Gun control did not become politically acceptable until the Gun Control Act of 1968 signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law’s primary focus was to regulate commerce in firearms by prohibiting interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. Today’s gun control advocates have gone much further, calling for an outright ban of what they call assault rifles such as the AR-15. By the way, AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, which is manufactured by Colt Manufacturing Co. As for being a military assault weapon, our soldiers would be laughed off the battlefield carrying AR-15s.
Let’s look at some FBI statistics on homicide and then you can decide how many homicides would be prevented by a ban on rifles. The FBI lists murder victims by weapon from 2014 to 2018 in their 2018 report on Crime in the United States. It turns out that slightly over 2% (297) out of a total of 14,123 homicides were committed with rifles. A total of 1,515 or 11% of homicides were committed by knives. Four hundred and forty-three people were murdered with a hammer, club or some other bludgeoning instrument. Six hundred seventy-two people were murdered by a hand, foot or fist. Handguns accounted for the most murders — 6,603.
What these statistics point out clearly is that the so-called assault weapons ban and mandatory buyback plan that 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke and others call for, will do little or nothing to bring down homicides. More homicides could be prevented by advocating for knife control, hammer control and feet and fist control.
Gun controllers’ belief that “easy” gun availability is our problem ignores U.S. history. Guns were far more readily available yesteryear. One could mail order a gun from Sears or walk into a hardware store or a pawnshop to make a purchase. With truly easy gun availability throughout our history, there was nowhere near the mayhem and mass murder that we see today. Here’s my question to all those who want restrictions placed on gun sales: Were the firearms of yesteryear better behaved than those same firearms are today? That’s really a silly question; guns are inanimate objects and have no capacity to act. Our problem is a widespread decline in moral values that has nothing to do with guns. That decline includes disrespect for those in authority, disrespect for oneself, little accountability for anti-social behavior and a scuttling of religious teachings that reinforce moral values.
Let’s examine some elements of this decline.
If any American who passed away before 1960 were to return to today’s America, they would not believe the kind of personal behavior acceptable today. They wouldn’t believe that youngsters could get away with cursing at and assaulting teachers. They wouldn’t believe that cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis and Baltimore hire hundreds of school police officers and that in some schools, students must go through metal detectors. During my own primary and secondary schooling in Philadelphia, from 1942 to 1954, the only time we saw a policeman in school was during an assembly period where we had to listen to a boring lecture from Officer Friendly on safety. Our ancestors also wouldn’t believe that we’re now debating whether teachers should be armed.
Americans who call for stricter and stricter gun control know that getting rid of rifles will do little or nothing for the nation’s homicide rate. Their calls for more restrictive gun laws are part of a larger strategy to outlaw gun ownership altogether. You have to wonder what these people have in store for us when they’ve eliminated our means to defend ourselves.
Venezuela dictator Nicolas Maduro banned private gun ownership in 2012. The result is that Venezuelans had no way to protect themselves from criminals and government troops who preyed upon them. After Fidel Castro’s demand for gun confiscation, he said, “Armas para que?” (“Guns, for what?”) Cubans later found out.
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Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.
(1) take away our guns; (2) take away our Bibles; (3) take us away… By the way, everyone has a religion: the god of secular humanists & atheists is self.
I am retired federal law enforcement office over fifty years’ experience in all levels of law enforcement and I worked for Rudy (Rudolph William Louis) Giuliani when we were chasing cocaine cowboys down in Florida back when we both young and good looking (at least I was and I still have a full head of hair) and I am also the only law enforcement officer local, state or federal who never had his picture taken with Don Johnson of “Miami Vice” fame I can tell you I know where all the bodies are buried both literally and figuratively and when people talk about gun crime they are speaking from ignorance. First of almost everyone in law enforcement has raised their right hand and taken an oath uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic and you have never bothered to read it much less learn it. In 1968 a law called the Omnibus Safe Streets and Crime Control Act of 1968 also known as The Gun Control Act of 1968, Public Law 90-618. What no one realizes is that in 1969 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York sitting in Manhattan, New York County held that the law was unconstitutional because it was self- incriminatory for convicted felons and mental defectives because it would preclude them from seeking professional help for their illness which was the argument that the American Civil Liberties Union used when they appealed it. It has never been appealed to a higher court by the United States Government!!! Felons and nuts just love the American Civil Liberties Union’s good works.