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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Anti-Gun Myth

An Anti - Gun Myth

A deceptive picture of anti-gun regulations and their effectiveness was painted by Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in a recent interview in his home state of Indiana. And he's probably using the same approach in other states..

Helmke claims firearms regulation is pitiful in the Hoosier state. He notes Indiana received only eight of a possible 100 votes on the scorecard prepared by his Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence -- points he says come largely from "not doing bad things."

First, the Brady scorecard is not gospel. And if eight points is enough to rank 31st of 50 states on the strength of its gun laws, it tells you something about the grading curve. Forty-two states earned 28 points or less; only one state scored higher than 63 and that was California at 79.

Here the reader would conclude California, which has the most gun control of any state, must be one of the world’s safest places.

Not so. It has a 14 percent higher violent crime rate and a 23 percent higher murder rate than the rest of the country.

So the Brady Campaign’s “good” scores appear to be a bad thing; the “bad” grades not something that should shame Hoosiers.. Federal crime data indicates the scorecard message actually is just the opposite of what the anti-gun organization seeks to convey: -- Most of the 38 states with Brady scores of 20 points or less experience total violent crime, murder and robbery rates below the national rates. -- For the 10 states with the lowest total violent crime, murder and robbery rates, Brady’s average scores were 12, 12 and nine points, respectively.

When Mr. Helmke says Indiana “hasn’t done anything on guns one way or the other” (tho that’s highly misleading) I say good for us … sounds like we’re a whole lot better off that way.

Another point that is not exactly gospel is Mr. Helmke’s assertion: “If someone wants a gun, I’m not against that.”

I am not about to suggest he is disingenuous in that statement. But what all of us gun owners/gun hobbyists/shooting sportsmen have observed over the years is a relentless effort by the Brady organization and others like them to take an inch and go for a mile. They have demonstrated their long-term objectives are far more aggressive than closing the gun show “loophole” and requiring firearms training for gun purchasers, which doesn’t exactly ensure there will be no gun violence.

We have seen the Brady Campaign launch one tactic after another to restrict or ban gun ownership.

The Brady Campaign’s Legal Action Project sought to counter right-to-carry laws adopted across the country by encouraging corporations to ban firearms in parked and locked automobiles on business property. Of course, that’s where many right-to-carry licensees would keep their guns if the firearms were not allowed in the workplace. The Brady group proposed employee violators should be fired, but Brady lost legal battles on that tactic in Florida.

Another approach by Brady is a cooperative effort with Working Assets, a credit card, cell phone and long distance service venture, to achieve judicial change.

“As judges retire one by one, the two groups want them replaced with radicals who believe that a total ban on handguns and on using guns for self-defense is ‘reasonable’ gun control,” reports the American Hunter in its August, 2008, issue.

Responsible gun owners believe in and preach firearms safety. We teach it to our children. We demand it of hunting partners. One of our groups, the NRA, supports and sponsors many firearms safety programs across Indiana and nationally. And we believe if you use a gun irresponsibly, “dangerously” or in a crime you should pay a heavy consequence.

But we haven't heard of any gun safety courses being provided by Brady -- just information about how unsafe firearms are.

And we are starting to hear them again talk up the idea of "assault weapon" bans -- a tactic in which they always provide the media with illustrations of military-type rifles and yet write proposed legislation with wording that would encompass tons of semi-automatic firearms used by hunters and shooting sportsmen. That is one more step in the Brady gun ban agenda.

Their concept of taking guns out of the hands of every United States citizen is unsound.

Criminals are going to have guns, whether they come from vast inventories in various offshore locations or are produced in your neighbor’s basement. Gun manufacture is not necessarily high-tech. That was vividly demonstrated to me on a tour of one of our state prisons when the warden displayed three lethal firearms that had been secretly manufactured by inmates … mostly using common, everyday items!

And it is wrong to suggest we would all be safer if guns were banned. That hasn’t worked in Australia, despite anti-gun efforts to massage the statistics, and it’s not working elsewhere.

Some people in Washington seem to forget or discredit the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

However, I believe Thomas Jefferson was correct when he wrote in his “Commonplace Book”:

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Organized efforts to rid the country of guns have attempted to convince citizens of states voting on right-to-carry laws that the provision could lead to shoot-outs like the Old West.

Again, the anti-gunners’ position has proven to be upside down: crime rates have dropped dramatically in state after state adopting right-to-carry. That's because the bad guy can’t be sure who may be carrying a weapon and knows how to use it.

Major L. Caudill, USMC (Ret) addressed the subject this way: “When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone … It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.”

Some politically powerful folks in Washington have been making a lot of noise about working hard with the new administration toward getting a gun ban law.

Many Americans clearly resent that prospect, as evidenced by their buying and registering firearms in record numbers in the last few months. And they are also buying large quantities of ammunition as the learn the gun-banners are planning another type of gun control -- making ammunition cost-prohibitive by requiring serial numbers on all bullets and cartridges or creating astounding taxes on ammo.

These citizens know those measures would violate the Second Amendment, as confirmed last year by the Supreme Court. And they would be bad for America.

Roger Metzger

PS. A very real legislative effort now in the United States House is called HR45 Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009/Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009. To learn more about it and its proposed infringements on the Second Amendment, go to http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h45/text or just Google HR 45 Blair Holt.