Oh the lovely gun control debate. Few things in the American Political Sphere are as big as the gun control debate, and none outside going to war, or Abortion Rights, elicits a stronger reaction across the board. If you’re against gun control you’re an out of control wing nut who is okay will letting children get murdered. If you’re for gun control you’re a fascist who wants to round up every flag loving American and put them into camps. There’s enough daylight in between the two camps that there’s no wonder that both sides have distorted the facts on gun control so thoroughly that you can hardly find any real information that’s not be laced with a bias. With that being said there are a number of web research scholarly non biased research (that has been funded by both public and private institutions) that both sides cherry pick statistics from. So with that, I give you the biggest myths, from both sides of the political spectrum, on Gun Control.
1) The Assault Weapon Ban Saved Lives
Okay, so the underlying idea was that by passing a ban that prevented access to assault weapons ( aka, big guns that have a high ammo capacity with a rate of fire that switches from single to burst) it would prevent deaths. The ban was originally enacted in 1994 after the Stockton Schoolyard Shooting that killed 6 people, and the 101 California Street Shooting that killed nine. While the assault weapon ban was enacted there were 15 mass shooting, including Columbine. A government report in 2004 stated that the ban itself was largely ineffective for a number of reasons including that shootings that involved assault weapons only accounted for two percent of crimes BEFORE the ban. In addition handguns with high capacity magazines accomplished the same task in that period that AWs would have. The report also listed the numerous grandfathered weapons ensured that any drop off in crime would be gradual anyways. The original 1997 version of that report said it reduced total gun violence 6.7 percent, but that was only with one year of data, and they even concluded, “The evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect.”
So basically, did the ban save lives? Some, but Assault Weapons were never the problem with gun violence in the first place.
2) Only Way to Stop a Bad Guy with a Gun is a Good Guy with a Gun
This is the prevailing idea that is pushing the ability for gun owners (usually with a conceal and carry permit) to go in to any establishment armed. The general idea comes with two premises: 1) if a criminal thinks people are armed they are less likely to commit a violent crime, and 2) that if someone decides to commit a violent crime then a good guy can stop them before the body count gets high. The problem is that this isn’t the case in either situation. It’s a good theory, but it’s not supported by the statistics. Based on an FBI report published in 2013, which measured incidents with Active Shooters, or, “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” This report stated that 56 percent of these active shooter incidents ended on “the shooter’s initiative” described as “when the shooter committed suicide or stopped shooting, and other times when the shooter fled the scene.” Of the remaining percent only 15 percent (26 incidents) were stopped by civilians, and all but 5 of those were stopped by UNARMED citizens. Seeing as there are no stats (other than anecdotal), on how many of these incidents had people who were armed it’s hard to say how many more could have been prevented by having someone armed. That being said, at least half of these instances occurred where guns are allowed. Which leads me to my next myth…
3) Gun Free Zones Attract Violence
This is one we can definitively say is false. Pro-Gun advocated usually state a study by John R. Lott, Jr, states that all but 2 mass shootings occur where guns are not allowed. The underlying premise of Lott’s study is that mass shooters target places where they are less likely to be killed (or at least do the most damage). In fact, the same FBI report from earlier stated that in most incidents the shooter either commits suicide, or intentionally commits suicide by cop. In addition these people target locations based on grievances or fixations. Going to a place where guns are banned is a non-factor for these people. That being said…
4) More Conceal and Carriers Create More Gun Violence
The fear by most anti-gun advocates is that the more people who have and use conceal and carry permits (or even open carry) in places where they are currently not allowed will cause gun violence to spike. They evoke images of old west saloon brawls and liken it to a less civilized, more barbaric way of like. Once again stats don’t back it up. In the most basic statistical analysis that murder rates dropped in the 90s with the rise of conceal and carry permits, but most studies conclude that overall, conceal and carry has no bearing on crime rate when related to violent crime.
5) Americans Are Killing Each Other at a Higher Rate Than any others in the world
Many anti-gun advocates use this as a argument inferring that we are less civilized than other developed country who has banned guns. If you look at the global homicide rate, out of 218 countries, we rank at 121, right above Uzbekistan and below the Maldives. When people mention this stat they usually are comparing us to European countries, and to their credit, you don’t find a … wait a minute. Estonia, Moldova, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine, Estonia, basically all of Eastern Europe has a higher murder rate. So what they’re really talking about is France (189), Germany (209), Canada (174), and Australia (187). So could our murder rate be better, yes, but it’s not as conflated as anti-gun advocates make it out to be.
6) A Universal Gun Registry is Unconstitutional
For those who don’t know, a universal gun registry is basically a tool that would allow the government (specifically law enforcement), to see who has how many gun. Pro-Gun advocates (mainly the more, shall we say, militia oriented one) don’t like the idea because of a perpetual fear that the government will one day take their guns, and the registry will show them where they are. Their argument against it is that it is unconstitutional, and that’s simply a load of hogwash. So as far back as 1660 (you know, over 100 years before the constitution was written), it was required that gunsmiths in England were to keep a record of who bought their weapons and submit it on a weekly basis. In addition, the same scholarly paper states:
“In the founding period on this continent, a variety of measures were implemented to regulate the possession of firearms-ranging from the administration of loyalty oaths, to militia laws, to reporting requirements, to outright prohibition on gun possession. In eighteenth-century Massachusetts, for instance, militiamen were required to give an exact account of their firearms and equipment, and this information was then transmitted to officers of the state. Historian Saul Cornell traces in detail the variety of firearms regulations in place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the rules that laid out weaponry requirements and reporting requirements associated with militia service. Cornell argues that the heavy regulation reflects an early civic-rights conception of the Second Amendment-as opposed to both a collective-rights or individual-rights interpretation of the Amendment.”
So the idea that universal registration is unconstitutional is not supported by the interpretation of the founders. In addition, gun ownership via the second amendment was not for personal use but for militia purposes. It was basically devised so the government could call upon militias to defend the US from invasion. It was essentially like requiring Firemen to own and maintain their own gear, and to tell the government what they had and where they stored it.
Overall, it doesn’t appear that gun control laws have much of an affect on violent crime, nor does it appear that having more guns actually stops it either. Now it may be possible that if our gun control laws were more extreme that they may accomplish a drastic drop in violent crime, but thats not a guarantee. Currently in the United States (an estimate based on Government tallies) there is some 372 million firearms in the US. A complete weapons ban would be an impossible task in just the implementation, before you even look at Constitutionality.
Hitler took all the guns before he took over
No. no. no. no. no. Hitler did not do that. The Weimar Republic, the government that took control of Germany in 1919, was required by the Treaty of Versailles to enact strict gun control laws. Hitler actually expand gun ownership in Germany by allowing Nazi party members to register and carry firearms. If you were a Jew, Gypsy, Homosexual, etc, and in the rare instance that you had a gun, then you lost that right. That being said, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising showed that possession of small arms did not provide an effective resistance against a professionally trained Nazi army, and the suggestion that if the Jews had been armed they wouldn’t have been rounded up is patently false, idiotic, and devoid of any possession of the facts. Even if they had some machine guns (which they had in the Warsaw Uprising), Nazis had TANKS and MORTARS.
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