Friday, April 01, 2005


Guns and gun issues don't usually get me very riled up. I've never been much of a shooter beyond boy scout camp. With the recent mass-shootings (largely overshadowed by the Terri Schiavo affair), the issue of gun control raises its head again. John Lott at National Review wrote a piece containing some startling statistics about gun issues. I would be very interested to read a counter-point to this piece. I know that selection of statistics can affect the telling of the tale and a cross check is always wise--I'll watch for it.

Before he cites any statistics, he makes a very compelling point about the futility of designating a school, church, or government building as a "gun-free zone":
Suppose you or your family are being stalked by a criminal who intends on harming you. Would you feel safer putting a sign in front of your home saying "This Home is a Gun-Free Zone"?

Lott then cites some of his own research in saying:
Bill Landes and I have examined all the multiple-victim public shootings with two or more victims in the United States from 1977 to 1999 and found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent.

No other gun-control law had any beneficial effect. Indeed, right-to-carry laws were the only policy that consistently reduced these attacks.

Everyone should have guns!

Then on radio I hear tape of a 9-1-1 call by a five year old girl telling the dispatcher that her parents have been shot by an angry neighbor. My body recoils and I immediately turn off the radio. Who wants to live in a society where everyone is armed to the teeth, able to turn a fist-fight into a massacre. Not me! I wish that nobody carried weapons. My heart breaks when a friend tells me about her dead brother because of an accident in a home with a hand-gun.

Let's just banish the things and be done with it!

I wish this were an easier issue. Did the founders give us a right to bear arms for the purpose of overthrowing our government? Did they intend for people to carry them around? Does it matter what they intended? Does it matter if we still have militias? Are the law-enforcement benefits of right-to-carry laws outweighing the devestation caused by gun accidents and misuse? Tough issue.

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