Monthly Archives: September 2016
CATO Institute Report – Cost and Consequences of Gun Control
I’ve excerpted some of the highlights of the paper.
“This paper will scrutinize the three most common gun-control ideas that have been put forward in recent years: universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on assault weapons. These proposals are misguided and will not prevent the crimes that typically prompt officials to make pleas for more gun control.
More Background Checks
In 2013, the FBI conducted more than 21 million background checks for firearm purchases. Dylann Roof, the racist who attacked the churchgoers in Charleston, had previously been arrested, and he had admitted to law enforcement officers that he was a user of methamphetamine. That was sufficient, under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, to prohibit him from owning guns, because the statute bans gun ownership by illegal drug users. However, as the FBI later admitted, the bureau failed to properly enter into its database the prohibiting information that had been provided by local law enforcement.
Professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who studies mass shootings, explains that “mass killers are determined, deliberate and dead-set on murder. They plan methodically to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what laws or other impediments the state attempts to place in their way. To them, the will to kill cannot be denied.”
Gun-control advocates often claim that 40 percent of annual firearms sales take place today without background checks. The Washington Post “fact-checker” has debunked that claim, giving it “Three Pinocchios.” The Post noted that the survey data used for the study on which the 40 percent claim is based are more than two decades old, which means they were collected prior to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System becoming operational in 1998, and the survey only polled 251 people
High Capacity Magazines
Why might someone need a factory-standard 17-round magazine for a common 9mm handgun? As noted, standard-capacity magazines can be very useful for self-defense. This is especially true if a defender faces multiple attackers, an attacker is wearing heavy clothing or body armor, an attacker who is turbo-charged by methamphetamine or cocaine, or an attacker who poses an active threat from behind cover. In stressful circumstances, police as well as civilians often miss when firing a handgun even at close range, so having the extra rounds can be crucial.
Although one can quickly change magazines, persons being attacked by criminals will typically prefer not to spend even a few seconds for a magazine change. The stress of being attacked usually impedes fine motor skills, making it much more difficult to insert the magazine. The criminal has the element of surprise, and can bring several guns, or lots of magazines, whereas the victim will usually have on hand, at most, a single defensive gun with only as much ammunition as is in that gun. This gives the advantage to the criminal.
Advocates of a ban on standard-capacity magazines assert that while the attacker is changing the magazine, an intended victim might be able to subdue him — yet they cannot point to a single instance where this actually happened. At Newtown, the criminal changed magazines seven times and no one escaped, but when his rifle jammed, people did escape. Similarly, in the Luby’s cafeteria murders (24 dead), the perpetrator replaced magazines multiple times. In the Virginia Tech murders (32 dead), the perpetrator changed magazines 17 times.
(What the heck even is that?)
– The UK homicide rate tends to fluctuate between one and two per 100,000 population. The U.S. homicide rate is 4.7 (as of 2011). The difference is not entirely due to guns, since the non-gun U.S. homicide rate is consistently higher than the UK total homicide rate.
– In other categories of major violent crime, the UK is generally worse than the United States. In 2010, the assault rate per 100,000 population was 250.9 in the United States; 664.4 in England and Wales; 1449.7 in Scotland; and 80.6 in Northern Ireland.
– Burglary rates were: United States 695.9; England and Wales, 946.1; Northern Ireland, 658.7; and Scotland, 479.1. So the overall UK burglary rate is significantly worse
– In the United States, only a fairly small percentage of home burglaries take place when the occupants are home, but in Great Britain, about 59 percent do.94 In surveys, American burglars say that they avoid occupied homes because of the risk of getting shot.
Have a Great Day!