This information is taken from an excellent summary booklet put out by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership entitled "Will Gun Control Make You Safer?", issue number six in their "Gran'pa Jack" series of pamphlets.


Gun Control Saves Lives

New York City and Washington, D.C. are two of the most restrictive cities in the country with respect to gun control, yet they are also two of the least safest cities in the country.

Criminals buy guns outside of the restrictive areas and bring them in illegally.

Arlington, VA has a significantly lower crime rate than D.C., but it's right next door (see the FBI "Crime in the United States" reports).

Handguns are 43 times more likely to kill a member of your own family than an intruder.

The study by Arthur Kellermann from which that statistic is pulled doesn't say that. The number includes suicides. The study doesn't take into account defensive uses in which a shot was not fired (99% of the uses), and it doesn't reflect intruders avoiding homes with firearms inside.

Your gun is more likely to kill you or someone you love than an intruder.

Less than one percent of defensive gun uses results in a kill (see Gary Kleck's book "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America). According to the National Institute of Justice's report "Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms", guns are used over 1.5 million times a year in self defense. With tens of thousands of gun deaths a year, that means that firearms are used 40 times more often for protection than for murder.

We would all be safer if there were fewer guns.

Guns in the wrong hands are dangerous, but in the right hands they are used for protection and deterrence. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Georgia's homicide rate dropped 21% after making it easier to get guns, whereas Wisconsin's rate went up 33% during the same time period after making it more difficult to get guns. There are a lot of factors that go into homicide rates, but gun ownership is definitely not one of them.

We don't need guns in a civilized society.

How many people living in or around urban areas leave their cars unlocked or their front doors open all the time? There are civilized and uncivilized people in the world, and there are places and events that lead to some very uncivilized behaviour (like hurricanes). Having a gun means that people in the area can defend themselves and others against those uncivilized people.

Guns should be banned because thousands die every year.

Most of those people are criminals killed by criminals, according to the FBI "Crime in the United States" report. Also, many of those deaths are suicides. If someone is going to kill themselves, and they can't get a gun, they'll try something else. Again, guns are used far more often in self-defence.

We need to do something about the increasing access to guns.

Over the last half-dozen decades, the government has steadily restricted our right to keep and bear arms, and access has been decreasing. However, none of the 20,000 laws on the books are making it any harder for criminals to get guns, because by definition a criminal won't abide by the law.

The police can protect us.

In several cases, the courts found that police do not an obligation to respond to emergency calls. Even when they do, though, it's often too late. According to a story in US News and World Report, G. Witkin found that 95% of 911 calls are dispatched too late to stop a crime. When someone breaks into your home, you don't have time to call police. When a gunman charges into a diner and shoots up the place, you don't have time to call police.

It is too dangerous for the average citizen to deal with criminals.

Citizens fighting crime happens all the time. However, even better is to have crime not happen, and gun ownership is an excellent deterrent. After a series of rapes in Florida in 1966, women began buying guns and the police department ran training sessions in handgun use. After 36 rapes in 1966, there were 4 in 1967 (see Paxton Quigley's book "Armed and Female").

The safest way to deal with criminal assault is not to resist.

The US DOJ found that of 32,000 attempted rapes in 1979, 32% were successful, but in the case of an armed victim, only 3% were successful. Should a victim just sit back and let an attack happen, or should they defend themselves? What about defending your children when someone comes after them? Criminals avoid armed victims. In 1982, Kennesaw, GA passed a law requiring the head of household to keep a gun, and burglaries dropped by 89% (see Gary Kleck's "Crime Control Through the Private Use of Armed Force).

Allowing people to carry weapons means every disagreement will turn into a shootout.

People currently have many weapons, including lawn implements, kitchen utensils, sporting goods and household appliances, all of which have been used in murders. In states that have liberal carry laws, crime rates are generally lower. Florida's carry law in 1987 was followed by a homicide rate drop of 39% according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

The average citizen with a gun is a bigger threat to himself and others than a criminal is.

Proper training is very important. The NRA has spent millions of dollars on training adults and children. In fact, the NRA is the only organization spending money to try to educate kids about gun safety, but they're being stopped at every attempt by knee-jerk politicians and soccer moms who want to hide their children from the realities of the world. Accidental death rates from firearms have been declining steadily for 50 years, and armed citizens shoot and kill twice as many criminals as police do.

Firearms drain resources because of medical costs.

Most of the medical cost is because of criminal violence, not lawful possession of firearms. Did you know that medical malpractice causes more deaths per year than firearms, according to a Harvard Medical Practice Study?

Countries where gun ownership is severely restricted have a crime rate that is much lower than ours.

England and Japan have lower murder rates than the US, and they have restrictive gun laws. However, Switzerland and Israel have high rates of gun distribution and have even lower rates. South Africa's murder rate is even higher than the US, and they have very restrictive gun laws.

The police favor gun control, and they know more about crime than we do.

The 12th Annual National Police Survey produced in 1999 by the National Association of Chiefs of Police showed that police reject gun control as an effective crime control and that they support private firearms ownership.

Only police and trained and responsible enough to carry guns.

According to the Washington Post 8/28/94, pA1, 19 out of 1000 officers in Washington, D.C. were arrested. According to the Commissioner of Florida's Department of Law Enforcement, only 9 out of 1000 carry permit holders in Florida had licenses revoked.

There's nothing wrong with a waiting period for a background check.

So if someone is threatened, they should ask the criminal to wait a few days so that a background check can be completed? Criminals don't wait for background checks -- they buy on the black market.

Guns should be registered.

Would that help make life difficult for criminals? No. New York and Washington, D.C. required registration years ago and promised not to ban guns. Then, politicians decided to ban some guns and used those registration lists to round them up (see 9/5/92 Daily News article "Weapons Ban Defied"). A man named James Wright was a gun control advocate who received a grant from President Carter's Justice Department to study effectiveness of gun control laws. He found that waiting periods, background checks and other gun control laws were not effective in preventing or reducing violent crime ("Second Thought About Gun Control" in The Public Interest, Spring, 1988).

Trigger locks and smart guns will reduce the danger from guns.

To be used for self defence, a gun must be loaded and ready to use. You cannot legistlate safety, but you can educate. You can teach children what to do when they see a gun. The NRA is spending millions to try to teach children the proper thing to do when they find a gun (stop, don't touch, go find an adult). Criminals won't use smart guns, and they won't wait for you to prepare your gun for use. Any delay can mean the difference between life and death.