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January 17, 2013

Sensible Gun Control Policy?

The Assault Weapons Ban: Fact v Fiction

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams (1770)

Publisher’s Note: A message for those who are not gun owners, and may be among many Americans who feel threatened by the possession and particularly the unlawful use of firearms in our country. If you are inclined to approve of the latest political effort to enact “sensible gun control policy,” I invite you to objectively read this brief study on so-called “assault weapons.” It is based on the latest information from the FBI and other aggregators of criminal data. It is not based on political agendas using the genuine emotional response all Americans feel when innocent men, women and children are murdered, as political fodder for their agenda. Consider also that almost all mass shootings occur in so-called “gun-free zones.”

In December, there was a horrible attack in an elementary school, committed by a mentally ill young man. He illegally obtained a rifle and a number of pistols, and used them to kill seven adults and 20 children.

As a parent, I was deeply affected by this loss of life, especially the faces of the children killed in that school. I am always moved by the death of innocents, particularly children.

In the wake of that tragedy, some politicians did what they do best – build a political platform on the caskets of children in order to seize and sequester the emotional response of millions of Americans to advance a political agenda. In this case, they concealed that agenda in emotive wrapping paper, and sealed it with a lot of rhetorical demagoguery, hoping that enough people would remain too immersed in their emotional state to discern the real political agenda.

In a press conference Wednesday, Barack Obama made a broad emotional appeal “for the children”: “Protecting our children from harm shouldn’t be divisive. … I asked Joe [Biden] to lead an effort along with members of my cabinet to come up with some concrete steps we can take right now to keep our children safe. … This is our first task as a society – keeping our children safe. If there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life we can save, we have an obligation to try it. … I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now.”

In other words, to counter the fact that his gun control agenda will, in reality, do nothing to “protect the children,” he has now lowered expectations to maybe “one life we can save,” and he insists Congress “must act now” before reason overtakes emotion.

Obama went on to say, “If Americans of every background stand up and say ‘enough, we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue,’ then change will come.”

Well, who could disagree with keeping children safe? But is that really the reason Obama is calling for the most restrictive gun control in the history of our Republic?

(Note: Regarding the use of children as “political pawns,” White House spokesman Jay Carney criticized the NRA for referencing the protection of children in a Web ad. Carney protested, “Children should not be used as pawns in a political fight.” This briefing was an hour after Obama surrounded himself with children as pawns in a political fight.)

I don’t doubt that Obama, like most parents, wants to keep his children safe. In fact he surrounds his children with dozens of guns to keep them safe everywhere they go. But there is also no doubt that his agenda to restrict the ownership of guns has nothing, in fact, to do with the safety of other children – or anyone of any age.

But here are the most common denominators regarding assailants and so-called “gun-free zones.”

In addition to the irrefutable link between fatherless homes and violence, what I believe is the single most significant contributing factor scripting this particular type of assault, but one that will get the least attention, is the fact that the assailant was steeped in the desensitizing violence of video game “entertainment” — spending countless hours through his formative years in a fantasy first-person killing role. Tens of millions of young people are submersed in these games and don’t emerge as sociopathic killers. But in those rare instances when a young person does become a mass assailant, their pathology, combined with their killing fantasy, results in bloodshed.

For example: The 1999 Columbine High School murderers were immersed in the violent game “Doom,” achieving “berserk mode.” The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School murderer logged 83,496 kills in one violent video game, including 22,725 headshots.

To that end, a joint statement from the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry declares, “At this time, well over 1,000 studies … point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.”

Additionally, many of the most noted mass shooting assailants were, or had been using, psycho-active prescription drugs, particularly selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, including Prozac similar drugs. It was only after the introduction and widespread distribution of these drugs (now an epidemic of overprescription in the US) that mass shootings began.

As for “gun-free zones,” for the record, violent crimes are almost exclusively committed by sociopathic thug, drug and gang-bangers battling on city streets. Furthermore, it is also clear that 96% of all mass shootings since records first began being kept in 1950 occurred in so-called “gun-free zones.” In other words, people were killed in places where the victims were most likely unable to defend themselves. And 90% of those firearms were obtained illegally.

Of course, only law-abiding citizens abide by laws, and making lawful citizens helpless clearly does not make outlaws harmless. Remember: The vast majority of mass assaults occur in “gun-free zones.”

Sidebar: Anyone who asserts the public or private space they manage is safe by posting signs and/or establishing regulations prohibiting (gun-free zones), should thus be liable for any assault that occurs in that public or private space, because in effect they advertised it was safe from any firearm assault – and advertised to criminals that the space is full of people who are unable to defend them selves.

There are a few proposals under consideration by Congress, in conjunction with Obama’s ban on defensive weapons, that should be enacted. For example, I support background checks for all gun sales, not just those from gun dealers – with the caveat that legislation for “universal background checks” does retains the current background check provision that all information from those checks is purged once an approval or denial has been issued. Indeed, retaining that information constitutes federal gun registration – and the only purpose for registration is confiscation.

Further, we should have a more comprehensive approach to identifying and treating those with severe mental health problems – though not likely under ObamaCare.

(I note that these measures would do little or nothing to stop unlawful gun purchases for unlawful purposes, other than make it more difficult for unqualified purchasers to acquire a weapon.)

But the centerpiece of Obama’s gun control agenda is a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” I note “so-called” because this legislation is more accurately described as a “defensive weapons” ban since such arms are purchased, first and foremost, for defense and not assault. Some liberal states and municipalities, in fact, are mounting their own assaults on these weapons.

So, why all the political focus on “assault weapons”?

Because these weapons have been used in many murders, and crimes involving them have increased dramatically in the last 20 years, when gun control advocates coined the term “assault weapon,” right?

Wrong. The 2011 FBI data shows that there were 323 murders committed with rifles of any kind. However, guns defined as “assault weapons” by the federal government are not defined in any subcategory because they are used in crimes so infrequently – less than 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of all murders with guns in 2011, according to best estimates.

By comparison, 496 murders were committed with hammers and clubs, and 1,694 murders were perpetrated with knives. Notably, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk drivers are responsible for nearly 10,000 deaths each year in the U.S. – far more than the number of deaths involving guns of any kind in 2011. (Should there be “universal background checks” every time someone orders a beer or glass of Chardonnay?)

So, why all the political focus on “assault weapons”?

Because heavy restrictions on these and other guns lowers the crime rate, right?

Wrong. According to the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Report, a summary of all serious crimes committed each year, in 1992 violent crime incidence was 752 per 100,000 people and 9.3 murders per 100,000.

In 2011, the violent crime rate had dropped to 386 per 100,000 and the murder rate to 4.7 per 100,000 – nearly a 50 percent decline in both. This precipitous drop occurred at a time when the number of firearms increased dramatically – including the sale of more than six million “assault weapons.” In 2011 alone, violent crime fell by 3.8 percent from 2010.

In fact, by every objective account, more guns equal less crime.

What, you say, “more guns equals less crime”?

That is correct. According to numerous studies of crime in the U.S., most notably the research conducted by Yale’s John Lott, areas of the country where there are fewer restrictions on guns have lower rates violent crimes committed with guns, than those areas with more restrictions. In fact, there were more than 500 murders in Obama’s hometown of Chicago last year – a city with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. Most of those murders were tied to gangs and drugs.

Further evidence? After the Supreme Court struck down Washington, DC’s gun ban in the 2008 Heller decision, DC’s mayor proclaimed that “more handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence.” However, after the Heller decision, the number of murders plummeted to its lowest rate in 50 years: 2008 (186) 2009 (144) 2010 (132) and 2011 (108). And John Lott notes that the decline in DC was far more precipitous than in other cities.

Moreover, according to the demographic and geographic profile of most violent crimes, the vast majority of perpetrators who murder with guns are associated with gangs and/or drug cartels, which thrive on urban welfare plantations. (The violent culture spawned on those plantations is, of course, the direct result of social and cultural degradation institutionalized by socialist Democrat welfare state policies.)

Additionally, countries that ban guns generally have higher crime rates, and that has been reaffirmed by a recent Harvard study.

So, why all the political focus on “assault weapons”?

Well, isn’t the Second Amendment about protecting the right of “hunters and sportsmen” to own guns? As Obama said, “I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen.”

Those with the most basic understanding of our history know that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunters and sportsmen, regardless of how often Obama frames it that way.

This most significant of all constitutional prohibitions on government clearly and concisely states, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

In the parlance of our Founders, “militia” meant the whole body of the people, as noted by Richard Lee in 1787: “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves … and include … all men capable of bearing arms.”

And, “being necessary to the security of a free State” meant that the right of the people to bear arms was, and remains, the ultimate barrier to government tyranny.

In the words of our Constitution’s principal author, James Madison, “The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. … The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition.” (Federalist No. 46)

So, why all the political focus on “assault weapons”?

Maybe there’s a clue in the assessment of Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s first “Assault Weapons Ban.”

When Feinstein’s first AWB passed in 1994 under the previous Democrat president, Bill Clinton, the Washington Post candidly opined: “No one should have any illusions about what was accomplished. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.”

When the Feinstein ban expired in 2004, a Department of Justice study noted, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. [Assault weapons] were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.”

Now Feinstein is leading Obama’s legislative charge for “a stepping stone to broader gun control” with the effort to renew the ban on defensive weapons.

So, when Obama claims his intention is not “a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty,” should you believe him?

Really, do you believe him?

There are now more than 60 million armed Patriots across our nation. Those who own the defensive weapons targeted by Obama and his NeoCom cadres do so not first and foremost for “hunting and sport shooting,” though these weapons can certainly be used for those purposes. We acquire defensive weapons like the much-maligned AR-15, ultimately, to defend ourselves, our Constitution and the Rule of Law it enshrines.

Obama is devoting all his political focus on “assault weapons” in order to undermine the Second Amendment empowerment of today’s “Patriot Militia,” much as the British attempted to do in 1775 when they marched on Lexington and Concord to seize militia weapons. As you recall, that intrusion led to the “shot heard ‘round the world,” the first shots of the Revolutionary War, which gave rise to our great nation.

Obama’s effort to launch his “assault weapons ban” is, as the Washington Post surmised in 1994, “a stepping stone to broader gun control.” Disarm the people and you can undermine the vigor of their readiness to defend our Constitution. It is those armed Patriots who stand between the whole body of the American people and Obama’s stated goal of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

So, what constitutes “sensible,” or what Democrats also like to call, “common sense” gun control policy, when by every objective account, more guns result in less crime?

Obama and Biden mentioned “gun violence” six times in their Wednesday remarks, emphasizing that somehow “guns” are the problem, and not the culture producing sociopathic gang-bangers who use guns and other weapons to kill. If Obama, et al., really want to reduce our “national epidemic of violence,” they should focus on reforming the government policies that created the socialist urban poverty plantations where most violence occurs.

The proposed “assault weapons ban” and other efforts to restrict, register and ultimately confiscate lawfully acquired guns used for lawful purposes is both an affront to our individual human right of self defense and our corporate responsibility to defend our Constitution. (Ask New Orleans registered gun owners about the consequences of gun confiscation from law-abiding citizens in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina.)

It is for that reason I have pledged: In keeping with the oath I have taken in the service of my country, I will “support and defend” Liberty as “endowed by our Creator” and enshrined in our Constitution, “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Accordingly, I will NOT comply with any defensive weapons ban instituted by executive order, legislative action or judicial diktat, which violates the innate human right to defend self and Liberty, as empowered by “the right of the People to keep and bear arms.”

If you don’t yet understand the consequences of statist gun control agendas, let me offer you 100 million additional reasons to reject socialist political agendas, particularly gun control mandates – reasons that are buried, mostly in mass graves, around the world. During the 20th century, tyrannical socialist governments in Germany, Russia, China, Korea and other nations murdered more than 100 million of their own people. But first, before committing their systematic slaughter, these regimes disarmed their citizenry.

If you are not a gun owner, that’s OK. But I suggest you thank every gun owner you know, because in states with few gun restrictions, violent offenders can’t tell which homes have armed occupants and which don’t. And incarcerated offenders report that the number-one factor in choosing a victim is the ability of the victim to defend himself or herself.

Deciding whether to be a gun owner is a personal decision, but, gun owner or not, you most assuredly should affirm your support for our Second Amendment.

But it is important to understand, American gun owners don’t keep and bear arms to overthrow the government, as the Left often implies. But possessing a strong and competent self-defense capability is rooted in a spirit of self-reliance and a love of American Liberty that has its origin in the American Revolution and has been passed down for generations since. What the Left is really trying to break is that spirit, our devotion to Liberty. It is antithetical to the statist power and control they seek. The Second Amendment is not negotiable, period. The Left’s perennial claims of “common sense” infringements, ostensibly for “public safety,” are a smokescreen to ensure their statist agenda is unabated.

Join the more than 25,000 Patriots who have already signed “The right of the People…”

Sign the 2A pledge!

(Footnote: Regarding the media comparisons between the U.S. and nations like Great Britain, which has already confiscated weapons, clearly, there are few murders with guns in those nations. However, the incidence of violent crime in the UK is almost twice the per capita rate of the U.S., and it affects a much broader demographic swath of citizens. And speaking of British disarmament, I’m reminded of this observation from a man whose name is synonymous with pacifism. In his autobiography, Mohandas Gandhi protested, “Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”)

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