Important New Book Refutes Gun Control Myths

First of a two part series

[Click here for part II
New Evidence on Gun Control II: The British Experience

Blaming violence on guns and
fanning hysteria over accidental deaths to children from
firearms are staples of anti-gun propaganda. Media help
gun control zealots spread false information that gun
ownership and self-defense are certain paths to injury
and death. Handgun Control, Inc., gives erroneous advice
that if you are attacked, the best way to avoid injury

“is to put up no defense.”
Anti-gun zealots blame
the actions of criminals on guns and argue that
disarming law-abiding gun owners is the best way to
reduce the crime rate.

Scholars such as

Gary Kleck

Don Kates
, and

John Lott
have demonstrated the falsity of these
claims. [Click

for a “Violence
Policy Center” attack on Lott.]
Now comes an
important new book from
Harvard University Press

Guns and
by Bentley College

history professor
Joyce Lee Malcolm, who brings new
evidence that guns reduce violence.

Professor Malcolm`s carefully
researched book is a study of guns and
violence in England from the Middle Ages through the
present day. When the English were armed to the teeth,
violent crime was rare. Now that the English are
disarmed, violent crime has
exploded. Indeed, crime in England is out of

Offering instruction for the U.S.,
the English experience will be covered in a subsequent
column. Professor Malcolm presents many facts about guns
and violence in America, and it is to these we turn

Did you know that water is 19 times
more dangerous to a child than a firearm? In 1996, 805
children died from accidental drownings and 42 died from
firearm accidents. (Gun control zealots inflate “child”
firearm deaths by including teenage drug gang members
killed in turf battles.)

Bathtubs are twice as dangerous to
children as guns. Fire is 18 times more dangerous to
children than guns. Cars are 57 times more dangerous.
Household cleaners and poisons are twice as dangerous.

Did you know that defensive gun use
prevents far more crimes than the police?

National polls
of defensive gun use by private
citizens indicate that as many as 3.6 million crimes
annually are prevented by armed individuals. In 98
percent of the cases, the armed citizen merely has to
brandish his weapon. As many as 400,000 people each year
believe they saved a life by being armed. Contrary to
Handgun Control`s propaganda, in less than one percent
of confrontations do criminals succeed in taking the gun
from the intended victim.

Did you know that the testimony of
incarcerated felons supports the large number of
defensive gun uses? Thirty-four percent of felons said
they were scared off, wounded or captured by victims who
turned out to be armed.

Convicted felons say that they are
more deterred by armed victims than by the police. In
the U.S. where roughly 50% of households are armed, only
13% of burglaries occur with residents at home. In
contrast, in Britain, where homeowners are disarmed, 50%
of home burglaries take place with the residents

Gun control zealots claim that the

availability of guns
is the primary cause of
homicides. Between 1973 and 1994 the number of guns in
private ownership in the U.S. rose by 87 million. During
this period both the homicide rate and the percent of
homicides committed with firearms dropped.

Another test of the relationship
between guns and violence is provided by the
concealed-carry laws now in force in 33 states. Gun
control zealots predicted that traffic accidents and
other altercations combined with an armed public would
result in a bloodbath. Professor Malcolm confronts this
false prediction with empirical evidence:

“In all the decades of
experience with concealed-carry laws in an increasing
number of states, there is only one recorded incident of
the use of a permitted handgun in a shooting following a
traffic accident, and that was determined to be a case
of self-defense.”

The 17 states and the District of
Columbia without concealed-carry permits enjoy an 81
percent higher rate of violent crime. Their restrictive
gun laws produced 1,400 more
murders, 4,200 more
rapes, 12,000 more robberies, and 60,000 more
aggravated assaults.

Professor Malcolm disproves the
claim that family members are the main victims of gun
ownership. This myth results from FBI reports that most
victims are “known” to the murderer. In the category of
“known to the murderer,” the FBI includes members of
rival drug gangs, prostitutes and their pimps, and even
cab drivers killed in robberies by “customers.”

Far from the picture of
hot-tempered spouses turning the family firearm upon one
another in moments of rage, it turns out that 90% of
adult murderers have prior criminal records involving
major felonies. Three-quarters of juvenile murderers and
their victims have an average of 10 prior criminal

The English
Bill of Rights
guarantees English citizens

“arms for their defense.”
Politicians and
bureaucrats stole this right from the people by

. In England today, only outlaws have

Senators Lieberman, McCain and
Schumer are working to duplicate the
English calamity by stealing gun rights from the
American people.

Do these three senators represent
the criminal lobby? Are they trying to create a black
market in guns?

Paul Craig Roberts is the co-author of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice