Gun Control Won’t Make Mass Shootings Less Likely to Happen, Academic Says

  • Affirmative Argument Week 3

By: Joseph Ng

An article by Christopher Goins titled, “Gun Control Won’t Make Mass Shootings Less Likely to Happen, Academic Says,” contains support from author John Lott who wrote “More Guns, Less Crime,” that debunks common beliefs concerning gun control. Too often people are quick to blame the presence of guns for the violence and mass shootings that occur through the United States. Goins and Lott address popular issues and explain why it is not necessarily the guns that people should be worried about, but rather how people are using them. A lot of arguments have appeared since the shooting in Aurora, Colorado in a movie theater. First, the movie theater had a “no guns allowed” policy. However, this did not stop the act of violence and Lott argues that regulations and rules “actually make them (mass shootings} more likely to happen. They don’t stop those events from occurring.”

The main argument of the article is what Lott just mentioned. There is belief that more strict gun regulations and rules on guns may make mass shootings more likely to happen. Goins and Lott explain that gun control is not the answer. Lott continues to explain that “laws that restrict gun ownership do nothing to deter someone who’s decided to fire on fellow citizens,” rather it was already pre-meditated or a decision was made before they opened fire.

The next argument states that even if a location is a gun-free zone, it will not stop the shooter from breaking the law. Almost all cases of public shootings have taken place where concealed handguns are not allowed. It is publicly known that carrying a gun around, even a handgun, if you are not a police officer is seen as deviant behavior, as in it is not commonly acceptable. However, when someone makes the decision to shoot innocent citizens, they have taken their place as a law-abiding citizen out of the equation.

Later, Lott explains that any argument that makes guns bad and easier for people to kill others, there is an argument for people to use guns for self-defense. The counter to ban all semi-automatic weapons is that they can benefit someone who needs to defend themselves. In relation to self defense, there is an issue with killings occurring in a gunowner’s home which comes from the claim that guns are more likely to end up killing someone you know. Lott picks apart this argument by recognizing that “if you own a gun in the home and you died from a gunshot that it was that gun that was used in the death.” The data shows that the majority of killings occurring in a home have occurred from weapons being brought from the outside.

Another argument is guns being used as part of suicide attempts. Lott provides statistics that “14 percent of the deaths that were being attributed to guns being in the home could actually be attributed to those guns in the home” the remaining 86 percent were from weapons brought from outside. Instead of looking at each scenario on a larger scale, it is important to observe each situation as its own. As a whole, guns look bad because of acts of violence and crime, but each situation is different.

The final topic that Lott argues is the ease of obtaining guns and using them to kill other people. Lott claims that the “cities that have the highest murder rates, they are the ones that tend to adopt the strictest gun control laws.” This statement piggybacks  off the idea that most crime involving guns happens from a weapon that is brought from the outside.

While this article did not provide many statistics, it gave a new perspective and outlook on gun control. Lott’s explanation and counter arguments to gun control emphasized how important it is to look at the individual situation rather than gun violence as a whole. The media portrays guns as the problem, but Goins and Lott target the individuals who commit the crimes and create the mayhem of mass shootings. If someone is willing to murder others, the law does not register in their mind.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/gun-control-won-t-make-mass-shootings-less-likely-happen-academic-says

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Department of Justice Study Declares Gun Possession as a Crime Deterrent

Affirmative Argument

By: Sam Bourassa

A study conducted by professors of the Social and Demographic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, James D. Wright and Peter Rossi, provides strong evidence in opposition to this common belief that less guns will equal less crime. This study, funded by the Department of Justice, allowed the researchers to interview 1,874 convicted felons in 10 different states about how they felt victim’s gun possession would affect their decisions to commit crimes. The results were indisputable:

81% of interviewees agreed that a “smart criminal” will try to determine if a potential victim is armed

74% indicated that burglars avoided occupied dwellings, because of fear of being shot

57% said that most criminals feared armed citizens more than the police

40% of the felons said that they had been deterred from committing a particular crime, because they believed that the potential victim was armed.

57% of the felons who had used guns themselves said that they had encountered potential victims who were armed.

34% of the criminal respondents said that they had been scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed citizen.

It should be noted that these researcher’s original belief was that strict gun control would prevent crime, however the evidence was conclusive enough to change both researcher’s beliefs.

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The logic is simple; when a potential victim is armed, suddenly attempting to victimize the citizen is much more dangerous for the offender. Further evidence of this fact can be found everywhere, both nationally and globally. In 1982, the city of Kennesaw Georgia mandated gun ownership in every home (with some exceptions, such as religious conflictions). After the implementation of this law, the city saw an 89% decrease in crime. It is true that crime in general was on the decline during these years anyway, but the 89% decrease is much more drastic compared to the 10% crime decrease in the remainder of the state

Globally, one can look at countries such as Russia or Norway to see the lack of effect that gun control has on crime rates. A study was conducted by the University of Harvard which compared the United State’s homicide rates with the homicide rates of dozens of other countries of varying gun control laws. Russia, which had less than half of the amount of firearms in the country than the U.S. did, still had three times the amount of homicides per capita. In contrast, Norway, which had nearly three times the amount of firearms in the country than the U.S., had a mere one-fifth of the amount of homicides per capita. Clearly, if any relationship exists between gun control and violent crime rates, it’s that civilian gun ownership prevents crime.

Cruz, Jennifer “Harvard Study Concludes That Gun Control Does Not Prevent Murders, Other Violent Crime.” Gunscom. 30 September, 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.

This article summarizes the study conducted by Harvard quite nicely. Tables are presented which only discredit the theory that gun control prevents crime. Countries other than Russia and Norway can also be examined to see the same effect, though these are admittedly the most notable countries for this argument.

Hamilton, Jonathan & Burch, David. “Gun Ownership – It’s The Law in Kennesaw.” Rense.com. Accessed on 15, November 2014. Retrieved from: http://rense.com/general9/gunlaw.htm

This article examines the affects of Kennesaw, Georgia’s mandatory gun ownership law. The evidence is very conclusive. When the likelihood of a victim having a gun is increased (or in this case, nearly guaranteed), crime rates will drop.

Wright and Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms (N.Y.: Aldine de Gruyter, 1986)

In this study, 1,874 inmates were interviewed on how greater gun ownership would affect their willingness to commit crimes. Coming from criminals themselves, I find this to be indisputable evidence that gun ownership is a great deterrent of crime.

Constitutionality of Firearms / Causation and Correlation

Constitutionality of Firearms

Affirmative Argument Week 1

By Andrew Zuckerman

During the wee hours of Sunday, October 19, 2014 as the University of Maryland was wrapping up its Homecoming festivities at the McDonalds along Baltimore Ave, a stone throw away from the main campus,  a fight broke out on the counter. As the altercation escalated into a full on brawl, the security guard at the location faced significant danger and was forcefully put to the ground by the gang of men. Needing to react quickly the security drew his weapon and fired a shot. But it he hit a bystander, the brawl in the McDonalds ended swiftly prior to any further escalation. Though a side debate can be made over the urgency to give this particular security guard a weapon when he missed his intended target, that is not part of the debate at hand. Rather the need for the security guard at a McDonalds to posse, possibly even own, a weapon in response to the environment of where he works to protect himself is vital. He had a gun for the constitutional rights previously mentioned, being necessary to protect the patrons of the McDonalds from harm and provide them a safe atmosphere. In response to the incident the three individuals he clashed with have been charged with disorderly conduct with one of them, Clarence Kirksey-Walcott, also being charged with second-degree assault. Yet at this moment no charges have been filed against the security guard for his actions that night.

mcdonalds sign

This example though may seem foolish to have taken place in a McDonalds compared to the general theme of protection of the public from major enemies, is a clear and present reason for the ownership and possession of firearms by individuals, be it police officers, security guards, or common Americans, to insure, provide, and secure justice, domestic tranquility, defense, general welfare, and liberty for the public of the U.S. from immoral and plainly rotten people of society.

While every debate over firearms in the country brings up the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms as a basis for the necessity of guns more so the U.S. Constitution provides an overall document for needing some type of weapon.  The constitution preamble states “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”. Important in that highly quoted text is the ability to insure, provide, and secure, all words associated with the need for protection by the people to ensure they live blissfully under the banner of the United States of America.

Even though any astute person can provide numerous reasons for the necessity of gun control laws, these same measures need not infringe upon the Constitutional rights of the people just because a small percentage of bad apples in this country have taken it upon themselves to act villainously with machines designed to provide for the safety and livelihood of the public. The demand for personal gun ownership is such that those same villains need to be stopped if they infringe upon the righteous and moral classes of America.

For the basis of gun ownership played a major role in forming the country where as a well regulated militia of the people for the protection of the country brought about stability and respect within the world powers. Ownership of guns in the U.S. harps back to the first Europeans arriving on the Atlantic Coast and has been a steady part of society ever since. From providing protection on the Western Frontier from outlaws and Native American attacks to the security of city dwellers guns have played an important role in American history. Though it may seem like a rigid example for the common thought of a split country, when the South went to war, many in the Confederacy’s standing army and local states’ militia used their own firearms to defend their home. For this the only reason why the Confederacy was able to stand for how long as it did was for their prior inclusion under the U.S. Constitution and Second Amendment. Thus because for the safety and protection provided by personal gun ownership the American Way and Constitution providing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all has not been trampled or driven out after 237 years of existence and will be steadfast for centuries to come.

Annotated Citations:

The sources used in this blog post have a direct correlation to the second amendment. The second amendment is for the protection of the American people because it gives them the right of defense. 

“Preamble.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/preamble&gt;.

The preamble of the constitution is the foundation in which America’s rights stem from. The second amendment is the ‘right to bear arms’. 

Snow, Jeremy. “Three Men Charged with Disorderly Conduct after McDonald’s Shooting.” The Diamondback. The Diamonback, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.diamondbackonline.com/news/article_79463358-58cb-11e4-8ada-001a4bcf6878.html&gt;.

The local example of the accident in McDonald in which a security guard was attacked and accidentally shot a bystander is an example of how guns should continue to be allowed for self defense in public even though accidents can happen. 

Civil War Trust. “Small Arms of the Civil War.” Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. <http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/warfare-and-logistics/warfare/smallarms.html&gt;.

The right to bear arms has been imprinted in the American culture since the colonization. Without the use of arms in previous decades the way of life would have been impaired and the ability of prosper as a nation and people would have been impeded. 

Causation and Correlation 

Critique/Refutation Week 1

by: Mona Zaini

The Boston Globe has an article titled “The Gun Toll we’re ignoring: suicide“.  The article takes a different approach at advocating for gun control in case murder statistics were not enough. The statistics in this article show that states with more guns have more suicides, however I would disagree that the two correlations are directly causational. The article admits that there is no evidence proving that gun owners are more likely to commit suicide however the trend can be explained. Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming appear to have the highest suicide rates, and yes, more than 50% of the households contain guns,  but there is no evidence to prove that suicides result from this.

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Instead, the high rate of suicide may stem from a sense of isolation. All three states are under-populated and frankly, depressing because of it. Similarly, the same isolation would encourage households to own a gun, because if there are no other houses within a mile or yours, and the closest police station is fifteen miles away, you’re going to want to protect yourself with a firearm. Hawaii displays a low ownership of guns yet has a high suicide rate, which would only enforce the theory of isolation. In fact, most of the high-suicide states could also be considered isolated states(West Virginia, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, etc). States such as New York, New Jersey, and California would generally be considered among the least isolated states and consequentially have very low suicide rates(as well as less of a need for a firearm in the home). As a result of having a gun accessible, people hailing from the isolated high-suicide rate states may be more likely to commit suicide with a gun. In Montana, 66% of suicides used firearms.

It is the sad truth that those who attempt suicide with a firearm are much more likely to succeed than by any other method. It is not to say, however, that there would be significantly less suicide attempts if guns were not abundant in these states, there would perhaps be less successes. Hawaii has one of the highest suicide attempt rates, greatly outnumbering Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming. It’s just that most people in Hawaii aren’t likely to succeed—for every 1 suicide death, there are 27 attempts. The lesson should be to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, not out of the hands of everyone else. The only real conclusion I can gather from this article is that people who live in isolated areas are more likely to own guns to protect themselves from danger and those same people are depressed and suicidal over their isolated situation. Conversely, states with dense populations are more likely to have gun murders than suicides(think inner city). The District of Columbia overwhelming has the highest rate of firearm deaths, a distant second would be Maryland. Both of these states have relatively low gun-suicide rates.

The people who are committing suicide with firearms vary greatly from those who use firearms to commit murder. Suicide is more common in isolated areas while murder is more common in densely populated areas.

Each gun represents 100 deaths by firearm in 2010.

Citation:

Neyfakh, Leon. “The Gun Toll We’re Ignoring: Suicide – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com. The Boston Globe, 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/01/20/the-gun-toll-ignoring-suicide/xeWBHDHEvvagfkRlU3CfZJ/story.html&gt;.

Additional sources in favor of the second amendment and how it should continue to be enacted in today’s society.

 NRA Video, “Commentators Ep. 100: “Our Founding Fathers Weren’t Stupid” With Billy Johnson”. 

This NRA video comments on how guns and technology should not not hinder the second amendment. 

John R. Lott Jr, More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws  

Do guns increase crime, or is it just a myth?

One of the best 2nd amendment gun speech

This video shows the reaction of a veteran and the implementation of regulations on guns.

Suicide Prevention

If you are thinking of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-8255