Originally posted February 4, 2011.
Yes, indeed, this statement is 100% correct. As a life member of the NRA, I have made it my business to conduct rigorous research on the subject of personal security and the firearms laws. In terms of the law, I would not want to be without the book Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States. When it comes to the academic study of crime and gun control laws, today’s standard is most certainly More Guns Less Crime by John R. Lott, Jr. Here is what is being said about Mr. Lott’s brilliant and extensive research.
“More Guns: Less Crime is one of the most important books of our time. It provides thoroughly researched facts on a life-and-depth subject that is too often discussed on the basis of unsubstantiated beliefs and hysterical emotions.”- Thomas Sowell
“John Lott has done the most extensive, thorough, and sophisticated study we have on the effects of loosening gun control laws. Regardless of whether one agrees with his conclusion, his work is mandatory reading for anyone who is open-minded and serious about the gun control issue.”- Gary Klec, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida State University
“Lott’s work, embracing all of the data that are relevant to his analysis, has created a new standard, which future scholarship in this area, in order to be credible, will have to live up to.”- Dan Polsby, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law, Northwestern University
In coming weeks don’t be surprised if the Obama administration attempts to gin up some political capital by promoting a package of anti-gun legislation. Here are some insightful past thoughts from President Obama:
“I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.”-Mendell, David, “From Promise to Power” (2007), p. 251
“I am not in favor of concealed weapons. I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.”-Pittsburg Tribune-Review (April 2, 2008).
President Obama has backed federal legislation that would ban citizens from carrying weapons, except for law enforcement.
By way of 100% contrast, here are a few conclusions from John Lott’s book. Remember here, President Obama offers opinion. Mr. Lott, by contrast, delivers irrefutable conclusions based on empirical research. Here are Mr. Lott’s conclusions:
“Citizens can take private actions that also deter crime. Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crimes, and the reductions coincide very closely with the number of concealed-handgun permits issued. Mass shootings in public places are reduced when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns.”
“While the support for the strictest gun-control laws is usually strongest in large cities, the largest drops in violent crime from legalized concealed handguns occurred in the most urban counties with the greatest populations and the highest crime rates.”
“Murder rates decline when either more women or more men carry concealed handguns, but the effect is especially pronounced for women.”
“I find no crime-reduction benefits from state-mandated waiting periods and background checks before allowing people to purchase guns. At the federal level, the Brady law has proven to be no more effective.”
“The empirical work provides strong evidence that concealed-handgun laws reduce violent crime.”
“This provides additional support for the claim that the greatest declines in crime rates are related to the greatest increases in concealed-handgun permits.”
“Despite the opposition to these laws in large urban, densely populated areas, those are the areas that benefit the most from the laws. Minorities and women tend to be the ones with the most to gain from being allowed to protect themselves.”
What do you think? The evidence is compelling. And it is certainly Mr. Lott’s empirical research that must be embraced by Americans’not the posturing by President Obama. In the U.S., approximately 124 million citizens live in a household with a gun. The number compares to the 132 million Americans who voted in the last presidential election. Not much difference. The total number of guns in America’s households is thought to number about 270 million. A 2009 Zogby poll indicates that 69% of America’s citizens favor a law allowing law-abiding citizens to be issued a permit to carry a firearm for personal protection outside the home. A 2008 Gallup poll found the number of Americans favoring a handgun ban had fallen to a 50-year low. The media can rightfully be accused of promoting unwarranted firearms fear for personal gain. Here is a reality check. Since January 1, there have been 1,133 homicides in America. This number compares to 1,262 deaths by suffocation, 1,849 deaths by falling, and 3,304 deaths by poisoning. I am unsure of the last time I read about a death from suffocation or falling.
If there is any place on the planet where there are more guns and less crime, it is Switzerland. There is certainly more firepower per capita in tiny Switzerland than in any other country in the world. And Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world. Switzerland has no standing army. Rather, the Swiss militia system requires all males aged 20 to 30 to keep a automatic weapon at home ( though liberals regularly mount efforts to change this) and a bolt action rifle when their days of service end. Since it’s founding in 1291, the Swiss have depended on an armed populace for their defense. Machiavelli wrote, “The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom.” In 2009 there were 94,000 convictions in Switzerland for a variety of crimes’ both big and small. And only 84 were homicides. In Switzerland the prison rate is 79 per 100,000 residents. In the U.S., the comparable number is 740 per 100,000.
American culture is the cause for the massive differential, not gun ownership. In fact the Swiss crime rate as it relates to guns is so low that official statistics are not even kept. Remember, we are looking at a country with a population of about 6 million with over 2 million firearms, of which at least 600,000 are automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols. As my video concludes the key to freedom is to be able to have the ability to defend yourself. And if you do not have the tools to do that then you are at the mercy of whoever wants to put you away. Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D. (Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II) writes, “There may be various reasons why the Nazis did not invade Switzerland, but one of those reasons is that every Swiss man had a rifle at home. The European countries occupied by the Nazis usually had strict gun controls before the war, and their registration lists facilitated confiscation of firearms and, in many cases, execution of their owners.”
Switzerland demonstrates that possession of firearms by civilians may help prevent large numbers of deaths and even genocide” The Holocaust never came to Switzerland; the Jewish population was armed just like their fellow citizens. What. Mr. Halbrook asks, if there had been not just one, but two, three, or many Warsaw ghetto-type uprisings in the rest of Europe?
In conclusion here are some words of personal freedom and liberty from our founders:
“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
“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference—they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” – George Washington
“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” – Alexander Hamilton
“Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always posses arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” – Richard Henry Lee
Any American politician proposing any form of firearms controls is doing so devoid of the facts and for personal political gain. Such restrictions are both an infringement of our personal liberties and freedom and clearly unconstitutional. I hope you will assist me in circulating my personal freedom and liberty essay to all members of Congress. I suspect challenging days lie ahead.