It is time to put liberal posturing aside.
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“Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased six fold….The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined. More than 155,000 Michiganders — about one in every 65 — are now authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday affairs…. About 25,000 people had CCW permits in Michigan before the law changed in 2001.”
Conceal and carry permit holders have been incredibly law abiding, with revocations running at about 0.2 percent or less in most states, sometimes much less. Many if not most of these are for infractions unrelated to guns, such as failure to maintain vehicle insurance. People are safer around permit holders than among the general public.
In fact, armed permit holders often serve as the first line of defense, as explained by David Kopel in Monday’s Wall Street Journal:
The media rarely mention the mass murders that were thwarted by armed citizens at the Shoney’s Restaurant in Anniston, Ala. (1991), the high school in Pearl, Miss. (1997), the middle-school dance in Edinboro, Penn. (1998), and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. (2007), among others. At the Clackamas Mall in Oregon last week, an active shooter murdered two people and then saw that a shopper, who had a handgun carry permit, had drawn a gun and was aiming at him. The murderer’s next shot was to kill himself.
Of course Lott and his work have been attacked by liberal and leftist ideologues. But in his book he thoroughly and brilliantly decimates them, too. It is easy for hardened gun control campaigners to assert that “Lott has been discredited.” But there is no basis for such assertions.
Can Liberals Reason?
Lott applies the lessons learned from this work to mass murders such as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. In a recent talk radio interview, he noted that the mass murderers usually choose so-called gun free zones such as schools, or movie theaters or shopping malls where guns are prohibited. That is because they know they can carry out their plan for mass murder there without being stopped.
Lott insightfully explains that these mass murderers are consciously choosing to commit suicide in carrying out their crimes. But they don’t want to go out quietly. They want to make a big splash to draw national and even world attention to their pain and their plight. This is all a reflection of the mental illness that generally plagues them.
The lessons of More Guns, Less Crime actually apply quite directly to this problem. When Israel suffered terrorists targeting its schools, it ultimately decided to arm its teachers. In fact, Israel generally follows the conceal and carry policy Lott favors throughout society. This way, the Israeli people themselves are the first line of defense against terrorism.
Such a policy would have prevented the extent of the killing at Sandy Hook. School policy should seek to train as many willing teachers as possible in each school, empowered with conceal and carry permits to defend themselves and their children. Such permits more generally would help to prevent such mass murders elsewhere.
Is this just a wild west scenario? We are already living in the wild west, but often with only the bad guys having guns. And that is where the policies of the liberals and President Obama would take us further. As Lott says, “The evidence should make gun control advocates pause, as all the gun bans that I have studied show that murder rates increase after the ban is enacted.” But our experience with President Obama shows that he doesn’t learn from experience. That is why he wants to expand the experience of murder capital Chicago to the entire nation.
The bottom line is that the government does not have the power to take away guns from dangerous criminals and mass murderers. The government cannot stop drugs from crossing our borders, and even showing up in prisons. The government can only stop law-abiding, innocent victims from being armed. But there is no sense or logic to that.
The gun control policy is even worse than that, because it sacrifices the liberties, self-defense, and constitutional rights of every innocent American, to an ineffective policy that will not work, unless your policy is precisely to disarm the public because you have nefarious plans for the American people. Just bring back the ban on assault rifles? We already tried that, and it didn’t work, with no significant change in the data when the ban went into effect, and no significant change when the ban lapsed. More effective would be to ban braindead liberals from public service. Would that violate the Constitution? Aren’t we already discussing policies that would violate the Constitution?
There really is no such thing as an assault rifle. They are defined by references to their cosmetic appearance rather than to their functionality. Banning assault rifles is really just a PR stunt deluding the gullible that something important has been accomplished.
Other liberal policies have only contributed to the problem as well. Liberal deinstitutionalization policies have liberated the mentally ill to roam the streets, giving rise to the homeless problem as well as to more mass murderers. As Kopel also notes in Monday’s Journal:
A 2011 paper by Steven P. Segal at the University of California, Berkeley, “Civil Commitment Law, Mental Health Services, and U.S. Homicide Rates,” found that a third of the state-to-state variation in homicide rates was attributable to the strength or weakness of involuntary civil-commitment laws.
Violence-drenched movies and video games contribute to disrespect for life in our culture. The breakdown of the family and widespread out of wedlock births give rise to more violence and crime as well. The airhead liberal policy of piously declaring certain public areas “gun free zones” very directly contributes to mass murder.
Maybe we need to look at that idea of banning brain-dead liberals.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?