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By Steven H. Ahle

The gun control lobby is using the argument that the easy availability of guns is the cause of most if not all of gun crime, but that is a myth. Only .02% of all handguns are used in violent criminal acts in the United States. And in reality, the number is lower since this figure includes criminals who are shot in self defense. (1500-2800 out of 13,200) Another myth is that states with tough gun laws have the lowest gun violence rates. Let’s take California as an example. They have the highest gun violence rate in America, but they also have the toughest gun laws on the books. New Jersey is second in gun violence as well as in tough gun laws. Massachusetts ranks third in both categories and New York ranks fourth in both . . .

Connecticut ranks fifth in both categories and Hawaii is sixth, Maryland 7th, Rhode Island 8th, and Illinois is ninth. Pennsylvania 10th in both categories.

The top 10 in gun violence are also the top 10 in gun laws and not only that but rank exactly the same place in gun violence as they rank with tough gun laws. Coincidence? The figures are here and here.

What about states with the laxest gun laws? (Rating of states not in top 10 in laxest laws)

1) Alaska, Utah and Arizona tie at 0% 4) Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma tied with 2% 9) Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and West Virginia tied at 4%

And the states with the lowest rate of gun violence?

Alaska, Arizona, Florida (5), Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, Texas (6), Utah and Wyoming.(8)

Is this a coincidence too? No. Let me give you the best example I know. Kennesaw, Ga. There is a city ordnance that requires every family to posess a gun, passed in 1982. Since that time crime has dropped an incredible 89% compared to a 10% drop statewide.

Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi conducted a study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. They questioned 1800 convicted felons in prison across the country. Here is a summary of what they found:

  • 81% agreed the “smart criminal” will try to find out if a potential victim is armed.
  • 74% felt that burglars avoided occupied dwellings for fear of being shot.
  • 80% of “handgun predators” had encountered armed citizens.
  • 40% did not commit a specific crime for fear that the victim was armed.
  • 34% of “handgun predators” were scared off or shot at by armed victims.
  • 57% felt that the typical criminal feared being shot by citizens more than he feared being shot by police.

When you post the rhetoric on both sides, 2 plus 2 still equals 4. The death penalty may not be a deterrent (but it does do away with repeat offenders) but the fear of getting shot, apparently is.

One of the biggest arguments the gun control lobby cites is that the Second Amendment only applied to a militia. Let’s see some quotes by our Founding Fathers and the authors of our Bill of Rights:

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people … To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them … ” — George Mason

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. ” —Thomas Jefferson

“Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion . . . in private self-defense. ” — John Adams

“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. ” — Samuel Adams

” . . arms discourage and keep invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. … Horrid mischief would ensue were [the law-abiding] deprived of the use of them. ” —Thomas Paine

“[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…[where] the government s are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James Madison

Well said, gentlemen.

Steven H. Ahle is a conservative blogger who has written for the Charleston Tea Party and is currently the Editor of and is a regular contributor to the DC Clotheline. This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. Unfortunately the myth that REALLY needs to be debunked is that gun control is about crime.

  2. I just can’t understand how anyone can argue to meaning of the second ammendment when the very men who wrote it explain it’s meaning so clearly. The mitlitia includes every legal citizen and laws regarding gun ownership are unconstitutional, whats not to understand?

    • In many cases I don’t think it’s a misunderstanding of the 2nd Amendment. It’s that they don’t want citizens to be armed. Misinterpreting the 2nd Amendment is simply a means to an end.

      • Yes and no. It is a means to an end, disarmament. No it’s not misinterpreting, it’s re-interpreting. It’s that while founding fathers could never have imagined an AK or AR style rifle. So we have to ban them. They gleefully cite this while saying we can have single shot muskets all day long. (Snicker, snicker – we’re so clever). But apply that logic to the 1st amendment and its a non-starter. The Internet, cell phones, social media, radio, television, etc, of course that’s all protected, despite the same founding fathers inability to grasp the concept of modern weapons, somehow, they understood the communictations technology we have would be covered.

        Funny though, one amendment has a “shall not be infringed” added to it, the other doesn’t. What does that tell you? It tell me that they did indeed understand that weapons technology would advance into things they could not imagine, and sought extra protection for the 2A, above and beyond all the others.

        Buuuut I am preaching to the choir here.

    • As regards the interpretation of 2A:

      A bunch of guys we call our “founding fathers” were so frustrated with their government that they declared their independence. Declaring independence was an act that could be considered treason by their government, and though it was risking punishment by death, they did it anyway. The government from which they wanted independence did, in fact, view it negatively, so that government sent its military to preserve the colonial order. War happened. Lots of people died, but our founders prevailed over the government’s army.

      So to recap, a free people that hated their government asked for their freedom and received a war with the government army instead.

      So when it comes to original intent there are actually three possibilities:

      A. Liberal: After fighting off the government army, the founding fathers wrote the second amendment to guarantee that only the government army can have guns.

      B. Liberal: Fighting off a government army is exhausting work, so the founding fathers codified the right to rest and relaxation in the form of hunting and fishing.

      C. Realist: After a hard-won victory over a government army, the founding fathers said “Never Again.”

      • D. Our founding fathers secretly make a plan to return as zombies when England is disarmed. Leading well armed American citizens, thanks to the second amendment, across the pond to kick some English ass for a little payback.

        You know what, it’s probably just C.

  3. That low violent crime rates are caused by guns is every bit the myth of high crime rates coming from guns. DC has terrible gun laws and the worst crime rate in the country. Louisiana or Tennessee have great gun laws – and very nearly the worst crime rate in the country.

    Violent crime rates are caused by the culture of the people who live there. Pretending they’re about guns instead is just another excuse to avoid talking about why some demographics can’t seem to function in a civilized society.

    • Sure, but a deterrence factor undeniably exists. Criminals never choose police stations for holdups or carjackings. Why? They know that constitutes a very real threat to their health and liberty. Likewise, they avoid areas where they know the law-abiding citizens are prone to pack. Easier pickings are to be had elsewhere.

      Crime-as-an-art has declined as Americans have disarmed. In the old days, it was safer for a pickpocket to distract you and lift your wallet or pocketwatch unobserved. Nowadays, criminals don’t bother with subtlety because the effort-to-reward ratio isn’t favorable. You can achieve the same effect by brandishing and saying “hand it over.” In the old days, such brute force was more hazardous.

    • Biggest correlations of crime and violence, which includes “gun violence”, are poverty and being involved in the illicit drug blackmarket. That’s the same EVERYWHERE; guns or not. Combine poverty with a criminal blackmarket that offers massive profit margins and you get a lot of people getting hurt. Who’d of thunk it?

    • Louisiana native, and our crime rates are so high due to the rampant gang/drug-trafficking activity in the New Orleans and (somewhat)Baton Rouge areas. The rest of our state actually has had a steady decline in violent crime. Unfortunately, New Orleans is like a completely separate state as compared with the rest of Louisiana, in the way people think and act (“guns are evil and our POTUS is the greatest there has ever been!”). I’m sure Tennessee residents would feel the same way about Memphis.

      • You beat me to it. Take out Memphis and Tennessee’s rates drop like a rock. Highly urban areas with strict gun laws, almost always under the control of a certain political party, have much higher crime rates.

  4. Where did you get the gun law rankings from?

    Pennsylvania certainly isn’t even close to the top 10 in restrictive gun laws.

      • Aside from suppressors, Vermont is without a doubt is one of the most gun-friendly states in the country. It should rank up with Alaska.

    • This was the first thing that popped into my head. How can anyone consider PA firearms laws restrictive? Open carry- Legal without PA LTCF statewide except Philly/Pitt Concealed Carry- Shall Issue/No Training required/about $20 fee. AWB- No. Mag Limits- No. NFA- Yes.

      I would like to see criteria for this ranking.

      • And very few restrictions on where one may legally carry. This I think is a big one. Some states have enough off limits places carry becomes impractical.

      • Sadly, both sides dement facts to fit their rhetoric. As much as I like the idea of drawing a link between tough gun laws and a viciously high crime rate, it doesn’t always fit, and we should not try to force it.

    • As a PA resident, I agree. Months ago I forwarded to RF a scan of the last page of the Pennsylvania Bar Institutes course book, “The Law of Guns in Pennsylvania.” What that page does is compare the vast difference in crime rates between NJ and PA, and then the extreme difference in gun laws. NJ has much more serious crime per capita and vastly more restrictive gun laws. Anyone I’ve shown the page the page laughs. Of course the NJ restrictions on gun rights have only increased since that publication’s issuance.

    • Appears to be based on a Brady Bunch ranking. Like our own attorney general, these people aren’t really familiar with the state’s gun laws. I think this is simply homage to Nutter, Rendell and the anti-gun legislators in Philly. They confused Philly’s oppressive local ordinances with the laws of the rest of the state.

  5. The states with the lowest rates of gun violence are also the states with the smallest black populations. Facts cannot be racist; they are just facts. And a society cannot understand or solve problems if it is forced to ignore facts. We can’t have a meaningful discussion about gun policy without including all the relevant facts, however uncomfortable they may be.

    • The states with the lowest crime rates are also red or purple states, Blacks are exploited by Democratic Party. Large segments of the black community are enslaved by welfare and slaves owned by Democratic Party just as they were in 1860. Just as the slave holders destroyed black family ties the Democrats of today have constructed a system to prevent black people from forming families. It keeps them poor and dependent and a provides a mechanism (street gangs) to keep them in line.

      The destruction of family and the breakdown in civil society is the ultimate of America’s Fascist party. Aided and abetted by so-called Libertarians this social model is becoming the norm in entire society. I expect crime rates to sore after 2020 as the crop of males without fathers reach their teen years.

      If you want reduce crime ban Democrats not guns.

      • Public housing projects (read concentration camps) are where the Dems keep thier slaves, right?

  6. Excellent Post! This is the part where Feinstien and Bloomberg stick their fingers in their ears and go “La, la, la, la, I cant hear you and wont listen to this overwhelmingly good logic, it makes too much sense, La, la, la, la, la”

  7. Ummm, I’m not sure how the article classifies gun violence rates but ranking the states by gun murders per 100,000 people gives a very different list of the top ten most violent states. If the states are ranked by the total number of murders then the article is getting pretty close to being propaganda.

    I’d love to see violence rates by county, I think that looking at violence rates by metropolitan areas broken out by gun laws would be a lot more instructive and would highlight the gun adverse cities contribution to the overall state violence. It would also allow us to directly compare the more rural counties violence rates to the cities and give us an apples to apples comparison of the violence outcomes.

    • Agreed. I was all ready to share this article until I looked at the actual rates which are linked. There’s seems to be no correlation what so ever between gun violence rates and restrictive gun laws. This fact itself is useful, but the article seems to be pure BS.

      The fact is that you cannot draw a positive correlation between liberalized gun laws and lower rates of gun violence. But you also cannot draw a correlation between restrictive gun laws and lower rates of gun violence. It’s just not as simple as either side would like it to be.

      We should definitely debunk the gun-grabber myths and force them to provide facts. But we shouldn’t be creating myths of our own. That’s just not smart.

  8. Yeah, the stats in this article seem misleading, poorly written, or straight up BS. Hawaii has some of the lowest violence rates of the entire U.S, even according to the Wikipedia that the article referred to. Didn’t check the others, so I can’t say for them. Hawaii just jumped out at me.

  9. The numbers provided by the author via the Wikipedia link don’t seem to jive with the point he’s trying to make. Maybe I’m missing something or maybe an honest mistake was made. If so, no harm no foul. However if its something else I’d be mightily disappointed. The gun-grabbers are the ones who mislead and manipulate data to support their twisted agenda.

  10. Steven,

    I’d like to use the data from your premise (TTAG, right?) but the links you send the reader to, namely Wikipedia, does NOT show what you say, namely (your quote):

    “The top 10 in gun violence are also the top 10 in gun laws and not only that but rank exactly the same place in gun violence as they rank with tough gun laws. Coincidence? The figures are here and here.”

    If you follow your link to the Wikipedia table and sort by Brady score, California is first at 80, if you then sort by gun murder rate, California is 13th at 3.4 per 100,000. NJ, which is Brady rated second at 72, is ranked 20th in gun murder rate at 2.8 per 100,000. In fact, as I see it, Maryland, Brady rated seventh at 45 and ranked third among state gun murder rates at 5.1 per 100,000 is the only one close to your assertion.

    Inasmuch as we gun owners might like your assertion to be true, unless you have better data than you have shared, I’m at a loss to support it. Can you help me out?

  11. “… California as an example. They have the highest gun violence rate in America, but they also have the toughest gun laws on the books. New Jersey is second in gun violence as well as in tough gun laws. Massachusetts ranks third in both categories and New York ranks fourth in both . ”

    Well, its all those guns coming in from the surrounding areas that are obviously the problem. I mean, look at Florida. They have gun shows all the time and everyone knows you can just load up a truckload of guns and drive back to New Jersey and sell them to just anybody with out so much as a second glance……. If New Jersey could just convince Florida to quit selling guns then the NJ Gun Violence rate would drop like a rock!

    –end sarcasm–

  12. Not sure what I’m missing, but the point the author makes and the data he presents could not be more at odds. What the data (which, frankly, is useless because it does not take any other variables into account other than murder rate and gun laws while ignoring population density, income, demographics etc…) show is very little correlation between gun laws and the murder rate. Take Louisiana. High murder rate, but how is that rate skewed by ultra-violent New Orleans?

    And what about county/city level gun laws?

    I’ll stick with John Lott’s more exhaustive analysis which shows that gun control laws do not reduce crime, but may help to slightly increase them.

    If those of us crying foul over this are wrong, I’d love to have that explained to me. I’ve been wrong before and I’m sure I will be again.

  13. “Because of” or “In spite of”?
    Why do children of the privileged class succeed and the deprived fail?
    Obviously “because of”
    Why do some inner city kids succeed while children of the rich and famous fail?
    Obviously “in spite of”
    At the very least, organizations like MAIG will contend the gun violence (I hate that phrase) is endemic in THEIR cities”in spite of” their gun control efforts. Kennesaw GA will say that their lack of crime is “because of” gun ownership. In the gun debate, “Because of”, likes to take credit and “In spite of”, attempts to deny responsibility.
    Exceptions to each argument make the debate if not difficult, interesting.
    Keep an eye out for the “Because of” and “In spite of” exception fallicies.

  14. I’d also like to know where this list showing CA as the worst in gun violence is. I don’t think liberal (by the actual meaning of the word) gun laws are some magic bullet that eliminates all crime. FL is going to have a high crime rate as long as drug prohibition remains. And ND could probably ban guns outright with a minimal increase in the crime rate. Many studies have shown that the shall-issue states saw a steeper decline in violent crime than the may-issue and hell-no states.

    As to the questions of why PA has the 10th strictest gun control laws, the Bradies give states points for things that aren’t visible to the consumer, like additional rules, regulations, and licensing for gun and ammo dealers. The Brady list makes WA look much worse than it really is, because the state has additional regulations on vendors.

  15. The statistics cited in this article don’t match those I found when attempting to document a similar essay earlier this year. While I found plenty of correlation between criminal violence (not just “GUN” violence) and restrictive gun laws, my findings were riddled with inconsistencies. I concluded that restrictive gun laws were unlikely to be the primary variable that I sought. Clearly, other social factors play a major role in the frequency and severity of criminal violence.

    I would ask that the author present additional information regarding his sources. Clearly documented research is vital if we are going to ensure that the issues surrounding gun ownership aren’t obscured by confusion about our methodology.

    • I agree. This article has a lot of problems. California may have the most gun murders, but that’s not the same as gun murder rate per 100,000 population. The more important number is murders per 100,000 population.

      Of course, an analysis such as this using such limited data is pretty useless. Still, if we’re wrong about our suspicions I’d love to hear it.

  16. “Only .02% of all handguns are used in violent criminal acts in the United States. And in reality, the number is lower since this figure includes criminals who are shot in self defense. (1500-2800 out of 13,200) ”

    Steven, based on these numbers, the percentage figure you give is understated by a factor of 100. “.02%” is TWO-HUNDREDTHS of a percent. The real figure is statistically nearly insignificant, but your figure is ridiculous.

    Addendum: noting additional figures given here, your math seems correct. Sorry.

  17. Dan Zimmerman/TTAG: C’mon, why didn’t you check at least a couple of the claims in this article before re-posting it? Just because someone agrees with you politically doesn’t mean that they actually have anything worthwhile to say….

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