For well over a century now the safety/legality of firearms and Americans rights to own them have been increasingly debated upon. So let’s take a deeper look at this issue of freedom versus safety of a society. As George Santayana said in 1905,“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So let’s take a look there first for some background information and to see what’s worked or hasn’t worked when it comes to the issue.
Now back in 1976, Washington D.C. implemented a new law that banned citizens from owning guns, as only police officers were allowed to carry firearms within city limits. Those who already owned guns were allowed to keep them only if they were disassembled or trigger-locked. Trigger locks could only be removed if the owner received permission from the D.C. police, which was uncommon to say the least. How did this affect crime and gun violence within D.C? Well, the number of annual homicides was 10 murders shy of doubling after a 12 year period. It rose from a modest 188 in 1976 to 364 in 1988, and then it increased even further to 454 in 1993. In 2017 there was 113 homocides in D.C, less than a quarter of the amount in 1993. So what changed in that 24 year span? Well, for one the amount of gang activity had decreased steadily over that span which is still a problem today albeit a smaller one. The stance on guns within the city changed as well when the ban was lifted after a Supreme Court decision, and ownership dramatically increased of course. Essentially, having dramatically more law abiding citizens with firearms(not gang members) positively affected the city when it comes to gun violence and the likelihood of being an average citizen and getting murdered.
Also during this span-
- According to the Centers for Disease Control gun ownership in the U.S increased by 56 percent, and gun violence declined by almost 50 percent between 1993 and 2003.
- Between 2007 and 2015 in the U.S, murder rates dropped 16 percent and violent crime rates dropped 18 percent, even though the percentage of adults with concealed carry permits rose by 190 percent.
Criminologist John Lott found that, as a whole, concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law-abiding people in the United States. The rate of which they commit crimes generally and firearm crimes specifically is between one-sixth and one-tenth of that recorded for police officers, who are themselves committing crimes at a fraction of the rate of the general population.
But What About Mass Shootings?
Mass shootings and cases of mass murder are much rarer in the U.S than in other less gun friendly countries. The data we have on them though shows that The vast majority of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. The Crime Research Prevention Center determined that since 1950, nearly 99 percent of mass public shootings have occurred in gun-free zones. There are around 800,000 police officers in the U.S, but over 325 million citizens and possible victims. That’s approximately 406 people for each officer to protect, yet our crime rates have generally decreased with a large increase in gun ownership. The reason being that people with guns can protect themselves, deter crime, and protect communities and businesses alike. They’re also less likely to be a victim or a bystander needing police assistance that isn’t likely to come in time statistically.
Don’t Guns Kill People?
Many major Anti-Gun activists tote that guns are responsible for a large number of deaths in the U.S. But if we’re looking at the safety of a society vs freedom of a society and the individuals therein, we cannot ignore a few important facts.
- From the Pew Research Center: almost two-thirds of America’s annual gun deaths are suicides. Since 1981, when the Centers for Disease Control began publishing data, gun suicides have outnumbered gun homicides.
- A person is more likely to be bludgeoned to death with a blunt object or beaten to death with hands and feet than to be murdered with a rifle.
- According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 50 percent of murders occur in 2 percent of the nation’s 3,142 counties. That’s less than 62 counties accounting for over half the murders in the U.S.
I’d like to thank the Daily Signal and the Daily Wire for making this information easier to find. They are both two leading Conservative news outlets with great integrity and some very talented writers who write great articles.