Vice President Joe Biden: The Second Amendment is Dangerously Ineffective

Vice President Joe Biden hit the Sunday talk show circuit to offer insight (such as it is and what there is of it) into the Trayvon Martin shooting. Well actually, no. He’s using the Trayvon Martin shooting to push his anti-gun agenda with a remarkable display of willful—or worse, oblivious—ignorance. Here are the Veep’s thoughts about Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and gun rights in general from CBS’ Face the Nation . . .

I think the Governor of Florida was right and the President was right: we should look at all aspects of this case . . . Trayvon’s case .  . . to determine exactly what happened. And in the process I’m confident—at least I’m of the view—I understand—that the state is going to look back and see ALL the aspects of this. What contributed to this, what happened, who’s responsible for this, etc.

I’m confident that the people of Florida will debate whether or not this law, this stand your ground law, whether it’s been applied as it was intended to be applied and whether or not as intended it makes sense. But that’s a decision for the state to make.

Spoken like a true politician. Appear above the fray, impugn the Stand Your Ground law without attacking it directly, and then pass the buck. Which is a good thing. At least Biden doesn’t appear to be itching for a gun control fight on the federal level. (It is an election year.)

Or is he? When Bob Schieffer pushes the VP on the desirability of Stand Your Ground laws, Biden wades into the gun rights issue a little deeper. Even his trademark smile can’t completely hide his true feelings on the subject.

On balance I think it’s important that people be put in a position where their Second Amendment rights are protected  but that they also don’t, as a consequence of the laws, unintendedly [sic] put themselves in harm’s way.

Interesting that Biden think American citizens need to be “put” in a position where their Second Amendment rights are protected. In fact, the government should be put in a position where it can’t violate citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Continuing on . . .

You know the bulk of the people who are shot with a weapon other than these drug gangs taking on one another end up being shot with their own weapon . . .

No. No they don’t. There’s no credible data to support that position. But there is plenty of scientific evidence that concealed carry combined with Stand Your Ground laws (eliminating the duty to retreat in the face of a threat of death or grievous bodily harm under certain specific circumstance) protect law-abiding individuals during acts of violent crime.

According to Gun Facts Ver. 6.0 (quoting the British Home Office on page 20):

Fact: You are far more likely to survive a violent assault if you defend yourself with a gun. In episodes where a robbery victim was injured, the injury/defense rates were:

  • Resisting with a gun 6%
  • Did nothing at all 25%
  • Resisted with a knife 40%
  • Non-violent resistance 45%

Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey  collated by Dr. Gary Kleck (table here) reveals:

A National Institute of Justice publication, Firearms and Violence, cites Kleck stating, “victims were less likely to report being injured than those who either defended themselves by other means or took no self-protective measures at all. Thus, while 33 percent of all surviving robbery victims were injured, only 25 percent of those who offered no resistance and 17 percent of those who defended themselves with guns were injured. For surviving assault victims, the corresponding injury rates were, respectively, 30 percent, 27 percent, and 12 percent.”

In Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms (their report based on interviews with 2,000 felons in state prisons across  the country (available from Google or Amazon)), Peter H. Rossi and James D. Wright state:

34% of the felons said that they personally had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”; 69% said that they knew at least one other criminal who had also; 34% said that when thinking about committing a crime they either “often” or “regularly” worried that they “[m]ight get shot at by the victim”; and 57% agreed with the statement, “Most criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.”

So no Joe, people protecting themselves with firearms are most assuredly not ‘putting themselves in harm’s way’. Precisely 1 out of 29 peer-reviewed studies of right-to-carry laws which were performed by economists and criminologists showed an increase in crime.

Joe finishes up with:

And the idea that there’s this overwhelming additional security in the ownership and carrying concealed and deadly weapons, I think it’s the premise, not the constitutional right, but the premise that it makes people safer is one that I’m not so sure of.

You might have to read that through three or four times to figure out what he’s trying to say (no wonder he “borrows” other peoples’ words) but I think the idea the Veep’s trying to get across is that people think guns make them safer but they don’t. But he fully supports the Second Amendment.

So Joe Biden supports the letter of the law, not its spirit. As for the safety provided by a firearm for legal owners, let’s recap:

  1. 34% of felons report having been kept from finishing a crime by a DGU
  2. DGUs save at least twice as many lives as CGUs take
  3. 28 out of 29 studies show a drop or no change in crime rates when ‘shall-issue’ passes
  4. States without right-to-carry laws have significantly higher crime rates (p. 36)
  5. You are less likely to be injured in an assault if you defend yourself with a firearm

And last, but most definitely not least (to quote L. Neil Smith]

6.  the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.