Rusty Guns

Rusty Guns Copyright Sandy Long

One of my favorite word pictures of any pro-gun ad is the one that says, “A gun can lie on a table until it rusts and will not harm anyone until someone picks it up and pulls the trigger.” Powerful word imagery that tells the whole story of gun crimes in a nutshell is it not. Anti gun lobbyists fuel their fight to increase laws that ban guns from citizen’s hands with junk science.

Laws have been passed recently to try to control the buying and selling of guns at gun shows and shops while ignoring the huge black market that exists where criminals can buy guns. The black market grows with every new law restricting gun ownership.

From the NRA: “The black market is responsible for the estimated 1 to 2 million guns illegally possessed by 8 million New York City residents, even after a century of punishing Sullivan Law licensing regulations.”

There has been a larger push to control supply-side support of the black market through pro-active police action and stricter licensing laws, citing some control in the short term in the black market sales of firearms in high crime areas of Chicago slums. Economist R. T. Naylor explained, “Never in history has there been a black market defeated from the supply side . . . .”

Supply-side controls, like the Sullivan Law’s handgun licensing requirement, merely serve to increase availability of, and profits from, the illegal item or service. Phillip J. Cook, an anti gun criminologist, wrote an article titled “Underground Gun Markets.” After publication, Cook and his researchers stated that their findings “stand in contrast to conventional wisdom in the sociology and criminology literatures . . . . There may remain some question whether our data are misleading.”

Cook, along with co-author Jens Ludwig wrote a book “Gun Violence: The Real Costs” In the book, they came up with supposedly accurate statistics about how much gun crime costs, $100 billion per year. Paul Gallant and Joann Eisen, authors of the book, “Post Heller Junk Science” explain how Cook and Ludwig came up with this figure. “To come up with this figure, they conducting a survey of 1,204 adults, they asked respondents if they would pay $50, or $100, or $200 in increased taxes in order to reduce firearm-related crime by 30 percent. They then extrapolated their figure to arrive at what the total number of households in the U.S. would be willing to pay to eliminate firearm-related violence by 100 percent. Adding in jury costs and other estimated costs; they came up with their huge cost of gun crimes.” Cook and Ludwig did admit that by coming up with that figure “they hoped that they would “provide some leverage in moving the policy debate ….”

New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) April 3, 2008, published an article by Dr. Garen J. Wintemute, an M.D. with a master’s in public health, entitled “Guns, Fear, the Constitution and the Public’s Health.” In the article, Wintemute used the statistic that, in 2005, 30,694 people “died from gunshot wounds.” Dr. Wintemute got this figure from the CDC. In the CDC’s June 28, 2006, National Vital Statistics Report: Preliminary Data for 2004 listed firearm-related homicides in the U.S. at 11,250 and firearm-related suicides at 16,603 (which is not about method, but motivation). By using the combined number, Wintemute maximizes the perceived danger firearms pose to society.

In an Oct. 7, 1993, NEJM article entitled “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home,” Dr. Arthur Kellermann and his co-authors stated, “keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide. A gun kept in the home is far more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than it is to be used to kill in self-defense. In light of these observations and our present findings, people should be strongly discouraged from keeping guns in their homes.”

If one takes the time to read the complete study, one finds that approximately two-thirds of the offenders lived apart from the victims and more than likely brought the firearm to the scene of the crime. To slant their findings further, the authors counted both criminals and their prey as victims, even those “killed by police in the line of duty.” They even labeled four police officers as “offenders.”

Following the money trail behind why reputable scientists would slant findings like this, Kellermann received over $3 million in taxpayer money for numerous papers of this nature. Dr. Wintemute again got into the act over private gun ownership used in defense of the gun owner by disputing Gary Kleck’s 1995 research with Marc Gertz on the self-defensive use of guns. From the NRA: “ Wintemute claimed that Kleck’s figure of 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGUs) was “too high by a factor of 10,” citing as the sole basis for his claim a research paper authored by anti-gun researcher Dr. David Hemenway, “Survey Research and Self-Defensive Gun Use: An Explanation of Extreme Overestimates.”

He (Wintemute) did not report that anti-gun criminologist Marvin E. Wolfgang wrote, in an article entitled “A Tribute to a View I Have Opposed,” “The methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it.”

“Guns do not kill people, people kill people” is another one of my favorite pro gun word pictures. It evokes the true picture of responsible gun owner ship and the role that guns play in criminal behavior. Anti gun lobbyists may win in the end but that will not keep guns out of criminal’s hands. Even if it did, when the common citizen no longer has the right to own a gun legally, the criminal can use a knife to commit his crimes, who is going to stop him, the victim with a rolled up newspaper?

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