Monday, February 16, 2015

Gun Watch Refered to in Economist Comment

A very well written comment in the Economist refers to the Gun Watch article on the comparison of European Murder rates to those in the United States.   It is so well done that I will quote it in its entirety.  From the Economist comments section, kudos to guest-sosaoel:
I'll give the author credit for trying to be reasonable as well as thanks for having the integrity to try shooting for himself.

However I must correct a number of glaring errors.

We oppose gun control because it has never been credibly demonstrated to work. Ever. Yes, there have been some sloppy, cherry-picked studies produced by known anti-gun researchers which show weak correlations (and never causation) but a few minutes on Google will provide overwhelming evidence of their uselessness and (often) dishonesty.

The murder rate in America is at a 50 year low. The last time it was this low was the late 1950s early 1960s. That is before any major gun control laws when you could buy rifles mail order and ammunition at your local hardware store. No FFLs, no 4473s, no background checks.

Suicides are a red herring. The author quotes raw numbers as opposed to rates. Of course the numbers in America will be high. There's 300,000,000 of us and a lot of us are 50+ which is a group at high risk for suicide. But compare the suicide rate of the US to gun-free Japan and Russia, as examples, and you will find their rates much higher.

Murder in this nation is mainly a problem in the urban inner city. Much of this violence has been caused by liberal welfare policies which have effectively destroyed families in poor communities all over America. You can check the data yourself. I have. When you begin factoring out the high-risk urban centers you find the murder rate in America is effectively cut in half. Factor out high-risk demographic groups who commit up to 80% of the murders and you find the America murder rate in the middle of the field for European nations.

England famously banned most guns in the 1990s yet their murder rate went above pre-ban levels and has stayed up since.

As a life member of the NRA, I understand why an outsider might call them "nasty." They are aggressive and sometimes embarrassing. But their power does not come from gun manufacturer's donations. If it was all about money, then the millions Bloomberg spent trying to influence elections in 2014 would have bought something other than one ballot initiative in a liberal state.

The NRA's power is its 5 million dues paying members. (As a point of comparison, both NOW and the NAACP can only claim 1/10 that number of members.) Not only are we members, but we are activists. When a new gun-control bill comes down the pike, we oppose it with phone calls, marches, letters and even office visits. Gun-right advocates are willing to stand up. In my home state of New York, the balance of power in the state Senate just shifted simply on the gun control issue.

The "polls" which show majority of gun owners in favor of this or that are incredibly flawed. No one ever cites a poll on the actual text of the SAFE Act, Manchin-Toomey or Pro-594 which show huge majority of gun owners against them. The other interesting thing is once you actually explain to non-gun owners want these bills would do, you find they also oppose. Who, after all, could support Prop 594 which makes it illegal for a person out shooting skeet on private to hand their shotgun to their friend. Read the bill. That activity I just described is a felony.

Finally, we're on to you. I used to be one of those "reasonable" people who wanted to find "common sense" solutions. Then, in the wake of the Newtown murders, my local paper published an interactive map of every legal pistol permit holder in two New York counties. I'd like to add that the process to get a pistol permit in New York is extremely arduous and in the case of my county, involves review of medical records and a decision by a judge. (It took 18 months and cost $400 dollar as well.)

Yet here was an Internet map which had a red dot placed over my house. Click on the dot and my name and address came up.

It was at that moment, when I found my privacy literally under attack by, well, wealthy suburban elites, that I realized there is no compromise with the gun control crowd. Add to that the attacks coming hard and fast in the media and from politicians blaming the NRA for a murderer's actions as well as accusing lawful gun owners of being accessories to murder, and my mind began to change. The dubious passage of the SAFE Act, the most foolish piece of gun control legislation in history, sealed the deal. Compromise is over. The pro-gun community is done being the whipping boy as well as the guinea pigs for every crackpot gun-control scheme firearm-ignorant politicians and media types can come up with.

But I'm glad you enjoyed shooting. Try an AR-15 next time. You will realize why its now the best selling rifle in America.
 The comment section is full of reasoned discourse on the utility of firearms, and whether they increase crime, increase suicides, do none of the above, or decrease crime somewhat.  It is obvious that disarmist propaganda has been very effective in Europe, but the word is getting out.

 Definition of  disarmist 

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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