia’s ratification.
 
The horror of slavery was the driving factor for establishing the second amendment. It continues today to extract its grievous toll.
 
 

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Gun Fact #6 Gun Owner Arguments Fail the Logic Test

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Like mentally incapacitated people, gun owners are unable to respond logically. Gun Fact # 5: in our series pointed out that non-gun owners are taxed $5 billion per year to cover the cost of U.S. gun homicides. Logically this makes no sense—not one cent of gun violence costs should be paid for by non-gun owners—clearly gun owners should pay 100% of these costs by carrying insurance and by a tax on gun and bullet purchases.
 
Of the many comments posted or sent to us, not a single gun owner was capable of making a logical response to Gun Fact # 5. Following is a sample of typical comments.
 
Because we had raised a gun issue we were automatically identified as “gun grabbers,” “gun haters” and our position as “absolute BS.” Further, said some, the non-gun owners are “more responsible” for the gun homicides in America than the gun owners. All of these comments were assertions devoid of any supporting facts.
 
Some commented that people who do not drive are taxed for roads. This is true. However, people who do not drive use roads as passengers in cars and busses and purchase goods carried by trucks to their neighborhoods. There is a public value (utility) to roads and it is appropriate that non-drivers share in their cost. Non-gun owners use nothing that guns provide to gun owners. There is no public value provided by gun owners (or guns). In fact just the opposite is true; guns create a tremendous risk to public health.
 
Some commented that you cannot stop criminals from getting guns ignoring the reality that every law that would make it harder for criminals and gang bangers to get guns is opposed and defeated by the NRA and gun owners.* This causes far higher rates of gun violence—and consequently far higher tax payer costs.
 
*These include laws that would:

  • Close the gun show loophole.
  • Require background checks on all gun sales— including the internet
  • Limit purchases to one gun per month.
  • Require registration of guns and gun owners (like cars).
  • Require federally licensed firearm dealers to:
    • Report lost inventory
    • Stop selling to straw purchasers
  • Impose serious punishment to federally licensed firearm dealers for violations including:
    • Significant jail time.
    • Huge monetary fines.
    • Not being able to sell their existing federal firearm license to anyone.
    • Confiscation of their entire inventory.

Why can’t these sane gun laws be passed?
 
The criminal market represents 25% of annual gun industry. This emerged from the 1999 NAACP law suit vs. the gun industry. The NAACP’s expert witness report showed that 25% of the gun industry’s annual sales went to the criminal market. Knowledgeable ATF employees have confirmed this figure as well (some say it is closer to 30%).
 
The last thing the NRA wants is any law that would harm sales to the criminal market. (They then say, everyone needs to be carrying a gun at all times because criminals have guns.) The NRA’s Pro Gun Agenda—which gun owners’ support—will not let any such laws pass.
 
One gun owner said at “We advocate protection from the police (this was never mentioned by us in Gun Fact 5) who spend more on guns than anyone else in the country.” This is not true (the military spends the most). However the point has nothing to do with the question of who should be paying for the cost of gun violence. It is a typical example of the Alzheimer’s mind of gun owners; they are unable to logically respond.
 
As long as gun owners are unable to respond logically there can be no rational discussion of Who should pay for the cost of gun violence.
 
The gun owners want the pleasure of owning their guns but do not want the responsibility of covering the cost of gun violence. Non-gun powers should no longer pay for the cost of gun violence. Over the last 20 years, $100 billion tax dollars have been used to pay for the cost of gun homicides. It is high time for this cost to be fully borne by gun owners.
 

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Gun Fact #5 Non-Gun Owners Taxed $5 Billion Annually for Gun Owners’ Hobby

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Over $5 billion tax dollars are used each year to cover the cost of U.S. gun homicides. Non-gun owners’ tax dollars pay the lion’s share of this cost. This makes no sense; gun owners should pay 100% of this cost.
 
(Note: Each gun homicide costs $400,000 tax dollars. On average, there are 12,000 U.S. gun homicides each year at a cost of $5 billon tax dollars.)
 
The NRA and gun owners will shout and rant that it is not fair for law-abiding gun owners to be paying for the cost of criminal and gang banger gun violence. But that misses the point.
 
If I do not own a car, my tax dollars are not used to pay for the cost of car driving deaths and accidents. Law-abiding drivers pay for them through their insurance. Additionally, their premiums have a built in excess to cover costs generated by illegal drivers who do not have insurance.
 
What makes the NRA’s and gun owners’ position even more outrageous is that they oppose and defeat any law that would make it harder for criminals and gang bangers to get guns; this causes far higher rates of gun violence—and consequently far higher tax payer costs.
 
The NRA relentlessly protects gun industry sales to the criminal market. Studies show sales to criminals represent minimally 25% of annual gun industry sales. Making sure criminals have guns allows the NRA to increase industry sales; their cynical marketing says everyone must be carrying a gun at all times to protect themselves from armed criminals.
 
A fair solution to cover the cost of gun violence would be for the law-abiding gun owners to carry insurance as do the law-abiding car drivers. Further, there should be a tax on gun and bullet purchases. The gun owners want the pleasure of owning their guns but do not want the responsibility of covering the cost of gun violence. That is patently unfair to the law-abiding citizens who do not own guns and have no interest in gun-related activities.
 
Over the last 20 years, $100 billion tax dollars have been used to pay for the cost of gun homicides. It is high time for this cost to be fully transferred to the proper party—the gun owners.
 
 

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Gun Fact #4 “Law Abiding” Gun Owners Deliberately Violate T.S.A. Safety Regulations

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Recently, a drunk motorist explained he was driving under the influence because “he forgot” he was not to drink and drive. In a typical week, some 25 gun owners (1,300 per year) are stopped at airport Transportation Security Administration (T.S.A.) checkpoints because they have handguns (of all calibers) in their carry-on bags—and over 80% of the time they are loaded, (See chart below excerpted from Weekly T.S.A. blog September 28, 2012.

Invariably, they say “they forgot” they were carrying a gun. This despite clear T.S.A. Rules for Firearms and Ammunition:

Travelers may only transport UNLOADED firearms in a locked, hard-sided container in or as checked baggage. All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

Clearly, “law-abiding citizens” do not always follow the law. At least two of the “forgetters” have been elected lawmakers!
 
Even if the “forgetters” have no violent intentions, guns go off accidentally; they can kill passengers, crew members, cause structural damage and in certain cases go through the plane’s fuselage causing everyone to be ejected from the plane due to explosive decompression.
 
Given the seriousness of boarding a plane with a gun you would think there would be stiff consequences. But the “punishment” for attempting to carry a loaded gun on board is outrageous. They are subject to State law and in most states their gun is returned and they are told put it in their car before boarding. What a deterrent. Unlike the drunk driver who may lose his license and face jail time, gun owners are not licensed so there is no license to lose.
 
The evidence is clear, not all gun owners can be trusted to follow the law and it only takes one to cause a catastrophic event. Given gun owners’ track record, does anyone really believe that every checked gun is unloaded and stored properly? Further, a checked gun can be remotely fired using a cell phone.
 
That we allow any passenger to check a gun on a commercial flight is lunacy; it is yet another example of how insane our gun laws are.
 

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

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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 level 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”)
 
* 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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