Does Gun Control Work?
Article Posted: December 23, 2012
Does gun control really work, does it help keep us safe, does it reduce violent crime rates, or does a lack of guns actually increase violent crime rates? Guest writer Mike McAlpin looks at the facts and statistics in this 2 page report.
Gun control is now being whispered from every corner of our government. Sadly, many of our law makers have decided to use the Sandy Hook massacre as a platform to move their gun control agenda forward while the citizens of this great nation are still mourning and in shock over an unfathomable attack against unarmed women and children in a place sacred as a safe zone for our children. I struggle to understand the reason and the mind frame of this evil coward. As the father of six children, three between five and ten, I find myself in fits of rage asking myself why and how this happened. unfortunately, we can only guess and will never truly know. I do believe however, our leaders are going to let us down. I expect to see a gun control law enacted and passed this session of congress, not because we need it, not because it's right, but because it will placate us as a society. Answers to the true issues that can help curb violent crime will simply be swept under the rug.
"I'm going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House, a bill to ban assault weapons," California Senator Diane Feinstein said on; "Meet the Press." "It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets. So there will be a bill."
Based on the data, gun control laws are going to change criminal behavior. Crime will increase. It has increased in every location, city, state or country where gun control laws have been studied. The problems facing the nation as we struggle to understand Sandy Hook isn't really about gun control. Our struggle is a cultural issue with many layers of issues that need to be addressed. Sandy Hook should be a wake up call to the US to respond to our cultural deficiencies, instead, our law makers will shield themselves and call themselves triumphant by enacting some form of gun control that won't help our nation and won't answer the real questions we need answered.
In a 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the US;
34% had been scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim. 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they knew or thought the victim was carrying a gun. 69% personally knew other criminals who had been scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an unarmed victim. If the criminals know we don't have a gun, what will the above percentages drop to?
A US Justice Department study based on crime data from 1974 - 1985 found: 83% of Americans will be the victim of an attempted or completed violent crime.
Currently, for every 12 aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes and murders committed in the US, approximately one person is sentenced to prison for committing such a crime.
In 2002 US Justice Department study of 273,000 felons released from state prisons in 1994 found that within three years of release: 67% had been arrested for committing a new offense. 21% had been arrested for committing a new violent crime. Two-thirds of released felons are going to commit a crime. We need an answer for this.
Under federal law, individuals convicted of felonies can lawfully possess firearms if their civil rights are restored by the requisite government entities. As of 2002, fifteen states automatically restore the firearm rights of convicts upon their release from prison or completion of parole. 21 states do so automatically with juvenile convicts. So, first we release the criminals knowing two-thirds are going right back out on crime spree, then we give them gun rights. Anyone ever question this?
Mental Health and it's issues
"These boys-and their mothers-need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it's easy to talk about guns. But it's time to talk about mental illness." .Liza Long Please look up and read Liza Long's article: "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother." To get a real perspective on mental illness in children.
According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise-in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.
With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill-Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois house the nation's largest mental health centers.
While some parents are reluctant to address mental health issues in their children -- or themselves -- others find that getting even basic treatment is difficult. "A persistent shortfall in funding has made access to community-based services difficult for families and patients so that accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatments are not readily available for many who need them," Dr. David Sack MD, CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, told Yahoo! Shine. "Patients with mental health problems, because of their illnesses, often reject services offered to them and are vulnerable to alcohol and other substance abuse which it harder to help them."
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said that tougher gun laws would not have prevented the mass shooting that killed 12 and wounded 58 others in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July. he feels that educating people about mental illness and supporting those who are dealing with mental health problems could be a better way of addressing violent tragedies.
As you can see, the justice system is a cultural factor we must deal with if we are going to solve our national crime problems. Without meaningful rehabilitation in the prisons we are literally releasing criminals and waiting for their next crime to throw them back in prison. Not to mention a 1 in 12 rate of imprisonment for violent crime. Mental health, it's treatment and the role of the prison system should not be related as they are today. Instead of throwing bad money at a problem that doesn't exist, spend it on things that do make a difference like mental health facilities, treatment and research.
Who has guns?
As of 2009 the US population had reached 307 million people. Based on production data from manufacturers there are roughly 300 million firearms, roughly one-third are handguns. These figures do not account for the illegally sold and traded firearms.
Households with a gun: 40-45%
Adults owning a handgun: 17-19%
Male ownership: 47%
Female ownership: 13%
White ownership: 33%
Non white: 18%
Gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:
Target Shooting: 66%
Protection Against Crime: 67%
*owners stated multiple reasons making summary over 100%.
Contributing Author: Mike McAlpin
Thanks to Chuybenitez for use of the cc photo.