Re: guns (Re: Cell phones of death!)

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From: Chuck Murcko (
Date: Mon Dec 18 2000 - 10:58:59 PST

I've not trimmed this thing (except for sigs) because I think Bill's
points need to be reiterated.

Australia's violent crime rate is up more than 40% in some areas since
guns were made illegal there.

In the US, violent crimes have dropped more than 50% in Richmond VA and
Rochester NY since "experimental" programs to actually enforce existing
federal firearms laws have been in operation. The US has more firearms
laws than any other country, but chooses not to enforce them. In Texas
and Virginia, violent crime is down 15-25% since relaxed requirements
for obtaining concealed carry permits (still requiring a criminal
background check by state or county officials) were passed. It seems
criminals show more caution when they're not sure who's armed and who's
not. What's the violent crime rate in Wyoming? 8^)

Britain had a mass murder from a flamethrower wielding individual while
they were in the process of banning firearms (this time) but did not
make welding torches illegal as well.

Before WW II Britain had very strict firearms ownership laws that
precluded most citizens from owning firearms. Sometime shortly before
Lend Lease got going, Britain was appealing to US gun owners to donate
their weapons, at the time assuming Germany would launch an amphibious
invasion. Ask your grandparents, you whippersnappers. My dad told me
about this one.

Guns intelligently stored do not kill children, same with cars
intelligently operated. Either thing used, handled, maintained, or
stored stupidly kills, and that's the real point of this comparison.
There are twice as many firearms as cars in the US, BTW.

The vast majority of crimes *prevented* by firearms owners involve
display of the gun only, not the use of it. This is an ever-ignored fact
in the debate.

The largest school murder in US history came in the first half of the
twentieth century when a madman dynamited a school in Michigan. This
made US news for about ten seconds during the recent Columbine

Bill Stoddard wrote:
> > On Tue, 12 Dec 2000, Bill Stoddard wrote:
> >
> > > I have owned firearms all my life as have most of my friends and family.
> I
> > > have never known anyone who has been injured by a firearm (well I got a
> > > blister on my hand from the recoil from shooting my .44 mag, but that
> doesn't
> > > count) or injured someone else with a firearm. I know of several cases
> where a
> > > firearm was used in self defence (no shots fired). Oh, and I have never
> know
> > > anyone to commit a crime with a firearm either. My experience is not
> > > uncommon, dispite what most "Journalists" in the media would have you to
> > > believe.
> >
> > It depends what you mean by "uncommon". With 200 million guns in
> > America[1], certainly 99% of them are not used in fatal shootings each
> > year. Most guns are sitting in a closet or gun rack most of the time, so
> > any gun use (outside of target practice) could be considered uncommon.
> >
> > But the other set of statistics to look at are the circumstances in which
> > guns *are* used. Of the ~37,000 gun deaths each year, about 17,000 are
> > suicides, 6,000 are accidents, and about 14,000 are homicides. Of the
> > 14,000 homicides, about 250 are considered justifiable (according to the
> > FBI)[1,2]. The average person who shoots someone in his home is 22 times
> > more likely to kill himself or someone he knows than to kill in
> > self-defense[3].
> >
> > (BTW, I'm surprised when FoRKers use anecdotal evidence to counter
> > statistical evidence
> Matt,
> Careful with those 'statistics'. What exactly is the definition of the
> 'average' person? I would like to see these statistics broken out into even
> more demographic detail but I doubt that will ever happen because it will not
> support the pro GC crowd's fear mongering than the "average suburban housewife
> and her children are in mortal danger from firearms". Suburban housewives and
> their kids are NOT in any significant danger from firearms and the
> 'statistics' will show that if you dig deep enough. Let's bring ALL the
> statistics out in the public and have a TOTALLY informed debate.
> <rant>
> I suspect the leaders of the GC crowd (as opposed to their drone followers)
> are not interested in truth, they are interested in thrusting their world view
> on everyone (at the point of a gun if necessary). If, after an -informed-
> debate, the American public decides it wants to ban gun ownership, then lets
> repeal the 2nd Amendment and be done with it. What the GC leaders are doing
> now is completely immoral, IMHO.
> Ahh, now I feel better :-)
> </rant>
> On a more personal note, would you like it if decisions were made for you by
> your government based on 'studies' of the 'average' person? I guess I just
> have a LOT of first hand (anecdotal) evidence that the folks I have spent my
> life with are not 'average' people :-)
> > The fact that Uncle Charlie smokes two packs a day
> > and is 80 years old does not dispute the statistical proof that smoking is
> > likely to kill people.)
> Bad analogy. There is a good cause and effect relationship between tobacco use
> and disease, regardless of where the user lives, culture, education level,
> professional training, training on 'how to use tobacco properly :-)',
> political beliefs, or whatever. Comparing this to 'gun control' is, ummm, not
> rigorous :-). Guns are not a disease, despite what the CDC would have you
> believe. Jeeesh, I go off on a rant about the U.S. Govt. spending tax dollars
> on obviously politically biased CDC 'studies' with the intent of circumventing
> the 2nd amendment, but I won't.
> >
> > The trickier numbers to get are the non-lethal successes, such as scaring
> > a burglar off by showing your gun. Of course, non-lethal incidents from
> > the other side, where a criminal holds up a liquor store or robs someone
> > at gunpoint, also have to be counted (and generally are, in police
> > reports, at around 1 million criminal handgun incidents per year [2]).
> Have you seen Gary Kleck's reports?
> Here is quote from that site...
> "The author (Gary Kleck) is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union,
> Amnesty International USA, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common
> Cause, among other politically liberal organizations He is a lifelong
> registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal Democratic
> candidates. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or contributor
> to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control, Inc. nor any other
> advocacy organization, nor has he received funding for research from any such
> organization. "
> >
> > Perhaps a good question to ask is, "If we had strict enforcement of gun
> > control laws, would there be as much need to defend ourselves with guns?"
> > E.g., how many of those 250 justifiable shootings were at people who
> > pulled a gun on the homeowner, as opposed to a knife? I think the
> > evidence from Canada, Japan, and Europe suggests we would be safer with
> > strict gun control.
> We have pretty strict drug laws in this country and we still have drugs
> galore. Taking another tact, if I am a criminal and I am confident that no one
> else has a gun, then if I have a gun that gives me a great advantage. Now
> consider that it is almost trivial to manufacture a firearm that is sufficient
> for committing a robbery.
> IMHO, much of the violence in the U.S. has cultural roots thus comparisons
> with other countries is really not that useful. The canonical example is
> Switzerland; each household is required to have a fully automatic "assault
> rifle" with ammo yet the violence rate in that country is remarkably low. It
> is rather obvious that factors other than availability of firearms play a
> bigger role in violence.
> >
> > [1]
> > [2] FBI UCRs,
> > [3]
> >
> pt=r
> >
> > p.s. - [This thread does not pull in 2nd Amendment arguments, etc.; it's
> > only talking about personal safety.]
> I agree that pulling in 2nd amendment arguments adds significant complexity.
> Should be part of the debate though.

Chuck Murcko
Topsail Group

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