Why progressives should stop pushing for more gun control laws
-- There are already thousands of them, too many of which don't work. Every ineffective law brings government into disrepute.
-- Prohibition of something that large numbers of citizens want always fail, witness the war on the drugs. It merely increases the value of the prohibited item and changes the distributors from honest people to crooks.
-- Gun control laws are highly divisive to no good end. Since they don't work well, why get everyone so mad about them? Progressives should instead start finding issues that make people happy.
-- Treating gun laws as a national issue exacerbates cultural conflict, such as those between rural and urban, east and west, wealthy and not so well off. Telling rural Westerners to get rid of their guns is like telling an urban blacks to stop reading African-American books.
-- There is no evidence that members of the NRA murder people at a higher rate than non-members. It is insulting to gun owners to speak as though they did.
-- The push for gun restrictions and prohibition is interwoven with the drive to restrict other citizen liberties and erode democracy. Progressives once opposed such moves, but in recent have been no-shows. Progressives need to became civil libertarians again.
-- America no longer has a strong, reliable democracy. It has been deeply corrupted and is being brutally manipulated. We are also losing our major defense against tyranny: the spirit and will of the people. An armed citizenry is a reasonable back-up plan.
-- People who drive around cities in four-wheel drive SUVs shouldn't lecture others on what safety precautions they should take.
-- The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government. I didn't say that. Thomas Jefferson did. (Ed Note - Bill says that this is not true - See: Bogus Quotes)
-- Progressives should stop treating average Americans as though they were alien creatures. Progressives haven't just lost elections because of their issues but because of their attitudes as well.
By Sam Smith
The Progressive Review
JOHN R. LOTT, JR, NY POST - Another school shooting occurred and the headlines were everywhere the same, from Australia to Nigeria. This time the shooting occurred at a university, the Appalachian Law School. As usual, there were calls for more gun control. Yet in this age of "gun-free school zones," one fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars. The fast responses of two male students, Mikael Gross, 34, and Tracy Bridges, 25, undoubtedly saved multiple lives. Mikael was outside the law school and just returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started his attack. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start. When the shots rang out, utter chaos erupted. Mikael said, "People were running everywhere. They were jumping behind cars, running out in front of traffic, trying to get away." Mikael and Tracy did something quite different: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns. Mikael had to run about 100 yards to get to his car. Along with Ted Besen (who was unarmed), they approached Peter from different sides. As Tracy explained it, "I aimed my gun at him, and Peter tossed his gun down. Ted approached Peter, and Peter hit Ted in the jaw. Ted pushed him back and we all jumped on." What is so remarkable is that out of 280 separate news stories (from a computerized Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns. Only two local newspapers (the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Charlotte Observer) mentioned that the students actually pointed their guns at the attacker. Much more typical was the scenario described by the Washington Post, where he heroes had simply "helped subdue" the killer. The New York Times noted only that the attacker was "tackled by fellow students.". . . In all, 72, stories described how the attacker was stopped without mentioning that the student heroes had guns. http://nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/38115.htm
The current anti-gun hysteria is being driven by two myths: (1) that youth violence is out of control and (2) that there are a large number of children being killed accidentally by guns.
Let's review the bidding:
-- According to the National Safety Council, accidental firearms fatalities (of all ages) declined to an all-time low of 900 in 1998 - the fewest fatal accidents since record-keeping began in 1903. The 900 fatalities is 18 percent lower than in 1997 and 40 percent below the period 1989-1998. By comparison, in 1998 some 41,200 people were killed in vehicle accidents, 16,600 in falls, 9,000 by poisoning, 4,100 by drowning, 3,700 by fires and burns and 3,200 by choking.
-- Meanwhile, every gun-related threat to kids measured by the Center for Disease Control between 1991 and 1997 diminished, including the number of kids who carried guns and other weapons to school.
-- Forty-six percent of all those dying of gunshots in 1997 were between the ages of 15 and 34. Presumably guns work mechanically the same way for this age group as they do for others, thus something other that safety would appear to be involved. Clue: these are also the major crime years.
-- New York has more than 2.6 million children under the age of 10. From 1993 to 1997, the Centers for Disease Control report that there were only six accidental gun deaths in that age range an annual rate of 1.2 deaths. Over 3.3 million adult New Yorkers owning at least one gun in 1996.
-- Americans use guns defensively around 2 million times each year five times more frequently than the 430,000 times guns were used to commit crimes in 1997. 98 percent of the time, simply brandishing the weapon is sufficient to stop an attack."
-- A study by John R. Lott of the Yale Law School of juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides for all the states from 1977 to 1996, found that safe-storage laws had no impact on either type of death. However, in the 15 states that adopted these laws during this period faced over 300 more murders and 3,860 more rapes per year. Burglaries also increased dramatically.
Now comes the Justice Policy Institute with a report that youth violence is falling, but that fear of youth violence is soaring. Here are some of the findings:
• Seven in 10 Americans think a school shooting could happen in their communities, but a child has a 1 in 2 million chance of being killed in a US school.
• Youth homicide arrests dropped 56 percent from 1993 to 1998, but two-thirds of 1,000 people polled by The Washington Post in November said they believed children were getting more violent.
• Citing Maryland as an example, suspensions for false alarms and bomb threats went up 44 percent from the 1997-98 school year to the 1998-99 year. Although it was not known whether the alarms and threats themselves increased, the group said the significant increase in suspensions alone reflected a crackdown on such infractions.
Among the consequences of the anti-gun hysteria: absurd and unconstitutional 'zero tolerance' regulations, many of them aimed at the young, easier manipulation of the public by a cynical and increasingly authoritarian government, and another playing field for ethnic discrimination. In Phoenix, for example, black students are 22 times more likely than whites to be suspended.
The cynical manipulation of this issue by the Clinton regime seems more and more to be directed towards gun confiscation, which has a sad correlation with the loss of freedom. It is certainly not being driven by the facts.
[Statistics from NANDO TIMES, Justice Policy Institute, and John R. Lott Jr.,
Yale University Law School, author of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding
Crime and Gun Control Laws" in the NY Post and Wall Street Journal]
April 12, 2000
See also, Myths About Gun Control by Morgan O. Reynolds
From: a complete ban on firearms? [a forum reply]
Founding Father Quotations
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." - Patrick Henry
"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the right of resistance? Let them take arms...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson"Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self-defense." - John Adams
"The said Constitution be never construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." - Samuel Adams
"Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" - Patrick Henry
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them" - Richard Henry Lee
"The Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."" - James Madison
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." - George Mason
"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms . . . " - Richard Henry Lee
US Supreme Court cases
"The Fourth Amendment phrase "the people" seems to be a term of art used in select parts of the Constitution and contrasts with the words "person" and "accused" used in Articles of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments regulating criminal procedures. This suggests that "the people" refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community." - US Supreme Court (U.S. v Verdugo-Urquidez)
"Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel any one to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding." - US Supreme Court (Dred Scott v Sanford)
"It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the States, and in view of this prerogative of the general government...the States cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question [the Second Amendment] out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government." - US Supreme Court (Presser v Illinois)
The Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense . . . [and that] when called for service, these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time. - US Supreme Court (US v Miller)
"Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of Americans to feel safe." - Diane Feinstein, US Senator
"Our main agenda is to have ALL guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort facts or even lie. Our task of creating a Socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed." - Sarah Brady
"Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic, purely symbolic move. ... Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation." - Charles Krauthammer "Disarm the Citizenry," Washington Post, Apr. 5, 1996
"...The Times supports a near-total ban on the manufacture and private ownership of handguns and assault weapons, leaving those guns almost exclusively in the hands of law enforcement officials. Under our plan, individuals could own sporting weapons only if they had submitted to a background check and passed a firearms safety course. Other special, closely monitored exceptions could be made, such as for serious collectors."
"Why should America adopt a policy of near-zero tolerance for private gun ownership? Because it's the only alternative to the present insanity. Without both strict limits on access to new weapons and aggressive efforts to reduce the supply of existing weapons, no one can be safer." - Los Angeles Times (same story)
"My bill ... establishes a 6-month grace period for the turning in of all handguns." Major Owens, US Representative
"In fact, only police, soldiers -- and, maybe, licensed target ranges -- should have handguns. No one else needs one." - Michael Gartner, president of NBC News
"I'm convinced that we have to have Federal legislation to build on. We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily, given political realities, going to be very modest. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns in the United States, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns, and all handgun ammunition illegal!" - Nelson T. Shields, founder of HCI
"The Constitution is a radical document... it is the job of the government to rein in people's rights." - Bill Clinton
"I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns (with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed target clubs). . . . It is time to act. We cannot go on like this. Ban them!" - John H. Chafee, US Senator
"I now think the only way to control handgun use in this country is to prohibit the guns. And the only way to do that is to change the Constitution." - Michael Gartner, president of NBC News
"And it never, ever was interpreted that the Second Amendment meant individual's right to bear arms" - Rosie O'Donnell, Million Mom March speaker and talk show host
"I know it's in the Constitution. But you know what? Enough! I would like to say, I think there should be a law--and I know this is extreme--that no one can have a gun in the U.S. If you have a gun, you go to jail. Only the police should have guns. It's ridiculous." - Rosie O'Donnell
"I don't care if you want to hunt, I don't care if you think it's your right. I say, sorry, you are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison." - Rosie O'Donnell
You need the will to disarm the civilian population. If we can do it in Somalia, we can do it here. - Mary McGrory, Arizona Daily Star
I don't care about crime, I just want to get the guns. - Howard Metzenbaum, US Senator
"We're here to tell the NRA their nightmare [ban on guns] is true..." - Charles Schumer, US Representative
"Until we can ban all of them [firearms], then we might as well ban none." - Howard Metzenbaum, US Senator
If it were up to me we'd ban them all [guns] - Mel Reynolds, US Representative
"With a 10,000% tax we could tax them [guns] out of existence." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan, US Senator
You know I don't believe in people owning guns, only the police and military. And I'm going to do everything I can to disarm this state. - Michael Dukakis, then governor of Massachusetts
"Perhaps you've heard that big-city mayors had to sue because they've been losing sleep over how freely guns are bought and sold in this country. Well, it's funny about that. According to Jake Tapper in the July 13 Salon, many of the cities suing gun makers are themselves major distributors of guns, police surplus and otherwise, to the used market. Disposing of firearms in "gun swaps," generally with no questions asked, has been a handy way for localities like Boston, Detroit, and Alameda County, California, to defray the cost of new police weapons. Boston, for example, attached no strings to resale when it recently got rid of more than 3,000 .38s, even though it has now endorsed a new legal theory that private vendors should be liable because they displayed "willful blindness" to what happened after guns left their hands.
For hypocrisy, it's hard to top that. Not impossible, though. New Orleans was the first city to jump on the gun lawsuit train: "We have been so focused here in New Orleans on getting guns off the street and protecting our citizens," Mayor Marc Morial declared at the press conference. Yet New Orleans recently scored what may be the biggest deal of its kind ever in the U.S. when it recycled to street use through an Indiana broker some 7,300 guns, most of which it had confiscated from lawbreakers. These included TEC-9s and various other semiautomatics whose importation and manufacture Congress banned in 1994. The municipal gun suits demand that manufacturers equip their wares with safety locks, but New Orleans officials attached no such condition to the resale of the guns in their own inventory, only two of which had locks among the thousands they shipped. Nor did they require that the guns be resold only to other police departments, a financially unwelcome stipulation since weapons may fetch only half as much on the market when that particular condition is attached.
The municipal gun suits demand that manufacturers equip their wares with safety locks, but New Orleans officials attached no such condition to the resale of the guns in their own inventory, only two of which had locks among the thousands they shipped. Nor did they require that the guns be resold only to other police departments, a financially unwelcome stipulation since weapons may fetch only half as much on the market when that particular condition is attached. " - Big Guns, Walter Olson
Add/View Comments to this page