Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New CDC study on gun violence that Obama requested undermines gun control

Here’s an article about the CDC study from the leftist Slate magazine. (H/T ECM)

First – Obama ordered this study, and it was performed by an agency under his control – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The article says:

Earlier this year, President Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the existing research on gun violence and recommend future studies. That report, prepared by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, is now complete. Its findings won’t entirely please the Obama administration or the NRA, but all of us should consider them.

The article explains 10 findings of the report.

Here are a few of them:

2. Most indices of crime and gun violence are getting better, not worse. “Overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past 5 years,” the report notes. “Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of firearm-related violent victimizations remained generally stable.” Meanwhile, “firearm-related death rates for youth ages 15 to 19 declined from 1994 to 2009.” Accidents are down, too: “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

5. Mass shootings aren’t the problem. “The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths,” says the report. “Since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in 1 day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.” Compare that with the 335,000 gun deaths between 2000 and 2010 alone.

7. Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively. “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year … in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008,” says the report. The three million figure is probably high, “based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys.” But a much lower estimate of 108,000 also seems fishy, “because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.” Furthermore, “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

10. It isn’t true that most gun acquisitions by criminals can be blamed on a few bad dealers. The report concedes that in 1998, “1,020 of 83,272 federally licensed retailers (1.2 percent) accounted for 57.4 percent of all guns traced by the ATF.” However, “Gun sales are also relatively concentrated; approximately 15 percent of retailers request 80 percent of background checks on gun buyers conducted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.” Researchers have found that “the share of crime gun traces attributed to these few dealers only slightly exceeded their share of handgun sales, which are almost equally concentrated among a few dealers.” Volume, not laxity, drives the number of ill-fated sales.

The findings of the CDC study are not aligned with either side of the gun control debate, but considering the source (an agency of the Obama administration), I expect them to be even more liberal than the real state of affairs.

A better place to look for the truth about guns is in the academic literature. Here are two books I really like for that.

Both of those books make the case that permitting law-abiding citizens to own firearms for self-defense reduces rates of gun violence.

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Violent crime rate more than doubled in the four years after the 1997 UK gun ban

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[...]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people.

I found this interesting article from August 2011 by Dr. Malcolm in the Wall Street Journal, where she catches us up on what it is like to live in the UK under draconian gun control laws.

Excerpt:

As wild gangs of youths burned homes, shops and cars and severely beat anyone who tried to stop them last week, English people tried to defend themselves. Their desperation triggered a 5,000% increase in purchases of baseball bats from Amazon.

This is a sad symbol of the failure of the British approach to crime—with its sympathy for offenders, intolerance of self-defense, and unwillingness to pay for adequate crime control. A people once proud of their peaceful country and unarmed policemen had to resort to clubs to protect life and limb.

Great Britain’s leniency began in the 1950s, with a policy that only under extraordinary circumstances would anyone under 17 be sent to prison. This was meant to rehabilitate young offenders. But the alternative to incarceration has been simply to warn them to behave, maybe require community service, and return them to the streets. There has been justifiable concern about causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment, but little admission that some individuals prefer theft to work and that deterrence must be taken seriously.

Victims of aggression who defend themselves or attempt to protect their property have been shown no such leniency. Burglars who injured themselves breaking into houses have successfully sued homeowners for damages. In February, police in Surrey told gardeners not to put wire mesh on the windows of their garden sheds as burglars might hurt themselves when they break in.

If a homeowner protecting himself and his family injures an intruder beyond what the law considers “reasonable,” he will be prosecuted for assault. Tony Martin, an English farmer, was sentenced to life in prison for killing one burglar and wounding another with a shotgun during the seventh break-in at his rural home in 1999. While his sentence was later reduced to five years, he was refused parole in 2003 because he was judged a danger to burglars.

In 2008, a robber armed with a knife attacked shopkeeper Tony Singh in West Lancashire. During the struggle the intruder was fatally stabbed with his own knife. Although the robber had a long record of violent assault, prosecutors were preparing to charge Mr. Singh with murder until public outrage stopped them.

The UK experience with gun control really shows where the anti-gun people would take us. This is their view – this is what the gun control supporters want. People who refuse to permit and promote responsible gun ownership by law-abiding citizens side with the criminals. They want criminals to be free to threaten, assault and murder law-abiding citizens. That’s the truth of it. I would also say that if a man does not believe in using any and all means necessary to protect his family, and others, by opposing aggression by criminals in his own home, then he is not a man to marry. Ladies, avoid him.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 people shot on Friday in Chicago, the city with the strictest gun control laws

From the Chicago Tribune: (H/T Doug Ross)

Shootings across the city Friday afternoon and night wounded at least ten people, according to Chicago police, including four teens in three separate South and West side attacks.

The rest of the article has details on who was shot and where.

In August 2012, 13 people were shot in 30 minutes in Chicago.

Now, you might think that Chicago has some of the most permissive gun control laws in the country – especially if you were a leftist. But that’s not the case. Chicago is run by an anti-gun radical named Rahm Emmanuel, and they basically have a de facto ban on guns in the entire city. So how is banning guns working for them?

Take a look at this CNS News article:

There were 192 shootings in Chicago throughout the month of November – a 49 percent increase from a year earlier – according to police records obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

In November of 2011, Chicago recorded 129 shootings compared to the 192 shootings this November.  Police records also reveal that shootings increased more than 11 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 compared with a year earlier.

Total homicides in Chicago rose to 480 for the first eleven months of 2012; a 21 percent increase from last year.  On November 30, 2012, there were four fatal shootings within the city.  These murders brought the homicide total to 38 for the month, just above the 37 recorded in November of last year.

Back in 2011, a ban on guns was overturned and crime rates were dropping. But then along came Rahm Emmanuel in 2012, pushing for gun registries and more gun control.

The policies of the left are not working. And that’s because they are not looking at the root cause of crime.

Doug Ross explains:

How much of the violence in Chicago that occurs each night is authored by kids without fathers?

That’s the question we should be asking. Only that question won’t be asked and it won’t be answered, because it indicts the Democrat Party’s failed policies on a monumental scale.

How many dead, crippled and imprisoned inner-city youths has “Great Society” left in its wake? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

How many have died thanks to “the War on Drugs”, “the War on Guns”, and “the War on Poverty”? And how many more must die before we reverse course on the Democrats’ failed welfare state policies and their catastrophic impact on the two-parent family?

And he’s not just making that up. Take a look at the evidence from National Review:

A Detroit study found that about 70 percent of juvenile homicide perpetrators did not live with both parents. Another study found that of girls committed to the California Youth Authority (for serious delinquents), 93 percent came from non-intact homes. Nationally, seventy percent of youths incarcerated in state reform institutions come from single-parent or no-parent homes. A survey of juvenile delinquents in state custody in Wisconsin found that fewer than 1/6 came from intact families; over two-fifths were illegitimate.

[...]Young black males from single-parent families are twice as likely to engage in crime as young black males from two-parent families. If the single-parent family is in a neighborhood with a large number of other single-parent families, the odds of the young man becoming involved in crime are tripled. These findings are based on a study conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services by M. Anne Hill and June O’Neill of Baruch College. The study held constant all socioeconomic variables (such as income, parental education, or urban setting) other than single parenthood.

Crime has often been thought to be a problem of race or poverty, since poor people and racial minorities comprise a larger portion of the violent criminal population than of the population as a whole. But in fact, the causal link between fatherlessness and crime “is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her famous “Dan Quayle was Right” article.

The real cause of gun violence is the antagonism towards marriage by people on the left. They don’t like the traditional family because it has different roles: men work and women raise young children. That clashes with their feminist ideology which says that women should be identical to men. They are the ones that push sex onto young people with early sex education, free contraceptives and free abortions. Premarital sex is good, according to Democrats, because it undermines the traditional (sexist) courting that leads to traditional (sexist) marriage.

For a leftist, it is a wonderful thing when they can reward a woman who has premarital sex with welfare, because single women and especially single mothers vote overwhelmingly for bigger government and higher taxes. Encouraging risky sexual behavior is how Democrats stay in power. When families break down, it creates all sorts of opportunities to grow government and make more people dependent on government.

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Crime rates in Chicago and DC drop after gun control laws are struck down

From Fox News – what happens to crime rates when gun control laws are repealed?

Excerpt:

Murder and violent crime rates were supposed to soar after the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Politicians predicted disaster. “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned the day the court made its decision.

Chicago’s Mayor Daley predicted that we would “go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle it in the streets…”

The New York Times even editorialized this month about the Supreme Court’s “unwise” decision that there is a right for people “to keep guns in the home.”

But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn’t rise after the bans were eliminated — they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.

Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.

One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.

Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.

Similarly, in the year after the 2008 “Heller” decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.

It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington’s size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall.

If you compare the first six months of this year to the first six months of 2008, the same time immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s late June “Heller” decision, murders have now fallen by thirty-four percent.

Gun crimes also fell more than non-gun crimes.

Robberies with guns fell by 25%, while robberies without guns have fallen by eight percent. Assaults with guns fell by 37%, while assaults without guns fell by 12%.

Just as with right-to-carry laws, when law-abiding citizens have guns some criminals stop carrying theirs.

Read the whole thing, there are more lovely facts in there. If you ever need to debate this, I recommend buying these academic studies published by the University of Chicago Press and by Harvard University Press. The former shows how crime rates dropped in the USA when Americans rescinded gun control laws, and the latter shows how crime rates rose in the UK when the British strengthened their gun control laws. Sometimes is good to have the data handy.

Let’s learn about the issue from the news

ABC News explains in this short 6-minute clip:

And here is a longer 44-minute show from Fox Business: (featuring a debate between economist John Lott and the Brady Campaign spokesman)

There are other debates in the show as well.

Now watch a 3-on-3 debate on gun control

This debate is in 13 parts, featuring the two of the best proponents of legal firearm ownership – John Lott and Gary Kleck. The real sparks fly during the Q&A, so don’t miss that. (If you can’t watch the debate, then you can read this post and this post instead).

Here’s part 1, which contains the introduction.

Here are the remaining speeches:

This is everything you need to know about whether legal ownership of firearms reduces crime.

Related posts

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SAS war hero jailed for keeping trophy pistol given to him by Iraqi Army

The UK Telegraph reports.

Excerpt:

An SAS soldier has been jailed for possessing a “war trophy” pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service.

Sgt Danny Nightingale, a special forces sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial last week.

His sentence was described last night as the “betrayal of a war hero”, made worse because it was handed down in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Sgt Nightingale had planned to fight the charge of illegally possessing the 9mm Glock.

But his lawyer said he pleaded guilty after being warned that he could otherwise face a five-year sentence.

The soldier had hoped for leniency given the circumstances. At the court martial, even the prosecution described him as a serviceman of exemplary character, who had served his country for 17 years, 11 in the special forces.

The court was told that he returned to Britain in a hurry after two friends were killed in Iraq, leaving his equipment — including the pistol — to be packed up by colleagues.

It accepted evidence from expert witnesses that he suffered severe memory loss due to a brain injury.

Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, presiding over the court martial, could have spared the soldier prison by passing a suspended sentence. Instead he handed down the custodial term.

Sgt Nightingale and his family chose to waive the anonymity usually given to members of the special forces.

His wife, Sally, said her husband’s sentence was a “disgrace”. She called him a “hero who had been betrayed”. She said she and the couple’s two daughters, aged two and five, faced losing their home after his Army pay was stopped.

The soldier’s former commanding officer and politicians have called for the sentence to be overturned.

Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.

He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.

“I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”

In 2007, Sgt Nightingale was serving in Iraq as a member of Task Force Black, a covert counter-terrorist unit that conducted operations under orders to capture and kill members of al-Qaeda.

He also helped train members of a secret counter-terrorist force called the Apostles. At the end of the training he was presented with the Glock, which he planned to donate to his regiment as a war trophy.

The Special Air Service is the absolute best counter-terrorism unit in the world. Better than the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, better than the U.S. Navy SEALS, better than the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Operations Group. This is no way to treat a member of the SAS.

There is more compassion for the criminal in the UK than for the law-abiding person. But why is that? I believe it’s because the UK has become dominated at every level by women, because of feminism. Women don’t like the sound of guns, and they don’t like people to own guns, even if they are ex-military or ex-police. Women just don’t value men who use strength and arms to do the right thing – strength and force makes them uncomfortable. Women tend to want to suppress moral judgments because they don’t want anyone, even burglars and criminals, to feel bad. Women like compassion. Women like tolerance. Women think that if every belief is true and all points of view are equally correct. They want to minimize disagreements and violence. They are uncomfortable with men using force because that makes evil people feel bad. That’s why they have these ridiculous anti-male laws.

Feminism seeks to abolish the special roles played by men, like protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. The policies of the UK government are designed to block men from filling those roles. Handguns were banned in 1997 and men who defend their families and homes are regularly prosecuted by the UK government. Tax rates are extremely high the more you earn, making it harder for a man to support a family on one income while his wife stays home with the children to raise them. Out-of-wedlock birth is facilitated through state-run health care and single-mother welfare payments, so that women can raise fatherless children with ease.  The antipathy against strong men reflected in laws and policies is probably one of the reasons why men shy away from marriage. Why take on a commitment like that when you cannot even defend your family from evil?

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