Thursday, January 17, 2019

No, There Is No Law Against Gun Violence Research

Yet Again, Gun Control Advocates Are Lying To The Public

Today, in the publication Education Week, an article was published an article arguing once again, that the CDC is forbidden to do research on gun violence.  This is an outright, downright lie.  They say that we are willfully ignorant on the subject.

Willfully ignorant?  That describes literally every gun control advocate I have ever met - starting with the fact that THERE IS LOTS OF RESEARCH GOING ON RIGHT NOW!!!!

That's right, tons of research is being done from a gun control perspective, from a gun rights perspective, a gun control perspective and from a law enforcement perspective.  THIS INCLUDES US GOVERNMENT RESEARCH AND SOME OF IT HAS INDEED BEEN DONE BY THE CDC! 
Plenty of real data exists on gun violence,
the problem is gun control advocates don't
like it.
In fact, Pres. Obama, post Sandy Hook, ordered the CDC to study this very issue.  This study was buried.  You will never hear a gun control advocate reference it.  Why?  One of the primary conclusions was that defensive gun use by citizens was "common" and that additional studies of defensive gun use was needed. Opps, we can no longer use that study, let's demand another one.

Now, to be clear, there is a ban on using federal funds to conduct studies the purpose of which is to advocate for gun laws.  Impartial studies are not banned and have been conducted many times since the law was passed.  In other words, gun control advocates are complaining that biased, agenda driven studies cannot be done with federal funds.

Just last Friday (1/11/2019), the FBI released a study that has been in the works since 2016.  They spoke to nearly 250K prisoners who had a gun when they committed the crime that put them in prison.  They asked them where they got their guns.  Here are the results:

Breaking the 10% from legal sources:
8% were purchased from licensed dealers
2% were purchased from private parties

Gun shows? They were the source of 0.8% of criminals firearms. Not 8%, 0.8%.

The implications for gun control advocates are devastating.  

First, this proves that there is already a robust black market in firearms.  Gun control advocates will say that these firearms were once in the legal market.  This may be true now, but experience from many countries that have enacted gun control proves that the black market will find other sources, just as the black market in drugs finds other sources.  Additionally, what will happen to the 300-600 million firearms currently in private hands?  Many of them will end up in the black market.

Second, the 27% that are otherwise illegally obtained are mostly people knowingly giving or selling firearms to criminals who are their friends.  This is already a federal felony.  However, there is nearly know enforcement of this law.

Third, the 15% that are straw purchases can only be stopped if we actually punish people who do this.  Jail or prison time is almost unheard of for this offense.  Again, no new law needed.

Now, after all of this, we get to the legal marketplace - where only 10% of the firearms were obtained.  

80% of the crime guns from this segment we purchased from dealers - WITH BACKGROUND CHECKS.  This involves felons and other prohibited persons "lying and trying", in hopes they are not in the system.  About 1/3 of the time they slip though.  No new law required to fix the background check database - something the NRA and the gun industry have been pushing for years.  No new law required to prosecute the criminals who try to buy guns through legal channels - but Obama's ATF director told Congress that such prosecutions were "a waste of resources".

20% of this segment, 2% of the total, came from private sales.  Not 40%, 2%.  Not my opinion - FBI data.  Even within this 2% some sales were done with background checks because several states require this.  So, the so called "gun show loophole" is relevant in maybe 1.5% of criminal;s firearm purchases.

Gun shows?  0.8 % came from a gun show - but again, many of these illegal buyers had to pass a background check because most sellers at gun shows are licensed dealers.  Their sales are conducted exactly like those at their stores - background checks, forms and records.

The problem is that gun control advocates focus 100% of their efforts on the 10% of sales to criminals that are done through legal channels.  They ignore the 84% that we know already come through illegal channels.  It is reasonable to conclude that if the legal channels are completely closed by their efforts, the illegal black market will simply provide what these people want. 

Finally, I can point to several nations where implementing gun control far beyond what the 2nd Amendment possibly allows was followed by drastic increases in gun crime (Jamaica and Brazil to name just two).  I'm still waiting far an example where gun control decreased gun violence.  Not suicides, gun violence against others.

Don't bother pointing to nations that have strict gun laws and low violent crime or murder rates.  I can point to nations with high gun ownership rates that have low crime rates,  Neither proves anything. Association does not prove causation.  What you need is an example where violence, or even just gun violence, went down after gun control was enacted.

I'm waiting........

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Official US DOJ Report Devastates Gun Control Arguments

Criminals Most Common Source Of Guns Is Black Market - Gun Shows Account For Only 0.8% Of Total

The US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics has released the results of an extensive study of the sources of guns owned or possessed by criminals.  There study can be downloaded HERE.  The study, that involved extensive interviews with over 245,000 inmates of federal and state prisons, who possessed or used a firearm at the time of their crime, confirms what gun rights advocates have been saying for years: Criminals can easily obtain firearms via illegal means.

What follows is a list of the various sources.

The most common source was the black market, accounting for 43.2% of firearms owned at the time the prisoner committed their crime.  This confirms exactly what gun right advocates have said for decades - if criminals want firearms, a black market will develop to meet that demand.  This has been the case in many nations, including Brazil, that soon will end its highly restrictive gun laws.  Jamaica is yet another example, as is Mexico.

The fact that so many guns are already being sold on the black market strongly suggests that if legal gun sales were stopped tomorrow, and guns were outlawed, criminals - or anyone who wanted a gun badly enough to break the law - would simply turn to the black market.  In addition to domestic firearms, just as with drugs, guns would be smuggled in from other nations.

The next source for criminal's firearms were "straw purchases", accounting for up to 15.4% of the total.  Unfortunately, those who did the study did not specifically ask about straw purchases (where someone with a clean record lies in order to buy a gun for a criminal).  That said, they did have categories for "Gift/purchased for prisoner" (10.8%) and "Brought by someone else" (4.6%) - both of these would likely constitute straw purchases.  Such purchases are a felony, but those convicted almost never get prison time.

Next we come to other illegal sources at 27.8%  Obtained from family or friend (purchased, rented or borrowed) constitute was the most common source at 14.5%.  Theft directly by prisoner came in at 6.4%  Found at location of crime/victim - another form of theft registered at 6.9%

Finally, we come to legal channels at 10.3%.  That's right, only about 1 in 10 firearms owned by criminals is obtained directly through legal channels.  Remember, that while these channels are legal, the purchase likely was not.  The bulk of these purchases (7.5% of the total or 3/4 of the legal channels total)  were from licensed dealers - meaning that they were either purchased prior to any felony convictions, of more likely, the just decided to try, knowing that their chances of prosecution are tiny.  The next most common was pawn shops (1.6%) - which if the buy or sell guns must be licensed and conduct background checks just like other dealers.  This means that they had to pass a background check here too.  This was followed by gun shows at 0.8% (most sellers at gun shows are dealers and must also do checks - but some of these were surely private sales).  The last category in this total is "flea markets" where all the sales are private. 

Other (did not fit any category) totaled 5.9%

Note: Because some criminals had guns from multiple sources, the total is somewhat higher than 100%.

How This Study Devastates The Case For More Gun Control

This study invalidates the case for more gun control is by showing that most firearms owned by criminals are obtained illegally - and that nearly half the time, they come from an already established black market.  This presents two huge problems for gun control advocates.

First, gun control efforts, by definition, seek to limit the legal market.  This severely limits the potential effectiveness of any gun control effort.  Consider that if all the firearms purchased by criminals directly though legal channels could be eliminated - a practical impossibility - 90% of crime guns would be missed.  Additionally, should this source somehow be completely eliminated (again, an impossibility) criminals would simply turn to one of the other sources.  This alone proves that gun control laws simply cannot accomplish what their advocates promise.

Second, this report highlights just how absurd typical gun control  measures are - as well as how those advocating for them ignore the facts.  Consider how many battles have been fought over gun shows.  Again and again, studies like this one have established that gun shows simply are not a major source of crime guns - yet gun control advocates continue to tell people that they are and work hard to shut them down.

Consider also the number one priority of gun control advocates, what they falsely call closing the "gun show loophole".  What they really want is to require background checks on all private sales or transfers.  Again, they focus upon a tiny silver of the 10% of criminal's firearms that are obtained through legal channels (it appears that private sales are responsible for under 2% of criminal's guns).  It is impossible to have any significant impact by focusing upon a tiny silver of the problem.

Third, this study shows where we should focus any efforts to prevent criminals from getting guns.  They are, in order of priority:

1) Shutting down illegal dealers.  We are not talking about legal dealers who mess up some paperwork, we are talking about people who intentionally sell to prohibited persons, such as felons.

2) Prosecuting straw purchasers, and sending them to prison.  Not only are people who illegally buy guns for prohibited persons frequently not prosecuted, when they are, they do usually do not do prison time.  If our laws are to have any positive effect, this must change.

3) Fix the broken background check database.  This will have the least impact, but it still should be done.

These three measures will not stop criminals from getting guns,  Experience shows that nothing will do that.  However, they have much great potential than any of the measures pushed by gun control groups.

I have no illusion that gun control advocates will change goals in light of this report.  Their efforts are not aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, they are aimed at disarming the law abiding.  My hope is that those who read this will come to understand their real agenda.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Brazil's Failed Gun Control "Experiment" Will Soon End

Under Strict Gun Control Brazil's Firearms Homicide Rate Has Soared To Six Times That In The USA

Guns like these have been confiscated
for decades - and gun crime keeps
getting worse
As of now, Brazil has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.  The laws there contain provisions that gun control advocates can only dream of:

1) Before one can buy a gun, one must obtain a license.  This requires and extensive background check (
criminal, employment, health and mental)The process typically takes 9-12 months.

2) A license requires a minimum fee of $257.64 - a huge sum in a developing country, and the equivalent of $1700.00 in the USA (indexed for average income). This is more than many firearms cost.  Furthermore, this license must be renewed every 3 years, at a cost of $21.90 - equivalent of  $144.50 in the USA.  This places legal gun ownership out of reach for most people.

3) The minimum age for gun ownership is 25.

4) All firearms are required to be registered with the government.

5) Handguns are all but banned, with ownership effectively limited to members of the military and police.

6) It is all but impossible for the average person to get a license to carry outside the home.

7) There is an ongoing amnesty program to encourage people to surrender illegal firearms.

So with all of these laws - basically everything gun control advocates here in the US have been asking for - Brazil must have a low rate of gun crime, right?  WRONG!

From Wikipedia: "Brazil's homicide rate is 30–35 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants according to the UNODC, placing Brazil in the top 20 countries by intentional homicide rate."  The current US homicide rate 4.9 per 100k population.  This means that in spite of having every gun control law that gun control advocates want, the homicide rate in Brazil is more than six times higher than the US homicide rate.  In addition, armed robbery and kidnapping are very common.

Much of this crime involves firearms.  In 2012 (the most recent single year stats I could find), Brazil's firearms homicide rate was over six times higher then the United States -18.1 per 100k population, vs. 2.97 in the US.  There are an estimated 17 million guns in Brazil - 9 million of which are illegally held and unregistered.  The criminal use of firearm is massive and growing.  The only thing these gun laws have done is disarm descent, law abiding people who were never a threat - leaving them helpless before the many well armed criminals.

Additionally, just as in Chicago, otherwise law abiding people have decided that they will simply buy a gun illegally.  Effectively, many have come to view these gun laws in the same way Americans viewed prohibition in the late 1920s - as an unjust law that they have no problem violating. Of course, should they ever have to use these firearms to defend themselves, they could be charged with illegal possession.

In short, it is clear that these draconian gun laws certainly have not made things better, and likely have made things much worse.   The voters in Brazil have apparently reached the same conclusion, as they have elected a new president who has promised to make it possible for the average Brazilian to own firearms.  They also elected a majority of lawmakers who made the same commitment.  While we do not know what laws will be changed to accomplish this - it appears certain that many of the above gun laws will be repealed or drastically revised.

While what the new system of gun regulation will be is unknown at this point, more law abiding citizens will be allowed to own firearms and many of these people will be allowed to carry them.  One thing does seen very clear: It is highly unlikely that this will make things worse.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

No, The Bump Stock Ban Does Not Allow ATF To Ban Anything They Want

Let me say up front that we absolutely should challenge this ruling.  SAF is already doing so and I support that.

Yes, this will be challenged and we will get a ruling - only then can we tell how far the precedent will go.  That said, I respectfully disagree with those who are saying that, if upheld, it will allow ATF to ban anything they want.  Let me address some of the concerns I have seen in posted online.

"Any semi-auto can be bump fired, so this allows any semi-auto to be classified as a machine gun!"

Nope.  The law and the ruling address devices.  A bump stock effectively allows you to pull the trigger once and hold it, resulting in the firearm pulling its own trigger.  Semi-auto firearms are well defined in law, and the fact that they can be fired rapidly without the use of a device does not change the definition.

"When the standard is, ‘Its a machine gun if we say its a machine gun’ then what is stopping them from again changing the language for the definition of a ‘machine gun’?" 

Answer: The language of federal law.  This rule does not simply say, "A machine gun is whatever we say it is".  It makes an argument that bump stocks are similar to auto sears, in that they allow the user to pull and hold the trigger to fire multiple rounds.  We shall see if the courts agree - but even if upheld, the scope will be limited to devices that enable semi-autos to emulate full auto fire.

"What is stopping them from declaring all semi-automatic firearms to be machine guns?" 

Answer: The explicit definition of a semi-auto firearm in federal law.  That trumps any ruling by ATF.

"What is stopping them from declaring any gun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine to be a machine gun?"

Answer: The fact that the definition of a machine gun in federal law says nothing about magazines.   Legally, a machine gun may have a fixed magazine.

"What is stopping them from declaring anything that can be fired more rapidly than a muzzle loader to be a machine gun?"

Answer:  Really?  Let's get real - this ruling is quite literally, rooted in law.  An argument can be made that bump stocks are a device that turn a semi-auto firearm into a full auto one.  This places them in the same category as auto sears.  The fact that an auto sear is a class 3 item does not make any firearm that can accept them a class 3 item.  That argument may be found to be invalid by the courts, but even if upheld, it would only extend to devices that effectively convert semi-autos to full autos.

We should challenge this ruling - but do not think that if we win, bump stocks will be legal for long.  Congress will quickly pass, and Trump will sign, a law to the same effect,  Unless the high court decides to change its ruling in Heller, bump stocks will be found to fall outside the scope of 2nd Amendment protection.  Why?  Simple, they fail the "common use" test.  I'm not saying I agree with this - just that it is what will likely happen.

So, why challenge the ruling?  Simple, we might lose on the issue, or we might win - but either way, we are likely to get a ruling that extends 2A protection.  For instance, SCOTUS might rule that bump stocks may be banned, but make it clear that all semi-auto long guns are protected.  Comments by recently confirmed SCOTUS justices affirm that semi-auto rifles are protected.  They could make the same statement even if the rule is found to be unconstitutional.

In any case, this ruling is not as bad as many fear.  The sky is not falling.  Meanwhile, we have many other, more important battles to fight.  Let's not be distracted.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Pennsylvania's Surprisingly Balanced Report On Gun Violence

Eugene A. DePasquale

It is a rare thing for government reports on "gun violence" to be even close to balanced, but Pennsylvania appears to be bucking that trend.

Eugene A. DePasquale, Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania Auditor General, has issued a surprisingly balanced report on ways to reduce gun deaths entitled "
A Safer Pennsylvania - A Community Approach To Firearms Safety

Unlike most other such projects, gun rights advocates were actually included.  Consider this from the report's preface:  "Firearm ownership and usage are rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions, so firearms will continue to exist in our society."

It's also worth noting that five of the twelve recommendations do not directly address firearms, but instead violence in general.  It seems like those who wrote this report realize that a gun is only one tool that can be used to injure or kill others.

Here are the 12 recommendations, each followed with my comments:

1. The state should work to expand access to mental health care, especially in rural communities.

2. The stigma of seeking mental health help must end; to do that, the state should mount a culturally responsive public awareness campaign.

It's heartening to seek mental health given top priority, given that the focus is upon mass shootings and suicide is the number one cause of firearms related deaths,

3. Engage medical doctors and train all physicians, especially primary care physicians, to screen patients for risks of firearm violence.

If we are talking about screening people for mental health issues, or simply distributing firearms safety info from the NRA or DFG this could be quite positive.  If we are talking about doctors Asking patients if they own firearms and then charting the information, this is  totally unacceptable.

4. Engage licensed firearms dealers in looking for red flags in customers who might potentially use a firearm for suicide.

Another positive step - however no mention is made of the fact that the firearms industry association (NSSF) has already partnered with a major suicide prevention to do just that.

5. The Pennsylvania Game Commission should expand its hunter education program section on firearm safety and create a voluntary training program on safe firearm usage and storage.

OK, this never a bad thing - but given that the NRA has already produced massive amounts of firearms safety material, why reinvent the wheel?  Additionally, as noted in the report, only 4% of firearms deaths are "accidents".  I put "accidents" in quotes because a significant but unknown number of these deaths are suicides.  Medical examiners tend to give the deceased the benefit of any doubt and therefore rule that they are accidents or "undetermined".

6. Encourage all firearm owners to voluntarily use safe storage best practices, such as locking unloaded firearms in a safe and storing ammunition away from firearms.

OK, again, not a bad thing - except that any firearm used for self defense must be available.  Clearly, we all should take measures to secure our firearms from theft or unauthorized use - but it is doubtful that government efforts will do much to encourage this.

7. The state should continue to support hospital-based violence intervention programs and behavioral health resources in hospitals so they can be fully responsive to the violence they treat and ensure that unresolved trauma will not contribute to retaliation or suicide.

Again, the mental health aspect of this recommendation could prevent some deaths, especially suicides, but preventing retaliation is law enforcement's job.

8. The state should support communities in organizing violence prevention efforts proven to be effectve. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Gun Violence Reduction Initiative is a good example of that support.

If we are talking about focusing upon offenders instead of their tools, this is a good thing.  If we are talking about programs to discourage gun ownership - that is another matter entirely.

9. The governor should sign an executive order requiring Pennsylvania State Police to issue quarterly and monthly reports on firearms traced from crimes to help track lost and stolen guns as well as firearm-related criminal activity.

Please, please do this.  We all know what it will show: Criminals don't buy their guns legally.  They do not buy them at gun shows.  They get them through thefts and straw purchases.  More background checks will not stop them.

10. The state should secure funding to increase Pennsylvania’s participation in a national network that uses bullets to connect multiple crimes to single firearms.

It think what they are talking about is simply good police forensic work, not requiring all guns to be registered with a fired casing.

11. Sheriffs and other law-enforcement officials who issue concealed-carry permits should thoroughly check applicants’ references and backgrounds before approving applications and consider prosecuting those who provide false information.

Doesn't this sound like just requiring people to do their job?  Not that those who are denied will be stopped from carrying - they just will carry illegally.  Why aren't people who lie under threat of perjury being prosecuted now?  Again, this boils down to telling people in the justice system to do their jobs. 

12. Pennsylvania State Police should implement the Lethality Assessment Program, which connects victims of intimate partner violence to local domestic violence programs, statewide.

I have worked with domestic violence victims and the two things that most people do not know are:

1) They are not all female.  A significant number of victims are male.

2) The greatest challenge is getting victims to leave their dysfunctional relationship with the offender.  They keep returning.

If these programs can convince victims to leave offenders and get help, not only will "gun deaths" be reduced, domestic murders in general will be reduced.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Every Gun Control Law The Constitution Conceivably Permits Failed To Stop Latest Mass Shooting

So What Can We Do?

California Has An "A" Rating
From the Giffords Gun Control Group
Recently, our nation experienced yet another mass shooting at a bar.  This one, like many others, took place in my native state of California.  At this point, 12 victims are dead, as well as the murderer.  Of course, this reignites the debate over gun control.

The Golden State has an "A" rating from the Giffords Law Center.  California has every gun law the constitution possibly allows - and no, the murderer did not bypass any of them to buy his gun.  Here is a list and I likely have missed some, because there really are that many.

1) Universal Background Checks (state and federal)
2) 10 day Waiting Period

3) Red Flag Law (firearms restraining order)
4) Expanded list of people prohibited from owning firearms (both mental health and criminal)

5) Firearms Registration
6) State Firearms Confiscation Unit (to insure that people who become prohibited dispose of their guns)
7) "Saturday Night Special" Ban (only handguns approved by the state can be sold)
8) 10 Round Magazine Restriction (sales have been illegal since 2000 - the court case and restraining order only apply to previously purchased magazines)
9) Gun Buyers Must Pass A Safety Test
10) Buyers must provide at least two proofs of address and identity and provide a thumb print

11) Assault Weapons Ban
12) Restrictive Concealed Carry Law
13) Strict Controls on Transportation of Firearms

Please take a long look at that list - and consider that these are the very laws that gun control advocates want to enact nationwide.  These are the laws they say will stop mass shootings.  Yet, this murder was able to buy and retain his semi-auto handgun.  He was also able to illegally obtain an illegal magazine.  That said, as a trained Marine with combat experience he knew how to change magazines rapidly (under one second) and witnesses report that he was able to do just that.  Even if he had only had restricted, California legal magazines, it would have made little, if any, difference.

He did not buy his gun on the street, or in a neighboring state with "lax laws".  He bought his gun in California - LEGALLY.  The lesson should be clear: GUN LAWS THAT REACH OR PERHAPS EVEN EXCEED CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITS DO NOT STOP MASS SHOOTERS.

Of course, gun control advocates will argue that we simply need to go further.  We need to ban handguns - because, of course, banning drugs has worked so well.  However, they know one thing that they will not tell you: In order to go further, there is absolutely no question that the 2nd Amendment would have to be repealed or it self amended.  In order to do this you would not only need the approval of 2/3  of both Houses of Congress, it would then have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states - meaning only 13 states can prevent a repeal.  ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT THE 2ND AMENDMENT CAN BE REPEALED EITHER CANNOT COUNT OR IS DELUSIONAL.

So What Can Be Done?

Support From Better Mental Health
Screening far Exceeds That For Radical
Gun Control - So Why Don't We Do It?
The worst part of the pointless debate over gun control is that it prevents our addressing the real threat: Extremely troubled people who are a danger to others.

Guns are but one way that mass murder can be committed.  We have recently seen vehicles used as weapons in both the US and Europe - with death tolls exceeding that in the worst US mass shooting.  However, they do not even need to use the vehicle - gasoline could be even more effective as a mass murder tool.  Anyone with internet access can learn how to build a bomb.  These are just a few of the ways that mass murder can be committed - a few of many potential weapons that can be used.

HOWEVER, THE REAL WEAPON IS THE HUMAN MIND.  Without a human being deciding to commit mass murder, none of these things would kill people.  If we are to stop these horrible incidents, we must focus our efforts on the potential murderer - not on the weapon they may use.

So, how can this be done?

First, we must do a better job of recognizing the small number of mentally ill people who are dangerous, compelling them to be evaluated and getting them treatment.  As in most cases, we are now learning that the murderer in this case displayed multiple "red flags" that should have resulted in a temporary mental health commitment.  The Giffords shooter had over 20 law enforcement contacts for bizarre and troubling behavior prior to his committing mass murder. He was even expelled from a local junior college as a result.  Yet, not once was he sent in from mental health evaluation.  The Navy Yard shooter was the subject of a call to law enforcement for disturbing behavior only days before the shooting.  Law enforcement did nothing.  When the parents of the Santa Barbara mass murderer (who killed more people with knives and his car than with his guns) reported that he had posted extremely troubling videos, the investigating officers did not view the videos before deciding that he was not a threat - and again, not compelling him to be evaluated. In this most recent case of mass murder, there were not only red flags that were never reported to authorities - when law enforcement was called to a disturbance at his home, they called a mental health team to the scene and this team decided he was not dangerous!

It should also be noted that had this individual been committed, even for a 72 hour evaluation, he would have been prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.  Therefore, gun control advocates should be concerned about this.  Gun laws do not exist in a vacuum - they depend upon other laws that simply are not being used.

In most states we already have the needed laws to require people to be evaluated - they are simply not being used in way too many cases.  I do not have all the answers, but it doesn't take a mental health expert to see that the following steps are needed.

1) Law enforcement needs much more mental health training.

2) More and better mental health evaluation facilities are needed.

3) More and better long term treatment facilities must be established.

This will cost more than passing yet another useless gun law - but if we want to reduce the death toll, it must be done.

Finally, we must stop leaving people defenseless.  More citizens must become qualified to carry weapons.  We must end gun free zones that do nothing but ensure that these mass murderers will have several minutes before facing effective opposition.  I have looked at every case where armed citizens are present and intervened.  In every one of these cases, the shooter was stopped or causalities were obviously decreased.  When survivors call for gun control, they are experts - but when they complain that they might have been able to save lives had they been armed, they are largely ignored.

We also need to encourage more police officers to carry firearms when off duty.  We now know that six off duty cops were at the bar that night.  None were armed.  Yes, those who were drinking should not have been armed, but one was likely the designated driver.  Had he or she been armed, things might have been very different.

Nothing will stop all of these mass murders - but more gun laws will not help.  We need to look at other solutions.  This California shooting proves that.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Greatest Influence Upon Your View Of Guns And Gun Control: Your View Of The Human Condition

There are two common views of the human condition held in America today.  There is the modern secular/humanist view and there is Jewish/Christian view.  I use these labels, but there are some religious people who hold – for all practical purposes – the secular/humanist view.  There are also atheists who adopt much of the Jewish/Christian view, because it is observable and makes sense. 

Let's look at the secular/humanist view first.  Secular humanists believe that man is basically good.  Therefore, when a human being does something horrible, the root cause must be an outside factor.  Therefore, crime in the inner city is a result of poverty – so, they believe, if we provide monetary help to poor people, crime will drop.  If people are prejudice or racist, they simply need to be educated.  In fact, education is the solution to most social problems.  Consider how often education is presented as the answer to moral problems, like crime and child abuse.  When it comes to substance abuse, secular humanists see it only as a disease – they see no moral component to it.  If someone is a rapist or a murderer, they must be mentally ill.  Chuck Colson, at the time president of Prison Fellowship, wrote about this in one of his books.  He used a conversation with a prison warden in Norway to illustrate the secular/humanist viewpoint.  While touring the prison, he asked the warden how many of his prisoners were mentally ill.  The warden replied, “All of them, of course!”  The idea that any criminal might have committed a crime without being mentally ill was incomprehensible to him because of his world view.

Note that she doesn't care in whose
control the gun is - because the gun,
not the person, is evil.
Of course, when it comes to guns and crime, secular/humanists believe that the evil does not dwell in the people who commit crimes with guns – it exists in the guns themselves.  Guns are evil – so if we can reduce the number of crime committed with guns by reducing the number of guns, and it really does not matter who is disarmed.  Hence we see gun “buy backs” where grandmothers bring guns that have been in their attics for years.  These are continued in spite of the fact that there is zero evidence that they accomplish anything.  This is also why they do not want guns in school – no matter how trustworthy the person who is tasked with carrying them (up to and in some cases including police officers).  They do not fear evil people, because their belief system denies the existence of evil people – they fear guns.  This is why, after each mass shooting – stopped by police officers with guns – they actually say that “more guns are not the answer”.  They never stop to think that logically, if they really believe that, they should never call the police because they will always bring MORE GUNS.

Think they will stop at guns?  When
control failed in the UK, they started
going after knives (inc. kitchen knives).
Of course, they somehow think that eliminating guns will end murders.  Funny thing is that this has been done in the UK, and now London has a murder rate higher than New York City.  Their answer?  Asking normal, law abiding people to turn in their kitchen knives.

The second world view is rooted in Judaism and Christianity.  This world view believes that while men and women are indeed created in the image of God, they are also fallen creations – damaged by sin, inclined to do evil.  The story of the fall in Genesis is but one Biblical passage that makes it clear that evil comes from inside of us:

Here King David speaks about himself:
(Psa 51:5 NIV)  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Here Jesus speaks of the source of evil:
(Mark 7:21 NIV)  For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
(Mark 7:22 NIV)  greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
(Mark 7:23 NIV)  All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"

Finally, we have the Apostle Paul:
(Rom 7:18 NIV)  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

A corollary to the biblical worldview.
So people are both created in the image of God and inclined to do wrong.  We have met the enemy and he is us.  All of us are responsible for our actions.  All of us must find a way to do right.  Of course, this is the object of true religion.  That said, the fact that evil comes from inside of people is an observable fact – so even people who do not believe can still adopt this view of human nature.

Someone with this worldview is much more likely to see guns as a secondary issue and people as the primary cause.  Seeing the reality of evil inside people also can cause people to see the value of firearms as self-defense tools – especially since Jesus Himself ordered that His disciples be armed for self defense.

Does this mean that everyone who holds this world view is opposed to all gun laws or controls?  Of course not.  Some may want all guns banned.  That said, I do believe that folks in this camp are much more likely to demand evidence that proposed gun restrictions will work.  They also are much more likely to value the Constitution, and therefore the 2nd Amendment.  Many, including myself, are pro-gun rights because they have a Biblical worldview.

Beyond gun laws, these world views have very real effects – effects that can be seen in two contrasting attacks upon houses of worship.

First, there is the horrible attack upon the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  While, thankfully, this  synagogue did have several exits and evacuation plans, they are steadfastly opposed to any armed security because  they are theologically liberal and hate guns.  Even with a very fast police response, 11 people were killed.

Second there is the attack upon the New Life Church.  Having already killed two and wounded two in a previous attack upon Christians, this active shooter attacked New Life Church just after the service ended.  In the parking lot he killed two and wounded two more.  Entering the church, he attempted to reach the sanctuary where over 300 people were talking after the service.  He never got there.  Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security person – armed by virtue of a CCW license - engaged him before he could get there, severely wounding him.  He then took his own life.  In spite of being armed with essentially the same weapons as the Tree of Life attacker, causalities were limited to two dead and two wounded.

Many will be critical of what I am to write, but it is never the less an objective fact: Had the Tree of Life Synagogue done the logical thing for a large Synagogue, and set up armed security some of the people who died would be alive.  Experience with security and active shooters proves it.  Sadly, the leadership show no evidence that they understand what their world view cost them.