The Untold Truth
November 29, 1999
Updated October 17, 2005
Forget everything that you've been told about guns. Ignore the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. Disregard all of the dramatic press reports. Regardless of how good the arguments on either side of this issue may seem to their proponents, most of them will have absolutely no effect upon their detractors. That is because they do not answer the single most important question to all involved.
What About ME?
What about ME? What about MY personal safety? What about MY children? What about MY family? Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, it all comes down to the question of your own personal safety and that of your loved ones. Any argument that does not address this question will fall on deaf ears.
With that in mind, let me demonstrate conclusively that any restriction placed upon gun ownership is not only contrary to your best interest, but does in fact, increase the likelihood that you or a loved one will become the victim of a violent crime.
The Criminologists' Story
The most revealing fact in the gun-control controversy is that among all of the criminologists who have ever changed their opinion on gun control, EVERY LAST ONE has moved from a position supporting gun control to the side skeptical of gun control and not the other way around... NOT EVEN ONE! Think about the significance of that one simple fact.
Criminologists are the experts who study crime, criminals and their motivation. Their entire career centers around the collection and analysis of statistics surrounding crime and the tools of crime. These are the people who make it their business to know and understand how, when, where, why and by whom guns (or any weapon, for that matter) are used. And, like anyone in any job, they learn more as they grow in the job. So, if the evidence were there to support gun control, wouldn't you expect that at least a few Criminologists would have switched from opposing gun control to supporting it?
Think about it...
The mere fact that the more a Criminologist learns, the more likely he will be to oppose gun control, should tell you something. Criminologists who started out supporting gun control are having to face the fact that gun control has not worked anywhere that it has been tried and that you are safer in a society where guns are not restricted, than in one where gun control laws are in effect.
Even Dr. Gary Kleck, the nation's leading scholar on crime and firearms, began his research as a staunch gun control advocate. He is a member of the ACLU, Amnesty International USA, and Common Cause - certainly not someone who you would label as a conservative. He is not and has never been a member of or contributor to any advocacy group on either side of the gun control debate. Yet today, he has moved, by his own words quoted in The Denver Post, November 28, 1985, "beyond even the skeptic position." That is quite a shift.
James Wright, a gun control advocate who received a grant to study the effectiveness of gun control laws from President Jimmy Carter's Justice Department, was surprised to discover, during the course of his research, that neither waiting periods, background checks, nor ANY gun control laws were effective in reducing violent crime. In an article titled "Second Thoughts About Gun Control", in the spring 1988 issue of "The Public Interest", Wright said, "I am now of the opinion that a compelling case for stricter gun control cannot be made."
Those are just two very visible cases. The list of noted criminologists who have abandoned the gun control position is long and distinguished. Yet not a single noted criminologist has switched positions in the other direction - NOT EVEN ONE.
I challenge any of my readers to provide even one single example of any criminologist who has had his work, skeptical of gun control, published in a respected professional journal and then later published works supporting it. Such evidence does not exist. That's because the more they learn, the more obvious it becomes that gun control has never worked anywhere that it has been tried.
In a thesis titled "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun", in the Northwestern University School of Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, issue 1, 1995, Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz revealed some interesting facts.
Now, before anyone tries to dismiss the findings of this study as biased, because the study's author is pro gun ownership, let me remind you that the Dr. Kleck, who authored this study, is the same Dr. Kleck, who began his career as an opponent of private gun ownership.
Furthermore, criminologist Marvin E. Wolfgang, who has researched guns and violence for more than 25 years and is one of the most outspoken opponents of private gun ownership, after reading this study, praised the methodology that was used, in a paper titled "A Tribute to a View I Have Opposed," published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, Issue 1 (Fall 1995), p. 188.
In that article, Wolfgang begins by saying:
"I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police."
Those are certainly not the views of your ordinary anti-gun type. This is a man who represents the ultimate in anti-gun philosophy. But to his credit as a researcher, he was not so proud that he would deny the excellent methodology employed by Kleck and Gertz. He went on to say:
"What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear-cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator... I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research."
Wolfgang concludes by saying:
"The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well."
Principal among the facts that Wolfgang was disappointed to learn, is that Guns are used for self-defense between 2.1 Million and 2.5 Million times every year. The following facts from the Kleck/Gertz study, relate directly to this fact.
In the vast majority of those self-defense cases, the citizen will only brandish the gun or fire a warning shot.
In less than 8% of those self-defense cases will the citizen will even wound his attacker.
Over 1.9 million of those self-defense cases involve handguns.
As many as 500,000 of those self-defense cases occur away from home.
Almost 10% of those self-defense cases are women defending themselves against sexual assault or abuse.
This means that guns are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of law-abiding citizens than to take a life.
At an estimated 263 million US population, in 1995, when the study was released, it also means that an average of 1 out of every 105 to 125 people that you know will use a gun for self-defense every year.
Dr. Kleck also wrote in his book titled "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (Social Institutions and Social Change)" that burglars are more than three and a half times more likely to enter an occupied home in a gun control country than in the USA. Compare the 45% average rate of Great Britain, Canada and Netherlands with the 12.7% of the USA. He continued to point out that citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals every year as do police (1,527 to 606). In a related article titled, "Are We a Nation of Cowards'?" in the November 15, 1993 issue of Newsweek Magazine, George Will reported that police are more than 5 times more likely than a civilian to shoot an innocent person by mistake.
The Wall Street Journal reported, in an August 28, 1996 article titled, "More Guns, Less Violent Crime," that a University of Chicago study revealed that states which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%. The most impressive single statement in the University of Chicago Study, which is an ongoing study, is the very first sentence of the Abstract on the first page.
"Using cross-sectional time series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without increasing accidental deaths." - University of Chicago Study (1st line of Abstract)
A 1979 Carter Justice Department study found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32% were actually committed. That number dropped to only 3% when the woman was armed. That means that an unarmed woman is more than 10 times more likely to be raped than an armed woman. Think about it.
Since England passed its strict gun control laws, their previously low murder rate has almost caught up to that of the USA and according to a Reuters article on October 11, 1998 most other violent crime in England has passed the US crime rates. This is also supported by an October 1998 report of the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
How about accidents?
The National Safety Council Report titled, "What Are the Odds of Dying?" for 1998 reveals that you are almost twice as likely to die from natural environmental factors (1,521 deaths), such as injuries caused by animals, plants or exposure to the elements than from an accidental gunshot (866 deaths). Think about it. The same report shows that you are more likely to choke to death on a piece of food (1,147 deaths) or die from falling down stairs (1,389 deaths) as to die from an errant bullet. You are four times more likely to die in a fire (3,255 deaths) or drown (3,964 deaths). The simple fact is that there are many things that we take for granted in life that are much more dangerous than guns. In 1998, there were 43,501 motor vehicle deaths, 10,255 poisoning deaths, 3,228 deaths from complications or misadventures of surgical or medical care and 16,274 total falling deaths - maybe we should ban ladders.
Get this! In 1998, there were 723 persons killed by falling objects. Compare that to 866 gun related deaths. So, using the logic proposed by the anti-Second Amendment types, our lawmakers should require us to wear helmets at all times.
To put this all into perspective, according to the National Safety Council, in 1998, of the 150,445 total deaths due to injury in the United States, the total number of accidental deaths was 97,835. That means that the 866 accidental gun related deaths amounted to far less than 1% of all accidental deaths. In other words, the anti-self defense crowd's accidental shooting argument is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Don't count on the police
The police realize that when a crime of violence is being committed, every second counts. Yet, in 1989, the Justice Department reported in the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics -- 1990, (1991) that there were 168,881 crimes of violence where police took more than 1 hour to respond. But, there's a reason for this.
Of the just under 800,000 combined full time, sworn law enforcement officers in the U.S., in 2000, only about 150,000 were on duty on the streets at any given moment to protect a population of roughly 281 million, at that time. That means that there was one policeman to protect almost 1900 civilians in 2000. That ratio has not changed significantly in many years.
But, it's worse than even that sounds. In 2000, over 43,000 of the listed law enforcement officers were classified by the Bureau of Justice statistics as "Special Jurisdiction". More than 88,000 are federal officers, who do not respond to 911 calls. They are the officers whose job is certainly not to protect you, as an individual. So that means that a rather significant number of the 150,000 on-duty officers, mentioned above, are not dedicated to general police work, but to "special tasks".
But, even those numbers are inflated. Many cities, like Houston, have large, dedicated traffic task forces, that do not fall into that "Special Jurisdiction" category, yet who are dedicated to special tasks. Not only are such groups dedicated to special tasks, but they most often operate on a different radio frequency than regular patrol officers, so they won't even hear your emergency call. What this boils down to is that the number officers on the street, to respond to 911 calls, is much lower than the 150,000, cited by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. They just didn't break it down that way.
The fact is that policemen just can't be everywhere at once. There just aren't enough of them. But, here's the real kicker.
The police are not required to protect you, as an individual!
In fact, I challenge you to think of just one case where the police have actually prevented a crime. When you think about it, the actual job of the police is not to prevent crime, but to investigate crime, catch the perpetrator and bring the perpetrator to court - ALL after the fact.
Think about how the police work. They try to take the bad guys off of the street. How do they know who the bad guys are? They know, because the bad guys did something bad (past tense). So, by putting the bad guy in jail, you can argue that the police prevented potential crime, protecting the public at large. But the act that put the bad guy behind bars was a real crime, with real victims.
But, it is not the job of the police to protect individuals. That is a pretty powerful statement and deserves some support. There is, in fact, so much support for that statement that I could write a book on the subject. Fortunately, Richard W. Stevens has already done that. His very excellent book is "Dial 911 and Die." I encourage you to get the book and read it. Then, if you don't already own a gun, buy one and learn how to use it. Your life could very well depend upon it.
In fact, the courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled consistently that the police are responsible only to the public at large and not to individual citizens. This means that even when police do their best, the courts recognize that there may be some individuals who they just can't to get to in time. It happens all too often. When it does, the citizen is left to fend for himself until the police arrive. That's the time when even gun control advocates wish that they had a gun, as happened with many gun control advocates during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Imagine their distress when they learned that they had to wait 15 days to get a gun.
Armed Citizens Make Fewer Mistakes Than Police
Don't think that just because the police are trained in the use of firearms that they are less likely to kill an innocent person. A University of Chicago Study revealed that in 1993 approximately 700,000 police killed 330 innocent individuals, while approximately 250,000,000 private citizens only killed 30 innocent people. Do the math. That's a per capita rate for the police, of almost 4000 times higher than the population in general. OK, that is a little misleading. Let's just include the 80,000,000 gun owning citizens. Now the police are down to only a 1200 times higher accidental shooting rate than the gun-owning population in general.
That still sounds high. So let's look at it in a different light. According to a study by Newsweek magazine, only 2% of civilian shootings involve an innocent person being shot (not killed). The error rate for police is 11%. What this means is that you are more than 5 times more likely to be accidentally shot by a policeman than by an armed citizen. But, when you consider that citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as do police every year, it means that, per capita, you are more than 11 times more likely to be accidentally shot by a policeman than by an armed citizen. That is as low as I can get that number.
This is not meant to be an indictment of the police. In fact, because police often live on the edge, they naturally tend to shoot first and ask questions later. Although they are trained to repress this instinct, it does not always work, as evidenced by the number of innocent people killed by police. Also, since they are generally better marksmen, they tend to kill, rather than wound or totally miss their target.
The Kleck study shows that police shoot and kill around 600 criminals each year. Yet the University of Chicago study shows that police killed 330 innocent individuals in 1993. That means that for every two criminals killed by police, one innocent citizen is killed by police. Although I have the greatest respect for the police and how they must respond under pressure, I think that I would much rather trust an armed populace.
Is a picture beginning to develop here?
The sources quoted above are impeccable and the picture that these facts paint is clear. Even if you don't own a gun, the mere fact that you or others around you might own a gun significantly reduces the likelihood that you will become the victim of a violent crime. The chances that you will be killed or severely injured as a result of a violent crime drop even more if you do own a gun. The remarkably low incidence of gun related accidents is overwhelmingly offset by the significantly reduced likelihood that you might some day become a death statistic on this page, because you or another citizen close to you may be armed.
The facts don't lie. Your personal safety is very dependent upon the right of you and those around you to legally own and carry a gun, whether you carry one or not.
Don't Believe Hollywood!
It's interesting to note that despite the wide availability of accurate statistics, the Hollywood elite always seem to have to make up wildly erroneous statistics for their various television shows and movies, so as to advance their leftist agenda. For example, in an episode of "Pacific Blue", one of the policeman characters talking to a child made the preposterous statement that you are twice as likely to be shot by accident as by a gun fired in anger. As the facts show, such a preposterous statement doesn't even come close to the truth, unless of course, he was referring to accidental shootings by police.
In fact, according to the easily accessible National Safety Council Report titled, What Are the Odds of Dying?, in 1998 there were 866 accidental gun deaths. Compare that to 11,798 gun homicides or to the nearly 2.5 MILLION times a year that a gun is used in self-defense. If Hollywood was right, there would have been over 23,000 accidental gun deaths, instead of just 866. That means that Hollywood didn't just miss the mark by a few percent. They got it wrong by a factor of almost three thousand percent (3000%).
Even though the real facts are easy to find, I can't count the number of times that I have heard some anti-self-defense type quote that phony statistic. It has even appeared in a few newspapers. That was obviously the purpose of having the character on the TV show make that statement. They wanted people to start spreading their lie around, as though it was fact. Such blatant mischaracterization is so common in the movies and on TV, that it leaves no doubt that it could be anything but intentional.
The Hollywood elite have their own agenda. They don't care about your safety. If you believe what you hear from the Hollywood elite or what you hear in the movies, you are doing yourself a severe injustice. Remember, the Hollywood elite all have bodyguards who carry (that's right Rosie)... GUNS. It's easy to understand their excuse for such hypocrisy. They consider themselves to be much better than the rest of Americans. So, it's natural that they think that self-defense is a privilege of only people of their exalted status. After all, what's the use of being a star, if you don't have any extra privileges.
Don't Believe the Media!
You must keep in mind that the media industry is exactly that; an industry. They must make greater and greater profits to satisfy their stockholders. Dramatic reports of a child that is shot by another child increase ratings much more than reporting that 28 women used a gun to fight off rape today and every day, for that matter (the national average). A heart rending image of a mother who just lost a child to a drive-by shooting drives ratings much higher than a dry report that violent crime is down in states with the least amount of gun control. The simple fact is that VIOLENCE SELLS!
The Vermont Concealed Carry Law states very succinctly that any person may carry a concealed weapon with NO permits, fees or registration, yet according to the FBI, Vermont enjoys the 2nd lowest crime rate in the nation. Think about it.
Follow the money. If Vermont style gun laws (see sidebar) were enacted nationwide, violent crime across the country would drop dramatically, taking media readership, listenership and viewership with it. Media stocks would plummet. To prevent this, those in financial control of media corporations use their media outlets to sway public opinion and prevent an end to gun control.
This is not just something that they only do for gun control either. Media moguls often use similar tactics to create splashy news regarding many other subjects, including race relations, the environment and welfare. They select what they report, based upon splash and dry statistics about crimes that DIDN'T occur just aren't splashy.
The logic is simple. Splashier news makes for more profit. You can't blame someone for wanting to make more money, even if you disagree with how they do it. So, it is imperative that you remember that those in control of the media have their own agenda and that agenda does NOT serve YOUR best interest. Since violence sells and legal unrestricted gun ownership reduces violence, it is in the media's business interest to promote restrictions on legal gun ownership.
Watch Your Government!
For a number of years now many in government, on both sides of the aisle, have been chipping away at the rights guaranteed us in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Even ignoring the fact that one of those rights is the right to keep and bear arms, those who would take away our other rights cannot afford even a remote chance that an armed populace might some day revolt. And I'm not talking about some group of militia flakes.
You can only take so much away from anyone before he finally says, "NO!" If enough people say "NO" at one time and they are armed, those who are subverting our rights have a serious problem. If we can be disarmed, it becomes merely an inconvenience for those in power (a la Tiananmen Square).
But, I'm not suggesting that there is some great government conspiracy. Quite the contrary, a real conspiracy would be a godsend. The media would have a heyday. (Remember splashier news makes for more media profit.) What we are facing is serious self-interest among many individual elected officials. It's as simple as that. Like any government, be it democratic of totalitarian, the thing that they fear most, is an armed populace. It is simply not in the interest of those who would subvert our rights to have an armed populace.
There are some in Congress who are doing everything that they can to protect our rights. Unfortunately, it isn't enough. As I pointed out in the beginning. This issue is all about YOU.
YOU must get involved.
YOU must keep up with the changing issues.
YOU must keep up with what your elected officials are doing and how they are voting.
Do your own research.
I have advised you not to trust the media, Hollywood or the government on this issue, so I cannot ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to do your own research. I have provided in this article, as a starting point, many links to impeccable sources for factual information on guns and gun control (these links were refreshed as recent at 10/17/05). I actually have an ulterior motive for asking you to do your own research. You see, just like the criminologists, whose research enlightens them to how much damage gun-control does, when you do your own research, you will come to understand just how important gun ownership rights really are, in a way that I could never convey in words.
A good starting place is to see how your Congressman and Senators are voting on gun related issues at: http://capwiz.com/gunowners/issues/votes/ (that link changes from time to time, so if it is no longer active, just go to http://www.gunowners.org and follow the links on their home page).
Don't count on the media, your government, your political party, Rush Limbaugh, the G-Man (Liddy) or even me. Follow the other links on this page and start doing your own research. Learn the facts and then make your own decision. Then, once you are armed with the facts,...
And if you don't have one,
GET A GUN!
Then, learn how to use it!
Copyright 2005 John Gaver
All rights reserved.