The Million Mom March is an anti gun organization that is closely affiliated with the Brady Campaign. They advance their anti gun rights agenda through the unfair indoctrination of young children who will soon be voters, and their propaganda laden website. A visitor to LearnAboutGuns.com sent me an email asking me to address some of their anti gun statements point by point, and I’m happy to oblige:
The Million Mom March’s Statement of Beliefs
1. all Americans have the right to be safe from gun violence in their homes, neighborhoods, schools, and places of work and worship.
2. all children have the right to grow up in environments free from the threat of gun violence.
These first two statements are nice ideals, and like all rational people, I certainly don’t wish to see violence. However there are a couple problems with these statements: they focus on “gun violence,” when in fact there is no such thing. Instead, there is just “violence,” perpetrated by criminals who are just as willing and able to use knives, cars, home improvement tools, fire, acid, and their bare hands to injure and murder innocent people. Murder has been around since long before guns, and it is the intentional actions of humans that cause murder, not the presence of guns.
Now, take into account the fact that those who live in violence plagued neighborhoods are surrounded by criminals who will and do ignore a gun ban, just as they ignore the laws against selling drugs and murdering people. As such, gun bans just ensures that the law abiding victims are defenseless against those still-armed criminals.
3. gun violence is a public health crisis that harms not only the physical, but also the spiritual, social, and economic health of our families and communities.
Once again, we have focus placed upon the gun, rather than the criminal who wields it. When a drunk driver misuses a car and kills an innocent person, we don’t blame cars. When a violent person misuses a rope to hang an innocent person, we don’t blame ropes. When a criminal uses a hammer to beat an innocent person to death, we don’t blame hammers. Just like each of the aforementioned tools, guns can be used for good or bad purposes, and it is the intent of the person using the gun that matters. Guns in the hands of law abiding citizens stop rapes, stop murders, stop robberies, stop beatings, stop home invasions, stop racist attackers, and otherwise allow innocent people to defend themselves against violent criminals.
I would also like to note that many, many more people die from preventable causes of death than the misuse of guns. Preventable car accidents are responsible for more than twice as many deaths each year in the USA than all the negligent shootings and criminal gun uses combined. While stopping criminals from committing murder with a gun or any other tool is very difficult, bordering impossible, improving vehicle safety and road safety could easily save thousands of lives, as could better enforcement of traffic laws. Many times more people also die of cancer from tobacco use or second hand smoke, and these deaths could also be easily prevented.
4. the availability and lethality of guns make death or severe injury more likely in domestic violence, criminal activity, suicide attempts, and unintentional shootings.
Domestic violence offenders tend to be males, who are usually physically stronger than the women they are abusing. As such, these offenders are more than capable of murdering, beheading, setting on fire, or otherwise harming their victims, without a gun. Moreover, the kind of person who is willing to commit domestic violence crimes is not going to be deterred by the less severely punished laws prohibiting gun possession. On the other hand, gun ownership can greatly benefit women, especially those who are victims of domestic violence. This woman stopped her husband from allegedly trying to kill her and the rest of her family. This armed woman used her gun to stop a violent ex who broke into her home and cornered her in her bedroom. This armed woman was able to defend herself against a rapist who came back to rape her for a second time in a week. This armed woman stopped an attacker who tried to ambush her.
The same basic arguments apply to rebut the Million Mom March’s arguments about criminal activity. The fact is that criminal who want guns will get them, whether they steal them from the police, smuggle them into the country, or make guns themselves. Gun restrictions just leave the crime victims unable to defend themselves.
Regarding suicide, gun restrictions have been shown to be ineffective at reducing suicides, and the highest suicide rates can be found in countries like Japan, which have incredibly strict gun control laws. Basically, a person who wishes to end their life will find a way to do so, whether or not there is a gun around. Also, even if, just for the sake of argument, gun restrictions did reduce suicides, that would not justify such restrictions. That is because it is wrong to prevent the non-suicidal members of society from defending themselves against criminals, just for some marginal reduction in the ability of suicidal individuals to easily kill themselves.
Finally, unintentional shootings are entirely preventable if a few simple gun safety rules are followed and/or guns are stored responsibly. It is only when more than one of these rules are broken that a negligent shooting occurs. Note that these type of unintentional shootings tend to occur in areas with gun bans, such as Chicago, because the people who are (illegally) using the guns were never taught about gun safety or safe gun storage. That is why the NRA and other pro gun groups advocate teaching children about gun safety, so that if a child does find a gun, they will know not to play with it. It is also worth noting that children who are taught to shoot from a young age under responsible adult supervision are less likely to misuse guns than children who are not taught to shoot.
5. it is possible to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by gun violence with reasonable, common sense policy.
Firstly, the Million Mom March advocates restrictions on gun ownership that are anything but reasonable or “common sense.” It advocates a total ban on handgun ownership, despite the fact that handguns are used every minute of every day by Americans to defend themselves against criminals. The Million Mom Mach advocates a ban on so-called “assault weapons” despite the fact that such a ban targets guns that are rarely used by criminals, while taking safey features out of the hands of law abiding people. I could go on, but the point should be clear: The Million Mom March wants nothing short of a total ban on lawful civilian gun ownership, and is attempting to bring about this goal by slowly whittling away at gun rights.
Secondly, passing more laws won’t solve the problem of violence, since criminals by definition don’t obey the law. As discussed above, criminals can get a gun illegally, bypassing background checks and gun control laws. We can’t keep drugs out of criminals hands, and stopping criminals from having guns is an even tougher challenge. Gun control laws only serve to make self defense more difficult for the law abiding members of society, who then face the still-armed criminals. As an example, look at the United Kingdom, where gun related crime rose dramatically after a handgun ban was enacted.
Finally, even if it were possible to magically make guns vanish, criminals would still commit murder, just with another tool. That is because it is the desire on the part of a criminal to kill, not the presence of a gun, that leads to murder. A couple of examples where criminals have been willing to use knives instead of guns to commit their crimes when guns temporarily became harder to easily find: Crime statistics from New York City show that fatal stabbings are up 50%, at at time when gun-related crime is down somewhat, likely due to a series of successful police operations targeting illegal gun traffickers. Similarly, stabbing of juveniles in Britain rose over 70% following the institution of their gun ban, showing once again that criminals can use other tools to commit their crimes.
The Million Mom March’s Use of Crime Victims for Propaganda
Million Mom March Chapters work to actively and appropriately incorporate the authentic experiences of victims and survivors into the movement to prevent firearm injury and death. As mothers and others, the Million Mom March Chapters are called to responsible action for remembering victims, such as creating a victim’s memorial (garden, wall) or a commemorative activity (bell ringing, vigils). Chapters across the country link with individuals who have been touched by gun violence in order that these important voices are provided the opportunity to impact life saving policies at local, state, and national levels.
Basically, the Million Mom March is really saying that they exploit the suffering of crime victims to fight against gun rights. Instead of trying to take away the right of law abiding citizens to own the best self defense tool, crime victims and their families should focus their activism on the underlying causes of crime, and our legal system that gives violent offenders only a slap on the wrist, before letting them out of jail to victimize more people.
This aspect of the Million Mom March reminds me of the case of Pat Regan, a British woman whose son was shot to death by a criminal. Rather than recognizing that criminals ignore gun control, and that banning guns leaves the law abiding members of society defenseless, Pat Regan set out to ban guns. She and like minded people were quite successful, and law abiding British people lost the right to have a gun for self defense or other lawful purposes. Pat Regan, disarmed like the rest of the UK’s law abiding people, was then fatally stabbed in her own home, defenseless against her knife-wielding killer. Perhaps if she had a gun, she would still be alive.
The Million Mom March on Concealed Carry
[On their website, the Million Mom March discusses several dozen cases, spanning about 15 years of time, in which criminals who somehow got a concealed carry permit committed a crime of some sort (ranging from driving on a suspended license to murder). The attempt is to imply that all or most concealed carry permit holders are dangerous law breakers.]
There are quite a few flaws with this attempt to portray concealed carry permit holders as a danger to society. Firstly, many of the offenses that they list include things like driving on a suspended license. While this is certainly a crime, it has nothing to do with a concealed carry permit or violent crime. Adding in such offenses to their list is simply an attempt at padding the list to make it seem longer.
Secondly, the statistics show that concealed carry permit holders are more law abiding than the average citizen, negating the Million Mom March’s attempt to cast such individuals in a negative light. Even in the rare instance when a concealed carry permit holder commits a crime, it is not the concealed carry permit that was the problem. Instead, the fact is that a person bent on murder will be quite willing to carry a gun and go shoot someone, with or without a permit to carry that gun. Simply look to Chicago, where handguns are banned, and concealed carry is illegal state-wide, yet there is no shortage of criminals carrying guns and shooting innocent people.
Finally, there are literally millions of people who hold concealed carry permits, so the misdeeds of a few dozen over 15 years is trivial in comparison. This is especially true when I can point to more real-life examples from the last year when concealed carry has saved a citizen, than they could find of concealed carry abuse in 15 years (and note that I only write about a tiny fraction of such self defense gun uses that occur). Remember, Americans defend themselves with a gun about every 13 seconds, allowing guns to save many more lives than are lost.
My thanks to Christian for suggesting this article topic. My thanks to Anders for the link to the NYT about the increase in knife-related crime.