THE BLOG

Good Guys With Guns?

06/23/2015 10:26 am ET | Updated Jun 23, 2016

The tragic shooting in (Virginia Tech, Omaha, Dekalb, Binghamton, Fort Hood, Manchester, Tuson, Oakland, Aurora, Oak Creek, Minneapolis, Newtown, Santa Monica, Washington DC, Isla Vista) Charleston, was a wake-up call to many: wake up and buy more guns.

In an economy that has been challenging for many businesses, gun sales have been robust. In October of 2008 as Obama was heading towards victory, gun sales surged 15%, which according to the FBI is about 1.18 million firearms. These sales were allegedly stoked by fears that the Obama administration would take an aggressive stand on gun control. That didn't happen.

According to FBI data, sales of handguns in Arizona jumped 60 percent the day after the Tucson shootings compared with the year before. Handgun sales in Ohio rose 65 percent, California 16 percent, Illinois sales rose 38 percent and there was a 33 percent increase New York. There was another surge in 2013 after the Newtown massacre.

This isn't a new phenomenon. When 32 people were murdered and several more wounded at Virginia Tech in April of 2007, gun sales surged upward.

It takes no courage for elected officials to publicly condemn the shooting of innocent people. They condemned the mass shootings (at McDonald's in California where 21 people were killed, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood Texas, Aurora ) in Newtown. The list goes on; so does the lack of sensible legislation. Now add 9 dead in Charleston.

Proposed gun legislation may not have prevented Dylann Roof from getting and using his gun - but it could prevent others.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed 92 percent of voters, including gun owners, favored universal background checks. Why is this not reflected in policy? Politicians don't have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. Who are these politicians representing? Why aren't they concerned about their constituents? Money. Lobbyists for gun rights outspend those supporting gun control by huge margins, overall, approximately $40 million versus $15.5. Elections cost lots of money. Most politicians are afraid of losing the financial support. It seems like the concern for life ends at birth.

Once again, the slumbering beast of the gun control debate woke up from the sound of the Charleston murders. It awakens after every mass shooting and then goes back into hibernation until the next massacre of innocent people.

To claim that someone who murders students on campus, people in a shopping mall, on an army base in a theater, kids at school, church goers in a bible study group, is mentally unstable is an obvious truth. Sane people don't do that. The mental instability is used as an excuse for their actions instead of trying to affect policy that tries to keep guns out of the hands of such people.

Opponents of gun control argue that there would be less crime if more people were armed.

Charles L. Cotton is a National Rifle Association board member who also runs TexasCHLForum.com, an online discussion forum about guns and guns rights in Texas and beyond. In a discussion thread (June 18) which has since been deleted, a commenter noted that one of the 9 people slain at a Charleston church, Clementa C. Pinckney, was a pastor and a state legislator in South Carolina. Cotton responded:

"And he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue."

"If private citizens were allowed to carry guns everywhere, there will be fewer mass shootings because potential shooters would not be able to target gun-free areas. And if they did, armed citizens are in there, they have a chance to defend themselves and other citizens."
The Washington Post: June 19, 2015 (http://wapo.st/1TB3Rzj)

Gun advocates claim that we would all be safer if more people had guns the crime rate, especially the murder rate, would go down.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun,"
said CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre after the Newtown school shootings where 26 people were massacred.

Arizona's gun laws are among the most permissive in the country, yet no one stopped the killer, Jared Lee Loughner who shot 19 people. No mass killings have ever been stopped by armed civilians. Either the police or the shooter ended the spree by shooting himself.

The latest United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime stats show that the US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world - an average of 88 per 100 people. Number two is Yemen, with 54.8. The U.S. has less than 5% of the world's population, but has 42% of the world's civilian-owned guns. Following the logic of Mr. LaPierre, there must be a lot of "good guys" with guns.

However, federal data shows citizens with guns rarely stop crimes. An analysis of the FBI and National Crime Victimization Survey compiled by the Violence Policy Center, from 2008 through 2012, showed for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun there are 38 criminal homicides. The U.S., which has the most guns per capita in the world also has the most firearm-related homicides of developed countries. (UNDOC)

Good guys stopping bad guys is a myth perpetuated in movies and television. The best chance of stopping a bad guy with a gun is good policy that makes it tougher to get one.