Gun myths - Part one

I've been chatting with a chap called Graham Showell. He's a firm believer in the right to armed self defence, as I think many of you are, and he has the websites Arm Britain, linked to on my sidebar and Britain Needs Guns.

Graham wrote the following post on gun myths and has kindly allowed me to reproduce it in full here. I would also recommend a visit to his place as his stuff is very good. Part two will follow next week. Enjoy.

More guns will inevitably lead to more crime and violence.
The situation that has developed in the United States seems to disprove this myth.
In 1987, the state of Florida introduced legislation that allows people to carry concealed handguns in public for protection, provided they meet conditions such as no convictions for violent crimes.
This legislation is known as 'concealed carry' and is now available in 40 US states.
Concealed carry works by acting as a deterrent because the bad guys know that some people are armed, but they have no idea who those people are.
As the number of US states that allow concealed carry has increased and the number of permit holders has continued to grow, the US violent crime rate has steadily declined.
There are now more than 6 million permits holders throughout the United States, and more guns has actually meant LESS crime in the United States. The rate at which crime has dropped over the past twenty years is staggering.
For example, rapes in the United States declined by 34 percent between 1991 and 2010, robberies declined by 56 percent between 1991 and 2010 and the burglary rate dropped by 44 percent during the same period.
Overall, violent crime dropped by more than 46 percent between 1991 and 2010 and this has occurred despite (or maybe because of) rising gun sales and the relaxation of gun laws throughout the country.
The most interesting fact is that the US murder rate has declined by a rate of 51 percent since 1991 and is now the lowest it's been for more than 25 years.
I believe that this is clear proof that allowing people to be armed does not increase crime rates, and may actually contribute to a reduction in violent crime.
If concealed carry works in the United States, I see no reason why it wouldn't work here in Britain as well.
(Source - Federal Bureau Of Investigation - 1990 - 2010 Crime Statistics )
(Source - Gun Ownership Rises, While Violent Crime Drops ) (PDF File)
(Source - 2nd Amendment Foundation - December 2009) (PDF File)
(Source - Interview with Author John R Lott Jr ) (PDF File)

If the good guys have weapons, then the criminals will have them.
There is a popular (although unfounded) argument that if you arm yourself for personal protection, then the criminals will also arm themselves to meet any potential threat.
As a general rule, criminals tend to go for easy targets that pose little or no threat to them. They may be scum, but they are also rational and quite rightly fear being killed. Convicts interviewed in prisons in the US have admitted that they are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about being arrested.
My belief is that the majority of criminals will be deterred by the possibility of encountering armed citizens and won't be willing to risk their lives for a small amount of money or property. If just a quarter of burglars decide that’s it’s not worth being killed over a television, then logic dictates that you’ll see a 25 percent reduction in burglary.
The same logic applies to other crimes, such as murder, assault and robbery.
On the other hand, if a criminal decides to attack someone knowing that he or she may be armed, then he's clearly not worried about being killed. Somebody this fearless isn't going to worry about facing a murder charge either, is he ?
By leaving yourself defenceless against aggressors, you make it easier for criminals to operate, thereby increasing the risk to yourself and your family. By arming yourself you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, including keeping that most precious thing of all - your life.
Ask yourself this question - What would deter someone who has so little fear that he does not care if he lives or dies ?

People will use guns to resolve their disputes.
The 'concealed carry' system in the US has proven to be a remarkable success, with very few permit holders being convicted of any type of crime involving the use of handguns. I see no reason why that wouldn't be the case here.
People said that the road rage shootings would happen on a daily basis and other trivial incidents would end in fatal shootings. These warnings have proven to be completely unfounded, as crime and violence actually went down.
Disputes between law-abiding people very rarely end in any kind of violence because the overwhelming majority of people prefer to avoid confrontation where possible.
What's far more likely to happen is that people will become more polite, so as to avoid an angry confrontation with another armed citizen.
This forms the basis of the saying that "An Armed Society Is A Polite Society".
(Source - Florida Division Of Licensing)
(Source - Texas Dept Of Public Safety - 2002 to 2007 Conviction Rates)

Armed violence in Britain has decreased since gun laws were toughened.
Sadly, the opposite of this has proven to be true. The use of firearms in violent crime has risen almost yearly since since 1980.
The true test of gun control lies not with what's happening 3,000 miles away, but with what's happening on our own doorstep. I asked for the statistics for handgun crime from 1980 to 2009 from the Home Office, which they provided for me.
The figures show a massive increase in handgun crime over the past 20 + years. There were 620 crimes with handguns recorded by police in 1980. By 2002, that figure had increased to 5,549.
That's an increase of more than 790 percent in just 22 years.
Even the government's fiddled crime figures can't hide a massive increase in gun violence since the early 80's.
Back in the 80's, I remember that police carried a pair of chain link handcuffs and a wooden baton. Gun laws were more relaxed and yet we were all safer.
Now we have police officers that won't go on duty without a stab vest and many of them want to carry guns because so many of the bad guys do.
What does that tell you about the crime problems that we have here ?
The official figures show that since the handgun ban came into effect, there has not been a single year in which handgun related crimes have dropped below pre-ban levels or even come close.
Restricting firearms has lead to an INCREASE in gun crime and not a decrease, and since the handgun ban firearm-related violence had become a serious and growing concern in the UK.

Banning gun ownership leads to lower crime and murder rates.
Ciudad Juarez is a city of around 1.5 million people in Mexico, a country with very strict gun laws. There were 3,000 murders in Juarez in 2010, which gives the city a murder rate of 200 killings per 100,000 residents, more than 38 times the US average.
435 miles away is Phoenix, a city in Arizona, USA that also has a population of 1.5 million residents. Phoenix has very relaxed gun laws, as no permit or licence is required to carry a concealed handgun. This also applies to the rest of Arizona.
In 2009, Phoenix had around 124 murders, which gives the city a homicide rate that is a fraction of that of Cuidad Juarez.
The murder rate in Phoenix has dropped by more than 50 percent since 1999.
Criminals in Juarez (such as members of organized drugs cartels) can kill safe in the knowledge that their victims have no way of defending themselves. The same cannot be said in Arizona, where gun ownership is very high.
Crime is higher in Mexico and lower in Phoenix simply because disarmed and defenceless citizens make a criminal's job easier.
How many supporters of gun control have told you all this ?
(Source -  CNN News - December 15th 2010)  (PDF File)
(Source -  Phoenix Police Department Crime Statistics) (PDF File)
(Source -  A Practical Guide To Mexico Gun Laws For Americans)  (PDF File)


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