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Media is abuzz with debates over proposed gun control measures following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut which killed 20 young children and six adults. Vice President Joe Biden recently announced that President Obama may skip the legislative process and use an executive order instead to increase gun control measures. (Reference "Biden: Obama Considering 'Executive Orders' to Deal with Guns".) President Obama has a long history of supporting extreme gun control measures. While serving as Illinois state senator, he opposed legislation which would exempt homeowners from handgun restrictions if the gun was used to save the homeowner's life in his or her own home. (Reference "Obama Opposed Gun Ban Exception to Defend One's Home".) Aware of Obama's views toward gun control and his excessive use of the executive order, citizens and public interest groups have been publishing arguments to prove that broad reaching, strict gun control measures would do nothing to save life, but would instead have dire consequences.
This first installment of this series will summarize many of the more practical reasons why increased gun control measures would not reduce crime or prevent violent massacres. The second installment will examine legal issues, Constitutional limits, and threats to personal freedom and security. The final installment will address the root cause behind these violent assaults and present Biblical solutions.
The most popular argument against stricter gun control laws is the often quoted mantra, "Outlaw guns, and only outlaws have guns." Law abiding citizens are much more likely to surrender their guns as mandated by the government than criminals who will retain and/or procure their weapon of choice illegally. Mass shootings that make the headlines have always occurred in gun free zones. Those who commit these horrific premeditated crimes may be mentally unstable, but they are not ignorant. They choose places where they can inflict the most harm. Hence, schools and theaters are popular venues. The recent shooting at Sandy Hooks Elementary School occurred in a state ranked the 5th strictest state in the U.S. on gun control. (Reference "Connecticut gun laws among most strict in U.S".) Chicago has the strictest gun laws in America, yet at least 449 school age children were shot in Chicago in 2012. Of those, 62 children died as a result. (Reference: "Connecticut Doesn't Have S*** On Chicago")
National crime data indicates that most violent crimes take place in metropolitan cities with more than 250 million people. Measures need to be taken to target those high crime areas instead of broadly removing or severely limiting the human right to defend oneself throughout America. View the embedded video, "Choose Your Own Crime Stats" for more information.
Banning guns will not reduce crime because when someone desires to inflict harm on others, plenty of other options are available. The largest school massacre in U.S. history occurred in Michigan on May 18, 1927. Andrew Kehoe murdered 45 people and injured 58 using a bomb. On April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh combined kerosene and fertilizer to create a bomb that killed 168 people, 19 of whom where children under age 6, and injured more than 680 people. Planned Parenthood used medical instruments to kill 333,964 pre-born babies in 2011. (Reference "Planned Parenthood reports record year for abortions".) While firearms may be a primary murder weapon in the United States, they are not a major cause of death in the United States. Homicide is ranked number 15 on the list of top causes of death in the United States. Twelve different illnesses, accidents, and suicide are all ranked higher than homicides by the CDC. (Source) Automobiles cause more deaths than firearms, yet no one would consider a ban on automobiles.
History has proven that banning guns increases crime rates. John R. Lott Jr. noted that after the British government banned handguns in 1997, gun crime doubled in both England and Wales over the next four years. Crime rates in Australia increased dramatically after gun control measures were implemented in 1996. Violent crime rates increased 32 percent from 1997 to 2002 compared to 1995 rates, and armed robbery rates increased 74 percent. (Reference "Bans, Knives, Crimes, Guns, Drugs, and the Facts".) Interestingly, both the UK and Australia are smaller island nations in which border patrol should be significantly easier than in the United States.
When the Soviet Union disarmed its citizens, crime and murder escalated because the criminals still kept their weapons knowing they could now enter homes where occupants would be unarmed and defenseless. Stanislav Mishin noted that once the people were disarmed, "mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, [and] mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were." (Reference "Americans never give up your guns".)
Gun owner registries also provide dangerous information. When a New York newspaper published gun owner maps with names and addresses, burglars knew which houses were unarmed and easiest to vandalize as well as which homes had the guns they would like to steal stored inside. Ex-burglars noted how useful such information would have been and insisted that such information would increase the number of burglaries. (Reference "Ex-Burglars Say Newspaper's Gun Map Would've Made the Job Easier".) As the government continues to increase the amount of information it keeps regarding gun ownership, the more likely that information is to fall into the wrong hands.
Another major problem with increasing gun control measures is the risk of violating the Second Amendment. The next installment of this series will address Constitutionality and other legal concerns associated with increasing gun control measures.
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