Refutations of Popular Gun Myths

Please reproduce and distribute. Use this information in Letters to the Editor, conversations with anti-gun friends, and anywhere else you can.  You are one election away from having your right of self-defense seen as a threat to society.  It is on you to get the voters to see the truth, because the press is supporting the other side.

MYTH: “The police can protect you.”

Police write great reports, but an officer can only protect you if he/she happens to be there when the crime starts.  Remember when the Christmas-tree lot worker was beaten with a bat?  This happened on TV Highway, the major road between Beaverton and Hillsboro.  The victims phoned 911 twice while being assaulted by eighteen youths, but the operator didn’t believe them and refused to send the police.  Ten minutes later, the young man was struck with the bat and permanently disabled.  His uncle had to beg a passerby to phone 911, this time for an ambulance.

Are you a baby-boomer?  When you are 70 years old, will you be able to fight off a mugger with your fists?  What if it isn’t just your money he wants?  If you do not stop the anti-gun trend, guns will be registered, then confiscated, by the time you and your generation need them the most.  The only gun-owners will be people who disobey the law.

MYTH: “A handgun in a home is 43 times more likely to kill one of the residents than a criminal.”

This is a bogus statistic from an MD named Arthur Kellerman.  If you remove the suicides from his sampling, his statistic is now “6 times more likely”.  Most of his remaining “victims” were multiple criminals living together, where one shot the other in a fight.  He lets you assume they were families just like yours, by counting gun-death statistics for criminal households together with those of traditional families. (Polsby and Brennen, “Taking Aim At Gun Control” 1995).   He has repeatedly refused the opportunity to debate speakers on the other side of the issue.

MYTH: “More children die of gunfire in America that the next 25 industrial nations combined”

Former President Clinton made those claims because he knew the press wouldn’t investigate them.  He counted Hong Kong and China separately, although they had been together for years.  He counted Kuwait as a top industrial nation, but left Russia and Brazil off the list. Russia and Brazil banned guns long ago, but have murder rates four times higher than what we have in the US.  If you look at murders involving juveniles they’re off the scales.  Both of those countries have significantly smaller populations than the U. S., yet either one of them by itself has a juvenile death total much higher than ours. (Prof J. Lott, Nat. Review.)

MYTH: "Countries with strict gun laws have less crime"

Russia, Mexico, South Africa and Brazil have very strict gun laws and much higher crime than we do.  Switzerland has almost 100% handgun ownership.  They even have shooting competitions for teenagers.  Their murder rate is lower than England, where handgun ownership is banned.  Violent crime in England has risen since the ban.  If guns caused crime, Switzerland would be the most dangerous nation on earth, rather than one of the safest.  Finland has higher per-capita gun ownership than America, and they also have lower crime rates.  Israel has 40% higher gun ownership, and near zero murder, except for terrorists.  New York, California, Chicago, and Washington DC have the strictest gun laws in America, and the highest crime rates.  Virginia borders Washington DC, yet it has few gun laws and far fewer violent crimes. Vermont has the least restrictive gun laws in America, and their gun crime rate is 48th out of 50 states.  Every state that started allowing average citizens to carry concealed weapons saw a decrease in violent crime over the ensuing years.  Gun laws have been proven to make things worse, not better. (Prof. J. Lott, More Guns, Less Crime, 1998)

Think about it - if you were going to go on a shooting rampage or robbery spree, would you do it where the people are armed, or where the laws forbid your intended victims from having guns?  If you doubt this, you can do your own experiment: Post a sign in front of your residence:


Let me know how it went for you.

MYTH: “Incidents like Columbine demand gun control”

Deaths from incidents like Columbine are extremely rare, even now.  For the first 190 years of American history, guns could be bought by mail, or in any gun store with no questions asked.  No school shootings.  The perversity that brought Columbine and similar incidents has nothing to do with gun laws, and will not change because of them.  In two of those incidents, the shooting stopped when armed civilians intervened with their own guns, but those people weren’t invited to the White House for photo-ops, so you didn’t hear about them. (More on this below)

MYTH: "Guns should be registered like cars”

Compliance only comes from law-abiding citizens.  Confiscation then becomes easy, and the “logical next step” after the next gun crime is in the news.  The most recent examples of this are Australia and Britain.  All it took was one person in each place to do something stupid, and the both countries paid with their rights to own firearms.  Politicians made themselves look tough on crime, by punishing the gun owners who obeyed the law and registered.  The law-abiding gun owners lost their ability to defend themselves against violence.  But did confiscation improve things?  British gun crimes rose 40% since their 1996 handgun ban.  Australian armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24% and kidnappings by 43%.  The only people who lost their weapons were those who registered them.  The criminals and the IRA still have theirs. In Germany, registration preceded confiscation of weapons from Jews, homosexuals, opponents of Hitler, and any other “undesirables”.  Once disarmed, they were easy prey.  The same happened in Rwanda, Uganda, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Turkey, and the Soviet Union.

It is too easy a step from registration to confiscation.  Since criminals won’t register their guns, they won’t be turning them in if the government decides to ban them.  The Supreme Court (Haynes v. US, 390 US 85, 1968) has ruled that criminals cannot be prosecuted for failing to register guns (self incrimination).  So gun registration will affect you, but not them.

MYTH: “Guns are already registered, I see that on the television cop shows”

Other than a few extremely repressive states, gun registration does not exist.  But on the TV cop shows, we see the hero cop say, “The murder weapon is registered to you, how do you explain that?”  Perhaps some Hollywood screenwriters would like to condition you to believe that gun registration is a fact, so you won’t complain when their favorite politicians try to push it through.  Don’t believe it, and don’t accept it.  Gun registration is the only way confiscation can happen, short of house to house searches.

MYTH: “Thirteen children a day die of gun violence.”

You really have to work the numbers around to get to this.  The Clinton administration announced this using a backdrop of elementary school children.  They didn’t say that 84% of the "13 children" are gangsters between the ages of 15 and 20, killing each other over drugs and turf (Prof. J. Lott, LA Times article).  Clinton promised that this would be fixed by his 1994 gun laws, remember?  Of the remaining 16% of non-adult gunshot victims, there are accidents, suicides, murders, and justifiable self-defense.  Only 2.9% of all deaths under the age of 14 are from accidental shootings, an all time low (Johns Hopkins University).  More children are killed by each of poisoning, drowning, fires, and bicycles.

MYTH: “More gun control will help stop hate crimes"

How will disarming likely victims protect them?  People who are willing to violate murder laws are willing to violate gun laws, but they are not willing to risk being killed if their victim is armed. If 50% of all gay men in an area were known to carry handguns, people who now assault them would look elsewhere for entertainment.

MYTH: "What if only one life is saved by more gun laws, isn't is worth it?”

How many lives will be lost because of gun laws? 2.5 Million crimes per year are stopped by armed citizens. What are their lives worth? (G. Kleck, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America).  In the case of the school shooting in Mississippi, the vice-principal (who stopped the shooter) had to run 1000 feet each way to get his gun from his car, because it was illegal for him to have it any closer to the school.  How many children were shot during those minutes?  What if it had been legal for New Yorkers to carry guns when Colin Ferguson shot up the subway car?  Did strict New York gun laws stop his racist rampage?  No, but they did guarantee him unarmed victims.  What about the hundreds of women who had to wait the Brady period when they took notice of a stalker and were subsequently raped or worse before they could pick up their weapon.  Don’t these people count for anything?

MYTH: "The Second Amendment was written when muskets were the primary military arms.  The Founding Fathers never would have considered allowing citizens to own assault rifles.”

The First Amendment was written when the hand-operated printing press was the primary publishing tool.  Shall we also ban free speech on television, radio, and the Internet because they weren’t invented in 1791?  Technology may have changed, but human nature has not.  Honest people still need means of defense against dishonest ones.

Is the Second Amendment a Personal or Group Right?

MYTH: “The Second Amendment was about state militias like the National Guard”

If that were true, we would see it in the writings of the Founding Fathers.  Instead, we see dozens of statements that the right to keep and bear arms is a personal right and none that say otherwise.  I have attached a few for your reference.

Words of the framers of the Constitution, expressing their views on gun rights:

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson, proposed Virginia constitution, June 1776. Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C. J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." Thomas Jefferson, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in "On Crimes and Punishment", 1764, pp 87-88.

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny, Thomas Jefferson

"The Constitution of most of our states, and the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves: that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press." Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776

"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can." Samuel Adams

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." Samuel Adams, During the Massachusetts U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania Assembly to the governor, November 11, 1755

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (1787) in Pamphlets to the Constitution of the United States (P. Ford, 1888).

"Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at the individual discretion, in private self-defense." John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787-88

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8

"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. The great object is that every man be armed. Every man who is able may have a gun." Patrick Henry, During Virginia's ratification convention, 1788

"The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." James Madison, The Federalist No. 46

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of people, trained in arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country." James Madison, I Annuals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." George Mason, during Virginia's ratification convention, June 4, 1788 (From J. Elliott, Debates in the General State Conventions 425 (3rd ed. 1937).

"Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived the use of them." ...Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War, 1775

"A free people ought to be armed. When firearms go, all goes, we need them by the hour. Firearms stand next to importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence." George Washington, Boston Independence Chronicle, January 14, 1790

"To ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good." George Washington

--Just a public service announcement from Your Buddy the Gun Enthusiast...

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