May 12 2000

Gun Control Hurts Women

Gun control hurts women.

You won't hear that from professional anti-gun groups like Handgun Control, Inc. They are using women and manipulating the facts to get the political outcome they want: abolishing legal gun ownership.

At IWF, we care about facts and believe that women need to know the truth about gun control, and why they should oppose it. For women, by far the safest course of action when confronted by a criminal is to have a gun. The number of rapes in states with non-discretionary concealed handgun laws is 25% lower than in states that restrict or forbid women to carry concealed handguns. Guns are the great equalizer between the sexes.

Here are facts you should know:

CRIME DETERRENCE

"The size and strength of my deterrence results and the lack of evidence that holders of permits for concealed handguns commit crimes should at least give pause to those who oppose concealed handguns. In the final analysis, one concern unites us all: Will allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns save lives? The answer is yes, it will." - John R. Lott, Jr.

  • In 98 percent of the times that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack. (More Guns Less Crime,John R. Lott, Jr., p. 3.)
  • Among 15.7 percent of gun defenders interviewed nationwide in 1994, the defender believed that someone "almost certainly" would have died had the gun not been used for protection -- a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. ("Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-defense with a Gun" by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Fall, 1995.)
  • "Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year: 1,527 to 606. (Gun Owners Foundation Firearms Fact Sheet, 1999, cited to Gary Kleck, "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America," 1991.)
  • Deterrence matters not only to those who actively take defensive actions. People who defend themselves may indirectly benefit other citizens...[For example] cab drivers...who carry guns produce a benefit for cab drivers...without guns...homeowners who defend themselves make burglars generally wary of breaking into homes. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 5.)
  • During 1992, the violent crime rate in states with nondiscretionary concealed handgun laws ? no permit required -- was 378.8 per 100,000 population. In all other states the rate was 81 percent higher or 684.5 per 100,000 population. In states forbidding concealed handguns, the violent crime rate was even higher: 715.9 per 100,000 population. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 46.)
  • The differences in specific crime rates among states that allow and those that forbid concealed handguns are equally dramatic. Per 100,000 population, murder rates varied by 5.1 vs. 11.6; rape by 35 vs. 43.9; aggravated assault by 229.9 vs. 451.7, and robbery by 108.8 vs. 224.1. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 46.)
  • National crime rates have been falling at the same time as gun ownership has been rising. Likewise, states experiencing the greatest reductions in crime are also the ones with the fastest growing percentage of gun ownership. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 19.)
  • While support for the strictest gun control laws is usually strongest in large cities, the largest drops in violent crime from legalized concealed handguns occurred in the most urban counties with the greatest populations and the highest crime rates. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 19.)
  • When criminals were deterred from violent crimes by an increased risk of encountering an armed victim, they apparently responded by engaging in crimes that involved less risk of confrontation with the victims. This substitution would be socially beneficial inasmuch as violent crimes are considered more serious than non-violent property crimes. (John. R. Lott and David B. Mustard, "Crime, Deterrence and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," 1997.)
  • Nondiscriminatory handgun laws also affect mass public shootings, such as those occurring in schools, churches, businesses, bars, streets, and government buildings. Among the 10 states that adopted concealed carry handgun laws between 1977 and 1992, the number of mass shooting deaths and injuries per 100,000 population was 0.89. For those states that did not adopt such laws, the mass shooting deaths and injuries rate per 100,000 population was 2.09. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., pp. 100-101.)
  • On Easter Monday at the Washington, D.C. Zoo, a teenager shot 7 children in a public shooting related to gang warfare. Columnist Paul Craig Roberts wrote, "In D.C. guns are already controlled. It is illegal to have an unlicensed pistol. It is illegal for teenagers to have guns. It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. It is illegal to discharge a weapon in public. It is illegal to shoot someone. There are probably zillions of laws already on the books against what happened [at the zoo]." (Paul Craig Roberts, "Quick on the draw against guns," The Washington Times, April 28, 2000.)

CRIMINALS FEAR GUNS

"Overall, my conclusion is that criminals as a group tend to behave rationally -- when crime becomes more difficult, less crime is committed." -John R. Lott, Jr.

  • Criminals are motivated by self-preservation, and handguns can therefore be a deterrent. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 5.)
  • Convicted American felons reveal in surveys that they are much more worried about armed victims than about running into the police. (James D. Wright and Peter Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: a Survey of Felons and their Firearms; Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter Publishers, 1986.)
  • The fear of potentially armed victims causes American burglars to spend more time than their foreign counterparts "casing" a house to make that no one is at home. Felons frequently comment in these interviews that they avoid late night burglaries because "that?s the way to get shot." (John Lott, More Guns less Crime; and James D. Wright and Peter Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous p.150.)

WHO OWNS GUNS

"Although people with concealed handgun permits must generally view the police as offering insufficient protection, it is difficult to discern any pattern of political orientation among [them]." -John R. Lott, Jr.

  • In America, 75 to 86 million people own a total of 200 to 240 million guns. About a third of all guns are handguns. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 1.)
  • Among celebrities who hold concealed-handgun permits are Bill Cosby, Cybil Shepherd, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, Howard Stern, Donald Trump, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Chairman Arthur O. Schulzberg of the New York Times. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 15.)
  • When asked the media "how it looks for a Senator to be packing heat," Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell answered, "You'd be surprised how many senators have guns." (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 15.)
  • Polls through which gun ownership data is collected indicate that almost 1 in 4 voters who identify themselves as liberals and 1 in 3 Democrats own a gun. These polls also indicated that families that included union members owned guns at higher rates than non-union families. ((More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., pp. 38-39)
  • 93 percent of the guns obtained by violent criminals are not obtained through lawful transactions that are the focus of most gun control legislation. (George F. Will, "Are We 'a Nation of Cowards'?", Newsweek, November 15, 1993.) The Department of Justice Survey of Incarcerated Felons reported that 93 percent of handgun predators had obtained their most recent guns "off the record." (Gun Owners Foundation Firearms Fact Sheet, 1999)

WOMEN AND GUNS

"The ability to defend oneself with a gun is particularly important for those people who are relatively weak physically, such as women and the elderly." - John R. Lott, Jr.

  • For women, by far the safest course of action [when confronted by a criminal] is to have a gun. A woman who behaves passively is 2.5 times as likely to end up being seriously injured as a woman who has a gun. (John R. Lott, Jr.)
  • Guns also appear to be the great equalizer among the sexes. Murder rates decline when either more women or more men carry concealed handguns, but the effect is especially pronounced for women. One additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about 3-4 times more than one additional man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for men. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 20.)
  • Orlando, Florida had a long-standing rape problem. Then the police offered a highly publicized gun-training program for women. The result was a 76 percent decrease in rapes. (Washington Times, March 31, 2000.)
  • According to Dr. Gary Kleck, about 205,000 women use guns every year to protect themselves against sexual abuse. (Gun Owners Foundation Firearms Fact Sheet, 1999 cited to Kleck and Gertz "Armed Resistance to Crime" at 185.)
  • The number of rapes in states with nondiscretionary concealed handgun laws is 25 percent lower than in states that restrict or forbid women to carry concealed handguns. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 46.)

ACCIDENTAL DEATHS

"`Thirteen children die every day from guns. The Clinton administration's public service ads exclusively feature children under 10, yet very few children under 10 -- fewer than 3% of the 13 -- are killed. Seventy percent of the deaths involve 17 to 19-year olds, primarily in gang fights. Despite Clinton's repeated use of this claim to justify trigger locks, such locks would do nothing to stop gang members from using guns." -John R. Lott, Jr.

  • In the entire United States during a year, private citizens who mistakenly perceive the victim to be an intruder accidentally kill only about 30 people. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 1.)
  • In 1995 there were a total of 1,400 accidental firearms deaths in the entire country. A relatively small portion of these involved children: 30 deaths involved children up to four years of age and 170 more deaths involved five-to fourteen-year-olds. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p.9.)
  • In comparison, 2,900 children died in motor-vehicle crashes, 950 children lost their lives from drowning, and over 1,000 were killed by fire and burns. More children die in bicycle accidents each year than die from all types of firearms accidents. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 9.)
  • The evidence is that the implementation of concealed handgun laws across all states in 1992 would have resulted in about 9 additional accidental handgun deaths. But the net reduction in total deaths would have been between 1,405 and 1,583. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr., p. 112.)

STATES and GUN LAWS

"To own firearms is to affirm that freedom is not a gift from government -- as the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust." -Jeffrey Snyder

  • Thirty-one states have adopted nondiscretionary concealed handgun laws, requiring that concealed weapon permits be issued to all qualified applicants. The qualifications include lack of criminal record, lack of mental illness, age restrictions, training and fees. These states are: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska, Maine, Connecticut and Florida.
  • In the 12 states with discretionary laws, local law-enforcement officials grant permits based on the applicant's ability to prove a "compelling need." They are: California, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii and Maryland.
  • Seven states forbid concealed handguns: New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. Chapter 3.)
  • The difference in violent crime rates among these states is striking. Violent crimes are 81 percent higher in states without nondiscretionary laws. For murder, states that ban the concealed carrying of guns have murder rates 127 percent higher than states with the most liberal concealed-carry laws. For property crimes the difference is 24 percent. States with nondiscretionary laws have less crime, but the primary difference appears in terms of violent crimes. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. p. 47.)
  • Press reports state that criminals from Washington D.C., where guns are forbidden, use "straw purchasers" to buy guns across the river in Virginia where nondiscretionary concealed carry laws allow gun purchases, and harsh "Project Exile" laws are enforced against gun crime. In 1997, the murder rate in Arlington, VA was 1.6 per 100,000 population, while that for Washington, D.C. was 56.9. (Gun Owners Foundation Firearms Fact Sheet, 1999.)
  • During the 4 years since a concealed-carry law was enacted in Texas, 210,000 permits have been issued. Of those 0.50 percent have been revoked for misdemeanors, and 0.32 percent have been revoked for any sort of felony. Only 2 permit holders have been convicted of murder. (Steve Chapman, "Could the Gun Issue Backfire?" Washington Times, April 30, 2000.)

GUN CONTROL VS. GUN OWNERSHIP ABROAD

"Then, of course, there is gun control. Guns are almost certainly contributors to...violence, but there is no politically or legally feasible way to reduce the stock of guns now in private possession to the point where their availability to criminals would be much affected. And even if there were, law-abiding people would lose a means of protecting themselves long before criminals lost a means of attacking them."-James Q. Wilson

    Switzerland is awash with guns. All males are issued assault rifles for militia service and keep them at home. Shooting is the national sport as well as the backbone of national defense, and both teens and adults regularly compete in weekend Schuetzenfests (shooting festivals). Yet with more per capita firepower than any other place in the world, Switzerland is one of the safest places to be. (Stephen P. Halbrook, "Armed to the Teeth, and Free," The Wall Street Journal Europe, June 4, 1999.)

  • In 1997 the Swiss homicide rate was 1.2 per 100,000 population and the robbery rate was 36 per 100,000. There have been no school massacres, though kids and guns mix freely, and Nazi invasion plans during World War II stated that because of Swiss shooting skills, Switzerland would be difficult to conquer and pacify. (Stephen P. Halbrook, "Armed to the Teeth, and Free," The Wall Street Journal Europe, June 4, 1999.)
  • By contrast, in Great Britain as the number of legal firearms owners declined, crimes involving firearms increased 196 percent between 1981-1992. Following the Dunblane tragedy, the passage of the Firearms Act of 1997 made self-defense with a firearm completely impossible for ordinary people. (Criminal Statistics England and Wales, 1992.)
  • In defenseless Britain today, according to a letter to The Wall Street Journal on April 26, "Hot robberies -- break-ins with the residents at home -- make up 50 percent of all robberies in Britain, compared to 13 percent in the U.S.A." The London Times reported on January 16, 2000, "Killings Rise as 3 Million Illegal Guns Flood Britain." Armed crime rose 10 percent in 1998 and the numbers for 1999 may be higher. (Dr. Michael Brown, "The Results are in on British Gun Laws," April, 2000.)
  • In Australia, one year after gun-owners were forced to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed -- a program costing the government millions -- the results were: a 3.2 percent increase in homicides, an 8.6 percent increase in assaults, a 44 percent increase in armed robberies, and in the state of Victoria, homicides with firearms increased by 300 percent. At the time of the ban, the Prime Minister said, "Self-defense is not a reason for owning a firearm." (Sidney Morning Herald, October 28, 1998. Source: the Australian Institute of Criminology.)

MORE FACTS

Gun buy-back programs: "Empirical work on this question reveals no impact on crime from these programs," says John Lott. In April 2000, President Clinton praised the latest gun-buyback effort in the District of Columbia, where handguns are forbidden. Of the 3,000 guns collected, none was traced to crime or criminals and only 1.5 percent had been stolen. Kevin Morrison of the D.C. Police Department said that buyback programs' primary purpose is not to necessarily reduce crime, but to reduce chances of gun violence. ("Clinton praises buyback of guns" by John Drake, The Washington Times, April 29, 2000.)

  • The economic impact of gun laws: In dollar value, the potential cost savings from nondiscriminatory concealed carry gun laws, using National Institute for Justice crime cost estimates, is $5.7 billion in 1992 dollars. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr. pp. 54-56.)
  • The acquaintance-murder myth: According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, 58 percent of murders in the U.S. are committed either by family members (18 percent) or by those who "knew" the victims. These numbers lead to the claim that most victims are murdered by close acquaintances. Because they include relationships between drug pushers and buyers, gang members, prostitutes and clients, bar customers, gamblers, and cab drivers killed by their customers; the claim is false. (More Guns Less Crime, John R. Lott)
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