Perhaps other people wonder about the questions in Nancy Parson’s letter of January 18, 2013 in the Laconia Daily Sun. (See: http://issuu.com/dailysun/docs/lds1-18-13 ) My beliefs are based on the following: True safety requires consideration of reality not wishes. If anyone is hurt during a crime, it should be the criminal not the intended victim. Criminals will ignore gun laws and get the guns they want. Lack of accurate information causes many people to irrationally fear guns in the hands of law abiding Americans.
First. I lived most of my life outside of New Hampshire in states with very restrictive gun laws so initially it felt strange to see armed civilians. All those other states have much higher crime rates than New Hampshire, and I feel much safer in New Hampshire where criminals aren’t assured of helpless victims.
Second. A common question among people who know nothing about guns is about “how many bullets does one need?” The answer is, it depends.
Anyone who thinks you only need one or two bullets should go to a shooting range (there is one in Belmont) and shoot at a target (they’ll help you). Then consider how hard it is to hit a flying bird or a running, jumping and turning animal.
Self-defense is another matter. To an unpredictably moving target, add in surprise, fear, perhaps terror, attempts to corral and calm children, calling the police for help, perhaps an angry attacker shooting at you, and our natural hesitancy to shoot another human.
Police practice shooting frequently and they deal daily with criminals so they should be better able to handle gun situations. Four New York police shot 61 bullets at Amadou Diallo who had no weapon and was trapped in a hallway. A retired FBI agent reports that he and two other agents fired over 80 bullets at an armed criminal (apparently having someone else shoot at you disturbs your aim).
With these facts in mind, how many bullets are needed to save a woman from a rapist or a person or a family from death? Enough to make the attacker, or attackers, quit.
Recently a woman needed 6 shots to convince the man attacking her and her children to quit his attack. This man left under his own power. If he had continued his attack, she would have needed more bullets.
How many bullets might be needed if your attacker has a magazine holding more bullets than what President Obama wants to be legal? What if there are multiple attackers? The potential victim needs “enough” bullets to make attackers stop. When the intended victim does not have “enough” bullets to stop the attacker, the police just get there in time to make a chalk outline.
Third. Gun control doesn’t prevent criminals from getting guns. After the recent effort in Australia to take all guns from civilians, gun violence and violent crime went up. Gun violence also went up in Washington, DC, as it does elsewhere, when government keeps law abiding people from having guns.
Fourth. The anti-gun leaders confuse people who don’t know anything about guns by misusing the term “assault weapons”. Real assault weapons are military guns that can fire multiple bullets with a single pull of the trigger. Those weapons have been extremely strictly controlled since about 1930 and to the best of my knowledge they have not been used to commit a single crime in the US since at least 1950.
Anti-gun leaders call guns that they think look scary, “assault weapons” and claim to need to control them to fool unknowing people into thinking the politicians are doing something useful. The “assault weapons ban” of the 1990s didn’t reduce gun violence which is why it was not renewed.
The guns that anti-gun leaders are calling “assault weapons” are semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) guns that are commonly used for hunting, target shooting, and for other legitimate uses. In Chicago murders committed with these so called “assault weapons” are small compared to those committed with knives, or feet/hands/fists. (By far most gun crimes are done with handguns.) Another assault weapons ban will not reduce murders, but it may increase murders as these guns are used to defend against criminals.
Fifth. Even many anti-gun people know that known “gun free zones” are an enticement to killers. So, the first step to protecting children is to stop making them spend all day in known “gun free zones”.
Many killers tend to avoid places where someone might be able to fight back. Whether there are or are not armed school staff is less important than having it known that some unknown and an unidentified number of the staff might be armed and able to stop a killer looking for easy victims.
Sixth. Second Amendment supporters have been offering viable solutions to gun violence for years, solutions based on reality not wishful thinking. In the last ten or 15 years the number of guns and concealed carry licenses has skyrocketed and yet gun crime has been cut by about half.
Second Amendment supporters also advocate strict enforcement of the existing gun laws including those against gun ownership by known criminals and the mentally ill who are a real danger to themselves or others, stricter punishments when guns are used in crimes, and more active prosecution of gangs which account for a huge percent of gun violence. Two-thirds of all gun violence is in America’s 50 largest cities and about three out of four incidents involve youth between 11 and 19…almost all using illegally obtained guns.
Unfortunately gun prosecutions are down 40 percent under President Obama, big city Mayors (mostly Democrats) don’t stop the gangs despite strict gun laws, and sentences are too lenient on gun crimes. President Obama cut the “Secure our Schools” program in 2012 and has cut funds from more school safety programs in his 2013 budget. Despite the talk, one wonders if there is a serious effort to reduce gun crimes or just attempts to reduce the freedoms of law abiding citizens.
Seventh. Every American wants the President’s children to be protected, but no child should be schooled in a place known to be an enticement to killers. See my fifth point above.
Eighth. Why do Second Amendment supporters oppose so much of President Obama’s proposals? First, his administration is not adequately enforcing current laws against criminals. Enforcing current laws may make new laws unnecessary. Second, his proposals will have no positive affect since they will not be followed by criminals or those determined to commit murder. Third, we know that all Constitutional Amendments support each other, that diminishing any amendment diminishes others and threatens the freedoms of the American people. Four, so much of the justification for the President’s actions is based on misleading information that hides the ineffectiveness of the President’s actions.
For example, most gun transfers without background checks are among criminals or among family members. Those among criminals will never get background checks. I doubt that there is any credible evidence that gun sales or gifts among family members results in a significant amount of illegal gun use. Also, most of the 1.4 million background checks that resulted in denials were only initial denials which were later approved. Background checks do little to stop criminals from getting guns, but they do sometimes delay law abiding people who may need guns immediately to defend themselves and their families.
Nineth. An armed citizenry can protect the nation against invasion. Admiral Yamamoto warned the Japanese leaders against invading the United States, because Americans all had guns and there would be “a gun behind every tree.”
Tenth. Safety demands facing reality and knowing history no matter how distasteful or unbelievable. Our country’s Founders knew from history and human nature that every government is eventually tempted to put its own benefits ahead of the people it is meant to serve. To protect the government leaders, government is tempted to take away the people’s freedom. The Founders created the Bill of Rights to ensure that the American people would be able to prevent that from happening. I oppose national gun registration or anything similar because it will not stop criminals, but it would be an aid to a future set of politicians intent on stripping away the people’s freedoms.
It is difficult to imagine that our government would take away our freedoms despite it having done so before. Laws prevented ex-slaves from having weapons and this made them helpless victims of the KKK. Americans of Japanese descent were rounded up and put into concentration camps. Guns were confiscated from law abiding citizens during Katrina making them helpless victims of criminals.
Note also that our current government seems to be ignoring the will of many Americans. President Obama has about 50 percent approval, Congress about 10 percent, and some Presidential actions and Supreme Court decisions, such as Kelo, Citizens United and Obamacare, are believed by many Americans to be unconstitutional.
No government admits that it is going to enslave or murder its people, and few citizens can believe that their government would do so. (Even as they were put onto cattle cars, some Jews felt that they would be OK.)
In the 20th Century governments around the world killed between 100 and 200 million and enslaved more than a billion of their own citizens. The actions that make those killings and enslavements so easy to accomplish were innocuous things like national registration of guns or gun owners, then the confiscation of guns and declaring gun ownership a felony… all in the name of protecting the people.
After taking the guns, enslavement and mass executions were easy. None of the victims imagined that the eventual result of agreeing to those innocuous little losses of freedoms such as registrations would be their own murders or enslavement.
Eleventh. We are Americans. We have the right to live and do as we want as long as we don’t harm others. We are innocent until proven guilty. Americans are not supposed to even temporarily lose their liberties without evidence of likely wrongdoing. We do not punish groups of people for the actions of a few.
There are about 300 million legally owned guns in the US, almost none are used to commit crimes. With a miniscule number of exceptions, the only involvement in crime by the approximately 80 million legal gun owning Americans is as victims or as good Samaritans attempting to protect others from criminals. Estimates are that legal gun owners prevent 200,000 to 2,000,000 crimes a year.
Since only law abiding citizens will follow gun laws, more gun restrictions will only make more victims, more raped women, more dead innocent men, women, and children.