Gun Control Or People Control
One of the biggest issues in the United States today seems to be gun control. The government is constantly proposing legislation for more and more gun control. Slowly they are chipping away at our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You must ask yourself: For what reason does the government want to restrict law abiding citizens from owning guns? Certainly government is not so naive to think criminals will adhere to gun control laws. There just may be an underlying motive for gun control. After all, people would be easier to control if they were defenseless. Few public policy debates have been as dominated by emotion and misinformation as the one on gun control.
Banning guns to reduce crime makes as much sense as banning alcohol to reduce drunk driving. Indeed, convincing evidence shows that civilian gun ownership can be a powerful deterrent to crime. In 1966 the police in Orlando, Florida, responded to a rape epidemic by drafting a highly publicized program to train 2,500 women in firearm use. The next year rape fell by 88 percent in Orlando (the only major city to experience a decrease that year); burglary fell by 25 percent. Actually, of the 2,500 women not one ended up firing her weapon; the deterrent effect of the publicity sufficed. Five years later Orlando's rape rate wasstill thirteen percent below the pre-program level, whereas the surrounding standard metropolitan area had suffered a 308 percent increase.
During a 1974 police strike in Albuquerque armed citizens patrolled their neighborhoods and shop owners publicly armed themselves; felonies dropped notably. In March 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia, enacted a law requiring members of each household to keep a gun at home; house burglaries fell from 65 per year to 26, and to 11 the following year. Comparable publicized training programs for gun-toting merchants distinctly reduced store robberies in Highland Park, Michigan, and New Orleans; a grocers organization's gun clinics produced the same result in Detroit.
Gun control advocates note that only two burglars in 1,000
are driven off by armed homeowners. However, since a huge
majority of burglaries take place when no one is home, the
statistical citation is deceptive. Several criminologists
attribute the predominance of daytime burglary to burglars' fear of encountering an armed resident. Indeed, a burglar's chance of being sent to jail is about the same as his chance of being shot by a victim if the burglar breaks into an occupied residence (one
to two percent in each case).
Gun control is based on the faulty notion that ordinary
American citizens are too hazardous and ill-tempered to be trusted with weapons. Only through the blatant revocation of specific constitutional rights is gun control even possible. It must be enforced with such violations of individual rights as officious search and seizure.
It most severely victimizes those who most need weapons for self-defense, such as blacks and women. Many advocates of gun control believe that legislation in their favor will create a decrease in violent crime. To the contrary, Great Britain, a country with gun control, reports a frightening 1,200 percent increase of violent crimes against individuals in the last thirty three years (between 1960 and 1993). The number of robberies in this same time period has increased by 2,700 percent. Great Britain's overall crime rate has risen by 680 percent.
Gun control advocates--those who favor additional legal
restrictions on the availability of guns or who want to outlaw
certain types of guns--argue that the more guns there are, the
more crime there will be. There is no simple statistical relationship between gun ownership and homicide or other violent crimes. In the first 30 years of this century, U.S. per capita handgun ownership remained steady, but the homicide rate rose tenfold. Consequently, between 1937 and 1963, handgun ownership rose by 250 percent, but the homicide rate fell by 35.7 percent. Switzerland, through its militia system, issues both
pistols and fully automatic assault rifles to all adult males and
requires them to store their weapons at home. Further, civilian
long-gun purchases are basically unregulated, and handguns are
available to any adult without a criminal record or mental defect.
Nevertheless, Switzerland suffers far less crime per capita than the United