Reminders of how simple-minded the proponents of gun control are appear on a daily basis through their social media feeds and their partners in the mainstream media, but there was a recent instance that really struck me. As Bart Hubbuch with the New York Post was emotionally blaming the NRA and its 5 million members for the acts of a violent, deranged thug, he shouted out a “thanks” to New York City for keeping him safe due to its “strict gun laws.”
It’s tough to know where to begin with this sort of thing. I’ll give it a try, but dealing in a thoughtful manner with simpletons like this guy is like trying to explain economic theory to a 5-year-old.
Hubbuch needs to first understand that, according to the FBI, violent crime and homicide rates are at near-historic lows in the United States. This comes at a time when there have never been more gun owners, more guns in civilian hands and more good people carrying concealed firearms daily for protection on the streets—now that all 50 states have at least some sort of concealed-carry system. One could argue that gun laws on the whole in the country are more friendly to freedom-loving Americans today than they have been in five or six decades, thanks to the NRA. Ronald Reagan once said of his opponents, “It isn’t so much that [they] are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”
If Hubbuch’s simple state of mind actually reflected reality, the nation would currently be seeing record high violent crime and homicide rates, not the 40-something-year lows we are experiencing. He is sure that more guns mean more violent crime, but then the stubborn facts from the FBI show he’s wrong. Ronald Reagan once said of his opponents, “It isn’t so much that [they] are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.” If Reagan were alive today, he’d certainly be talking about Hubbuch.
Next, Hubbuch could actually consider New York City’s history with violence and gun laws, but this would require complex thinking and a rudimentary understanding of the principles of causation. The city has arguably had the most restrictive gun laws of any municipality in the country over the last century, beginning with the draconian Sullivan Act of 1911. During much of this time, it has been one of the most violent cities in America, especially during the 1990s.
Should we believe that anyone back then was touting the city’s exceptionally restrictive gun laws as a great success with regard to enhancing personal safety? Maybe Hubbuch was muzzled by the lack of social media at the time. The Big Apple has become much safer over the last 20 or so years, but the gun laws have not changed in any substantive way as the violence subsided.
Maybe more sophisticated thinkers would appropriately be thankful for a slowdown in the street wars associated with crack cocaine distribution. They might want to pat Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back for the law-and-order policies he began, using his vast experience as a prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice. What they can’t reasonably do is give credit to any new gun laws.
If Hubbuch had any interest at all in truth and reality, he might decide to take a look at violent crime rates and gun policies in other jurisdictions. His simple mind would tell him that there is a direct and consistent correlation between the existence of restrictive gun laws and reductions in crime rates. After all, his own big city fits nicely into his preconceived world—at least for the time being. Other factors like the extent of gang activity, drug distribution network prevalence, socioeconomic conditions, catch-and-release justice systems, illegitimacy rates, etc., can be discounted. They have to be in a mind as simple as Hubbuch’s. Overload is real.
Unfortunately for Hubbuch, the facts don’t fit his tidy little narrative. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence isn’t good for much, but it does provide a useful list of states ranked according to how restrictive the gun laws are. An “A” represents its gun-control utopia, and an “F” apparently stands for the freedom it detests so much. Based on his shout-out to New York City, he knows with absolute certainty that the grading system will perfectly predict the state-by-state findings in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program. What did Reagan say again? As advocates of the right to keep and bear arms, we face a number of obstacles. The greatest may be the inability of our opponents to think in unemotional, complex ways.
Brady’s Top 10 List is a list of the states with the highest grades. Of those, only four have a violent crime rate of 300 per 100,000 or lower. Fourteen states that are rated “D” or “F” can boast this. The eight states with the lowest violent crime rates in the country are all rated “D” or “F.” How is it possible that the eight safest states in the country have the least restrictive gun laws according to Brady? Hubbuch’s head is about to blow. Oh, 18 of the 30 cities with the highest homicide rates are all in states ranked in the Brady Top 10. Brady doesn’t rate D.C., but it would be an “A++.” Yet its violent crime rate is a stunning 1300.3. How is their dream gun-control agenda working out for those poor souls?
The complicated truth is that many factors determine violence in America. I would contend that we would be many times more violent if Brady got its way across the country and there was no NRA. It would be hell on earth, with the violent thugs among us never having to fear committing their next act.
John Lott’s research would indicate this is true. Those countries that have enacted widespread Brady-type policies have all experienced dramatic increases in violent crime. To thinking folks, it stands to reason that rendering citizens utterly defenseless against violence is a hopeless strategy. Then, reason is something fairly foreign to Hubbuch and his buddies. Emotion rules their day every day.
As advocates of the right to keep and bear arms, we face a number of obstacles. The greatest may be the inability of our opponents to think in unemotional, complex ways. They cannot be persuaded by the facts. They ravenously consume junk science and anecdotal evidence “confirming” their preconceived notions that gun ownership is always a terrible thing and that their policies will bring peace to the planet.
They know that their policies work just because they sound and feel like they must. It doesn’t matter to them that extensive research by the Department of Justice, National Academy of Sciences, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have never found any link whatsoever between their gun control and reduction in crime, suicides or accidents in this country or any other. Again, they know so many things that just aren’t so.
I have come to the conclusion that radicals like Hubbuch are hopeless. Their minds, for whatever reason, don’t function as they should. However painful it is, we all have to come to grips with this. The sooner we do, the sooner we are able to focus our efforts on the contemplative folks on the middle ground who really do want to be educated and informed. They are the ones we should all work on in order to build our numbers in the never-ending fight to retain and bolster our individual liberties. We need to have our interpersonal advocacy work smarter, not necessarily harder.