Why is it so difficult to have an honest and intelligent conversation about this sort of thing?
In the past week, we’ve seen multiple talking heads on the left spatter off nonsense about data that challenged their position on gun control while religiously citing misleading information.
There was Soledad O’Brien interviewing gun crime expert John Lott wrongly claim that public shooters are “armed often to the hilt with weapons, often with automatic or semiautomatic weapons.” If your definition of often is almost never, then she’s right about that. Automatic weapons aren’t in question here, primarily because there hasn’t been an incident of a mass shooting since 1934 that involved one. When you hear Democrats babble about an assault weapons ban, know that they’re not talking about banning machine guns — just every other gun.
Then Piers Morgan, the intellectual giant himself, had a run in with Larry Pratt in which he resulted to calling the gun lobbyist an “idiot” and “an unbelievably stupid man.” He did this while ignoring Pratt’s assertion that gun control did not work nicely in England (which it didn’t — more on this later). If you’d like to share your opinion in favor of gun-control policies, that’s fine, but dismissing the opposition as being stupid for disagreeing with you (while ignoring their valid points) completely disarms constructive debate.
MSNBC host Alex Wagner refused to address the idea of arming teachers and instead compared the idea to giving plane passengers shoe bombs to defend themselves from terrorists. If we seriously have to explain the difference between guns and explosives to liberals, the debate isn’t worth it. Wagner’s colleague Chris Matthews, while refraining from any meaningful debate on gun control, suggested outlawing semi-automatic weapons (leaving you to defend you and your family with — what — a shotgun?).
Now, for the information that often gets brushed aside during these outlandish statements …
In the rare event that you happen to get far enough into a gun-control debate with an advocate to hear them cite something, the claim that Britain has much lower crime rates than the U.S. is bound to come up. What they next have to show is how this matters one speckle.
As Thomas Sowell points out, Britain has had lower murder rates than the U.S. for more than two centuries. Sure they have more stringent gun laws than us, but this doesn’t help out the gun-control advocate’s case at all. First, for most of that two-century period, the gun laws in the two countries weren’t all that different. Second, after Britain instituted their latest gun ban, crime rose (see table 1.01). The BBC reported the same.
If Britain’s crime rates increased after their gun ban, why are we using that to lobby for more gun laws here at home?
The results of similar gun laws are the same around the world (see data on Ireland and Jamaica here). Moreover, despite having much stricter gun laws that the U.S., the worst school shootings have occurred in Europe (take a gander at the list provided at the end of that report; it’s astonishing). Europe, like the U.S. has had it’s worst multiple victim public shootings happen in places where guns were banned. I guess the criminals didn’t see the “gun-free” signs.
So again, why are we using this evidence to support calls for gun control while the media portray calls to scale back gun control as stupid and harebrained?
Conservative solutions to gun crime have been tested over and over again. As I showed on this site after the July theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, concealed-carry legislation is the only decent deterrent of crime, and mass shootings in particular.
From the above story: “in the study of states that enacted right-to-carry laws between 1977 and 1999, the overall occurrence of multiple-victim shootings dropped by a remarkable 67-percent. ‘Deaths from all these shootings plummeted by 75 percent, and injuries by 81 percent.'” We know that concealed-carry minimizes not only the occurrence of mass shootings, but also the death and injury toll when these rare events happen. And obviously, the opposite can be seen when stricter gun laws are on the books.
Compare the horrific events in Aurora, where the gunman chose the only theatre within 20 minutes of his home that banned guns to fire upon, with another recent theatre shooting you probably haven’t heard about.
Jesus Manuel Garcia opened fire at a San Antonio movie theatre on December 16th. An off-duty sergeant, Lisa Castellano, shot the gunman four times wounding him and ending his shooting spree. Only one person besides the shooter was wounded. No deaths.
This is the information that should be included in our national debate. I believe that before discussion is had on repealing the Second Amendment or outlawing semi-automatic weapons, the American public should hear the facts on gun control. It’s not something to be covered up.
Keith Fierro | Cal State Fullerton | @KJFierro