Bob Dickerman of the Staunton, Virginia News Leader writes:
It’s reassuring, I think, that so many homes in our area have more guns than books. As the NRA keeps reminding us: the more guns our citizens have, and the easier they are to get, the safer we all are, and the better society we have. Right?
Seriously? More guns than books? My wife and I have over 1,500 books just in our bedroom. We’re over 5,000 books total (she keeps track of them using an online library app) and that’s just the paper ones. I have at least 200 more on my e-book reader. But because I know my wife and I are hardly your typical household (we have over 400 cookbooks and we read them for pleasure) let’s look at the bigger picture…
According to bookmarket.com, in 1999 alone 923 million books were sold. Also according to bookmarket, the average woman owns 15 cookbooks (Jeez, Louise! Only 15?). According to Hepburn et al.‘s paper: “The US gun stock: results from the 2004 national firearms survey” in 2004 there were about 218 million guns in the U.S. with an average of 6.6 guns per gun-owning household. According to the Brady Campaign we purchase 4.5 million guns a year (and who could quibble with the Bradys’ statistics?)
So as of 2011, assuming no one had any books before 1999 and book sales fell 10% a year there should be almost 6.9 billion books in our homes and almost 250 million guns. So forgive me if I find it hard to believe Dickerman’s factlet about guns vs. books.
As to his second point, more guns leading to less crime is certainly true. But the statement suffers from the classic logical fallacy of more is better. Look at vitamins; the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A for men 14 and up is 900 µg so under the more is better fallacy 10,000 µg a day should be even better. But it’s not. Nevertheless, he’s correct about more guns making us a better, safer society. Just look at the graph of people living under “shall-issue” or Constitutional carry laws versus crime rates (you can see the full-sized version here):
Laid out like that, it really isn’t hard to see that Heinlein was correct when he said, “an armed society is a polite society.” Of course more goes into crime rates than simply the number of guns, but as this graph clearly shows, more guns does not bring about more crime.
Our politicians have certainly done all that they can to increase our citizens’ safety by maximizing the percentage of our fellow citizens on our roads, in bars and restaurants and in churches who are carrying weapons, whether concealed or not.
Well, yes, because assaults and murders can happen anywhere. I’d have to respectfully disagree, though, that the politicians and bureaucrats have done all they can to maximize the number of people carrying. They could, for instance, do away with permits entirely (as has been the case in Vermont for years). Short of that, they could charge a nominal fee (like $10) for a ‘shall-issue’ permit system with no restrictions on when and where you could carry. After all, people in MN have been carrying in bars and most churches for years without problems.
As for the concealed or not snark, I wish the antis would make up their minds. When Ohio was trying to pass “shall-issue” they said it wasn’t needed because under the law, people could already carry openly. The same arguments were made when Wisconsin was trying to pass their law. But when Minnesota passed its law, the antis were practically wetting themselves because it doesn’t require you to conceal your weapon. It’s almost as if the antis are in favor of open carry when it is likely to get you arrested at Culvers or proned out in Philadelphia, but otherwise they want cops to be able to arrest people who open carry or (as in Texas) even if it’s only accidental printing.
In spite of all the good work by the our Second Amendment friends, there are still numbers of our fellow citizens who don’t have weapons … or don’t have enough weapons … or don’t yet carry them. How is the Second Amendment going to protect you if you’re not armed?
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Second Amendment doesn’t protect people any more than guns kill people. People protect people. And in answer to the ‘how will you protect yourself if unarmed?’ question, not as well or as safely as you would if you had a gun. For the rest, there are some people “scrupulous of bearing arms” either for religious or philosophical reasons, so we should not try to pressure them to do things they aren’t comfortable with.
For people who don’t have enough weapons, maybe a tax credit? The more people are armed, the less crime there will be and the fewer police will be needed, so letting people deduct the cost of their guns from their taxes actually makes economic sense, right?
Of course the policeman who was killed on the Tech campus Dec. 9 was armed. But if all Tech students were packing heat, might he still be alive today?
Hmm, not terribly likely given the circumstances. The shooter waited in ambush for the officer, so it’s unlikely he could have been stopped by a lawful carrier. Now if he had gone on to start shooting up some classrooms, then armed staff and students would definitely have saved lives.
The answer? We need Gun Lending Libraries just as we now have Book Lending Libraries. This would immediately raise the number of law-abiding citizens carrying weapons as we drive, go to school, shop, relax and work. And this would make our community a lot safer. Right?
Absolutely! That is a brilliant idea! People could borrow different weapons to try out until they found the one(s) best suited for them. And better still, if you had a Holster Annex people could try out different holsters until they found ones that worked, thus avoiding the dreaded holster drawer phenomenon.
Our safety would be further enhanced if these Gun Libraries follow our Virginia Gun Show rules: No Questions Asked. None.
Huh, I guess Bob has never actually been to a gun show, otherwise he would know that every law that applies outside the show applies inside. If a FFL holder was selling guns “no questions asked” s/he would quickly (and possibly violently) be shut down by our gunwalking friends at the ATF.
Not that selling or loaning guns under that policy wouldn’t be a good idea; after all, if someone can’t be trusted with a firearm, then they can’t be trusted without a custodian. *sigh* Baby steps, Bob, baby steps.
So very many of our public services are being cut. But few of those ‘services’ have been addressing our gun deficit, anyway.
Okay, I’m not exactly sure what Bob means by services addressing the gun deficit, but he is correct; all over the country police departments are experiencing cutbacks, so it just makes sense to encourage people to borrow guns if they can’t afford to buy them.
It’s so nice to see that some reporters/editorialists actually have a grasp on self-defense realities.