Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Harvard Gun-control Study Destroys Gun-control Agenda

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Buy a gun, folks — do it for the children. That could now be the message after the revelation that a Harvard University study has thoroughly refuted the gun-control agenda. The research, conducted in 2007 but suspiciously ignored until now, is enough to make a grown man cry — if that grown man happens to be Piers Morgan. Writes BeliefNet:

According to a study in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, which cites the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations International Study on Firearms Regulation, the more guns a nation has, the less criminal activity.

In other words, more firearms, less crime, concludes the virtually unpublicized research report by attorney Don B. Kates and Dr. Gary Mauser. But the key is firearms in the hands of private citizens.

The above facts have long been related in works such as economist John R. Lott Jr.’s book More Guns, Less Crime. But this study is different in that it originated with leftist bastion Harvard University. Entitled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” it is a trove of firearms truths. Among them is the following, writes BeliefNet:

The popular assertion that the United States has the industrialized world’s highest murder rate, says the Harvard study, is a throwback to the Cold War when Russian murder rates were nearly four times higher than American rates. In a strategic disinformation campaign, the U.S. was painted worldwide as a gunslinging nightmare of street violence — far worse than what was going on in Russia. The line was repeated so many times that many believed it to be true. Now, many still do.

Note that as Soviet KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov pointed out, such “strategic disinformation campaigns” were common. Also called “active measures” in KGB jargon, they were used, among other ways, to smear former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover as a homosexual and WWII-era pontiff Pope Pius XII as a Nazi collaborator. BeliefNet continues:

Today violence continues in Russia — far worse than in the U.S. — although the Russian people remain virtually disarmed. “Similar murder rates also characterize the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and various other now-independent European nations of the former U.S.S.R.,” note Kates and Mauser. Kates is a Yale-educated criminologist and constitutional lawyer. Dr. Mauser is a Canadian criminologist at Simon Fraser University with a Ph.D. from the University of California Irvine.

The study also addresses anti-firearms zealot Piers Morgan’s favorite gun-control poster boy. BeliefNet again:

When Kates and Mauser compared England with the United States, they found “’a negative correlation,’ that is, ‘where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense, violent crime rates are highest.’ There is no consistent significant positive association between gun ownership levels and violence rates.”

In 2004, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released an evaluation from its review of existing research. After reviewing 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications and its own original empirical research, it failed to identify any gun control that had reduced violent crime, suicide, or gun accidents, note Kates and Mauser.

... [Yet] [s]omehow, it goes unreported that “despite constant and substantially increasing gun ownership, the United States saw progressive and dramatic reductions in criminal violence,” write Kates and Mauser. “On the other hand, the same time period in the United Kingdom saw a constant and dramatic increase in violent crime to which England’s response was ever-more drastic gun control. Nevertheless, criminal violence rampantly increased so that by 2000 England surpassed the United States to become one of the developed world’s most violence-ridden nations.

The reality is that there’s simply no empirical evidence indicating gun control reduces crime. There are nations with far stricter gun-control laws than the United States but higher murder rates; along with Russia, Mexico and Brazil are examples. There are also countries with high gun-ownership rates but very little homicide, such as Israel and Switzerland (which has the world’s ninth-lowest murder rate).

And while gun-control zealots portray the United States as a wild west of murder and mayhem, our nation actually ranks only 98th in homicide rate on a list of 194 countries — in the bottom 50 percent. Of course, it’s true that the U.K., often cited by gun-grabbers, has an even lower rate (note: this doesn’t contradict the Harvard study; Britain’s murder rate is lower, but its overall level of violence isn’t). It’s seldom pointed out, however, that New Hampshire has both a far higher gun-ownership rate than the U.K. but a lower murder rate. Explanation?

Demographics. As Dr. Thomas Sowell put it in 2012, “Neither guns nor gun control is the reason for the difference in murder rates. People [are] the difference.”

A major factor in the U.S. murder rate having dropped during the last few decades is that the proportion of young people — the age demographic with the highest crime rate — has dropped as our society has grayed. There are other demographic correlations, too. As Sowell wrote, “The rate of gun ownership is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks.”

Then there’s an even more striking example. Japan, which has strict gun control, “technically” has the world’s fifth-lowest homicide rate (critics point out that, due to the application of different criteria, that nation’s actual rate is twice the reported one). Yet Japanese-descent Americans living in the United States — under our relatively lenient gun-control laws — have a murder rate half that of Japanese living in Japan.

Unfortunately, none of this changes the minds of demagogues bent on advancing an anti-Second Amendment agenda. For example, after the tragic Charleston shootings that left nine dead, Barack Obama said that “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” But he’s wrong. In terms of mass killings relative to population, the United States actually ranks behind five nations, including Norway and Finland — which both have firearms regulations labeled “Restricted.”

So, as North Coast Journal’s Terry Roberts noted, “What we are seeing is ideology in collision with reality.” And when reality loses, we get nonsense such as “Gun Free Zones,” and Americans lose their lives. But perhaps reality needs to be brought home to the ideologues. Note that when liberal journalists were offered the opportunity in 2013 to “support the cause” and place signs stating “THIS HOME IS PROUDLY GUN FREE” on their lawns (video here), they all declined. One even said, “Somebody driving by around here might think it’s an invitation to come barging in.”

Perhaps the solution is to accept new gun-control bills with one rider attached: Any legislator voting for it or chief executive signing it into law must place a “Gun Free Zone” sign in front of his house. Now that would be ideology colliding with reality.

Photo: AP Images

(Hat tip: American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson)

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