Gun-ban lobby losing its shot

Alan Gottlieb Contributor
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Following publication this week of an MSNBC.com report about the record number of American citizens who are now legally licensed to carry guns for personal protection, there should be little mystery remaining about why the gun prohibition lobby has lost so much traction and credibility in recent years.

The American public has realized that everything the gun prohibition message is fundamentally fraudulent. Anti-gunners repeatedly opposed concealed carry laws with forecasts of Wild West shootouts, widespread mayhem and more homicides. That has not happened.

Instead, growing interest in personal protection confirms that Americans now understand that everything gun rights groups have been saying for years—that more guns does not equate to increased violence, and actually coincides with a reduction in homicides—is true. The statistical data is available to back that up, and MSNBC.com senior news editor Mike Stuckey made good use of it in his report.

The story noted that Washington, D.C.—where handguns were banned for a generation—has had the nation’s highest homicide rate, with more than 20 slayings per 100,000 population. Conversely, Utah—a state that anti-gun extremists at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence grade as the worst for their brand of so-called “gun safety”—has the lowest homicide rate, at slightly more than 1 per 100,000. Recall that the Utah Legislature passed a law to allow concealed carry on college campuses and the state had to force one university to comply with the statute by going to court.

While gun prohibitionists engage in manufactured hysteria against Starbucks Coffee because the chain allows armed customers on its premises so long as they comply with local and state laws, armed citizens—including those who openly carry—are a pretty responsible lot. They are proving statistically that increased gun ownership does not lead to more violence. Data from the FBI suggests quite the opposite.

According to MSNBC.com, there has been a 28 percent decline in firearm homicides during the same period that the number of Americans licensed to carry grew from 1 million to an estimated 6 million, and “shall-issue” statutes swept the nation. This drop in the murder rate also came at a time when gun sales across the country have skyrocketed. During the past four years, background checks for firearms purchases have gone up 55 percent.

Of course, anti-gun-rights extremism epitomized by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s stubborn defense of his city’s handgun ban now being challenged by the Second Amendment Foundation, Illinois State Rifle Association and four Chicago residents will undoubtedly continue. If the Supreme Court strikes down Chicago’s ban as expected, Mayor Daley will be forced to accept the fact that the Windy City is part of the United States, rather than his personal state of denial.

Daley’s vehement opposition to private handgun ownership exemplifies the demagoguery which the entire gun prohibition movement embraces in its campaign of public disarmament. The people have wised up. As a result, anti-gun groups have lost so much momentum that they have been unable to push their agenda even with a Congress controlled by the far left fringe of the Democrat party, and with an anti-gun president in the White House.

Americans are not as gullible as the gun prohibition lobby thought. The public has seen restrictive gun laws fail. Gun-free zones haven’t stopped shootings at schools or shopping malls. Gun bans haven’t prevented soaring murder rates in Washington, D.C. or Chicago, or stopped gang violence in California and elsewhere. These measures have only given us a body count, and the MSNBC.com report suggests America has had enough.

Alan Gottlieb is founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.