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The Truth About Guns
Townhall.com ^ | August 4, 2012 | John C. Goodman

Posted on 08/04/2012 6:08:46 AM PDT by Kaslin

The tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, has led to a lot of unfortunate misinformation about firearms. Let's try to add some facts to the justified emotion.

Are Some Guns More Dangerous than Others? The shooter in Aurora had three firearms when he entered the theater: a pump action shotgun, a semiautomatic rifle and a semiautomatic handgun.

In a closed, crowded setting like a movie theater, the shotgun was probably the most lethal of the three. Every shotgun shell can spray a half-dozen or more pellets, each capable of killing or maiming a person. Twelve-gauge shotguns often fire five shells, and sometimes more, before needing to be reloaded. And unlike semiautomatics, they don't typically jam.

Yet in most American cities, just about anybody can buy a shotgun at the drop of a hat. Antigun activists and politicians almost never propose banning them.

Instead, the focus these days is on so-called "assault weapons."

Should We Be Especially Worried About Assault Weapons? Assault weapons are not usually the weapon of choice. Neither of the two worst shooting sprees in U.S. history involved assault weapons. James Huberty, who killed 20 people at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California, in 1984, used a shotgun, a pistol and a hunting rifle. George Hennard, who killed 22 people at a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, in 1991, used two ordinary pistols.

Still, gun opponents seem obsessed about them. So what exactly is an "assault weapon"?

What Are Assault Weapons? You would think that the definition would hinge on a weapon's fire power or its capacity to maim or kill. Not so. Assault weapons are mainly defined by their appearance. As Steve Chapman explained the other day:

Assault weapons are functionally indistinguishable from ordinary semiautomatic hunting rifles. They don't fire more rapidly, they don't deliver more lethal rounds, and they don't spray bullets. They only look like military arms.

The features that disqualified a gun under the federal ban were ones that didn't affect destructiveness, such as pistol grips and bayonet mounts. If accused [Aurora] killer James Holmes had been prevented from buying this gun, he could have found plenty of others that would have served his purpose just as well.

Basically, what disqualified a weapon when the short-lived assault weapons ban was in effect was looking like a military weapon. The offensive features included plastic stocks, extended ammunition clips, collapsible butt-stocks, and other decorative devices that made them look like, but not operate as, a fully functional assault rifle.

Contrary to the claims that military-looking weapons are only designed to kill human beings, they are, in fact, the fastest growing segment of the hunting rifle market!

What About Machine Guns? Most TV commentators who decry assault weapons imply that they are automatic — that you just pull the trigger and bullets start flying. Not so. It has been illegal to buy a machine gun on the open market in the United States for more than 80 years. However, you can obtain one under special permit and there are about 250,000 in private hands.

Now here is something interesting: despite all those guns in private hands, there appears not to be a single instance of a legally owned machine gun being used to commit a crime throughout the entire 80 year period. This illustrates two things: (1) the bumper stickers have it right: guns don't kill, people do; and (2) we can have reasonable restrictions on access to guns without banning them altogether.

That brings us to another obsession: the insistence that guns are useless as tools of self-defense.

Are Guns Useful for Self-Defense? As it turns out, they are. According to research by renowned Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, guns are used between 800,000 and 2.5 million times every year in self-defense.

A study by John Lott and David Mustard found that handguns appear to help women more than men. While murder rates drop when either sex carries more guns, the effect is especially pronounced when women carry. Each additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women three to four times more than an additional armed man reduces the murder rate for men.

Do More Guns Cause More Crime? In the typical Western movie, everyone has a gun. When they go into a bar, they start drinking. Then, they start insulting each other. Before long, they start shooting each other. It may be good theater, but it's lousy history. Turns out, 19th century Dodge City was more peaceful than most American cities are today! Robert Heinlein explained why: "An armed society is a polite society," he wrote.

Overall, some of the most heavily-armed states have very low violent crime rates and vice versa. Also, it appears that when the good guys are armed there is less gun violence. Research by John Lott shows that allowing citizens the right to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crime. In those states that passed right-to-carry concealed handgun laws, the average murder rate dropped from 6.3 per 100,000 to 5.2 per 100,000 nine to 10 years later — about a 1.7% drop in the murder rate per year for 10 years.

In states that enacted right-to-carry laws between 1977 and 1999, the overall occurrence of multiple-victim shootings dropped by a remarkable 67% with deaths and injuries from such shootings plummeting by 75% and 81%, respectively. And since 1997, two of eight school shootings were both stopped by citizens with guns (before police even arrived at the scene).

What Does the International Evidence Show? Switzerland actually requires young males to keep weapons in their homes, as part of the country's militia. Yet no one has ever accused Switzerland of being a host to Wild West shootouts. Finland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. Yet it too has a very low rate of violent crime.

Do We Need More Laws? Here is


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/04/2012 6:08:52 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

You know folks what I don’t understand is Arizona is one of the easiest places to carry a gun yet no one in that theater had one!!!


2 posted on 08/04/2012 6:15:41 AM PDT by ontap
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To: Kaslin

A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine faced down two would be robbers at his store.

He was looking throught he front window of hos store when he saw two people get out of their vehicle with guns . He got out his own gun and met them at th door, when they saw his weapon they turned and left. They were later caught at a store own the road which they intended to rob.

My friend was really shook up. He said “I was ready to kill those people” I came that close.”

Would he do it again, well ,he hopes he never has to, but he said Yes.


3 posted on 08/04/2012 6:15:41 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Venturer

Many people are getting desperate, almost every day now you see or hear of individuals standing their ground, ironically of those they are mostly senior citizens.

Society is indeed falling apart, and a gun will save your life.


4 posted on 08/04/2012 6:20:18 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Going mobile, posts will be brief. No spellcheck for the grammar nazis.)
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To: ontap

Well, do you think maybe this happened in Colorado and not AZ?


5 posted on 08/04/2012 6:24:05 AM PDT by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: ontap

Arizona?

Is that how we spell “Colorado” now?

HEHEHE Drink more morning Joe before posting!


6 posted on 08/04/2012 6:26:12 AM PDT by ConradofMontferrat (According to mudslimze, my handle is a Hate Crime. Hope they don't like it.)
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To: Kaslin
Do More Guns Cause More Crime?

If more guns did cause more crime, no one would leave a gun show alive.

7 posted on 08/04/2012 6:27:59 AM PDT by Islander7 (There is no septic system so vile, so filthy, the left won't drink from to further their agenda)
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To: ontap

IMO neither the guns( or knives—or automobiles -or any other tool made by man) is the problem— in similar understanding laws are no solution for laws are meaningless unless the people have a desire to obey these laws. the problem as always is the individuals who choose not to obey the laws —those
directed by God ,Himself— or those written by humans that can be either legitimate —or not/ depending upon how much or how little they reflect the Laws written by /for God,Himself. The focus ought not be on what man has made-or can make but on the hearts of men.


8 posted on 08/04/2012 6:30:39 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
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To: Kaslin

I think all this focus on the “tools” a deranged mind uses is stupid and nonproductive.

What needs to be focused on, in this and almost ALL other cases, are the psychobabblers that sent these loony toons out into the public in the first place.

Notice, this latest case, you have read REAMS on the weapons, and maybe only one or two pages on his psychobabbler so called doctor who “got a little worried.”

Until we turn our focus on the doctors and the mind bending drugs that they jack their patients up on, nothing will change.

Hey, a 17 year old in China had a bad day, walked into a crowd and killed 5 people and injured a bunch more. Tool used? Butcher knife.

Maybe that was an “assault knife” he had.

Happy Land fire killed 60 in one shot. Tool used? Can of gas and a paper match.

Maybe it was an “assault match”, who knows?


9 posted on 08/04/2012 6:35:28 AM PDT by ConradofMontferrat (According to mudslimze, my handle is a Hate Crime. Hope they don't like it.)
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To: Eye of Unk

How did you know my friend was 70 ? LOL.

Probably because he showed concern that he might have killed someone.


10 posted on 08/04/2012 6:50:46 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: ConradofMontferrat

I must need some more coffee sorry for mt stupid post!!


11 posted on 08/04/2012 6:51:13 AM PDT by ontap
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To: Kaslin

Regardless of what the laws in Colorado say, I firmly believe that if trapped in that theatre with someone shooting at everyone, I would be safer if some of the patrons were armed.


12 posted on 08/04/2012 6:57:49 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: Kaslin
Forget banning assault weapons. You see a guy walking into a theater at midnight with a shotgun, a rifle, and a pistol. Whatcha gonna do?
a. Nuttin'
b. Put a big red 'X' on my shirt and sit smack dab in the middle of the theater
c. Get out of Dodge
I mean, where are people's heads anyway? There's no reason on Earth for someone to show up at a restaurant, a theater, a school cafeteria, etc., with a rifle, a shotgun and a pistol. Leave. Immediately. It's not like it's easy to conceal two long guns. You can see them. Warn others as you're leaving. Don't wait for the shooting to start. If you're a bad mofo, or are armed, there are lots of other things you can do and ought to do that are beyond the scope of this course. Otherwise, get out of town!

Wow, I mean, these crazy shooters often, not always, but often, show up where they have no business being, carrying a rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol. It's a message, loud and clear, projecting their insanity before they start shooting. Why do so many folks not seem to hear it, but sit around like sheep for a few minutes, calmly chewing their cuds, while Mr. Nutso sets up? (PS - Carrying a long box from the florist's into such a public venue is just about as out of place as carrying two unconcealed long guns, especially when Mr. Nutso is all done up in tactical gear)

13 posted on 08/04/2012 7:03:13 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: ontap

LOL,

I too have learned the hard lesson of violating the “no-posting-before-coffee” rule!


14 posted on 08/04/2012 7:10:06 AM PDT by ConradofMontferrat (According to mudslimze, my handle is a Hate Crime. Hope they don't like it.)
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To: Islander7

If more guns did cause more crime, no one would leave a gun show alive.

Good one! Filed for future use.


15 posted on 08/04/2012 7:14:50 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: Kaslin

” Every shotgun shell can spray a half-dozen or more pellets..”

In Aurora, most likely using #1 or #0 buckshot, means 12 or 16 shot per round.

Times either 5 or 8 rounds....
60 to 128 shot


16 posted on 08/04/2012 7:15:31 AM PDT by G Larry (Progressives are Regressive because their objectives devolve to the lowest common denominator.)
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To: ops33

The “everyone-armed” attitude has some positives...but I noticed this story last week....from a Wal-Mart where a guy was reaching into his back-pocket for the billfold and bumped the pistol in his belt...and it went off...shooting himself in the butt (not badly). The clerk went crazy, hit the alarm, and security swarmed in within a minute or two. I’m fairly sure that they will toss at least one minor charge on the guy....stupidly handling the gun. But this brings out this scenario where you tote your pistol around with you constantly, and one day screw up....shooting yourself in the butt, and having neighbors/friends/relatives ask about your butt wound for years and years. I can see having one around in the car or truck....but this idea of carrying one on my person twelve hours a day? I just can’t see that.


17 posted on 08/04/2012 8:01:42 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: ontap

Maybe some were carrying, but chose not to use it?


18 posted on 08/04/2012 8:01:42 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: ontap
You know folks what I don’t understand is Arizona is one of the easiest places to carry a gun yet no one in that theater had one!!!

Maybe because the shooting was in Co

19 posted on 08/04/2012 8:18:05 AM PDT by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: stuartcr
You said: Maybe some were carrying, but chose not to use it?

The Colorado movie theater had postings prohibiting legal guns. 6 of the last 7 mass shootings in the US were in gun free zones.

20 posted on 08/04/2012 9:04:22 AM PDT by TomMix
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To: TomMix

Yes, but that doesn’t mean no one was actually carrying, right? After all, they are concealed weapons. I don’t remember any mention of the authorities checking or verifying that no one in the theater did or did not have a concealed weapon on them.


21 posted on 08/04/2012 9:12:00 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: pepsionice

You may be right. But if I was trapped in the theatre with someone shooting I would give anything if one of the patrons was armed.


22 posted on 08/04/2012 9:46:30 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: pepsionice

... I can see having one around in the car or truck....but this idea of carrying one on my person twelve hours a day? I just can’t see that.

And how would you have felt in the movie theater with your wife and kids, knowing your gun is in the car.

Probably like the doctor who watched her parents killed in the Luby’s in Killeen, TX, knowing she left hers in the car.


23 posted on 08/04/2012 9:54:08 AM PDT by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: stuartcr
When I wrote: The Colorado movie theater had postings prohibiting legal guns. 6 of the last 7 mass shootings in the US were in gun free zones.

I was trying to make the point that Gun Free Postings are dangerous. Mass killers are attracted to places that are posted gun free. That's where they go to shoot up people.

When's the last time you read of a mass shooting at a gun range or a gun show or a gun store?

I'm being serious here. The display of "Gun Free Area" posters attracts mass shooters.

24 posted on 08/04/2012 12:26:35 PM PDT by TomMix
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To: pepsionice
pepsionice said: "....but this idea of carrying one on my person twelve hours a day? I just can’t see that."

There are now, I believe, millions of concealed carry permits throughout the U.S. Every once in a while you read about an unfortunate incident due to a problem carrying the firearm. Imagine how many fatal car accidents those same millions of people experience that get no media notice.

25 posted on 08/04/2012 12:36:18 PM PDT by William Tell
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To: ontap
You know folks what I don’t understand is Arizona is one of the easiest places to carry a gun yet no one in that theater had one!!!

Maybe someone in Arizona could have stopped it, but by the time they drove to Aurora Colorado, it would have been too late.

Maybe they were on the way.

26 posted on 08/04/2012 1:13:08 PM PDT by Dan(9698)
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To: Dan(9698)

Hey Dan, I made this post at 8:51AM. Your post 3:18 PM. Do you really think you were the first to see it was a mistake.


27 posted on 08/04/2012 7:36:59 PM PDT by ontap
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To: TomMix
Carrying an illegal gun if you are not a felon is a misdemeanor in most states. Caught without one in this situation can be a death sentence. I carry concealed and do not have CWP. In this situation if I were to use it no DA in Texas would dare try to charge me....I don't know about New York or other bastions of safety but what ever I would be convicted of is better than dying.
28 posted on 08/04/2012 7:44:24 PM PDT by ontap
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To: ontap

I should have read further down before posting.

Sorry about that.


29 posted on 08/04/2012 8:37:23 PM PDT by Dan(9698)
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To: ontap

Gotta love the typo.

In the old days around here, if someone had caught that early, they could have had fun with it. Who knows? It may have entered the local lexicon.


30 posted on 08/05/2012 1:30:01 AM PDT by BlueDragon
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To: Kaslin
It ain't about "needs", it's about "rights" ! Concealed-carry should be mandatory, and the only law we need about guns is the Second Amendment.
Any other law about guns is an infringement on our rights.
31 posted on 08/05/2012 1:42:30 AM PDT by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die!)
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