My “Pro-gun”, or as it appears NOT so “Pro-gun” views.
I generally hold my Gun Rights close to my chest and oppose many laws regarding the (Anti-Gun) agenda. Whether carry conceal, the amount of fire arms I can purchase, the amount of ammo I can purchase, the amount of ammo my gun can carry or the ability to own and operate Assault Weapons (With proper training of said Assault Weapon), I generally fight to keep these freedoms that were handed down by our fore fathers and I believe in the purpose of why the law was written in the first place. But I also felt there needs to be a change when it comes to crime involving guns. After a conversation with a fellow pro-gun enthusiast in regards to CT citizens having to register weapons (where I feel registration is necessary to begin to pick away at the problem of irresponsible gun ownership in this country) I found that my ideas regarding issues that can help gun violence had some how infringed on his rights as an American.. A stance I have taken many times in debates but never in reference to something as little as registration. There is no registration law in Maryland but all of my guns are registered. As the conversation progressed I somehow ended up DEFENDING the anti-gun agenda and the results I began finding were somewhat startling and the effects of gun laws, were a lot more successful in their effects than is often portrayed by NRA, NGRA and many other forums I read.
1993-2011.. The years where “everything” was “changing”
Many studies presented by my friend (that I had already read before and came to conclusion that they were false before doing this study) represented these years in regards to the decline in gun crimes and in general crime for that matter ACROSS the NATION and that this “national” decline had somehow effected the massive drops in gun homicides in these states that adopted harsher gun laws. First, lets look at these “National” GENERAL crime rates and where the decline actually took place.
In 1993) 260 Million people committed *14 Million crimes. In 2011) 311 Million people committed *11 Million crimes. That is a 20% decrease on its face, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves now.. In 1993 California accounted for *2.1 MILLION of those crimes and in 2011 it only accounted for *1 Million.. That is a 50% decrease (that the state completely attributes to its harsher gun laws) NOT TO MENTION represents 33% of the “NATIONAL” crime rate drop (1 Million of the 3 Million decline) Let’s look at Michigan, in 1993 Michigan accounted for *517,000 of those crimes and in 2011 had dropped to *290,000, that is an almost 50% decrease across the board and again, the state thanks harsher gun laws as a major contribution for it’s decline in crime. On to Illinois where in 1993 it accounted for *670,000 of those crimes and in 2011 it had dropped to *385,000. Again, another near 50% drop across the board and again, the city thanks harsher gun and drug laws. All together these 3 states that all enacted harsher gun laws represent more than 50% of the “national” crime decline and in all honesty, these stats basically come from 4 cities. You throw in Houston (a city that initiated some of the harshest gun laws in spite of its pro-gun policy state of Texas) and you basically have 70% of your “national” decline in just 5 cities. To diminish the effects that stricter gun laws had in these few areas by including them in with some “national” average when they basically ARE the national average is irresponsible.
It was only getting worse, something had to give.
Between 1985-1990 Gun Homicide rates went through the roof due to lackadaisical fire arm protections. Even though some cities like Chicago and D.C had “gun bans” with no real actual follow through, surrounding cities had little to no change which made it easy for those looking for a gun to simply travel outside of the city and get what they need (a problem that STILL persists to this day in many cities including Chicago) Not to mention between 1980-1990 there were little to no trafficking laws, another “privilege” that effects gun crime to this day and straw buyers made a fortune during this decade. Moving on, from 1985-1990, gun homicide rates went from **11,135 to **15,058, a 39% increase in 5 years and showed no signs of stopping. So from 1989-1994 America began taking a very harsh stand as a whole to fight the escalating gun death rates. With laws like The Crime Control Act of 1990, The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994 and The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, these states and cities listed above as well as many others were able to enact and amend gun laws to suit their specific needs and meet the violent rise in gun homicides in their areas and in turn, create a massive reduction in gun deaths over the next 20 years.
Direct impact of harsh gun laws from 1993-2011
With these national laws in place, states like California were able to enact laws and amendments to start fighting the problem. On September 13, 1994, Title XI of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (known as the Crime Control Act of 1994) took effect, Subtitle “A” banned the possession, transfer and manufacture of certain popular semiautomatic weapons deemed as “assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Also, the adjustments made to its 15 day waiting period law that happened concurrently with all gun transactions needing to go through an FFL or no paper-free PPT.. These laws DIRECTLY effected the gun homicide rates in California bringing them down from **3,008 in 1993 to **1,221 in 2011 (60% drop over 18 years). In 1994 the District of Columbia had more Gun homicides than it had car accident victims. After these national laws, amendments to the gun bans already in place and the Metropolitan Police Department conducting Operation Ceasefire and many other gun trade initiatives, 1,000’s of guns were immediately taken off the streets and 1,000’s more were denied purchase due to harsher and more in-depth background checks. After these amendments and very aggressive gun removal campaigns, the next 15 years they managed to bring down what WAS an AVERAGE of *252 homicides a year for OVER 40 years down to just **88… That is a 200% DECREASE over a **FORTY YEAR AVERAGE. This all due to a cultural change that took place in D.C involving very strict gun and drug laws and removal of 10,000’s of guns and denial of 10,000’s more from 1995-Today. To list a few more cities that had similar gun culture changes Illinois (Chicago) **951 Gun Homicides in 1993 to **600 in 2011 (Almost a 40% decrease) Texas (Houston) dropped from **1,538 Gun Homicides to **728 in 2011 (50% decrease) There are many many more that have been effected by a nation and citywide initiative to fight gun violence.
Setbacks when certain areas don’t follow suit.
The general consensus among pro-gun activists is that “gun control doesn’t work” and in my opinion we have no base to stand on.. I am pro-gun advocate and I didn’t have to look in to all of this to realize that it does indeed work, but let’s address these claims. Let’s first cite Florida, a state with some of the most lax gun laws in the country. The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting investigation published in April found that murders by firearms in Florida have increased dramatically since 2000, when there were 499 gun murders. Gun murders have climbed 38% with 691 murders committed with guns in 2011, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement data. 75% of all homicides in Florida are now committed by guns, up from 56 percent in 2000. There’s a direct correlation between the increase in Florida gun murders and the state’s lax gun regulations. Texas is another example, a state often used in debates as a “Pro-Gun state and shows the same gun death decline as these other states without the laws” but this is simply not true. This is the same train of thought displayed by those who would agree with the “National” crime decline being reason for drops in gun deaths.. Don’t get me wrong, Texas did have a drop in gun deaths from **1,538 in 1993 to **728 in 2011. (50% drop) but this was not in correlation in regards to the STATES view on gun policy, this took place because the murder capital of the world (Houston) decided to take a harsher initiative and just like D.C won their OWN war on Gun and Drug crime through aggressive action. But because of weak laws in connecting counties/cities, that crime has found a new home in Dallas and it seems Texas will soon be home to yet another murder capital. There is only so much a city can do (like West Palm, Chicago and Houston to name a few) before connecting towns, counties, cities, states and weak federal gun policies effect their area again. Since illegal guns can travel across state boundaries, we need federal legislation TARGETING these crooked dealers, traffickers, straw purchasers that initiate private sales without background checks along with a unified STATEWIDE and NATIONWIDE gun initiative.
I see motto’s used by both sides of the agenda like “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and “Take the gun out of violence”, can we just meet in the middle and say “Guns don’t kill people, but having one makes it a lot easier”?? Can we at least ALL agree that people die to other people that use guns sometimes, is this so hard to admit? Would taking on a nationwide agency that instructed gun responsibility be that bad of an idea? ^19,766 people died to self infliction with a fire arm in 2011. Someone, somewhere along the line failed in a responsibility that allowed these people to take their own lives. In 2011 over ^32,000 people died to Guns, that is a rate of almost 4 every hour (or 1 every 15 minutes) After overturning many gun laws in many states over the last 2 years, gun deaths are rising again in some of these areas. There will be no doubt a direct correlation between these gun death rises and the lifts on the cities laws and lifts in surrounding areas. I will be doing a study on this when there is sufficient data. Until then GL America, be careful what you wish for.
*National Crime stats pulled from http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/ **Homicide Rates stats pulled from the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports ^Overall Stats provided by GunPolicy.Org.