This is an editorial by the owner of IPR.
While Democrats and Greens are wrong on gun control, Republicans and most gun rights supporters rarely use the right facts. They fail to engage the Left on its own turf. Here are seven key facts that this libertarian consistently uses to crush gun control arguments.
1. New Hampshire
Supporters of gun control love to compare US gun violence rates to other countries. They’re cherry picking statistics. Crime rates in the US vary greatly by state, and New Hampshire devastates the gun control position.
New Hampshire has a consistently low homicide rate. The data shows a homicide rate that averages 1.2 per 100,000 population and has not been over 1.8 in over 20 years. That makes New Hampshire less violent than Canada, Belgium and Greece. See this spreadsheet:
It gets better. New Hampshire has the least restrictive gun laws in the country. There are no restrictions on scary black rifles (“assault weapons”). You can carry guns openly or concealed without a license or permit. You can even carry guns into schools.
New Hampshire is not alone. Other states with low homicide rates and relatively libertarian gun laws include Vermont, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Utah. If the Left were correct about the need for strict gun laws, they need to explain why these states are so safe.
2. Puerto Rico
The opposite side of the same coin is Puerto Rico. It has by far the highest homicide rate in the US and the most restrictive gun laws.
Republicans keep pointing to Chicago and Washington, DC. Those are good examples of gun control failures, but Puerto Rico makes the strongest case. The murder rate is higher, gun laws are stricter, and there’s no neighboring state Democrats can blame for supplying the guns.
The contrast between Puerto Rico and DC on the one hand and states like New Hampshire and Vermont on the other shows that it’s nonsense to compare the US national homicide rate to other countries. We have a big country and there are dramatic differences within our country.
The question we should all be talking about is why the murder rate is so high in Puerto Rico and DC, and what New Hampshire and Vermont are doing right so we can learn and try to emulate them.
Democrats are fond of using Japan as an example of a country with few guns that has low violence. I lived in Japan. It is a wonderful and safe country. But Democrats also like to blame guns for suicides in the US. Japan has double our suicide rate with no guns.
When you challenge a gun control nut about Japan’s suicide rate, they’ll tell you that it’s explained by their culture. Okay, but if you’re going to use culture as the explanation for Japan’s suicide rate, you don’t get to ignore culture and blame guns when looking at homicide rates.
4. The AR-15
Liberals love to bash the AR-15. They say things like “weapons of war” shouldn’t be on our streets. But the AR-15 is not a weapon of war. This semi-automatic rifle has never seen significant use in any military.
It’s also not particularly powerful among long guns. While more powerful than handguns, it only has half the power of most deer hunting rifles and shotguns.
To top it all off, ARs are rarely used in crimes. The FBI doesn’t differentiate between types of rifle, but all rifles together account for less than 3% of murders. That puts ARs in for around 1% of all murders. Handguns kill 30 times as many and even knives are used in 5 times as many murders as rifles.
Oh but they’ll cry that ARs are the “weapon of choice” for mass shooters. This is false.
Again we see handguns used much more often than rifles, and again that’s all rifles. Rifles are not the problem.
5. Jerry Miculek
One of the phony reasons they use for demonizing the AR-15 and other semi-automatic weapons is that they supposedly shoot faster than other guns. We can knock down this silliness in many ways, such as the age of semi-auto technology. One of the most common semi-auto handgun type is the Model 1911, named after the year it first came to market.
But even better than that argument is the fact that revolvers, which are much older, are also capable of very fast rates of fire. Jerry Miculek demonstrates that in this video:
Of course most shooters can’t match Miculek’s skill, but shooting at 1/3 his rate would still mean 80 rounds a minute with reloads.
6. Mass Shooters
Most of the Left and media hysteria is driven by mass shooting events. These account for less than 1% of all homicides but for some reason they motivate Democrats (because they only care about white victims perhaps).
What’s really devastating is the fact that no mass shooting would have been prevented by the most popular gun control “solutions.” They love to talk about universal background checks, but so far every firearm used in every prominent mass shooting was purchased with a background check. Not a single one was acquired through the fictional “gun show loophole.”
There’s no evidence that mandatory registration would have stopped any shooter. Licensing and training “solutions” collapse when you realize that the Pulse Nightclub shooter was licensed and trained as an armed security guard. The Thousand Oaks shooter was trained in the Marine Corps. Training makes shooters more effective.
7. Training and Ammunition
Last and maybe least, one of the weakest solutions we hear from the gun control lobby is that it’s too easy to get ammunition and people have too much of it. So they want to tax or restrict ammunition. They don’t think far enough ahead to realize this conflicts with their claim that gun owners should be trained.
Firearms training uses a lot of ammunition. I did an all day training with Florida Firearms Training and used about 800 rounds that day. Project Appleseed recommends bringing 500 or more rounds to their 2-day events.
And if you understand training, you’re supposed to supplement it with practice. Dry fire requires no ammunition. But it’s still important to practice with live rounds and in a typical range visit you go through at 100 rounds or more.
So while the media will report 1000 rounds as an arsenal, gun owners know that might not be enough for a day of training and a month of practicing once a week.
The next time you find yourself in an argument with the Left about guns, use these 7 facts and watch them panic.
If they want to talk about real solutions to reduce violent crime, start talking about real solutions like ending the drug war, stopping liberal soft-on-crime policies that enable criminals like the Parkland shooter. If you really want to make their heads spin, talk about how liberal policies like the welfare state create the despair and hopelessness that motivates so many criminals and mass shooters.
Despite the media hysteria, the US homicide rate is down over 50% from the 1990s. The decline continued after the Clinton Gun Ban (“Assault Weapons Ban”) expired. So when they talk about Australia’s reduced homicide rate after their gun ban, just point out that ours declined just as much in the same period. Y’all have fun now y’hear!