-The United States Constitution
America is in the midst of a bitter debate between two passionate groups of average citizens. What is the cause? The right to bear arms. In our constitution the United States government guarantee's the right for average people to bear arms. Acknowledging the debate over the exact wording of the amendment and the founding fathers meaning when it was written but not expounding on it I instead opt to debate whether or not guns detract from modern American society. Do guns prevent crime? Does gun control laws work? And how does the second amendment effect our lives?
Here we come to the vital portion of the pro-gun argument: Do guns prevent crime? If guns fail to protect American citizens from criminals then what exactly is the point in owning guns? The state of Florida enacted concealed gun laws in 1987 after a huge rise in violent crimes. Within four years the level of murders dropped 35%. Interestingly enough, the rate of decrease corresponded with the rates of concealed guns being registered. Finally it is shown that the rate in murders in the state of Florida increased in 1992 when new laws were put in place to restrict the use of concealed guns. Figures are similar in Arizona which had a similar law. Rifles are used in less then 3% of all homicides while bare hands, knives, and blunt objects make up 22% of all homicides. Statistics given by the FBI show that in the decade prior to 1993, 73% of persons identified in the felonious killing of police officers had prior criminal arrests, 56% had prior convictions, 23% were on probation or parole and 5% had prior murder arrests. Obviously guns do not cause crime, in fact they reduce crime. Criminals cause crime, not guns; guns are only at tool used along with a wide assortment of others to wreck havoc on society.
Do gun control laws work? Registering for firearms certainly does nothing but detain law abiding people from owning guns. In Canada a national gun registry was created in 1934 in an effort to halt criminal offenses. Not one crime has ever been solved using the National Gun Registry. Not one single crime. Instead the registry was used in 1996 to round up all legally owned guns without compensation by the government. This is despite the fact that the Canadian government estimates that approximately 32,000 lives are saved each year because of a firearm. In other words forty people are saved because of a gun to every one that is killed by a gun. In the Canadian countryside it is estimated that 44% of homes contain a gun while in the Canadian metropolises only 11% own guns. Interestingly the violent crime rate is 40% higher in the cities of Canada. Great Britain is another country with a long and valued gun heritage, but in the 90's guns were banned. Statistics show that within two years of the new anti-gun laws crimes with guns increased forty percent. A former head of New Scotland Yard found that licensing law abiding gun owners does not deter criminals, it only deters law abiding citizens and the use of firearms used in crimes rose after the ban.
Waiting periods don't work well either. President Clinton himself said it the best, " ...Twenty four hours for everyone you can check within twenty four hours, but over 90 percent of them you can check in twenty four hours. But for those you can't check, because there is some problem with it, we ought to be able to hold them up for three days." In fact almost everybody is held up for three full days due to errors in the system. This waiting period would also kill off the gun show, another long held American tradition. California had a waiting period for fifteen days in 1975. A study showed that California's violent crime rate was 50% higher then the rest of the country each year following the waiting limit. This rate did not decrease after the waiting period was cut to ten days in 1977.
The right to bear arms is integral in the self defense of ordinary law abiding citizens. What is the best way to deter a criminal? Make him think that you have a gun. The second amendment is the right for a citizen to have self defense. Police officers cannot be everywhere at once, they can rarely be at most places at once. For those times when a cop is not around every person needs to defend himself against those who posses a weapon with an intent to injure. Even the police community on whole (and this is a generalization) supports the right to bear arms. A Lt. Dennis Tueller collected the national poll of polices officers in the mid nineties. He reports that 96.4% support private ownership of firearms for protection. 95% of police officers oppose the ban of large capacity magazines and 84.6% do not think that gun control laws reduce crime. This is coming from the horses mouth. I would like to believe that the Cops are the best informed on this issue as they deal with it day and day out. If they support guns they who could be against it? Just having a gun can ward of a criminal without being used. The gun is an important tool in the fight against crime, not part of it.
Statistically guns prevent crime while anti-gun laws do not. Statistically police officers support the right to bear arms. Statistically Canada and the UK have become a lot less safer places to live in since they banned guns. If in 1992 every state in the United States had passed right to carry provisions then almost 1,570 murders could have been prevented. Another 4,177 rapes wouldn't have happened, and 6.124 billion dollars worth of economic losses would have been saved. While the rest of the world is hoping that everyone will follow the laws that the government passes, even the criminals, America is alone in the belief that the only people benefiting from gun control are the criminals. Early statistics already show that states like Texas where guns play a much larger role in public safety have lower violence rates then Great Britain and Canada. Only a criminal could support the banning of guns as only a criminal would stand to benefit from it.
" Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assualted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
-Criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764