Number 3: “Gun Bans Are Effective in Other Countries.”
When gun control is argued, many try to bring up examples in other countries to suggest that gun control necessarily brings down the crime rate. The problem with this argument is that when people compare countries, they do not compare them proportionately, but instead, frame the situation in a manner that deceives others as to causation.
For example, one of the most commonly referred to countries is Australia as Australia enacted a uniform approach to firearms regulation at the federal level, applying bans across all territories with the Firearms Act of 1996. This act, along with other acts and regulations, essentially banned most firearms for private possession and required those who still had firearms such as simple shotguns and rifles to pass a screening and a waiting period. Self-defense with guns was also essentially banned with this act as the possession of a firearm for self-defense purposes is reason for denial of an Australian firearms permit.
Australia’s denial of the individual right to guns and self-defense might appear at first to be something remarkable as their homicide rate declined to 1 in 100,000 in 2017. However, this statistical significance is diminished when put into context for comparison.
First, Australia’s violent crime rate was already on the decline, with a firearm declination of 3% annually for years before the ban, meaning that other factors were influencing the change.
Second, when comparing Australia to the United States, the population size and nature of legal differences must be accurately accounted for. Australia is a country of about 24 million people. The United States population is over 320 million.
To make an apt comparison for questioning the efficacy of gun control, one must consider that Australia has a smaller total population and uniform federal gun law restrictions, unlike the 50 states. To make a proper analysis, one should compare the states in the U.S. with the most gun freedom with Australia’s population.
If one counts the population in America’s most pro-gun states up to Australian population count, and then compares the homicide rate, a clarity will emerge that demonstrates a negligible difference.
In Australia, across 24 million people, there is approximately 1 homicide per 100,000. Counting up approximately 24 million people from the most gun friendly populations of New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Oregon, and Arizona, the homicide rate is approximately 1.6 per 100,000, a negligible difference in what is a vastly different legislative scheme for gun control.
With this in mind, it should be clear why the mainstream media frames nationwide comparisons to make it appear that gun control laws are the magic bullet to stopping homicides: they don’t want to look carefully at the states with more gun freedom.
For further understanding in comparing Australia’s gun laws to the U.S., look at the states in the U.S. with the most gun control: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Rhode Island. Taken together, these states have an average of 3.78 homicides per 100,000 people. From this information, we can infer that gun control laws are not themselves the core attribute that makes murder rates go up or down.
Rather, what we see is that dense populations afflicted by localities that prohibit gun ownership and self-defense can be a possible factor in the equation.
And, looking closer to localities, this holds true when narrowing in where the higher murder rates are coming from.
In 2014, the Crime Prevention Research Center reported that just 1% of the counties in the United States with 19% of the population held 37% of the murders. In fact, half of the murders in the U.S. came from only 2% of counties, and these counties are in localities with some of the greatest gun restrictions like in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
By this information, the homicide rate is more closely correlated with urban clustering and with gun and self-defense bans by those urban localities.
So, when people try to compare the whole of the United States to other countries, remind them to not compare apples and oranges.
Number Two: “Homicide Can Be Stopped by Banning Assault Rifles.”
People often try to suggest that a certain type of gun should be banned because it seems scary without looking at other types of accepted harms. For example, many try to suggest that certain guns that are black and have scopes should be banned because they can shoot a lot of people. These guns are often incorrectly labelled as “assault rifles,” when they are just semi-automatic rifles. “Assault” means selective-fire with the ability to go automatic, and automatics have been generally illegal to make and purchase in the U.S. since 1986.
So people often argue to ban semi-automatic rifles in the Armalite Rifle style, AR for short, without any meaningful analysis as to what guns are used for crime. According to the FBI’s statistics, handguns are used for murder some 8,000 times per year while rifles are used in less than 300 instances. In other words, rifles are used only 3 percent the amount of times handguns are used. The FBI’s classification of “rifle” doesn’t differentiate between an AR-styled rifle and a brown hunting rifle, so it’s likely that the percent is even lower in reality for AR-styled rifles.
Even clubs, hammers, and body parts are used more often for murders than rifles, with blunt objects totaling 428 murders in 2013 and hands and feet used 687 times.
So when looking at what people are arguing to ban, one ought to consider the fact that there are far more weapons that can be used to murder than rifles, and banning rifles will not stop people being murdered through other instrumentalities.
Number 1: “The Second Amendment Doesn’t Apply to Individuals and Modern Guns.”
Some try to say that the second amendment doesn’t apply to individuals owning modern guns because the founding fathers didn’t foresee it. Hypocritically, these same people argue this using their freedom of speech via the internet, which also didn’t exist at America’s founding.
The reality is that the second amendment was always about the individual right of self-defense, which has already been settled case law from the United States Supreme Court Cases of D.C. versus Heller and from McDonald versus Chicago.
Justice Scalia noted about the second Amendment in Heller that: “It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia…on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
Justice Alito noted in the McDonald case that gun rights were fundamentally about resisting government, saying:
“As we noted in Heller, King George III’s attempt to disarm the colonists in the 1760’s and 1770’s provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep and bear arms.
This understanding persisted in the years immediately following the ratification of the Bill of Rights. In addition to the four States that had adopted Second Amendment analogues before ratification, nine more States adopted state constitutional provisions protecting an individual right to keep and bear arms between 1789 and 1820.
Unless considerations of stare decisis counsel otherwise, a provision of the Bill of Rights that protects a right that is fundamental from an American perspective applies equally to the Federal Government and the States. We therefore hold that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller.”
With this in mind, it is important to see that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental human right, one that must be held first and foremost as a defense against government. As the right to bear arms must be maintained with the ability to resist government, military grade weapons cannot be peremptorily kept out of the hands of individuals as it is violative of their fundamental rights.