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Intellectual Ammunition Series. Mythology v Facts of Gun Control. Parts 1-3
This ACU Show consists of parts 1-3 of this series.
Part 1- Intellectual Ammunition Pt 1: Mythology v Facts of 'Gun Control'
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In a new series of specially written pieces for readers and viewers of MRCTV, we will be looking at some of the biggest and most controversial issues of our time, stripping away the day-to-day "us versus them" surface images, and getting down to important facts, history, and principles that you can carry with you. Published on Nov 8, 2018
Part 2- Intellectual Ammunition Pt 2: The Constitution and Founders
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#2A https://www.mrctv.org/blog/beneath-ve... In this second part of our deeper look at the "Gun Control" arguments, we study the wording of the US Constitution, and explore what the Founders believed about the right keep and bear arms.
Intellectual Ammunition Pt 3: Armed with Logic and A Mistake by SCOTUS.
To watch the video of part 3 visit-
https://www.mrctv.org/blog/beneath-ve... The logical conclusion is that promoters of “gun control” employ threats of gun violence against innocent, non-violent people. This is irrefutable and axiomatic.
Intellectual Ammunition Pt 1: Mythology v Facts of 'Gun Control'
Contemporary political issues come at us so rapidly, it’s easy to get lost in the polar, “us versus them” impulse, so we at MRCTV have decided to take certain hot-button issues and peel away the veneer, to expose or derive the long-standing facts, history, and principles beneath the ever-changing winds of political expediency.
We begin with the popular euphemism “gun control”, which is a dangerous misnomer and actually attacks history, morals, ethics, and facts. We hope you enjoy these extended explorations, and find them very valuable...
The term itself is prejudiced, and doesn’t allow for honest debate. It frames things within the comforting notion of “control”.
So, for example, protesters and politicians hold rallies calling for “sensible gun control”. We’ve seen it with the March for Our Lives rallies begun by a group of students from Parkland, Florida. They received mountains of attention and nary a worthwhile question from the dinosaur leftist pop media, and the ideological approach was that those who “oppose” their so-called “sensible” or “common sense” gun “controls” are cold-hearted, likely bigoted, reckless troglodytes who simply don’t understand”:
The glowing, safer future that society will achieve if their “reasonable” gun “control” statutes are applied to you and your family, and,
The dangers guns and “gun culture” pose to innocent people.
But let’s study these in practical terms before analyzing them on deeper, long-standing principled levels.
Erroneous Assumption One: Gun Statutes Lower Violent Crime
First, the “gun control” argument assumes that “firearm-limiting” statutes actually work to stop school attacks and violent crime. As I noted recently for MRCTV, anti-gunners such as Dianne Feinstein conveniently overlook the fact that school shooters intent on breaking the statutes against harming others are – shock – not stopped by other statutes prohibiting legal ownership of guns or ammo, or dictating useless and often dangerous-to-civilians “waiting periods”. As I observed when Feinstein spuriously implied that gun prohibitions would stop school shootings:
(G)un control laws and law ‘enforcement’ did not prevent many of the worst school shootings, such as the attack on students in Newtown Connecticut, and the attack on students in Parkland, Florida, and egregiously anti-rights gun restrictions didn’t stop a shooting a few months ago in her own neck of the woods near DC, Great Mills High School, in Maryland.
Stephen Paddock, the man identified as the shooter who killed nearly 60 people in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, broke the law by modifying his weapons prior to breaking the law by shooting dozens of unarmed people.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the murderers of a dozen students and one teacher at Columbine High, in Jefferson County, Colorado in 1999, violated at least seventeen specifically gun-related statutes, along with many more non-firearm-related laws. The statutes did not prevent them from entering a “gun-free zone” and committing mass slaughter of unarmed victims.
Despite numerous warnings, statutory “authorities” failed to stop Omar Mateen from using firearms to kill 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.
And those are just in the United States. As Eric Pratt noted in a 2017 USA Today Op-Ed:
France has far more gun control than we do. They have greater restrictions on semiautomatic “assault weapons,” which are falsely labeled as such by newspapers like USA TODAY. Yet all the gun ownership restrictions in France did not stop terrorists from murdering 130 people at a concert in 2015.
And beyond the anecdotal, one sees a more profound international pattern: gun “bans” don’t make guns or violence disappear, in fact, they leave innocent people defenseless, and spark increases in violent crime.
As I noted for MRCTV in February of 2018, contrary to the claims of pop media swamis, violent crime actually increased in Australia for three years following its vaunted 1996 gun “ban” and mandatory “buy-back”. This spike included an increase in gun-related violent crime, and the violent crime did not return to 1996 levels until more than ten years later, when many civilians had resorted to the black market to rearm themselves.
And, as I observed in the same article, violent crime, including homicides and gun-related violent crime, increased in the UK following its government “banning” most firearms in 1997.
As Ryan McMacken writes for the Mises Institute, despite highly restrictive gun “control” laws imposed in 1972, Ireland saw an increasing homicide rate per 100,000 through 2014, nearly doubling what it was at the time the magical unicorn of the “gun ban” statute was passed.
A similar result was seen in Canada after the Canadian government instituted gun “control” in the 1960s. Observes McMacken:
Canada enjoyed very low homicide rates during the 1950s and 1960s. However, from 1967 to 1977, the homicide rate nearly doubled from 1.66 per 100,000 to 3.0 per 100,000. This decade of growth in homicide rates followed the 1969 bill "C-150" which created new categories of restricted and prohibited firearms, while granting police the power to "pre-emptively" seize privately owned firearms from persons who were deemed a danger to society by the state.
Erroneous Assumption Two: “More Firearms” Lead to More Violent Crime
Paralleling that reality about the failure of “gun control” to decrease violent crime is the fact that gun “control” advocates are incorrect to think that more guns in the hands of civilians leads to more crime.
A CDC study of fifteen states (which was conveniently “disappeared” by the CDC for years until researcher Gary Kleck discovered it) showed that armed civilians use firearms multiple times more often to stop crimes than to engage in them. In fact, as Kleck determined, the multiple is about 3.6 times more often.
Civilians also stop criminals more often than police do. As police will tell you, they usually arrive after a criminal has committed a crime. Police are not the true “first responders”. That’s a dangerous myth that needs to be expunged from the contemporary lexicon, but it will hang on, because politicians and pop media people adore it.
And armed civilians are safer than police. They harm five times fewer people with firearms than do armed police officers. As Rob Morse writes for Ammoland:
The trained law enforcement officer is over five times more likely to shoot the wrong person than a concealed permit holders, 11 percent versus 2 percent.
In fact, police are convicted of gun crimes more often than concealed carry permit holders.
And when more peace-minded civilians own guns, especially concealed-carry guns, violent crime drops.
As John Lott noted in his groundbreaking book, “More Guns, Less Crime”, “waiting periods” have shown no benefits in reducing crime. (In fact, they have prevented some at-risk individuals from obtaining guns to defend themselves.) He also has noted that a woman caught in a violent assault is 2.5 times more likely to be injured when offering no resistance than if she resists with a firearm.
And Lott observes that in comparable and neighboring US counties, those that allowed for more concealed carry firearms saw sharp declines in violent crime compared to those that did not. Criminals change their behavior to avoid confronting armed citizens. Lott has also noted in a recent study:
Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time. -- States with the largest increase in permits have seen the largest relative drops in murder rates.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics chart shows that while gun purchases were skyrocketing in the US between 2007 and 2011, violent crime was dropping like an apple on Newton’s head.
Why? Because criminals change their behavior when thinking about armed civilians. Indeed, as I observed in my book, “Live Free or Die”, the “hot burglary” rate (where thieves simply break in without “casing” a house) in England is much higher than in the US, and interviews with criminals routinely indicate that they case houses to avoid armed residents.
And, finally, what is one of the biggest practical fallacies of “gun control”?
Fallacy Three: Prohibition Works
This is simple. As the experience of the United States during the “Prohibition Era” has shown, statutes don’t stop people from obtaining the things they demand. I teach economics, and this is an economic axiom. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that if the zones of “prohibition” are widened beyond the crime-ridden-yet-gun-banning cities like Chicago and DC, and applied to all of the US this will stop criminally minded people from obtaining firearms. Prohibition doesn’t work.
But this does not stop gun-grabbers from pushing their proposals, or even misreading the US Constitution to justify their threats to curtail your inherent right to self-defense.
And in our next installment, we will study their baseless arguments, providing you with essential constitutional information with which to combat their proposals, at any time.
Keep fighting for your rights!
Thank you for reading.
gun control Constitution Second Amendment John Lott More Guns Less Crime violent crime Parkland March For Our Lives waiting periods background checks Firearms FBI Crime Statistics United Kingdom Australia canada concealed carry hot burglary
Intellectual Ammunition Pt 2: The Constitution and Founders
In the first part of this series designed to offer deeper, longer-standing intellectual ammunition for visitors to MRCTV, we looked at many of the popular political myths associated with the deceptively euphemistic term “Gun Control”. Now, we study the supposed rulebook for the federal government, the US Constitution, analyze the “constitutional” arguments of those who push gun restrictions, and see what the people of the Founding era believed about the right to keep and bear arms.
Many pushers of gun “control” don’t mention amending the US Constitution. Instead, they “read” the very clear, deliberatively written, wording of the document to mean what they want it to mean.
But the Second Amendment is clear:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Anyone who has read pretty much anything about what the Founders believed at the time knows that the Militia was not the “National Guard”, it was all male citizens of gun-bearing age, and the final clause, “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is the action clause, strictly prohibiting any government – be it federal, state, county, or local – from imposing any statutory impediment on the right of an individual to acquire, own, sell, or use a weapon – any weapon -- for defensive purposes.
This concept goes back to Aristotle, who believed in the inherent Natural Right of people to fight oppressive government and who greatly influenced the Founders. 350 years B.C, he said:
Those who possess and can wield arms are in a position to decide whether the constitution is to continue or not.
Aristotle’s implication is that despotism lies in the hands of agents of the states when they wield weapons against unarmed citizens.
Indeed, as the brilliant author, Dr. R.J. Rummel, observed in his books, “Death by Government”, and “Power Kills”, governments of all stripes have slaughtered six times as many of their own people in the past 100 years as have died in all the wars of that period -- combined.
So perhaps Aristotle was on to something…
It turns out, he was. And many of the greatest thinkers who influenced the writing of the so-called “rules” of the US Constitution offered the same principled thoughts supporting the inherent right of an individual to defend himself or herself.
The great Roman teacher Cicero said:
There exists a law inborn in our hearts that if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.
James Madison, the man who took the best-known notes on the Constitutional Convention, wrote:
The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, forms a barrier against the enterprise of ambition. Kingdoms of Europe are afraid to trust the people with arms.
Said Patrick Henry in 1788 at the Virginia Convention:
The great object is that every man be armed.
Cesare Becarria, the Italian criminologist greatly admired by Thomas Jefferson wrote:
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it… The Laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.
George Mason said:
To disarm people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.
And Thomas Paine wrote:
The supposed quietude of a good man allures the roughian… while, on the other hand, arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order.
The first battle of the American Revolution, the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” came at Lexington, Massachusetts, and rolled on to Concord, MA – specifically because the British military was trying to colonial guns. For some bizarre reason, the colonists didn’t comply with the government commands.
Good thing. Human history is clear on the disastrous effects of civilian disarmament. Just recall:
Lenin and Stalin, starting in 1918, seized firearms in Soviet Russia as the first step towards multi-nation property seizure, incarceration of dissidents, suppression of free speech, forced relocation, and a command-and-control system that saw tens of millions die during their regimes alone.
Hitler used a pre-Nazi German gun registration law to target firearm owners and seize guns, leading to results similar to those instituted in Soviet Russia and its captive nations.
Mao followed Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, leading to the extermination of between 60 and 120 million people.
And many, many more.
In her voluminous book, “To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-Saxon Right”, Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm stated:
The Second Amendment was meant to accomplish two distinct goals. First, it was to guarantee an individual’s right to have arms for self-defense… These privately owned guns were meant to serve a larger purpose as well. The customary American militia necessitated an armed public, the militia (being) the body of the people. The argument that today’s National Guardsman, members of a select militia, would constitute the only persons entitled to keep and bear arms has no historical foundation.
Wise words to remember as we hear the “gun control” pushers claim that the Founders wanted to see the members of a government military have sole possession of arms.
As Antonin Scalia wrote about the Second Amendment in his opinion for the majority in the 2007 “District of Columbia v Heller” decision:
The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.
Of course, we don’t need Scalia or anyone else to explain this. It’s simple logic. Rights are inherent to individuals, and groups are just assemblages of individuals. Each person has his own right to self-defense. In fact, even putting the question to agents of the state, as conservative as Justice Scalia was, leaves our rights open to threats.
When we conclude this series on “gun control”, we will look more closely at the “Heller” decision, and see why it’s not as praise-worthy as some imagine, what language was slipped in at the very end to make it actually a very dangerous decision for gun-rights advocates, and why, logically, people who want safer societies should want more firearms in civilian hands.
Thank you for reading!
You can check out our earlier installment by clicking here.
US Constitution James Madison Aristotle Beccaria Joyce Lee Malcolm Hitler Lenin Stalin mao Pol Pot democide R.J. Rummel death by government supreme court Scalia Heller Guns Firearms Second Amendment Militia Rights
Intellectual Ammunition Pt 3: Armed With Logic and A Mistake by SCOTUS
In this series, we strip away the flimsy veneer of contemporary political rhetoric, and offer long-standing principles, facts, and syllogisms to let you carry something with you.
Thus far, we have explored the upper layer of the “gun control” issue, that being the rhetoric and supposed “practical” arguments offered as so-called justification to infringe on the individual right to keep and bear arms. We also looked at what the Founders believed when they wrote the Second Amendment, which is supposed to prohibit any government from doing anything to infringe on your right to keep and bear arms.
Now, let’s approach the issue logically, and ask:
“Who engages in threats of gun violence, the civilian who owns, or attempts to own, a firearm, or the civilian or politician intent on passing ‘gun control’ statutes?”
To address this, we ask a further series of questions.
First. Is ownership of an object an aggressive act? Clearly, the answer is “no.” By simply owning something, a person is not engaging in aggressive violence or threats of violence against another human being.
Second. Does ownership connote intent? This is important, and goes towards one’s civil treatment of his neighbors in all things. Although we might think we can guess as to why someone has procured something, we cannot assume for another why he or she acquired it. All valuation and reasons for human action are subjective – self-driven – and to assume for another why he or she did something is conceited and arrogant, breaching the walls of civility and the Golden Rule. Someone may have purchased scissors, and one might assume he or she is going to use them to cut something, but would that be for cutting a person, for an aggressive act? Perhaps the scissors are for an art display or a theatrical production, to be a prop.
Even if one were to assume for his neighbor the reasons he or she had for procuring an item like a firearm, as we’ve noted in the past, a suppressed Centers for Disease Control study showed that Americans use firearms far more often to stop crimes than to engage in them – 3.6 times more often. So, by the collectivists’ standard -- that of assuming they can tell you what to own or not own -- if they want a safer nation-state, they should want the government to mandate that everyone own a gun.
Given that possession is not a violent act, and possession does not connote intent, one must ask, for what are gun “control” advocates calling when they call for “gun laws”?
They are calling for statutes that will threaten people with penalties if they procure firearms or ammo, sell firearms or ammo, or possess them in ways the state proscribes. If a citizen should breach those prohibitions, the gun “controllers” want the state to punish them. This requires armed agents of the state to enforce the statutes.
The logical conclusion is that promoters of “gun control” employ threats of gun violence against innocent, non-violent people. This is irrefutable and axiomatic.
And what of the idea that, practically, passing gun statutes will make areas safer? In Part One of this series, we looked at the real-world numbers on that question, but here is a logical argument to pose to gun-grabbers.
Suppose you are in a paintball game. You have a paintball gun, and you will win $10,000 if you enter one of three houses and, in five minutes, hit ten people with pellets. If you get hit by a pellet, you will have to pay $200,000… There are forty people in each house. In House One, you know that there is no one with a paintball gun. In House Two, you know that there are a few people with paintball guns, and in House Three, you know that there are many, many people with paintball guns.
Which house would you choose?
The answer is obvious. Let’s not be foolish about pretending that we would choose anything other than House One.
The logic of self-protection through firearm possession and use is irrefutable. The statistics of it are clear. The history of despots disarming citizens prior to destroying their lives is also clear, as is the history of what the Founders thought when they wrote the Second Amendment.
The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
But the “interpretation” of this prohibition against agents of the state passing laws to attenuate your right is left in the hands of…
Agents of the state.
Recall in Part Two of this series when we mentioned that one of the most important cases in the US Supreme Court to affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms being protected by the Second Amendment was the 2007 DC v Heller case?
I mentioned that Justice Antonin Scalia, often a hero for conservatives, and a man seen as a “strict constructionist” made a grievous error when he concluded his majority decision. For over sixty pages, he cited contemporaneous accounts from the Founders to prove that the Second Amendment protected an individual right, not a “group” right. That was fine, though he could have simply used logic to show that the term right is associated with the individual, is inherent, and that the term “group” is just a word applied to a group of individuals, just a term with no personal meaning at all. A “group” is always reducible to the individuals therein, and they retain their rights.
But Scalia did something else that calls for more critical attention. At the conclusion of the majority decision in Heller, he noted that, indeed, the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, but:
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.
This is an egregious and blatant attack on the very concept and definition of the word “rights”. Rights are supposed to be unassailable. The term is derived from Old English and Old Germanic to mean “right-handedness” and “what is proper”, and the very basis of it is that it pertains to self-ownership and a set of innate, natural “freedoms from” state or person-on-person infringement.
In speaking with Richard Heller, the defendant in the case, I learned that many people believe Justice Scalia added the last few pages of the opinion -- the pages in which he utterly eviscerates the very meaning of the word “right” – as a bargaining tool to get one more vote in favor of the “individual” interpretation and in favor of the defendant.
If this was the case, it’s an indication of just how tenuous one’s hold is over his own inherent rights when those rights are put under the “protection group” of the state. And, in fact, Scalia’s terrible final words on the ruling are being used today to crush peoples’ rights.
As a result, I believe it is important for many of us to remember that attacks on our rights come from many directions. It’s important for individuals to gather information they can use to defend themselves against such attacks. And it is intellectually satisfying, as well.
Thank you for reading this series on “gun control”. I hope you’ve found it intellectually worthwhile, as well.
gun control Scalia US Supreme Court Heller Second Amendment logic John Lott Guns Crime Rights
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