This feature appears in the October ‘15 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
Give yourself and your fellow gun owners credit where credit is due. Those of us who have a gun at home and those of us who carry a concealed handgun for protection are helping to make America a safer place. While those arrayed against us will never agree, the facts are the facts.
We know from news reports that Americans use guns to stop crimes each and every day across the country. We also know that even more crimes are never attempted because perpetrators fear that their would-be victims are armed. That’s not just idle speculation. A major study conducted for the federal government found that 40 percent of imprisoned felons had decided not to commit one or more crimes out of fear that their prospective victims were armed.Not only does the number of crimes deterred vastly exceed the number of criminals killed and crimes thwarted, but the numbers cited by the anti-gunners are notoriously inaccurate.
The word is deterrence.
Gun-ban advocates Josh Sugarmann and Kristen Rand, otherwise known as the Violence Policy Center (VPC), ought to look up the word in the dictionary sometime. Recently, they pretended there’s no such thing as deterrence, claiming that firearms are “rarely … used in self-defense.” They made this implausible claim based on two things: that in 2012, law enforcement agencies reported only 259 justifiable homicides to the FBI; and that the federal government’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) indicates that there were only 235,700 defensive uses of firearms against violent crimes between 2007 and 2011.
Not only does the number of crimes deterred vastly exceed the number of criminals killed and crimes thwarted, but the numbers cited by the anti-gunners are notoriously inaccurate. According to award-winning criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University, “FBI counts of civilian justifiable homicides represent only a minority of all civilian legal defensive homicides,” and justifiable homicides actually account for between 6 and 13 percent of all homicides annually.
Kleck has also pointed out that numerous other estimates of defensive gun use yield much higher numbers than those derived from the NCVS. As a result, “[t]he NCVS estimate is radically wrong is now beyond serious dispute”—except among gun control supporters. Kleck would know, as his groundbreaking work showed that firearms are used in self-defense approximately 2.5 million times a year.
Further proof that Americans being armed reduces crime comes from a new study by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), led by John R. Lott Jr., a former chief economist for the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Noting that the number of people with concealed-carry permits has reached an all-time high of 12.8 million, the study finds that the increasing number of permit holders is associated with a decrease in murder and total violent crime.
Between 2007 and 2014, CPRC found that as permit numbers have increased, “murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25 percent drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156 percent. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.” CPRC notes that murder and violent crime rates were lower in the 25 states with the highest permit rates.
Furthermore, CPRC notes that murder and violent crime rates were lower in the 25 states with the highest permit rates. Although VPC and other anti-gun groups have absurdly attempted to paint permit holders as irresponsible potential law-breakers, CPRC found that permit holders are convicted of crimes at a lower rate than even law enforcement officers in some states.
Despite this reality, the anti-gun crowd presses on to eliminate our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones from violent attack. You might ask why.
To put it simply, they are desperate to undermine the role of guns in self-defense because they know that protection of life and liberty stands at the core of the Second Amendment. Throughout history, gun control of all manner and form has been about this very basic and fundamental issue. Gun control supporters try to claim they only want to prevent crime, but crime has declined as gun control restrictions have been eliminated. And yet, they continue to push their agenda.
As we know, what they’ve always wanted is to eliminate gun ownership. This is their bottom line. But make no mistake, with our continued efforts, we can make sure that the gun control agenda remains unfulfilled while our goal—a safer America—wins the day.