Does Gun Control Work?

Article Posted: December 23, 2012

Gun Control in 2013

Examining gun laws:

"The gun is not the issue. If someone else there had a gun, maybe they could have stopped this," Benjamin Torres, owner of Betor Roofing in Danbury, told Reuters on Monday. "The bad guys are going to get guns illegally anyway."

In 1976 Washington D.C. passed a law generally prohibiting residents from possessing handguns and requiring all firearms in private possession to be kept unloaded and rendered temporarily inoperable. During the years the handgun law was in force, the murder rate for the area averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law, while the US murder rate averaged 11% lower for the same period.[5]

On June 26, 2008 the Supreme Court struck down this law as unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling.

Great Britain Big Ben

In 1997 Great Britain passed a third law further requiring civilians to surrender almost all privately owned handguns, shotguns and rifles to the police. Using records of firearms held certificates from previous laws, the police accounted for all but fewer than eight of all legally owned guns in Great Britain.[6] The homicide rate in Great Britain averaged 52% higher since the second gun law in 1968 and an additional 15% increase since the 1997 complete ban on guns.[7] I wonder if the gun law is the effect of the increased crime or is it simply a natural increase in societal violence that would occur regardless of the gun ban.

Chicago Police

In 1982, Chicago instituted a ban on handguns. This ban barred civilians from possessing handguns unless registered every two years with the city prior to the law. The law was amended in 1994 to require re-registration of the handgun annually. Since the ban, the murder rate fell by 17%, compared to a national average decrease for the same period of 25%.[8]

Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the percentage of murders committed with a handgun has averaged 40% higher than it was before the law took effect.[9] In 2005 96% of firearm murder victims were killed with handguns.[10] If I wanted to argue that gun laws protect the criminals, not the law abiding citizen, this would be it.

Joe Liberman

"The strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence. But, also, to acknowledge that the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence including mass violence that will happen in our society." Senator Joe Lieberman. I guess Senator Lieberman hasn't looked at crime rates as they pertain to gun control laws. Sen. Lieberman, please ask Chicago how it's going with their handgun ban and crime. I want to agree with Sen. Lieberman but the facts simply don't support his position.

Background Checks and the law-- how does this help?

"Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future," New York City Mayor Bloomberg said. He was asking Congress and the president to make gun trafficking a felony, have every gun buyer go through a background check, and ban high-capacity magazines.

There are still huge holes in the database, including crucial information from other federal and state agencies about whether someone is mentally ill. After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, Congress called on these other agencies, including the Social Security Administration, to share this information. (The Virginia Tech shooter had been declared mentally ill by a state judge, but that information wasn't in the FBI database.) So far, this has not been done. Taking a good look at the background check procedure is a good idea. If done correctly and eliminating loop holes it can be effective. I urge a thorough and effective background check on all potential firearm buyers. The whole point is to keep weapons away from prohibited classes, let's do so. Also close the loopholes so these people have fewer alternative sources.

It is illegal to possess, receive, own or trasport a firearm or ammunition if: a convicted felon punishable by more than one year in prison, a convicted misdemeanor punishable by more than two years in prison, a fugitive from justice, an unlawful user of a controlled substance, someone who has been ruled mentally defective or committed to a mental institution, an illegal alien, dishonorably discharged from the military, renounced his/her citizenship, subject to restraining orders or convicted of domestic violence.

It is illegal for any federally licensed firearms business to sell or transfer any firearm without first conducting a background check to see if the buyer/recipient falls into any of the prohibited categories.

It is illegal for anyone except a federally licensed firearms business to; buy, sell, trade or transfer a firearm across state lines.

Under federal law private individuals are not required to conduct a background check before selling or transferring a firearm to someone who lives in the same state. As many as 40% of gun sales in the US do not include a background check due to this loophole. It is illegal to do so while knowing the individual falls into a prohibited category.

In a 10 year period from 1998 - 2008 over 96 million background checks were conducted. Less than 1% were denied.[11] Of 120,00 denials between 2002 and 2003 the federal gov't prosecuted 154 applicants.

As of 2010, federal law does not prohibit members of terrorist organizations from purchasing firearms or explosives. Between 2004 and 2010 1,225 firearm and three explosives background checks for people on terrorist watch lists were processed through the federal background check system. Of these, 91% of the firearms transactions and 100% of explosives transactions were allowed.[12] I may be off base here but.... I'd probably prohibit people on terrorist watch lists from buying a firearm. At least until they can prove they are decorated military veterans and actually love the USA and fly the US flag the Marine Corps flag and the POW flag at their home.

A 2001 investigation by the: Government Accountability Office found: The federal background check system does not positively identify purchasers of firearms.[13] It is far too easy for the buyer to use another ID or a fake ID.

Where do criminals get their guns?

A 1997 Justice Department survey of 14,285 state prison inmates found less than 1% obtained a firearm at a gun show, 1% at a flea market, 3.8% from a pawn shop, 8.3% from a retail store, 39.2% through an illegal/street source and 39.6% through family or friends.[14] Obviously they aren't getting them from normal legal sources.

Right to Carry Laws:

Dallas Fort Worth, superintendent David Thweatt says the district's; "Guardian Plan" (It allows teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds to protect students against potential shooters.) is a way of taking charge in the chaos of a potential shooting. "Teachers are the true first responders", Thweatt says. "We need to be here to protect our children. Not four, five minutes or six minutes from now." In a recent interview Thweatt said, "As educators, we don't have to be police officers and learn about Miranda Rights and related procedures. We just have to be accurate." Thweatt isn't sure his plan would have stopped the Newtown massacre, however he contends that; "Active shooters go where there is no one there to resist. The Guardian Plan addresses that fact." A highly controversial and proactive approach. Is the answer to stopping crime to arm all the citizens? I look at this policy and wonder where we go next. I am concerned for humanity when we have to arm our teachers to protect our children.

As of January 2012, 40 states have a; "shall issue" law regarding right-to-carry. Meaning, if you apply for the permit and aren't prohibited, the state must issue the permit allowing carry-conceal rights provided the proper documentation and training is completed. Nine states have a; "may issue" law, meaning local government can choose not to issue for any reason. One state is no issue- Illinois.

In right to carry states, the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the US. The murder rate is 28% lower and the robbery rate is 50% lower.

Florida enacted a right to carry law in 1987. Since the law took effect the murder rate has averaged 36% lower than prior to the law. Nationally the same period the murder rate fell 15%.

In Texas, the murder rate has averaged 30% lower as compared nationally to a 28% drop.

In 2007 there were 613 fatal firearm accidents in the US, constituting 0.5% of accidental deaths.

What does it all mean?

"Not a single gun was used at the Oklahoma bombing," he said. "If there is evil, we need to figure out how to deal with it as best we can; but we cannot eliminate it. These politicians who start to immediately, immediately - the bodies haven't even been removed from the school - to push their agenda are a disgrace," Mark Levin- Attorney and conservative commentator.

The bill of rights 2nd amendment states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Gun control advocates argue the amendment does not protect individual citizens, but only members of militias, which they assert is the National Guard.

Gun rights advocates argue the 2nd amendment recognizes an individual right to keep and bear arms. In 2001 a federal appeals court protects the individuals rights to privately possess and bear their own firearms. In the Constitution a distinction is established seperating people from soldiers. With that understanding and using the Constitution as a whole body of work, it is hard to deny the right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

That being said, don't rely on the Supreme Court to overturn any new gun control laws in the near future. Within a year of being confirmed to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote: "The use of arms for private self-defense does not warrant federal constitutional protection from state regulation and that the framers of the constitution did not write the second amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense."

Where was God?

"We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools," said Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor. "Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?"

It echos his remarks after the Aurora, Colorado shooting, when he told Fox News: "We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we've ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn't act so surprised ... when all hell breaks loose."
"Why did God not stop this from happening? God isn't allowed in schools anymore....."

I read that on Facebook and think to myself, maybe there is something to that. Certainly regarding gun control there are parts we can all agree on that don't really make sense. Nobody really needs 30 round magazines, nor collapsible stocks. However, gun control simply isn't the answer and our leaders need to understand this. I want them to work toward improving society as a whole, not to curb what the law abiding citizens can and can't do anymore. It's about everything.... Religion and school relationships, where does God fit in, does God fit in? Mental health, treatment, facilities, research, prison reform. The list goes on, so many things we could be looking at for possible solutions but won't.

I do know this, we didn't see this behavior in the first half of the 1900's.... Back then, there was a relationship between school and religion. One day a week, we got out of school early to go to our Church and learn about God. I find it ironic that we ignore religion and drive it from society...until we die. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning, and we didn't have violent video games to the degree we have now with the military first person shooters available. Cultural violence in media and games need to be studied for their effects on our kids.

I'm not against gun control, I believe there are things we can do to help curb gun violence in the US besides removing high capacity weapons and clamping down on who can buy guns, we also need to look at the cultural factors involved in the culture of the gun we have in the USA. Failure to account for the above basic contributing factors in gun violence will be a failure on our leaders part to put forth a real effort to curb the violence.

So many stats that it needs 2 pages to properly detail.

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Contributing Author: Mike McAlpin

Thanks to Rachelhobday, Trippchicago for use of the cc photos

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