Part 2 of latest GOUtah! alert.
2009: Gun Ownership Up, Violent Crime Down
When the federal "assault weapon" ban expired five years ago, we were told by the hoplophobes* that violent crime would soar in America. It didn’t. Then, when gun and ammunition sales surged to record levels beginning in late 2008 (a phenomenon that continues), the hoplophobes again predicted that violent crime would soar in America. It didn’t. In fact, violent crime actually dropped.
From The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 23, 2009:
Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply…. After several years of crime rates holding relatively steady, the FBI is reporting that violent crimes – including gun crimes – dropped dramatically in the first six months of 2009, with murder down 10 percent across the US as a whole. Concurrently, the FBI reports that gun sales – especially of assault-style rifles and handguns, two main targets of gun-control groups – are up at least 12 percent nationally since the election of President Obama….
From an official FBI press release of Dec. 21, 2009:
For the third year in a row, our Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report shows that violent crime, property crime, and arson have decreased.
From The Associated Press, January 1, 2009:
The death of a Washington state police officer Dec. 28 raised the total law enforcement deaths in 2009 to 125, still the fewest annual fatalities in the line of duty since 1959. The 125 deaths compared to 133 in 2008, the lowest since 108 a half-century ago, according to the annual report of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Bear in mind that there are a lot more law-enforcement officers in the United States today than there were in 1959. Which means that, on a percentage basis, officer fatalities were MUCH lower in 2009 than they were in 1959.
Every murder is a tragedy, regardless of whether the victim is a private citizen or a low-enforcement officer. Thus, the decline in the overall murder rate as well as the decline in the rate of officer fatalities is a trend that we hope will continue.
Our main point here is that the facts continue to defy the main thesis of the hoplophobes: that the ownership and carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens causes violent crime. 2009 probably set an all-time record for legitimate purchases of guns and ammunition by private citizens in the United States. And we may also surmise that in 2009 more Americans were legally carrying guns in public than in any previous year within our lifetime. Yet violent crime rates and officer fatalities continue to decline.
Thanks to Dr. John Lott for providing the links to the above articles.
* hoplophobia: A term coined by the late Col. Jeff Cooper to describe an irrational fear of weapons. Derived from the Greek "hoplos", meaning "weapon" or "tool", and "phobia", meaning "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something". A hoplophobe is someone who suffers from this particular mental illness.
Two "Bills" to Ignore
We continue to get occasional e-mails from people concerned about two extreme anti-gun bills, one in the U.S. Senate and one in the U.S. House of Representatives. The alleged Senate bill, "SB-2099", is a hoax. The House bill, H.R. 45, is an actual bill, and it is indeed an anti-gun bill, but there’s no chance it will pass. We therefore encourage our readers to ignore the e-mails that continue to circulate regarding these two bills.
If you expend time and effort contacting members of Congress to ask them to oppose these bills, it will be wasted time and effort. We’d much prefer that gun owners target their limited time and effort on actual threats to their Second-Amendment rights, or on actual opportunities to expand the right to keep and bear arms. With the Utah State Legislature convening soon, there will be plenty of chances for you to contact your elected representatives regarding legislation that’s real and that actually has a chance of passing.
The alleged U.S. Senate gun bill is numbered "SB-2099", and will supposedly require you to list all your guns on your 2009 tax return. "SB-2099" is a complete hoax. There is no U.S. Senate bill numbered "SB-2099", because Senate bills are prefixed with an "S" rather than an "SB". There is, however, a Senate bill numbered S.2099. It was introduced a few months ago by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan. It's a bill to temporarily suspend the import duty on certain heaters. Although "heaters" was a slang term used for firearms in 1920's Chicago, the "heaters" referred to in S.2099 are home appliances that you plug into the wall to produce heat. The last bill numbered S.2099 was introduced more than a decade ago and dealt with federal sentencing guidelines for counterfeiting. Whoever is circulating the hoax about "SB-2099" instructs us to go to the official U.S. Senate web page and do a search for "SB-2099" to gain access to the full text of this alleged bill. We tried doing just that and came up with the above information. Apparently, the person perpetrating the hoax is hoping that people won't actually take the time to perform this search. For all we know, the SB-2099 hoax may have been started by an anti-gun activist as a diversionary tactic to get us to waste our time chasing red herrings.
H.R. 45 is an actual bill. GOUtah! published an article about it last year (see GOUtah! Alert #319). H.R.45, which was introduced in January 2009, is indeed a draconian gun-control bill and is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago. Among other things, H.R. 45 would require federal licensing of all handgun owners. However, H.R. 45 is a distraction that isn't worth worrying about in our opinion because there's no chance it will pass during the 111th Congress. At the end of the 111th Congress (i.e., the end of 2010), the bill will automatically die, along with all other unpassed legislation. We recently checked on the bill's current status. It still has no co-sponsors. Nobody other than the sponsor himself wants to touch this bill with a 10-foot pole. H.R.45 was assigned to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in early February, where it has languished ever since. No action has been taken on the bill by the subcommittee. Given that 2010 is an election year, the chance of H.R. 45 passing is, in our view, about the same as the chance that Paris Hilton will become a nun.
GOUtah! Gun Rights (and Wrongs) Quote Watch
"I wonder if the recent news of massacres, murders, suicides and unintentional shootings, almost all committed with handguns, has any emotional impact on handgun advocates. Do they feel any unease, a smidgen of guilt or feelings of irony that their efforts to put a gun in every home may be the cause or at least contributed to countless deaths and injuries? For the period between 1980 and 2006, the annual average number of deaths in the United States from all types of firearms is 32,300. Does this death toll mean anything to handgun advocates?
If handgun use is proven to save at least as many lives as it costs, then it might be possible to accept the deluge of handguns into our communities and the resulting tragedies. Handgun enthusiasts need to present evidence that the benefits (innocent lives saved) of easily available handguns outweigh the costs (innocent lives lost). It is incumbent upon them to show that easy access to handguns prevents as many murders, suicides, and accidents as it causes. Skip the righteousness, the conspiratorial rhetoric and unsupported claims. Give us the facts. Prove that handguns make us safer."
-- Tom Stephens, in a letter printed in The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 January 2010.
If you have a gun rights quote you'd like to share, please send it, along with a verifiable original source reference to webmeister (at) goutahorg.org
That concludes the GOUtah! Political and Legislative Alert #324 for 14 January, 2010. We hope this information will be of assistance to you in defending your firearms rights.
Remember that getting this information is meaningless unless You Act On It Today. If you just read it and dump it in the trash, your gun rights, and the gun rights of future generations go in the trash with it. Get involved, get active and get vocal!