Gun Control: Signs of Desperation

It is a sight to behold when a journalist is so enthralled by anti-self-defense fantasy that they would contradict themselves and publicly display ignorance of the facts, especially in a newspaper nicknaming itself The Facts.

Michael Morris, assistant managing editor of the online version of the Brazosport Facts, is not happy with the Harrold school district's decision to allow trained staff carry concealed handguns on campus. Morris's editorial quickly leaps into hyperbole:

The argument is that if teachers were armed at the time these shootings started, the carnage could have been reduced or eliminated entirely. Or, some say, the idea of handguns on campus would serve as a deterrent to a would-be gunman even thinking about assaulting a school or its students.

These are fine theories put forth by those who believe every American, everywhere, at any time should be able to whip out an assault weapon, no questions asked.1

In his book The Bias Against Guns, John Lott examined the relationship between gun availability and multiple murders. He concluded:

If right-to-carry [liberal concealed carry] laws allow citizens to limit the amount of attacks that still take place, the number of persons harmed should fall relative to the number of shootings... And indeed, that is what we find. The average number of people dying or becoming injured per attack declines by around 50 percent.2

Lott also found that both the total number and rate of multiple murders in right-to-carry states are one-third that of restrictive states.3 It is no accident that nearly all mass murders occur where schools and businesses bar law-abiding gun owners from carrying.

Morris suggested hiring a school resource officer--a police officer in the school4--yet stated that police only hit their intended target 20% of the time. Though he implies that police are better-trained shooters than civilians, he cites no data showing that concealed carry licensees are more dangerous.

Morris said "the number of accidental gun deaths involving children 14 and younger has gone down precipitously in recent years" yet he believes guns don't belong in schools.5 This apparent contradiction bears examination.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that between 1995 and 2005 the accidental firearm death rate for children decreased 60.3%, outpacing the non-firearm drop of 23.1%. These decreases are consistent across categories. Children's firearms homicide rate dropped 52.2% while the non-firearms rate decreased only 11.9%. Children's firearms suicide rate decreased 56.2%, but the non-firearms suicide rate increased 17.9%. Texas's child mortality rate trends for these categories compare favorably: overall firearms mortality, -57.6% (better than U.S. trend); firearms homicide, -51.9% (slightly worse by only 0.3%), firearms suicide, -72.7% (much better), and accidental firearms death, -61.0% (slightly better).6 These data show that America's children have become far safer in relationship to firearms, despite the 4.9 million firearms sold annually during this time period.7 More guns correlates with lower rates of firearms mortality for children.

Morris states: "Simply put, the answer to gun violence in schools - or society in general - will not be found in the barrel of a gun." 8 In 2006, states like Texas that license law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns had a 27.3% lower violent crime rate, and a 33.3% lower murder rate, than states without liberal concealed carry laws.9

In 2001, the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics asked 201,881 people across the country if they kept firearms at home. Collating this survey data with CDC mortality data and FBI crime data shows that states with the lowest levels of firearms ownership had the highest rates of overall homicide, firearms homicide and non-firearms homicide. States with the highest firearms ownership rates had the lowest rates in all three homicide categories, as well as the lowest violent crime rates. More guns correlates with less murder and violent crime.10

Morris says:

They've distilled what could be a legitimate security discussion into the simplistic ideal that the right to bear arms means everyone should be walking around loaded for bear.11

This anti-self-defense stance espouses the simplistic ideal that restricting the right to bear arms makes everyone safer, but the facts show otherwise.

About the Author

Howard Nemerov is a columnist for Texas State Rifle Association's TSRA Sportsman and "unofficial" investigative analyst for NRA News. His new book, Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn't It Working?, deconstructs the gun control agenda. He can be reached at HNemerov [at sign] Netvista.net.

Endnotes

[1] Michael Morris, Guns on campus not best means of security, Brazosport Facts, August 27, 2008. http://stories.thefacts.com/story.lasso?ewcd=5b99628a10f8947b

2 John R. Lott, Jr., The Bias Against Guns, page 123.

3 Ibid, page 107.

4 SRO Concept, Texas Association of School Resource Officers. http://www.tasro.org/html/sro.html

5 Michael Morris, Guns on campus not best means of security, Brazosport Facts.

6 Find relevant data at: WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999 - 2005, Centers for Disease Control. http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html or email request for spreadsheet.

7 Small Arms Production in the United States, National Shooting Sports Foundation, 2008. Compiled into Excel spreadsheet; email request for copy.

8 Michael Morris, Guns on campus not best means of security, Brazosport Facts.

9 Uniform Crime Reporting data compiled into spreadsheet; email request for copy.

10 For more in-depth examination of this data, see Howard Nemerov, Is Philadelphia's Violence Due to Firearms Availability, News With Views, May 28, 2008. http://www.newswithviews.com/Nemerov/howard1.htm

11 Michael Morris, Guns on campus not best means of security, Brazosport Facts.