It’s a common refrain from “progressives”: “Let’s regulate guns like we do cars!” The problems with this idea are manifold—but as Forbes’ Chris Conover pointed out Tuesday, the entire thing is based on a false equivalency.
In 2013, there were about 350 million guns in the U.S., and about 269 million vehicles. However, the total number of deaths involving guns and involving cars was roughly equal: About 33,000.
Eliminating suicides—as well as firearm homicides and their corollary, non-driver victims of drunk driving—reveals the number of accidental deaths. Here the differences are even more stark: 1.4 per million guns, and 36.2 non-driver accidental deaths per million vehicles. “In short,” Conover explains, “the typical car is 25 times as likely to kill someone accidentally as the typical gun.”
So if gun-banners really cared about saving lives, they’d ask, “Why don’t we redirect the time and money we spend attempting to regulate and vilify guns, toward making people better drivers?”
Will "Feelings" Fell The Bill Of Rights?
Last Friday, the NRA filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Friedman v. City of Highland Park. In April, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in that case allowing a Chicago-area ordinance banning “assault weapons or large-capacity magazines (10+ rounds)” to stand. You recall that ruling—in the justification for upholding the gun ban, the court did so on the basis that it “may increase the public’s sense of safety.”
The NRA fears the Bill of Rights will effectively be destroyed if the government is permitted to trample constitutional rights according to perceived public feelings and fears. The Association’s “friend of the court” brief urges the Supreme Court to accept the case to correct the majority decision’s blatant defiance of Supreme Court precedent. Following the filing, Highland Park can now respond before the Supreme Court decides whether it will hear the case.
California Gun Owners Catch A Break
California firearm owners caught a rare break last week. Eastern District Federal Judge Anthony Ishii ruled in favor of several individual and organizational plaintiffs when he struck down a 10-day waiting period buried in the penal code.
The resulting court order compels the unobstructed, undelayed release of firearms to buyers who pass a background check, and possess a valid CA license to carry a handgun—hardly a worrisome demographic.
“This is one more example of how our judicial branch brings balance to government in order to insure our liberty,” said Donald Kilmer, lead attorney in the suit. “I am elated that we were able to successfully vindicate the (Second Amendment) rights of our clients.”
Gun Sales Soar Over Time As Violent Crime Drops To Half
On Aug. 28, the National Rifle Association presented ATF and FBI data showing Americans have purchased over 170 million new firearms since 1991, and during that same time violent crimes have declined by 51 percent.
The information corresponds with the findings of a Congressional Research Service (CRS) study covering the slightly shorter period of time from 1994 to 2009. Between those years, CRS found that Americans purchased approximately 118 million firearms, and the 1993 “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” rate of 6.6 per 100,000 fell to 3.6 per 100,000 by the year 2000. It eventually fell all the way to 3.2 per 100,000 in 2011, more than a 50-percent reduction.
In 2009, the CRS study ended and Obama took office. Gun sales have reached record levels, rising from 118 million in 2009 to 170 million. Combined with decreasing violence, the key takeaway is simple—more guns equal less crime.
Sharpton Group Demands Task Force For Gun Control
The National Action Network, a lobbying organization founded by the stridently anti-gun Rev. Al Sharpton—and implicated with him in claims of exploiting companies for donations by threatening damaging boycotts—held a press conference this week in front of the State House in Columbia, S.C. The group announced that there have been 51 homicides this year in the tri-county area, constituting a “state of emergency.”
The group requested that Gov. Nikki Haley form a task force for the specific purpose of “… track[ing] where these guns are coming from.” While the National Action Network largely confined its focus to illegal firearms, we will be watching to see how soon the narrative will shift to comprehensive gun control. Sharpton could use a win after his big push for tighter gun regulations spectacularly backfired in Chicago in December 2013.
Disabled Maine Retiree Buys Gun, Uses It To Stop Burglary That Night
A retiree whose apartment had been robbed five times in six years bought a gun on Monday, and that same night used it to stop a man who’d allegedly broken in and said, “I’m here to rob you like everybody else.”
Harvey Lembo, 67, of Rockland, Maine, is hard of hearing, uses a motorized wheelchair, and is prescribed morphine and oxycodone—all of which make him a target for robbers. So on Monday, he bought a revolver for protection. That night he awoke to find a man had broken into his home—again.
Lembo pulled the revolver, pointed it at the intruder and called the police station, which was just two blocks away. When the intruder made a wrong move, Lembo shot him in the shoulder. Police arrested Christopher Wildhaber, 45—who had served time for drug trafficking and domestic violence—and charged him with burglary and violating probation.