Stossel Argues Gun Control Can Increase Crime, 'I Was Once as Clueless as Senator Schumer'

On Thursday’s Stossel show on FBN, host John Stossel devoted the program to making the case that gun control can increase crime rates and that higher rates of gun ownership tend to decrease crime. Stossel admitted that, even as a libertarian, it took time for him to come around to this truth as he and most in the mainstream media live in the New York City liberal bubble, not cognizant of all the states that have passed concealed carry laws and seen crime decrease. During a segment with Dennis Hannigan of the Brady Campaign, the FBN host observed: "Over the years, more and more states changed their laws to allow concealed carry. The mainstream media and my neighbors are so isolated here in New York City and in Washington, D.C., most of us had no clue that carrying a concealed weapon is already legal in the rest of the country. More places all the time, legal guns, and yet crime does keep dropping."

Stossel concluded the show by recounting Britain’s failed experiment with gun bans, and revealed that Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, known for advocating gun control, had declined an invitation to appear on the show to argue his case as the FBN host took a self-deprecating jab at the New York Senator:

I was once as clueless as Senator Schumer. Now I admit I was wrong about guns laws. Fewer guns don’t necessarily mean less crime. The opposite may be true. About 10 years ago, a mass shooting in the United Kingdom led Britain to pass one of the toughest gun control laws in the world. ... This did not decrease crime. In fact, gun-related crime merely doubled after the ban passed. Crime increased in Britain while it decreased in America. ... Britain just took guns away from the good guys, the people who obey the law. Doing that makes crime easier for the bad guys. The truth is gun control is not crime control.

During a segment with University of Chicago Professor John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime – a segment which also included the Brady Campaign’s Hannigan – Stossel recounted: "We have this chart from your book that shows violent crime rates after concealed carry laws passed. Here it is for murder. It’s impressive. After the law passed, crime went down."

Next came a discussion of the issue of concealed carry on college campuses, which included advocates on both sides of the issue. David Burnett of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus notably contended: "I would point you to two colleges in Colorado. One of them banned guns in 2003. The other one decided they would allow guns. On the campus that allowed guns, the crime dropped like a rock. And on the campus that banned guns, the crime went up."

Stossel then hosted a segment which included Suzanna Hupp, who has lobbied against gun control in response to losing her parents in a mass shooting at a time when it was illegal to carry guns into restaurants in Texas. Also included was Nikki Goeser, whose husband was shot to death in front of her in a Tennessee bar where she was not legally allowed to bring her own gun for self-defense. And Mark Walters of Armed America Radio recounted the time he defended himself from being carjacked by brandishing a weapon to scare off his attacker.

The FBN host then moved to focus on the effort to overturn Chicago’s handgun ban, and featured Chicago resident and plaintiff Otis McDonald. Stossel recounted the case of D.C.’s gun ban that was overturned by the Supreme Court two years ago, and how changes in the law affected crime in the city: "Murder and other gun violence have dropped in D.C. since the Supreme Court overturned the handgun ban. And let's now go back 35 years to when Washington passed its gun ban. In the years that followed, crime went up compared to other big cities and compared to the rest of America. Fewer guns, more crime."

As he concluded the show, Stossel reminded viewers that he used to be wrong about gun control like the rest of the mainstream media, and showed a clip of Senator Schumer, whom he called a "silly politician," arguing in favor of trigger locks for guns:

JOHN STOSSEL: I once wrote a book about myths with the subtitle, "Everything You Know is Wrong." And that applied to me. It turned out so much of what I and my colleagues in the liberal media thought was true was just wrong. But, of course, I live here in New York City. We have all kinds of silly beliefs. We also have silly politicians who say things like this:

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Let me ask a simple question: If an aspirin bottle can have a safety lock, why not a gun?

After pointing out that "you don’t suddenly need to open an aspirin bottle for self-defense," the FBN host went on to recount his show’s unsuccessful offer to allow Schumer to appear, and informed viewers of the negative effects of strict gun laws in Britain.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, June 24, Stossel show on FBN:

JOHN STOSSEL: Concealed carry terrifies a lot of people, and many people would be shocked to how many states already allow it. And here, I think, is a really cool map that shows which states already have it. States that have concealed carry laws are colored yellow. This is the law in 1986 – that’s 25 years ago. Over the years, more and more states changed their laws to allow concealed carry. The mainstream media and my neighbors are so isolated here in New York City and in Washington, D.C., most of us had no clue that carrying a concealed weapon is already legal in the rest of the country. More places all the time, legal guns, and yet crime does keep dropping.

...

STOSSEL: We have this chart from your book that shows violent crime rates after concealed carry laws passed. Here it is for murder. It’s impressive. After the law passed, crime went down.

...

DAVID BURNETT, STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY ON CAMPUS: I would point you to two colleges in Colorado. One of them banned guns in 2003. The other one decided they would allow guns. On the campus that allowed guns, the crime dropped like a rock. And on the campus that banned guns, the crime went up.

...

The college in Colorado, there’s not very many colleges that allow them. The college at Colorado, the sheriff there is a big fan of it, and he went to the college, and he said, "No, do not ban this. This works. Nobody is irresponsible. Everything is good."

...

STOSSEL: If you're an adult in America, do you have the right to own a gun? Thirty-five years ago Washington, D.C. said no. They passed a law that banned handguns. That law was challenged in court, and, two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled the ban was unconstitutional. The mayor was upset.

MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY (D-WASHINGTON, D.C.): More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence.

STOSSEL: But that didn't happen. In fact, murder and other gun violence have dropped in D.C. since the Supreme Court overturned the handgun ban. And let's now go back 35 years to when Washington passed its gun ban. In the years that followed, crime went up compared to other big cities and compared to the rest of America. Fewer guns, more crime. It's counterintuitive, but it does seem to be true. Gun rights' supporters were excited when the Supreme Court overturned the Washington law, but that case was not the big one because it just applies to D.C., the federal property. The big case that's being debated now by the Supreme Court, and next week or maybe even tomorrow the court is expected to announce its decision. The case is called McDonald versus Chicago. If the court sides with McDonald, it would apply the right to bear arms to people in all cities. The lead plaintiff in that lawsuit is Otis McDonald. Here's an interview done with him by Fox's Chicago affiliate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: In the 38 years that you've lived here, how many times have you been burglarized?

OTIS MCDONALD, CHICAGO RESIDENT: The house three times, the garage twice.

STOSSEL: McDonald lives in a Chicago neighborhood that he says has been taken over by gangs and drug dealers.

REPORTER: He says he'd feel safer if he had a handgun by his bed, but then he'd be breaking Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban. Why is owning a gun important?

MCDONALD: When my life is threatened, I'd like to be able to at least feel that I can protect myself.

STOSSEL: Chicago's lawyer who opposes giving McDonald a gun wouldn't come on to defend the ban, so, Dennis Hannigan from the Brady Campaign is back to give Chicago's side. Also with us is the lawyer who argued McDonald's case before the Supreme Court. But before we go to the lawyers, let's go to the plaintiffs, 76-year-old Otis McDonald. So, Mr. McDonald, you own a shotgun. Isn't that enough? You want a handgun, too?

MCDONALD: Yes. I own a shotgun for hunting game.

STOSSEL: Isn't that enough?

MCDONALD: No.

STOSSEL: Why?

MCDONALD: I don’t think it would be efficient enough for me to handle in close quarters with a would-be killer or something like that.

...

STOSSEL: I once wrote a book about myths with the subtitle, "Everything You Know is Wrong." And that applied to me. It turned out so much of what I and my colleagues in the liberal media thought was true was just wrong. But, of course, I live here in New York City. We have all kinds of silly beliefs. We also have silly politicians who say things like this:

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Let me ask a simple question: If an aspirin bottle can have a safety lock, why not a gun?

STOSSEL: Well, Senator Schumer, you don’t suddenly need to open an aspirin bottle for self-defense. There is a difference. We asked the Senator to join us on this program. His office said they’d call us back, but they didn’t. I was once as clueless as Senator Schumer. Now I admit I was wrong about guns laws. Fewer guns don’t necessarily mean less crime. The opposite may be true. About 10 years ago, a mass shooting in the United Kingdom led Britain to pass one of the toughest gun control laws in the world. When the law passed, Britain seemed to get safer by the minute if you watched as officials made sure cameras were there as 160,000 newly illegal firearms were forked over by law-abiding citizens and sent to be melted down in an incinerator. But the real result?

This did not decrease crime. In fact, gun-related crime merely doubled after the ban passed. Crime increased in Britain while it decreased in America. This shouldn't come as a surprise if you consider just two things. Criminals usually don't obey laws. That’s why we call them criminals. And gun laws never totally get rid of guns. England’s ban didn’t magically eliminate all British handguns. Officials estimate a quarter million illegal weapons are still in circulation. Britain just took guns away from the good guys, the people who obey the law. Doing that makes crime easier for the bad guys. The truth is gun control is not crime control.