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October 11, 2017

The Second Amendment and Violence — A Bullet Point Reality Check

Democrats and their Demo/MSM talkingheads insist that violence is a “gun problem,” but in fact it’s largely a Democrat constituency and policy problem.

“The defense of one’s self, justly called the primary law of nature, is not, nor can it be abrogated by any regulation of municipal law. This principle of defense is not confined merely to the person; it extends to the liberty and the property of a man … it extends to the person of every one, who is in danger; perhaps, to the liberty of every one, whose liberty is unjustly and forcibly attacked.” —James Wilson (1791)

In the tragic wake of another sociopathic mass murder, there is a natural instinct in all of us to seek preventive measures to end such attacks. The uncomfortable truth is, however, that there are no measures to stop the manifestations of evil assailants.

What follows is a brief assessment of the most recent attack, but moreover, a comprehensive reality check on firearms and violence.

That notwithstanding, endeavoring to solve the “gun problem” in America, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has proposed the latest of some 23,000 federal, state and local laws regulating firearms — in this instance the banning of the “bump stock” weapon adaptation that increased the lethality of this most recent assailant’s firearms. That device was approved for sale in 2010 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under none other than Barack Obama’s regime, notably at the same time his corrupt attorney general, Eric Holder, was manipulating that agency as a regulatory tool to implement their so-called “gun control” agenda.

Feinstein admitted that no law would have stopped the Las Vegas assault: “[The assailant] passed background checks, registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions.” She then got back on script and declared, “We need a law…”

While such laws make good political fodder, the fallacy lies in the sense of solution and security they will provide: It’s pure fantasy.

Of course, Feinstein and her Democrat Party statists are always looking for a path to undermine the First Civil Right, the Second Amendment. As she said, “It is legal for an American to carry a weapon. It’s legal for them to drive a car. However, they register that car.”

Fact is, all the Democrat chatter about “common sense” (non-sequitur) regulations to end “gun violence,” their primary agenda, and that of all their adolescent marching mall masses, is not about “protecting the children.” It is ultimately about deconstruction and repeal of the Second Amendment and disarming the people.

Recall, after the most recent assault, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked if she viewed her opportunistic legislative push as a slippery slope toward total gun confiscation. She replied, “I certainly hope so.”

Despite the salvation leftist politicos promise with their gun control agenda, sociopathic assailants can kill and injure many more civilians by driving a large truck at high speed into street-level venues. (In Nice, France, last year, an Islamist assailant killed 85? Such attacks are on the rise in the U.S.)

For the record, I don’t believe a device that increases the lethality of an assailant’s weapon of choice should be legal when its application is intended to circumvent the law — in this case, the National Firearms Act of 1934, which banned possession of select-fire fully automatic weapons without a permit. That law was intended to appease the public concerns about the rising violence of organized crime syndicates, like that of Chicago’s South Side Italian gang led by Al “Scarface” Capone.

But have you seen the data on Chicago murders lately — murders by a whole new generation of gangsters spawned, ironically, not by alcohol prohibition but drug prohibition? The grim stats for most any weekend alone exceed Capone’s 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Today, Obama’s Democrat hometown fiefdom of Chicago, with the nation’s strictest gun prohibition laws, accounted for almost half of 2016’s homicide increase nationwide. And per capita, Chicago is not the deadliest of the Democrats’ urban poverty plantations. The 30 cities with the highest murder rates have been under Democrat control for decades.

To divert attention from that reality, Democrats and their Demo/MSM propaganda machine, using a plethora of fake data, insist that violence in their Demo urban centers is a “gun problem.”

But in fact, violence is a Democrat constituency and policy problem.

(And on the subject of media, no industry glorifies “gun violence” more than leftist “entertainment industry” hypocrites.)

There is ample evidence that, in the decade up to 2015, as gun ownership increased in the U.S., the rate of violent crime dropped almost 50%. Thus, as research by former Yale professor John Lott concludes, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

To that point, one of the safest places on the planet is a National Rifle Association convention or any gun show across the nation — where the per-capita concentration of firearms nears 100%. In fact, the cities that host NRA conventions record significant drops in violent crime while its members are in town.

And on the subject of the NRA as a Leftmedia “whipping boy,” columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote this week, “The op-ed pages have been suffused with claims that the NRA has bought Republicans with blood money, stifling the popular will and thwarting democracy in the process. There’s just one problem: It’s not true. Consider that $3.5 million in [NRA] donations over nearly 20 years The Washington Post made such a fuss about. According to Opensecrets.org, the legal profession contributed $207 million to politicians in 2016 alone.”

But the downward trend in violent crime changed dramatically in 2015…

After decades of declining violence, murder and other violent crime rates began trending upward in 2015 and 2016. According to the latest FBI annual crime report, in 2014 there were 12,270 murders – a number which had held steady for several years. But in 2015, that number increased significantly to 13,750 murders and in 2016 to 15,070 murders. In about 70 percent of murders, assailants use a firearm.

The increasing murder and violent crime trend is due in large measure to the “Ferguson Effect.” Police in urban areas with high crime are backing off enforcement because, after the justified shooting of a Ferguson, Missouri, thug, national and local politicians joined Barack Obama’s war on cops, condemning them for alleged “racial profiling.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had previously voiced his concern that the 2015 increase was “the beginning of a trend,” noting, “That is the thing that has concerned me the most.” His concerns are now reality.

That notwithstanding, what follows is a bullet-point reality check regarding firearms and violent crime in America and around the world.

We can all agree that one murder in America is too many, and there is an epidemic of violence across our nation.

  • For context, here is the most recent annual data on mortality in America by the numbers:

88,000 people died from alcohol-related causes.
64,000 people died from drug overdoses.
44,000 people died by suicide, many related to drug and alcohol abuse.
40,000 people died in motor vehicles crashes, about a third related to drug and alcohol abuse.

  • Regarding murder rates, the latest FBI uniform crime report lists 17,250 people murdered in the U.S. in 2016. In 70% of those cases, the assailant used a firearm. It is estimated that in less than one-half of 1% of those murders, an “assault weapon” was used.

And again, as noted above, Chicago alone accounted for half the surge in murders last year, but three other long-held Democrat urban centers — Baltimore, Houston and New Orleans — are competing for the murder capital title, though a city’s fatal shooting ranking doesn’t necessarily reflect its ranking for all shootings.

  • The most significant statistical fact that Democrats do not want you to know: The vast majority of murders in the U.S. are related to drug and gang violence in urban centers and are disproportionately black-on-black. If you aren’t involved in one or the other, your chances of becoming a murder victim drop to Western European levels.

  • International rankings: Among the 10 countries with the lowest crime rates, several are among the countries with the highest gun ownership, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Iceland.

  • The United States, despite the thug, drug and gang violence, does not rate among the top 25 nations with the highest murder rates.

Notably, however, according to the latest data, among the world’s most violent cities, almost all were Third World, with the following notable Democrat-controlled exceptions:

Number 36 was Detroit, which had 44.60 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Number 34 was New Orleans, which had 45.17 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Number 26 was Baltimore, which had 51.14 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Number 14 was St. Louis, which had 60.37 homicides per 100,000 residents.

  • Regarding Donald Trump’s renewed call for tougher immigration enforcement: Most of the world’s most violent cities were in the Western Hemisphere, south of our border. Indeed, illegal immigrants from those areas have seeded violent gangs in each of the U.S. cities among the top 50.

  • Mexico, from where most illegal immigrants come, now ranks as the second most murderous nation in the world — second only to war-torn Syria.

  • Concerning Democrats’ most-oft cited model for gun confiscation, Australia, where most firearms were “bought back” in 1996: According to the latest firearms causation study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, while there was a “decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013,” there was “a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude,” thus, “it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms.”

Finally, some observations about violence being a cultural problem, not a “gun problem.”

The esteemed George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams concludes that guns aren’t the problem, regressives are: “Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette, not just laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society, not restraints on inanimate objects. … The benefit of having customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody’s watching. In other words, it’s morality that is society’s first line of defense against uncivilized behavior. … The attack on moral standards has been orchestrated by the education establishment and progressives.”

Political analyst George Neumayr observes, “‘Sensible gun control’ is the elite’s euphemism for making sure that everyone except their bodyguards are deprived of guns. Beware of the word ‘sensible’ in the mouth of statists. It is what they say right before they violate a right. The left is neither sensible nor serious about controlling wicked behavior. If it were, it would seek to shore up the foundations of civilization, without which the multiplication of laws is useless, to which the tragedy in Las Vegas attests.”

And a final observation on Americans and guns from The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, who wrote in “The Culture of Death — and of Disdain”:

I think a lot of Americans have guns because they’re fearful — and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it’s all collapsing — our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way — illegitimacy, abused children, neglect, racial tensions, kids on opioids staring at screens — and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is — how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They’re barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They’re not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it’s been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Noonan succinctly described why, against all conventional political odds, Donald Trump was elected president. And she makes clear, as did our Founders, that the Second Amendment is not about the “tradition of hunting,” as Democrats often suggest, but about the fundamental right to defend Liberty and self.

Allow me to state again, violence in Democrat urban centers is a Democrat constituent and policy problem, not a “gun problem.”

The bottom line: When debating the Second Amendment, there are three points that are often neglected.

First, possession of firearms is a deterrent against countless millions of crimes, as made clear in studies of convicted felons, who tell researchers that they choose victims who are least likely to be able to defend themselves. Second, there are more than a million crimes thwarted every year by those who defend themselves with a firearm.

And finally, the Second Amendment is, first and foremost, about protection of our Constitution and the Liberty it enshrines. As I have oft noted, handguns are for personal and home defense. But semi-automatic rifles, mislabeled by Socialist Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists as “assault rifles,” are for protection of those who would infringe on the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” If you find that notion unsettling, then you need to learn more about the history the constant assault of statist tyranny on Liberty.

For the record, despite claims to the contrary, banning the sale of those guns has had dubious results in terms of reducing the rare but sensational use of such firearms by mass murderers.

“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any…” –James Madison (1788)

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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NOTES:

The First Civil Right is To Keep and Bear Arms. It is, as James Madison’s Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, rightly defined it, “the palladium of the liberties of the republic,” the ultimate assurance of all other rights.

What follows are a few key notes that all defenders of American Liberty and its foundational guarantor, the Second Amendment, should be prepared to articulate, in order to refute the rhetorical gun control agenda disinformation propagated by Democrats and their Leftmedia publicists.

While some of this data is based on annual findings, most of that data does not vary significantly year over year.

FOOTNOTE 1: Regarding so-called “gun violence,” there were approximately 19,600 homicides involving firearms in the U.S. in the latest year of record, which you can view state by state. Fortunately, there are indications that homicides may be declining after the significant surge of violence unleashed by Biden and his Democrat agitators in 2020. The 2022 homicide rate was 30% higher than in 2019.

The Demos ubiquitously and falsely label the generational murderous contagion they have seeded as “gun violence,” and they focus exclusively on the infrequent high-profile “mass shootings,” which account for only a tiny fraction of all homicides. More than 99% of murders in the U.S. are not the result of mass attacks. (Notably, guns don’t commit violence, thugs and sociopaths commit violence.) The oft-cited Gun Violence Archive defines a “mass shooting” as any incident that involves a “minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed.” The vast majority of those violent attacks are the result of drug and gang violence committed in Democrat-controlled urban centers.

In a country and culture that ignores the rising generation of sociopathic murderers — mostly thugs in violent urban centers who are saturated with cultural violence and indoctrinated with mass-media glorification of violence — it is fortunate that the incidence of mass murder is not 10 times higher. Arguably, the only thing keeping that number from being higher is that 125 million Americans are legal and responsible gun owners.

Democrats don’t focus on the vast majority of murders, particularly the epidemic of black-on-black murders on their decaying urban poverty plantations, because they want to avoid the “inconvenient truth” about race and violence, which is the direct result of failed Democrat social programs. In fact, black people (13% of the population), are 12 times more likely to be murdered, per capita, than white people (62% of the population).

That gross racial disparity in murder rates isn’t useful for the gun control narrative Democrats invoke to evoke emotional reaction from mostly wealthy white suburban women, who form the Demos’ largest voter constituency.

FOOTNOTE 2: Regarding so-called “mass shootings,” for the record, murders of multiple people by one assailant are very rare in our nation of 335 million people. Less than 1% of all murders nationwide are classified as “mass shootings” and high-profile attacks, such as the 2017 mass murder in Las Vegas, are extremely rare.

The FBI defines “active shooter incidents” as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” In 2022, the FBI reported 50 incidents resulting in 313 casualties (100 killed and 213 wounded). That number was up significantly from 2020 when the FBI reported 40 incidents resulting in 164 casualties (38 killed and 126 wounded).

A broader record of “mass shooting” data is maintained by the Associated Press and Northeastern University, which uses the Department of Justice definition of mass public shooting: “A multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms.” These numbers fluctuate significantly year over year, and they range between 20 and 40 incidents. But notably, over the last 30 years, the number of black mass assailants is almost as high as the number of white assailants.

Democrats focus on these rare instances of multiple murders because these high-profile tragedies are political fodder to foment fear — most notably when they can toss out their oft-repeated but erroneous claim that “gun violence is the leading cause of death for children.” If by “children” they mean gang and drug-associated murders of those primarily between the ages of 16 and 21, then yes. Democrats are experts at fomenting fear and division.

The fear and angst Demos intentionally propagate are taking a toll on Americans’ mental health. Psychological researcher Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson observes: “Watching it time and time again on your phone or on the headlines can really impact you in ways that I don’t think we knew before to be as impactful. It’s so ‘in our face’ all the time and we have access to so much footage, so many pictures, so many videos, so many accounts that we’re ingesting it in ways that’s really unhealthy for us.” The result for many mothers, in particular, is an irrational fear that their children will be shot. That is precisely the fabricated fear Democrats want to perpetuate, especially among their female constituents, in order to advance their gun control agenda.

FOOTNOTE 3: Regarding what Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists ubiquitously and falsely label “assault weapons,” an actual assault weapon, commonly known as a “machine gun,” is select-fire and can rapidly cycle rounds in fully automatic sequence. Very few select-fire weapons are in civilian hands, and only then subject to stringent licensing requirements.

In fact, civilian firearms in common use, like the AR-15 and other semiautomatic sporting and hunting rifles, are not “assault rifles.”

For much the same reason the Demo/Media talkingheads focus only on rare high-profile “mass shootings” to generate fear and angst, they also call semi-automatic rifles sometimes used in those attacks, “assault weapons.” Predictably, Demos then call for what Hillary Clinton framed decades ago as “common sense gun laws,” inevitably followed by calls for an “assault weapons ban.”

In 1994, Bill Clinton banned the sale of “military-style assault weapons,” but that ban was not renewed 10 years later because it was determined the ban had no effect on crime reduction. According to Rand Research, “We found no qualifying studies showing that bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated.”

The fact is, rifles and shotguns combined are used in less than 3% of all homicides, but Democrats never let facts get in the way of their “assault weapon ban” political agenda.

Both the Clintons were prolific prevaricators, masterful obfuscators of the truth. And Joe Biden has followed their template, establishing himself as the standard bearer of the “lying dog-faced pony soldier” cavalry.

FOOTNOTE 4: Regarding firearms and violent crime, researcher John Lott reports, “Over 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.” Again, the only thing keeping that number from being much higher is that 125 million Americans are legal and responsible gun owners.

FOOTNOTE 5: Regarding firearms and suicide, almost 60% of all deaths involving firearms are suicide, most also involving drug or alcohol abuse. But the big numbers promoted in “gun violence” reports do not distinguish between murder and suicide, thus implying that homicide rates are much higher. And does this mean that Demo support for assisted suicide is in conflict with their support for gun control?

FOOTNOTE 6: Regarding alcohol versus firearm deaths, if Democrats are serious about protecting Americans, they should outlaw alcohol. Alcohol abuse is far more deadly than firearm abuse. More than 178,000 people died from alcohol abuse last year — that’s NINE times the number of homicides associated with firearms. Drunk drivers are responsible for 37 deaths per day. And notably, it is estimated that alcohol is a key factor in at least 30% of homicides where the assailant uses a firearm. (Include drug dealing or use as a factor and that number jumps to about 60%.)

Of course, the vast majority of alcohol users possess and use it legally and responsibly. Likewise, the vast majority of firearm owners possess and use them legally and responsibly. Enacting a prohibition on firearms is tantamount to enacting a prohibition on alcohol. In both cases, only law-abiding users obey the laws.

BOTTOM LINE: Let me restate this point — only law-abiding citizens abide by the law. Only outlaws perpetrate acts of violence. Making good people helpless won’t make bad people harmless.


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