THE POLITICIZER

A fresh perspective on politics and society from the internet generation.

Responsible Americans are the Real Vicitms of Gun Control

Posted by politicizer on June 11, 2009

Kathleen McCaffrey, Staff Writer

Within the past 24 hours, a man walked into the Holocaust Museum and used it as a shooting gallery. This white-supremacist held a perverted motivation to prey upon this particular site, blaming the Jewish people for destroying Western Civilization – or something along those lines. I, as a libertarian, believe that everyone is entitled to their batshit-crazy opinions and interpretations of history with the faith that most average Americans wont fall into any patterns of insipid lunacy. However, I am fiercely opposed to violence and the violation of personal property in our Republic. With that being said, a paragraph in the Associated Press report caught my eye as a reminder of why I am pro-Second Amendment despite my peaceful demeanor:

“Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said investigators are trying to better understand time he spent in Idaho, and how he acquired the .22-caliber rifle used in Wednesday’s attack. At the request of the U.S. Park Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is tracing the weapon. Under federal law, convicted felons cannot purchase firearms.”

Gun laws only restrict the law-abiding citizens of this nation. The culprit, James Von Brunn, most certainly acquired his arms in an illegal manner. This, conflated with the fact that he knew nobody in the museum was allowed to wield a gun, made his objective far too easy to execute. I don’t think we should ‘just give guns to anyone,’ but I do believe that responsible citizens should be allowed to carry firearms as a means of minimizing terror acts like the one carried out today. (In the past ten years, how many citizens with a concealed carry permit have gone on a murder spree? None that I can find.)

Of the safest cities in the United States with populations of 100k +, many have laws that permit carrying a concealed weapon. Consider the American cities of Camden, NJ and El Paso, NM. Camden’s estimated 2008 murder rate was 41.2 per 100,000. El Paso’s population of 600,000 had only 16 murders in 2008. The difference between the two?

From the tens of thousands of gun owners in El Paso, thousands are Right-to-Carry permit holders. It is one of the safest cities in the nation.

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5 Responses to “Responsible Americans are the Real Vicitms of Gun Control”

  1. Michele Walk said

    You make an interesting point; however, it is worthy to note that there could be other factors at play. Camden and El Paso have significant demographic differences, most prominently in regards to income – El Paso’s per capita income is $14,000 higher than Camden’s. Statistically, there is a strong correlation between a city’s per capita income and crime/homicide rates. Across the nation, the 20 wealthiest states all have crime levels well below national averages. There is also a higher percentage of violent gangs in low-income areas; the lack of gang-related homicides could also be important. Therefore, while Right-to-Carry permits could contribute to reduced homicide rates, demographic differences, especially income, should also be considered.

  2. Kathleen McCaffrey said

    Yes, but El Paso is in an area that is mired in violence and poverty thanks to its high population of illegal immigrants and drug deals. Camden is an extreme example, but similar statistics are apparent in many more cities that do not have many Right-to-Carry permits (Trenton, Philly, Detroit, Stockton, etc.). I realize that, in cities particularly, poverty leads to more violence – as well as an increased volume of people. I think the point is that, when people are allowed to carry guns, it deters crime and leads to less violence since those who abuse the law for malicious purposes cannot terrorize a defenseless group.

  3. El Paso’s crime rate is this low despite the escalating drug war along the entire Rio Grande Valley. I absolutely agree with the basic premise of your article that firearms should be more accessible to law-abiding citizens but I don’t think what happened at the Holocaust Museum applies to this argument. When Von Brunn entered the museum, security guards immediately confronted him and opened fire. Because armed citizens immediately confronted him, scores of innocent people are alive today. Instead of illustrating the pitfalls of gun control policies, I think it’s an example of just the opposite.

  4. Christopher Conway said

    I don’t think you can compare Camden and El Paso. Camden’s a tiny city with a hugely disproportional murder rate, almost an anomaly in the statistics, due to every corner being an open-air drug market.

    I guess I would agree with the point of your post, but even if the gun laws in New Jersey were liberalized, I think a significant portion of the population would still choose to not carry, just because of the gun culture in the North. The idea of an armed citizenry deflecting crime strikes me as more idealist than realistic. Check out the Mid-Atlantic homicide maps at http://www.burgersub.org for a picture of this; it seems that for every case of justifiable homicide in self-defense, there’s about 500 shootings in cold blood, it makes me look at gun rights a little bit differently.

  5. Kathleen McCaffrey said

    Tyler – you have a great point, but in a different context (like a mall or square) where armed security guards are scarce, what would have happened?
    Chris – thanks for the link – it was really fascinating.

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