EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

January 13, 2013

Column: Let’s look at the facts on gun control and the Second Amendment

Several weeks have passed since the horrid Newtown massacre where 20 small children were senselessly murdered. While their lifeless bodies still lay dead in Sandy Hook Elementary School and first responders still on scene, America’s gun control contingent seized upon the opportunity. Twitter and Facebook were awash with calls for gun bans. “Take the guns away now!” went the hue and cry.

And, as expected, the nation’s media soon diligently followed with analysis and statistics, making the case for a renewed, “assault weapons ban.” Editorial staffs, bloggers and pundits spun tales of epidemic gun violence in the United States, citing push-polls with questions like, “Do you support Congress in adopting a ‘sensible gun policy’?” Who would answer no? How often do you beat your spouse?

I advocate for the Second Amendment and the law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms and I do so unapologetically. I include the right to own these ineptly labeled “assault weapons.” But I do not make that case here. The existing data speaks for itself.

Facts are curious things. A Mother Jones Magazine article recently attributed an absence of mass killings in Australia to the 1996 gun ban. “Firearms homicides fell 59 percent and suicides, 79 percent.” But what Mother Jones fails to mention, however, is that violent crime spiked in Australia and in 2001, the Bureau of Criminology found no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. Moreover, firearm murders rose to their highest levels in 2006 (16.3 percent.) Assaults were up 49.2 percent; robbery, 6.2 percent; sexual assaults were up one-third and the overall Australian crime rate went up 42 percent.

In the United States, a National Research Council panel noted (2004) the assault weapons ban as, “not having any clear impacts on gun violence, due to the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime prior to the ban ... The Jerry Lee Center of Criminology found no statistically significant evidence that either the assault weapons ban or the ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds had reduced gun murder.”

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