LET'S TALK GUNS
February 25, 2010
It is a truism to say that there are many anti-gun ideologues among our educational elites. But few are as honest as Doug Van Gorder, a math teacher at Boston's Brockton High School. He admits that he would rather lose a child than exercise his right to defend himself with a gun. In the wake of a recent school shooting, he wrote this in a Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe:
Some propose overturning laws that made schools gun-free zones even for teachers who may be licensed to securely carry concealed firearms elsewhere. They argue that barring licensed-carry only ensures a defenseless, target-rich environment.Morally speaking, I have no problem with anti-gun ideologues who wish to place themselves in peril by waiving their rights of self-defense. You almost have to respect someone who is willing to die for his beliefs. But when he decides that others should also die for his beliefs the real trouble begins.
But as a progressive, I would sooner lay my child to rest than succumb to the belief that the use of a gun for self-defense is somehow not in itself a gun crime.
There are actually a lot of Doug Van Gorders in the world. In fact, there are whole organizations of them. The Brady Campaign for Gun Control is the first that comes to mind.
The Brady Campaign for Gun Control provides a scorecard on how states are doing in regard to gun control legislation. If you don’t have enough gun control laws you get a low score from the Brady bunch. For example, West Virginia receives a score of 4 out of a possible 100. Utah actually scores zero.
Right now, there is a post by a blogger named Don Surber circulating widely around the internet. Don has cleverly compared the homicide rates in some of the states getting low Brady scores with states getting high Brady scores. Consider the following comparison:
*Utah, the state with a zero rating, has only 1.5 homicides per 100,000 citizens. Less than half of those homicides are firearm related.
*California scores the highest according to the Brady report with a whopping 79. But they have 5.83 murders per 100,000, which is a rate nearly four times higher than Utah. Over 2/3 of the homicides in California are firearms related.
I can just hear liberals saying “People in Utah don’t need guns. There’s hardly any murder in their state.” Few probably make the connection between lawful gun ownership and low crime rates. Remember, these are the people who, in the 1990s, said that “despite the low crime rate, prison populations are higher than ever.” Back then they just could not connect the dots and figure out that crime was down because the criminals were locked up.
It all goes back to ideology. Liberals refuse to believe in deterrence theory because to do so admits to the fallen nature of man. To them, man is inherently good, not evil. Moreover, he is perfectible. The liberal is willing to die to preserve his vision of himself and others. And he wants you to die for his vision, too.
Don Surber’s comparison is clever but not dispositive. The data he examines is cross-sectional so its use is limited. What we really want to see is what happens after the laws the Brady Campaign opposes are actually put in effect.
Fortunately, we know the answer when it comes to concealed carry laws. Sixteen peer-reviewed studies show that allowing citizens to lawfully carry reduces violent crime rates. Ten peer-reviewed studies are inconclusive. But there are, to date, no peer-reviewed studies reaching the opposite conclusion; namely that allowing citizens to lawfully carry increases violent crime rates.
Nonetheless, the Brady bunch continues to fight for laws that will cause themselves and others to remain helpless in the face of criminal assault. They would sooner lay your child to rest than succumb to the belief that the use of a gun for self-defense is somehow not in itself a gun crime.
The anti-gun lobby must realize that law abiding citizens need guns in a society that cannot ensure that criminals will not have them. But even if guns could be kept from criminals they would find other means to kill. After all, passengers without guns have flown airplanes into buildings.
The gun control extremist has at least two things in common with the Islamic extremist. He has a willingness to die for his fundamental beliefs. And he has the sanctimony to demand that others go with him.
We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.