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Forbes’ columnist Larry Bell can be a bit . . . hysterical. Hysterical manic, not hysterical Ralph. Back in June, I took Mr. Bell to the woodshed for doing a Chicken Little routine on the U.N. Small Arms Treaty. But hey, the guy’s on the side of the angels. Or, if you prefer, the framers of the U.S. Constitution and those who support its Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Larry’s no Bruce Krafft. And the Tough Targets Cato Institute study that’s got him all a twitter is based on journalistic anecdotes rather than [more] objective crime or survey data. But Larry gits ‘er done, eventually, with today’s article Disarming the Myths Promoted By the Gun Control Lobby. To wit . . .

. . . just how well have gun bans worked in other countries? Take the number of home break-ins while residents are present as an indication. In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, nearly half of all burglaries occur when residents are present. But in the U.S. where many households are armed, only about 13% happen when someone is home.

Doesn’t this comparison offer some indication that criminals are getting the message? Don’t you wish those bent on eliminating our Second Amendment rights would also?

From his lips to God’s ears.

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  1. If I’m not mistaken, your image comes from “For Whom the Bell Tolls” which is nominally about the Spanish Civil War, and I find that especially apt for showing how gun control doesn’t work.

    At the advent of the civil war, France and Britain, and later the US forced an agreement to embargo all arms sales to Spain. The problem is that the legitimate government had no arms remaining because the army was largely controlled by the rebellious fascists.

    As a result, even though Spain had a lot of gold left over from its plundering of South America hundreds of years ago, they had no one to buy arms from. Finally the Soviets agreed to sell them arms, but they charged them a premium for second rate arms and aircraft and delivered only a small percent of what was ordered of fourth rate arms and aircraft.

    Eventually, they stupidly agreed to send all their gold to Russia for “safekeeping” and the Soviets deducted expenses as they saw fit. Franco eventually got what was left returned to him. In the meantime, the legitimate government was essentially over taken by communists who had more interest in Stalin’s purges than in winning the war.

    Had Spain been able to buy arms freely to resist the rebellion, maybe the war would have ended differently and maybe we would have had another crucial ally during WWII. Instead, the people of Spain suffered for decades under Franco’s dictatorship and they are still trying to recover.

    Arms control doesn’t work at any level.

    • Your view of Franco is distorted by 75 years of Communist propaganda. The Communists dominated the Republican Government from the beginning. Franco was more an ally of Mussolini than Hitler except he had the common sense to give his thanks to Hitler for his support and promptly ignored him for duration of the war. When Hitler asked Franco to allow the German Army to transit Spain and seize Gibraltar Franco said no. Franco revoked German overflight rights in early 1942 unlike the “heroic” socialist Swedes who didn’t take a similar action until the war in Europe was nearly over. Franco also rescued tens of thousands of Jews either by looking the other way when French partisans smuggled Jews from France or actively issuing Spanish passports to any Jew who could remotely be connected to Spanish ancestry.

      Franco kept Spain out of the carnage of World War II and his country was probably better off for it. After his death the country made a smooth transition to representative government. Today Spain is not suffering from the after effects of Franco. Spain’s economic problems have brought on by Socialists who are heirs to the Communists who controlled the Republic

      • There is a grain of truth in your claims, but the Spanish government was decidedly not communist. There were communists around, to be sure, but the government was only socialist, not communist. That is, they were much like modern Europe today, not like the gulag infested USSR.

        My point about maybe they would have been an ally is still valid. No one can know alternative histories, but an ally would have been much better than what they were, which was Franco being very cozy with Hitler despite a few instances of pushing back.

        • Skyler:

          I agree that the what ifs are impossible to evaluate. A weak Socialist governed Spain would have been easy prey for Htiler’s Wehrmacht. The result may very well have been the loss of Gibraltar, North Africa and the war had a weak Spain been an ally.

          But my real my real purpose is to disabuse you of the notion that European social model falls under what people commonly refer to as socialist. The European social model owes far more to Mussolini than it does to Marx or the Fabians.

          Note to NCG: Yes, Franco was not a nice guy but he was hell of lot nicer than Stalin. In the end the Communists killed more of their own in Spain than Franco did. You ought to read some John dos Passos who went to Spain as a member of the Abraham Lincoln brigade (organized by the CPUSA by the way) and came back a champion of republican government and free markets.

      • Yes to the Sweden bit: They actually were shooting down US reconnaissance planes while still allowing the German overflights. And still attending German Embassy parites…if they could get an invite. 1943.

      • It’s a bunch of complicated history, but Franco was not a nice guy, overall. I’ll associate myself with those who resisted him, including the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

        • I suppose the Libyan rebels rounding up and executing black people are “freedom fighters” too? Che Guevara? All the other freedom fighters who became tyrants immediately when or even before they got rid of the previous tyrants?

          I don’t get the whole having to pick one, that’s why we’ve had this two headed monster running the US into the ground for the last century. I can’t talk about 20th century wars anymore because people call me contrarian because for the life of me I can’t find a good guy in almost any of them except the people who weren’t even able to fight and just died. I can get into the same argument with a nazi apologist and a nazi hunter, they just wouldn’t believe it was the same argument.

  2. Larry Bell could never write for TTAG. That title — “Disarming the Myths Promoted By the Gun Control Lobby” — is duller than a three year old Toyota Prius. “Forbes to Gun Control Advocates: STFU” says it much better.

    • I’ll speculate that Larry Bell does not aspire to write for TTAG, though he probably hasn’t broken the news to his wife. Forbes has never dropped it’s awareness that shooting is a deep tradition in New England and the Middle Atlantic among business leaders and investors. When the vast waves of immigration came, 1860-1924, the upper middle class and unpopular ethnic groups became increasingly anti-gun, meaning “Please, no guns for factory workers and slum dwellers.” The Sullivan Act had no effect on the upper-middle and rich people. They had a place in the countryside, friends in their political ward, and every expectation that, well dressed as they were, they would never be frisked. Simple. By the late ‘teens the upper class was defended everywhere by long guns and, indeed, machine guns. The necessity to make the policeman’s job easier and the ward boss’ muscle more dominant, required crushing concealed handguns. Done. After the great civil rights re-equilibration things changed. As the politics and and cost of policing change, gun rights are a natural for a comeback. 80% of the US population is now urbanized (well, suburbanized, exurbanized, but not rural). The greater the urban sprawl, the more expensive to police. The more violent the urban core, the more crime flows out to the under-policed suburbs (and in from the impovershed countryside). The rest is history. Even liberal 55-year-old female readers of The Nation are buying handguns. Forbes is sensibly riding the front of the wave.

  3. Forbes is the best of the big three business magazines when it comes to guns. They usually have at least one feature a year on fine guns and several on hunting, though their featured guns tend to be the most expensive ones made. Businessweek did a feature on Boss (I think) before they were bought by the Bloomberg outfit, and I can’t recall any gun feature on Fortune. Good for Forbes and that is why it is the only business magazine that I still subscribe to.

      • You can say that again. All these defensive guns (Benelli M4, AR15, pistols) sitting next to a few hand-crafted pheasant and quail guns look, well, ugly and cheap. And yet the reality is, from experience, that if you hold off a perp with a fine double gun, the PD will hold it for a month or two, so Benelli it is. I hereby offer custodial services to anyone who owns a Purdey best gun but needs secure storage. Laugh.

  4. More and more, the home invasion / forced entry is becoming the residential crime of choice in suburban areas here in the Northeast. The probability of a predatory puke encountering an armed homeowner is so low, it’s worth the risk. Some would even prefer that someone be home. Why have to rifle through drawers and closets whet it’s easier to just ask where the goods are? A preemptive pistol-whip encourages the resident to give up the goods and bring the encounter to conclusion, ASAP.

    • I’m still surprised when I read comments (or posts) about people simply kicking in the door, invasions of occupied homes. I remember so clearly reading in the WaPo many decades ago that Attorney General John Mitchell answered the door of his Watergate apartment with a revolver in his hand (which was in his pocket). I thought, “well, why not?” I’m not in favor of leaving guns on the kitchen counter but a pocket seems fine.

  5. Good piece. Usually the right-wing economic elites give lip service to gun rights, while secretly fearing (not so secretly in the case of Bloomberg et al) the Armed Unwashed. While there are plenty of lies and damn lies to go around, I tend to buy into the stats presented, especially in terms of the fact that legal gun ownership does not increase violence, and likely reduces it. In most societies, violence is associated with economic inequality, and so it is with the U.S. and Great Britain, and now Canada. We could do better on this front. All that said, better to be armed than not, for everyone.

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