As expected, during his State of the Union address, President Obama made an emotional case for stricter gun control measures. To those who have actually researched the issue, it was no surprise that Obama left out any statistics pertaining to the effectiveness of gun control. However, what was surprising was that in his emotional appeal for gun control Obama referenced the murder of Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago, where gun control is the strictest in the nation while at the same time gun violence is also the highest in the nation. It is apparent that statistics are stacked against gun control when even the emotional arguments made in favor of it point to damning statistics.
In 2012, with over 500 murders, Chicago was the murder capital of the nation. Pendleton’s murder being the 44th in Chicago this year, Chicago is on pace to surpass last year’s staggering murder rate. Illinois is the only state that does not allow concealed carry in some form. For 28 years handguns were banned in the city until the Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional in 2010. In spite of the handgun ban being in place for 23 years, in 2005, 96% of the firearm murder victims in Chicago were killed with handguns. Chicago murders committed with handguns averaged about 40% higher than it was before the ban took effect. “Assault” (definition pending) weapons and “high-capacity” (aka standard capacity) magazines are currently banned in Chicago. In order to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit, which costs $100 and must be renewed every three years, a law-abiding citizen must complete a training course that includes at least four hours of classroom training and one hour of range time. The cost for these courses typically range from $100 to $150. Applicants must also pass two separate background checks. Gun owners must also file a registration report every year. With such strict gun control yet high gun violence, one would think Obama and other gun control advocates would avoid any reference to Chicago at all costs. In contrast with Chicago, in spite of similar socioeconomic factors, being a major center for illegal activities such as the drug trade and human trafficking, and much more lax gun control, Houston’s murder rate is 29% less than Chicago’s.
As Senator Feinstein introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, one would think you wouldn’t be able to get gun control advocates to shut up about the success of the 1994 10-year federal ban on “assault” weapons. However discussing the previous ban (which included a “high capacity” magazine ban) is largely avoided because it was a failure. Even the very Koper / University of Pennsylvania study Feinstein likes to say proves the ban’s success actually said, “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence”. John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, provided an even more thorough analysis of the assault weapons ban by looking at rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults statistics on top of gun murder rates. Unlike the Koper study, Lott’s research accounted for state Assault Weapon Bans and 12 other different types of gun control laws. Lott’s research concluded these bans had no impact on violent crime rates. Despite gun control advocate Sarah Brady’s warning that “our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis” if the ban wasn’t extended, according to FBI statistics, since the sunset of the assault weapons ban, both the national violent crime rate (-16%) and murder rate (-14%) has dropped.
There is widespread agreement with the reason the National Research Council provided as to why assault weapons bans are not effective, which is “the relative rarity with which the banned guns [are] used in crime”. Only 2.6% of all murders are done with rifles. Even if you only care about those murdered in mass shootings because the fear factor is milked by media and anti-gun liberals, of 62 mass murders wherein 5 or more people were either shot or killed since the early 80’s the majority involved handguns & shotguns. 14% were with with other semi-automatic rifles.
A more telling statistic is that of those 62 mass murders, 42 of the shooters had a mental illness or history of mental illness. The most consistent statistic is that “with just one single exception…every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.” A telling example is the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. The movie theater chosen by the killer, Cinemark Century 16, was neither the closest to his apartment nor the one with the largest audience. Of the 7 movie theaters showing “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20th within 20 minutes of the killer’s apartment, Cinemark Century 16 was the only one where guns were banned.
Statistics from D.C. (vs. Utah), Russia and Holland (vs. Norway), Mexico, Brazil provide evidence that more strict gun control laws don’t work. In the video below, Lee Doren does a great job of exposing the mistakes and manipulations of statistics in an effort to promote stricter gun control.
If the above statistics didn’t provide a big enough challenge for gun control advocates, Obama’s own experts in the Justice Department’s research and evaluation agency, the National Institute for Justice, said in a memo that a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines “is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence” but that it could be effective if coupled with mandatory buyback programs with no exceptions. But of course Obama has promised not to take away existing (currently legal) guns and gun control advocates have strained to depict such concerns of legal gun owners as paranoid, despite the fact that it has happened previously and New York and Missouri politicians have recently shown support for legislation that would confiscate previously legal “assault” weapons.
So if you actually take the time to do research and look at statistics, the real problem is gun-free zones and mental health, not the 2nd amendment.