We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to countries that have had historically low rates of homicides, either. Great Britain’s current homicide rate is actually higher than it was before the strict ban on most types of firearms was imposed.
Japan is so wildly different than the United States, it’s impossible to make a . meaningful comparison. We’re talking about a culture where commoners could be summarily executed for possessing something that could be used as a weapon.
Homicide is homicide, no matter where it’s committed. Ducking behind terms like “developed” is a popular dodge but it doesn’t hold any water. Russia is by no means a primitive country yet its homicide rate is much higher than the United States’. The same is true of South Africa.
Or does “developed” just mean “white?”
You noted that some of these countries have a problem with organized crime but ignored the fact that the U.S. has a similar problem in most of its major urban areas. New Jersey, which has a low statewide homicide rate, has one of the highest urban homicide rates of any state.
What you don’t get is that there is no evidence supporting gun control as an effective measure to combat violence.
Let me give you an example.
Arizona and California share a border but when it comes to gun control, they don’t share much at all. California’s laws are regarded as the gold standard by gun control advocates; Arizona’s…well, not so much.
In 1991, California enacted laws that required background checks on all firearm transfers and prohibited possession of firearms by persons convicted in misdemeanor violent crime. Arizona didn’t.
In 2010, carry permits for handguns were difficult to get in California and impossible to get in some counties. That same year, Arizona repealed the requirement to have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed handgun. In Arizona, if you are legally allowed to possess a handgun, you are legally allowed to carry it, openly or concealed. If you want to go to the trouble of getting a permit, you can carry your gun in even more places including the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Even with the permit, an Arizona resident can’t carry their gun in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington, but that resident can drive from Kingman near the western border of Arizona to Key West, Florida, a distance of nearly 2,600 miles legally carrying a concealed handgun.
From 1991, when California adopted universal background checks, to 2010, when Arizona removed its requirement for a carry permit, the homicide rate in California plunged nearly 62% (sounds pretty good until one notes that the national rate dropped nearly 52%). The Arizona rate fell, too, but only 18%.
Arizona apparently decided that the problem was too many restrictions; not enough people were carrying guns.
From 2010 to 2018, the homicide rate in California fell another nine percent. In Arizona, the drop was more than nineteen percent, double the California decline, despite the fact that California continued to pass restrictive gun laws.
In 2018, a study led by long-time gun control advocate Dr. Garen Wintemute reported that the California restrictions had not shown to have an impact on either gun-related homicides or gun-related suicides.
From 1991 to 2018, the homicide rate in California dropped more than 65%. In Arizona the decline was nearly 34% and the national rate fell more than 49%.
Sounds like a win for gun control laws, right?
Here’s the kicker: up until 1995, Texas had a stronger prohibition on carrying a handgun than any state in the union. There were no permits; the only exclusions were for sworn law enforcement officers, prison guards, district attorney investigators, and certain judges. In 1995, the legislature passed Texas’ first-ever concealed handgun permit law. The only other change in Texas gun laws since then was to allow the concealed carry of a handgun in a motor vehicle without a permit.
From 1991 to 2018, the homicide rate in Texas nosedived nearly 70% (69.87%). No background checks other than the ones required for retail sales through licensed dealers; “assault” rifles are manufactured in the state; no registration requirement; lots of gun shows; and Texas’s 2018 homicide rate was less than five percent higher than California’s.
Here’s the biggest thing you don’t get about gun control: You’re pushing laws that don’t make a difference instead of trying to find measures that might make a difference. You’re advocating a very tired set of specific proposals that have been promoted for the best part of three decades and have all been enacted at the federal or state level.
President Obama and others have said that if background checks saved only one life, they would be worth it. It’s become accepted wisdom.
Only problem is that we don’t know if background checks have ever saved a single life but we know for a fact that they didn’t save at least 459 lives or prevent 987 injuries. Nearly 69% of the deaths and injuries that resulted from mass shootings since 1994, the year the law went into effect, the shooter had passed one or more background checks. And that doesn’t include the incidents such as Virginia Tech, the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, and Henry Pratt Co., where the shooter got their guns because of errors or omissions in the FBI system.
One of the things gun control advocates like to point out are the FBI’s statistics on background checks. They claim that nearly 1.6 million people have been denied and some of them are even foolish enough to say that 1.6 million people weren’t able to get guns because of the background check system.
To those people I would present Seth Ator, the 36-year-old truck driver who shot a trail from Midland to Odessa at the end of August. Ator was one of those the FBI denied on mental health grounds yet there he was killing people with a gun he obtained illegally.
This is the Achilles Heel of gun control laws as currently practiced everywhere in the world: Criminals don’t obey laws. People who have made up their minds to commit murder don’t bother themselves about gun laws. And they are always able to get guns if they really want them. The black market, which is the largest source of guns for criminals, is always well-supplied. In just the past five years, the ATF reports that more than 43,000 handguns, rifles and shotguns were stolen from licensed gun dealers.
Americans believe some things that aren’t true at all. In February of this year, NPR and the PBS Newshour commissioned a Marist poll that included questions on popular gun control measures. While the majorities of respondents were all for the popular measures, there was one question — the last question on the survey — that was telling.
“From what you have read or heard, do you think, compared to 25 years ago, the per capita gun murder rate in the U.S. is higher, lower, or about the same?”
59% of those responding thought the rate had gone up; 23% thought it was about the same.
The most recent 25-year period for which we have CDC data is 1993 to 2017. According to the CDC’s Fatal Injury reports for that periods, the per capita gun murder rate fell 36.4%. According to the FBI’s latest figures, the U.S. homicide rate fell nearly 45% from 1994 to 2018.
I wonder what the polls would look like if anyone ever told the American people the truth.
Here’s a bit of truth just for you: Gun control advocates are fond of citing the mass shooting statistics maintained by the Gun Violence Archive, if only because the GVA numbers are so much larger than the FBI’s.
But they never seem to talk about where those mass shootings happen.
Your hometown of Chicago has had 35 of the GVA’s mass shootings, more than any state except California. A state-issued Firearm Owner Identification Card is required to legally own a firearm in Illinois. Every transfer of a firearm, including face-to-face sales, requires an inquiry to the Illinois State Police with the buyer’s FOID card info.
My hometown of Houston, which isn’t all that much smaller than Chicago and has far more relaxed gun laws, has had six.
These numbers are as of October 27, 2019.
There’s one last thing you don’t get about gun control. Mitch McConnell, the Republicans, and the NRA aren’t the reason gun control measures aren’t sailing through Congress or more state legislatures. The voters are.
Over half the counties in Illinois and Washington state are Second Amendment sanctuaries. Voters in eight Oregon counties approved measures that prohibit the use of county resources to enforce laws the sheriff deems unconstitutional (yes, state, county, and municipal governments can legally refuse to enforce laws — they can’t block enforcement by other government entities but they don’t have to help).
Nevada enacted a universal background check law this year following a referendum in which 16 of the state’s 17 counties voted against the proposal even after Everytown for Gun Safety, Michael Bloomberg and some big spenders from California, Massachusetts, and Washington state spent 2.8 times as much as the NRA and its allies on the campaign.
So far, five Nevada counties have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions. Humboldt County was the most recent and when the sheriff announced that he would enforce the law, the voters began a recall drive to remove him from office. Not the GOP; not the NRA; the voters in the county. Incidentally, in the actual referendum vote, nearly 82% of the voters in Humboldt County opposed it.
Alaska is a Second Amendment sanctuary state.
Let me give you an example of the resistance in action: In 2013, New York state passed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, better know as the SAFE Act. Owners of certain types of firearms were required to register them with the New York State Police by April 15, 2014.
In 2016, after losing a legal battle over a Freedom of Information Act request, the NYSP very reluctantly released their registration totals. After two years of the SAFE Act, about 44,000 guns had been registered. Estimates of the total number of such guns owned by residents of New York range from about a quarter-million to a million. This means compliance rates likely ranged from 4.4% to 17.6%. In New York, a state with a long history of firearm regulation.
No one knows how many Americans own guns. We do know that there are more than 18 million active concealed carry permits. This doesn’t really represent a good proxy because as of March 2019 there are now 16 states that don’t require residents to obtain a carry permit.
Up to 2003, there was only one state that didn’t require a permit to carry a handgun. Over the past 16 years, fifteen other states have followed suit.
What if the Supreme Court ruled that open carry of a firearm was a constitutionally protected right? In the Heller decision, the right to keep weapons was established. (Incidentally, no Supreme Court decision since Cruikshank in 1876 has ever said the Second Amendment protected only a collective right. Not even Miller in 1939.) There are two cases that may settle the issue of bearing arms and the Supreme Court has already granted certiorari to one of them and will hear arguments next month.
What you don’t get about gun control, Mr. Upadhyay, is why you don’t get those gun control laws you regard so highly: We don’t want them.