|THE GREAT GUN CONTROL HOAX
There has been a marked decrease in violent crime since the early 1990s. In 1991, the rate of violent crime
was 758.2 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2009, the rate of violent crime was 429.4 crimes per 100,000
inhabitants. While some have viewed this as a triumph for gun control, there is substantial dissent in
"Crime fell sharply and unexpectedly in the 1990s. Four factors appear to explain the drop in crime:
increased incarceration, more police, the decline of crack and legalized abortion. Other factors often cited
as important factors driving the decline do not appear to have played an important role: the strong
economy, changing demographics, innovative policing strategies, gun laws and increased use of capital
punishment." (Steven D. Levitt, "Understanding Why Crime Fell In The 1990s: Four Factors That Explain
The Decline, And Six That Do Not," Journal Of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 2004, p. 186).
Some of Levitt's study is obvious, having more police and less criminals on the streets has to take a bite
out of crime. Levitt relies on studies that show substantially fewer young black males were murdered after
the demand for crack declined in the 1990s. And he concludes that the decline in crime 18 years after
abortion became legal, when combined with studies that show that unwanted children commit more
crimes, support his conclusion of a link between legalized abortion and reduced crime. (Note that Levitt
himself is opposed to abortion and his abortion crime link theory is hotly debated.)
Several times in Levitt's study he comments that he found no reason to believe that gun control laws
reduced crime in the years he studied. Another researcher goes further.
Dr. John R. Lott is the co-author of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws"
and "The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong".
"Dr. Lott is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and had an extensive career in
academia before joining AEI. He received his doctorate in economics at UCLA, and in the years thereafter
taught at a great many prestigious institutions, such as The Wharton School (Penn), Yale, Cornell, the
University of Chicago , Rice, and UCLA." (Bernard Chapin, "The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John
Lott," Carpe Libertatem, posted June 10, 2003 - http://www.strike-the-root.com/3/chapin/chapin10.html).
Dr. Lott examined crime data for all 3,140 counties in the US by year from 1977 to 1996. According to Dr.
Lott, gun control laws have the opposite effect from what is intended, they actually increase crime. On the
other hand, allowing qualified people to carry concealed weapons deters crime.
"Allowing citizens without criminal records or histories of significant mental illness to carry concealed
handguns deters violent crimes and appears to produce an extremely small and statistically insignificant
change in accidental deaths. If the rest of the country had adopted right-to-carry concealed handgun
provisions in 1992, at least 1,570 murders and over 4,177 rapes would have been avoided. On the other
hand, consistent with the notion that criminals respond to incentives, county level data provides
evidence that concealed handgun laws are associated with increases in property crimes involving stealth
and where the probability of contact between the criminal and the victim are minimal." (John R. Lott, Jr and
David B. Mustard, "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns,"
http://www.catb.org/~esr/guns/gunslott.html, July 26, 1996).
Dr. Lott explained why more guns equals less crime in his interview with writer Bernard Chapin. Here are a
few of Dr. Lott's comments.
"Crime is reduced because some criminals are deterred from attacking. But if an attack does occur, guns
also prove to be the safest response for people to make when they are confronted by criminals and can
stop an attack before any harm is done to the victim. While the deterrence effect is larger, both are
important." (Bernard Chapin, "The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott," Carpe Libertatem, posted
June 10, 2003 - http://www.strike-the-root.com/3/chapin/chapin10.html).
"Guns make it easier for bad things to happen, but guns also make it easier for people to protect
themselves and stop bad things from happening... In 2001, according to government survey evidence,
there were about 450,000 crimes that were committed with guns. Of those, there were about 8,000 gun
murders. But few probably realize that our best estimates indicate that last year Americans also used guns
defensively, a little bit over 2 million times a year. Roughly ninety-five percent or so of the time, simply
brandishing a gun was sufficient to stop an attack. Now we're having guns being used to stop crime about
four and a half times more frequently, at least, than they were to commit one." (Ibid).
"In 1996, Britain banned handguns and also made it a felony for people to use guns defensively... Four
years have elapsed since the ban was introduced and gun crimes have risen by 40%... A recent Associated
Press Report notes: Dave Rogers, vice chairman of the [ London ] Metropolitan Police Federation, said the
ban made little difference to the number of guns in the hands of criminals . . . . 'The underground supply of
guns does not seem to have dried up at all.'" (Ibid).
"Australia also passed severe gun restrictions in 1996, banning most guns and making it a crime to use a
gun defensively. In the next four years, armed robberies there rose by 51 percent, unarmed robberies by
37 percent, assaults by 24 percent, and kidnappings by 43 percent. While murders fell by 3 percent,
manslaughter rose by 16 percent. In Sydney, handgun crime rose by an incredible 440 percent from 1995
to 2001." (Ibid).
Dr Lott also explains why people have such a skewed perception of the effect of gun ownership on
violence. "Basically you have about 190,000 words during 2001 on gun crime stories, and zero words being
spent on any of those news broadcasts about people using guns to stop a crime or protect themselves or
someone else." (Ibid).
It seems common sense that criminals would refuse to give up their guns when gun ownership became
illegal and any sane person would avoid armed confrontations. How is it that so many people have been
led to believe something else?
The scientific basis for gun control was provided by Dr. Arthur L. Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.E.P. A well
respected public health and emergency room physician, Kellermann began to believe that gun ownership
caused violence. In his first publication on the subject, in 1986, Kellermann studied all gunshot related
deaths in Seattle over six years, and found that ""the advisability of keeping firearms in the home for
protection must be questioned". Critics of this study noted that it was restricted to firearm-related deaths,
effectively excluding incidents in which gun owners used their firearm to injure and frighten away an
intruder." (Wikipedia, Arthur Kellermann).
In 1988 Dr. Kellerman produced a study of three cities that "concluded that restricting access to handguns
may reduce the rate of homicide in a community by reducing the lethality of assaults." (Ibid).
"In 1993, Kellermann responded to the criticism of his 1986 paper with a case-control study of the rates of
all homicides in the victim's home in Cleveland, Ohio, Memphis, Tennessee, and Seattle over five years, in
homes where a gun was kept versus homes where a gun was not... (The) results were interpreted by
Kellermann as confirming the 1986 finding that, on net, a firearm in the home represents a greater risk
overall than the protection it may offer against intruders, either indirectly or by discouraging potential
assaults. Kellermann noted that the study demonstrates the pervasiveness of domestic assault, as
compared to better publicized crimes such as home invasion, but continued to stress the role of
handguns in increasing the lethality of such assaults." (Ibid).
"Kellermann was criticized for not reporting what fraction of homicides in his sample were committed with
guns kept in the victim's home. If few homicides were committed with such guns, it would be unlikely that
it was home gun ownership itself that caused an elevated risk of being murdered." (Ibid).
There were calls for Kellermann's raw data and it was eventually supplied. "Once this information was
taken into account, it was found that the effect of household gun ownership on the risk of homicide could
not have been more than 6% of the effect that was estimated by Kellermann." (Ibid).
As a further criticism of Dr. Kellermann's studies, they were small and they only used data from cities.
However, the worst criticism is this: the raw data did not support Kellermann's conclusions. Kellermann
published what he wanted the data to show rather than what it did show. He let his emotions overrule his
More comprehensive research, particularly international research that shows that countries with high gun
ownership have low crime, has discredited Kellermann's studies, but the calls for gun control continue.
Why? It is not for the benefit of the average citizen. Gun control reduces the fear criminals have of
confronting a home owner. Gun control increases the murder rate. And gun control forces homeowners
into an unpleasant choice between breaking the law by owning a gun for self defense or taking a butcher
knife to a gun fight. Gun control endangers law abiding citizens particularly, because they are the first to
give up their guns.
So, what legitimate part of society does gun control benefit? Since the government implements gun
control, I suspect our elected officials believe it benefits them. My theory is that gun control helps
politicians deal with their fear of those they govern.
Judges have dealt with their fear of angry litigants by placing metal detectors and armed guards at the
entryways of courthouses. Because I dealt with courtroom attempts to seize the Branch Davidian church
property that was the site of the 1993 massacre, I have seen the corruption that goes on in courthouses
firsthand. In my experience, judges are behaving badly and they are right to fear reprisals...
Politicians have to fear both insane people and outraged citizens. Their fear is real, but it is a fact of the
occupation they have chosen. They should not imperil their constituents because they are afraid.
Despite gun control, there is a huge underground market in illegal weapons. A criminal, an insane person
or an outraged citizen can always get a gun. Should honest people be disarmed because politicians are
afraid? I don't think so.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden