Before the blood was even dry in Las Vegas, Democrats coast to coast were pushing gun control. Hillary Clinton led the charge, finding time between fainting spells to tweet “Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.” (Translation: “Put your politics aside…and accept my politics! Oh, and my grief is never enough because I don’t feel any.”) But I guess, taking Rahm Emanuel’s counsel, leftists “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
The waste, though, is that we’re even talking about this matter in a tragedy’s wake. But since the attacks have been launched, let’s discuss guns.
To use a twist on a Frédéric Bastiat line, the bad social analyst confines himself to the visible effect; the good social analyst considers not just the effects that can be seen, but those largely invisible and those that must be foreseen. Events such as Sunday’s massacre by murderer Stephen Paddock cannot be missed; they’re horrible, headline-making tragedies.
Not easily seen are the results of a study by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, a liberal Democrat and lifelong ACLU member: he found that guns are used by good citizens 2.2 to 2.5 million times per year to deter crime.
Some dispute this statistic, but whether it’s 2.5 million, 2 million or 1 million isn’t the point. It’s that an untold number of innocent lives are saved because good citizens own guns. This couldn’t happen were firearms outlawed. But since outlaws don’t follow laws, many of them would still have guns and, perhaps, even more innocents would be lost each year.
Yet what currently is lost, on many anti-gun activists, is reality. We hear, for example, that the U.S. is uniquely violent and that countries with strict gun-control are safer. Untrue.
According to Index Mundi, the U.S. ranks only 99th on a list of 191 nations in intentional homicide rate — in the bottom 50 percent. Moreover, there is no correlation whatsoever between stricter gun-control laws and lower murder rates.
Countries such as Russia, Mexico and Brazil have far stricter gun laws than we do but also more homicide. Then, as Professor Thomas Sowell wrote in 2012, “Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.”
This phenomenon is apparent everywhere. Journalist Piers Morgan (who still has never accepted my challenge to a debate) loves to mention how his Great Britain has a lower murder rate than does the U.S. But the U.K. has always had a lower murder rate — even back when both nations had few gun-control laws — and the U.K.’s gun-crime rate is higher now than it was then. Moreover, states such as New Hampshire have lower homicide rates than does Britain despite having far higher gun-ownership rates.
Some further examples:
- Vermont has approximately the same gun-ownership rate as Louisiana but one-eighth the murder rate.
- Japan has strict gun laws and, on paper, the world’s fifth-lowest homicide rate (critics note that, owing to the application of different criteria, that country’s actual rate is double the reported one). Yet Japanese-descent Americans living in the U.S. — with relatively easy access to firearms — have a murder rate half that of Japanese living in Japan.
- As Dr. Sowell also informed, the rate of gun ownership “is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks. For the country as a whole, hand gun ownership doubled in the late 20th century, while the murder rate went down.
- People over 50 are more likely to own guns than those under 50, but the latter have a higher murder rate
So if there’s no correlation between gun-control/ownership and murder rates, what is the correlation?
As Sowell also tells us, it’s not the guns — it’s the people.
Generally speaking, places with demographics like South Africa’s have murder rates like South Africa’s. Places with demographics like Britain’s have murder rates like Britain’s. This isn’t as politically correct to talk about as slamming guns is, but reality doesn’t exist to be fashionable.
The U.S. already has more than 22,000 gun-control laws, yet every tragic shooting is exploited by gun-grabbing demagogues who, generally fooling themselves as much as others, never articulate a vision, their end game. Will Utopia be realized with the next 5,000 guns law? The next 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? Actually, in their heart of hearts, the anti-gun crowd wants only one more: that dictating the seizure of all guns.
This is always denied, but just finish the “progressive” progression here. If every tragedy were followed by more anti-gun laws, would we not end up incrementally where leftists deny they want to go suddenly?
If anti-gun laws are a good idea now, they’ll also be a good idea later, when the emotion surrounding Las Vegas has subsided. But since facts and reason aren’t on the leftists’ side, they’re left to appeal to emotion — and that’s most easily done when blood is still on the ground.