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Gun-control Advocates Should Change Their Tune  
User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 929 times:

Recently read this in the Seattle Times and thought it had a very good point. For gun advocates and grabbers alike...



Gun-control advocates should change their tune

By Matt Rosenberg
Special to The Times


Times are hard for gun-control advocates. Following Sept. 11, firearm purchases spiked 10 to 20 percent nationwide. It's not about terrorism, but personal security.

Even in pacific Seattle the numbers are up, police say. You can almost picture trust-fund liberals from Leschi and Laurelhurst laying down their copies of the Utne Reader and Mother Jones to buy pistols and take target practice in Bellevue.

The old anti-gun rhetoric sounds dated. As when state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt told the Olympian newspaper that Eastern Washington GOP activists doorbelling in suburban Seattle legislative races this fall were "... gun nuts and religious nuts from Spokane, Yakima and Moses Lake... "

The media haven't done much better, parroting speculation that the mysterious murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales, an outspoken gun opponent, might have been perpetrated by a gun-rights extremist.

Piggybacking on local reports, People magazine asked, "Was it someone he prosecuted, or a pro-gun zealot?" The magazine then quoted a friend certain the killer was "trying to silence Tom and his cause." Law-enforcement authorities have reached no such conclusion.

The evil plot by the National Rifle Association to brainwash America must be working. The overall number of guns owned in the U.S. was around 200 million in the early '90s. That grew to 240 million by 2000, according to Yale Law School scholar John Lott. About 80 million are handguns, still widely available despite regulatory hoops, decreased international production and higher prices.

Concurrently, the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that robbery and overall violent crime in 2000 reached their lowest points since measurements began.

There's more. Lott, the co-author of "More Guns, Less Violence," examined 18 years of FBI crime data for all 3,054 U.S. counties. He found violent crime dropped most significantly within the 30-plus states issuing "right to carry" concealed handgun permits, especially in more populous counties.

Painstaking research by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck indicates guns are used to scare off criminals some 2.5 million times a year in the U.S. That's several times more than the total number of gun-related crimes.

Gun fatalities are among the tragedies that befall some children and teens, especially where gangs and drugs are involved. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported such incidents were down 35 percent between 1994 and 1998. They've dropped further in subsequent years, too.

The CDC also notes gun deaths for all ages reached a 30-year low in '98, then dropped another 6 percent in '99. Further, 57 percent of all U.S. gun deaths in 1999 were suicides, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This is a typical percentage, and points toward the individual rather than the means chosen.

Another oft-stated concern is accidental gun deaths. The National Safety Council's "Deaths Due to Unintentional Injuries, 2000" report sheds some light here. It shows accidental death rates for all ages combined are far greater from motor vehicles, drownings, fires and burns, falls, poisonings by solids and liquids, and suffocation than from firearms. For youths and teens, the rates are dramatically higher for cars and drownings than for guns; and somewhat higher for fires and burns than guns.

Let's go back to the record lows in violent crime and robbery, achieved as gun ownership rose. Experts say the changes are due in part to the strong economy of the mid-to-late '90s, a fading crack epidemic, an aging population, better policing, and perhaps stiffer sentencing.

And there's some concern the first half of 2001 shows a less-steep crime decline. But it's increasingly difficult to tie more firearms to more crime when the opposite happens to be the case.

Nonetheless, proposed legislation extending background checks to customers of all sellers at gun shows is on the mark. So is a continued emphasis on safety, to help prevent the mishaps that still occur.

In Seattle, the city's voluntary gun-lock program is getting emphasis at the neighborhood level. Some nonprofit agencies are fighting the urban crime cycle that disproportionately affects minorities by encouraging stronger dual-parent families. Other programs focused on mentoring, block watch groups and community policing are part of the anti-violence arsenal, too.

In his composition, "Gun," streetwise social critic and songwriter Gil Scott-Heron grudgingly concedes:

The philosophy seems to be

At least as near as I can see

When everybody else gives up theirs

I'll give up mine


This is the more realistic counterpoint to John Lennon's wistful entreaty in the much-quoted song "Imagine" to picture "a world without guns."

One need not imagine. Look to Lennon's native England, which has seen a surge in gun crimes after a 1997 handgun ban. Black markets endure like cockroaches. No laws or naïve utopian schemes will ever get guns out of the wrong hands.

Even with crime down dramatically in the U.S., plenty of domestic-issue creeps are still looking to victimize good, law-abiding folk. What would you like to reach for if someone broke into your home at night? A cell phone?

Matt Rosenberg is a Seattle writer and regular contributor to the editorial pages of The Times. He can be reached at oudist@nwlink.com.

© 2002 The Seattle TImes Company

--------------------------------------------

The numbers are encouraging-- both the crime stats and the ownership stats. Especially the crime stats paired up with gun ownership in the area.

And the author has a point-- stiffer sentencing is a big key to lowering gun crime rates... must give the criminals a reason NOT to use a gun (I am for automatic capital punishment in murders where a gun was used; automatic life sentence for other gun crimes).

Anyway, its something to chew on.


N400QX


6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSEVEN_FIFTY7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 957 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 904 times:

Had this been Matt D's thread, I woulda agreed with you. But since it's not, -I won't.

So no, I disagree with this article. If Matt D decides to agree with this, then maybe I might think about changing my tune. But for now, I won't.


(BTW, I didn't even bother reading the above article yet.)

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 899 times:

I won't comment on the issue of gun control itself, but just to contextualise the comment about the so called surge in gun related crime in Britain I offer the following quote from Jeremy Paxman's book "The English":

"You have to handle comparative murder statistics very carefully because different police forces assess crime differently. But the victimisation rate for males in England and Wales is so far below other countries as to be beyond statistical error. The rate for the United States 15.9, for Italy it is 4.8, for Scotland 4.7, for Norway 2.2, for Sweden 1.7, for France 1.5, for Germany 1.4, for Ireland 0.8, and for Japan 0.7. For England and Wales the figure is 0.6."

It should be noted that the murder rate in the last two years has dropped again. Whilst this does not refer to gun related murders or otherwise, using England or even Britain in comparative arguments with the USA is rather specious.




She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineEal401 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 887 times:

What the hell, having thought about it, who cares what the US does regarding gun control? It's their country, who cares if they shoot each other. (Note; it's only an issue if non-Americans kill Americans, Americans can kill Americans as much as they like!)

Doesn't affect me, I'll just wait for the next time some US school kid sprays his classmates full of holes before turning the gun on himself and escaping the "stiffer sentencing." And I'll just roll my eyes and say, "Well, they don't care, so why should I?" while everyone shrugs their shoulders and says, "it was the person, not the gun."

It's frightening that increased gun ownership should reduce crime, that surely raises serious question about the adequacy of a country's policing and justice system. If individual gun ownership has more impact than a police force, it would be difficult IMO to refer to that country as civilized. The UK's police force is not brilliant, (in fact they are all a bunch of scheming cheats, liars and cowards more interested in how they can sue for compensation next or generally avoid what they are paid to do), but at least they don't have to rely on us having our own guns. I hope that aspect doesn't change.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 886 times:

Get nicked for speeding did you, EAL401?


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineEal401 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 883 times:

No! I don't speed (apart from on motorways, where every other b*gger does anyway!!).

Several years ago on a night out in Winchester, my old home town, a group of us were set upon as we walked back from the pub. A friend of mine was badly beaten. A 999 (911) call was made, but while a police car drove slowly past, the occupants looked at my friend standing on the pavement with blood streaming down his face, no one actually stopped.

Despite this, the police claimed that someone did stop, which simply put was a lie. I tried to make a complaint, but it was no use, I was as good as told it was my word against theirs. My word against a bunch of liars who ganged up to protect each other.

I have also read a book about Hillsborough, anyone who still respects the police after that, well you need help.


User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 861 times:

>It's frightening that increased gun ownership should reduce crime, that surely raises serious question about the adequacy of a country's policing and justice system

Ummm, no. It is frightening to me that people could have their inalienable rights taken away by an oppressive government..... and be so complacent!!

Do you know why it is a fact that increased gun ownership reduces crime? Not that we take our justice into our own hands (which, I will admit, does happen sometimes-- but it is better than the alternative), but it is a DETERRANT. There is a town in Georgia (I believe) that made it a law that every household MUST own a firearm. Crime rates instantly dropped 87%. It is because you're less likely to break into a house if there is someone with a gun waiting for you inside.

Common sense, right? Don't break in if the person is armed?

And, as the article pointed out, just the mere pulling of the gun fended off criminals 2.5 MILLION times. That is a huge dent in crime numbers.

>A friend of mine was badly beaten. A 999 (911) call was made, but while a police car drove slowly past, the occupants looked at my friend standing on the pavement with blood streaming down his face, no one actually stopped.

Can I make a book suggestion? It is Call 911 and Die-- a great book that tells the stories of people who decided to call 911 and didn't take their security into their own hands.... and died. Very interesting... really sad, too.

N400QX
kill the weapon and spare the criminal


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