Crime and Human Rights (9): A Human Right to Possess and Carry Firearms?

Well, possessing and carrying firearms certainly isn’t a human right since it’s not mentioned in any global human rights treaty or declaration. Neither is it a right that’s demanded by the majority of people in the world. It seems to be an exclusive preoccupation of many in the U.S., where the Second Amendment to the Constitution declares:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (source)

Guns and violence

Whether or not this is an example for other countries to follow, or whether or not this is a good thing for the U.S., are questions worth pondering. The fact that Americans kill one another at a much higher rate than do residents of comparable western European nations, and that this gap persists despite a roughly 40 percent drop in the US homicide rate in the last 15 years or so, is a first indication the answer to those questions is likely to be negative. Gun rights in the U.S. has led to widespread gun possession:

The United States has the largest number of guns in private hands of any country in the world with 60 million people owning a combined arsenal of over 200 million firearms. (source)

And it so happens that this widespread possession is correlated with high crime rates. However, this correlation between gun ownership and violence doesn’t have to be causal. Both numbers can have a third factor causing them both, such as high levels of endemic aggression. Reducing the number of guns would then perhaps fail to reduce the levels of violence. However, I don’t believe in such a third factor and there is proof of a causal link between guns and aggression:

Do guns make men more aggressive? Looks like the answer is “Yes, unless they handle guns a lot.” … We tested whether interacting with a gun increased testosterone levels and later aggressive behavior. Thirty male college students provided a saliva sample (for testosterone assay), interacted with either a gun or a children’s toy for 15 min, and then provided another saliva sample. Next, subjects added as much hot sauce as they wanted to a cup of water they believed another subject would have to drink. Males who interacted with the gun showed significantly greater increases in testosterone and added more hot sauce to the water than did those who interacted with the children’s toy. Moreover, increases in testosterone partially mediated the effects of interacting with the gun on this aggressive behavior. (source)

Deterrence

On the other side of the argument, you have people claiming that more guns mean less crime. Gun possession is supposed to have a deterrent effect on criminals. At first sight, that sounds convincing: when potential criminals know that there’s a high probability that their potential victims carry or possess guns, they may think twice before deciding to rob someone. Still, how does this square with the correlation mentioned above? Why is there so much crime in the U.S. if gun ownership deters crime? The only explanation is that crime rates would be even higher in the U.S. without gun rights:

Because … while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don’t often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren’t reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news. It is quite clear that we have not seen any massive increase in crime, even though we have shifted from a situation where about 10 states allowed nearly every law-abiding adult to get a concealed carry license to a situation where 40 states do. So the fears of gun control proponents certainly have not materialized. (source)

The argument is that while guns may be dangerous and lead to murders and violence, gun ownership for self-defense purposes often prevents violent crime and thereby saves lives. Gun rights activists claim that on balance the gain is larger than the loss. Moreover, they argue that other rights can also cost lives (free speech for nazis can lead to authoritarian rule, rights ensuring that people have a fair trial can result in criminals escaping jail sentence etc.).

Supposing all this is true, the question is then what on earth is wrong with the American psyche that even a supposedly massive deterrent effect still produces crime rates that are higher than in other comparable countries that don’t have the same deterrent? I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with Americans, and hence this deterrent effect is probably largely imaginary (as are other deterrent effects).

I should also mention that the “more guns, less crime” narrative that claims that the number of lives saved by guns is larger than the number lost, often relies heavily on some seriously flawed research by the notorious John R. Lott (read more about this guy’s methods here and here). If you see or hear anyone defending gun rights and using Lott’s work, you can safely move on.

Self-defense

However, even if it’s not clear that a consequentialist or utilitarian defense of gun rights can work (that in other words gun rights produce overall higher utility levels that gun prohibition or gun control), it’s still possible to make a rights-based case for gun rights. You can argue that people have a right to the means of self-defense, whatever the overall balance of violence. I personally think that this is the strongest of the arguments in favor of gun rights. If you can connect gun rights to existing human rights such as the right to life and the right to physical security, you can make a strong case.

For decades, liberals have insisted that the Constitution assumes—even if it does not explicitly spell out—a right to bodily autonomy. This right, long disputed by conservatives, is a basis for arguments in favor of abortion rights and gay rights. Liberals who support gun rights find a similar implied right to own weapons: after all, they say, what is the right to bear arms but the ability to protect your body from criminals as well as the government? The right to bear arms gives you a mechanism to protect your bodily autonomy from attack. (source)

This link to abortion is an interesting one. Both abortion and gun rights can be defended on the basis of bodily autonomy, self-determination and self-defense. But then again, it’s rarely the same people who defend abortion rights and gun rights. On the contrary, gun rights activists are often decidedly against abortion. There’s an interesting story here about a campaign against abortion in black families.

“BLACK CHILDREN ARE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES,” the billboards proclaim. Posted in dozens of locations in Atlanta’s black neighborhoods, they direct readers to a Web site that denounces abortion as a racist conspiracy. Through them, the pro-life movement is sending a message that it cares about the lives of black people. But does it?

The Web site plays every race card in the deck. It says “abortion is the tool [racists] use to stealthily target blacks for extermination.” It calls on readers to “expose the insidiousness of the pro-abortion agenda and its real target: the black community.” It touts the support of “Dr. King,” a niece of Martin Luther King Jr. “I know for sure that the black community is being targeted by abortionists for the purpose of ethnic cleansing,” she asserts.

What’s the basis for these charges? The campaign points to eugenic ideas and influences in the early birth-control movement. But its chief evidence is abortion rates. “Abortions in the black community occur at 3x the rate of those among the white population and 2x that of all other races combined,” the site points out. “The truth screams loud and clear—we are killing our very future.”

The numbers are provocative. But there’s something odd about the billboards. The child who appears beside the text is fully born. Abortion doesn’t kill such children. What kills them, all too often, is shooting. If you wanted to save living, breathing, fully born children from a tool of extermination that is literally targeting blacks, the first problem you would focus on is guns. They are killing the present, not just the future. But the sponsors of the “endangered species” ads don’t support gun control. They oppose it. … Maybe that’s why blacks, unlike whites, strongly favor gun control. (source)

This example of how gun control can help the black minority in the U.S. is often countered with another example of how it has been used to work against blacks. Gun control does indeed have a history as a tool for subjugation of blacks.

After the Civil War, the defeated Southern states aimed to preserve slavery in fact if not in law. The states enacted Black Codes which barred the black freedmen from exercising basic civil rights, including the right to bear arms. Mississippi’s provision was typical: No freedman “shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition.” (source)

Gun control left the freedman defenseless against the KKK and unable to form militias to resist white terrorism. However, I fail to see how a very specific and largely closed period in American history can justify rights more than 100 years later, especially if there are contemporary examples pointing the other way.

A final self-defense argument against gun control is the possible revolution against a dictatorial government. The “people” may need firearms to rise up when government becomes tyrannical. Now, I know that there’s currently a lot of right-wing anti-Obama hysteria and paranoia doing the rounds about a supposed dictatorial plot. However, I think it’s very unlikely that any U.S. government can ever achieve tyranny, even if it very much wanted to. And suppose it did, how can you be so foolish to believe that handguns would allow the people to defeat the superior firepower of the U.S. government?

Regardless of your position on the Second Amendment, whether the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is “fundamental” to “our scheme of ordered liberty” is severely questionable.  Certainly other countries are able to have something that we would call “ordered liberty” without ironclad protection of firearms ownership rights.  And while historically there may have been instances where the ability of the citizenry to safeguard or expand “ordered liberty” via ownership of firearms, the restrictions that are allowed on the Second Amendment under Heller ensure that the government’s advantage in firepower will be insurmountable in such hypothetical circumstances nowadays. (source)

Gun control

What I personally would favor is not prohibition but extensive gun control, including bans on gun possession by felons or minors etc., bans on the open or concealed carry of guns in certain places such as schools etc. I can understand why some people think they need a gun for self-defense. The question is, however, if restrictions on gun rights will still be possible after the recent Supreme Court case, McDonald v. City of Chicago.

The argument that gun control laws don’t work and don’t bring down the number of crimes isn’t necessarily correct. You would have to measure against the counterfactual, which is very difficult: without gun control laws, crime would perhaps have gone up, so a failure to reduce crime isn’t necessarily a failure of gun control laws. Maybe they simply reduced the growth in crime rates. Also, failure to bring down crime rates may be not the fault of gun control laws but of the way they are designed or enforced. And anyway, there is evidence that gun control laws do bring down crime rates.

14 thoughts on “Crime and Human Rights (9): A Human Right to Possess and Carry Firearms?”

  1. _It seems to be an exclusive preoccupation of many in the U.S._

    I would like to believe that, but I can think of at least one recent counter example. Brazil had a national referendum in which the prohibition of trade in firearms came up for vote. Despite massive governmental and ‘intellectual’ support for the ban, the proposal was defeated. This cannot be discounted as a disapproval vote against the government, which enjoyed a relatively high popularity.

    Somehow, a very vocal minority managed to capture the imaginations of most voters (who anyway don’t own guns) and suggest that firearms were indispensable for their self-defense, because ‘criminals would still obtain guns illegally, as they already do now’. The vote is particularly odd, because the only issue at stake was the possibility of /buying/ firearms, and not that of /bearing/ them, which remained prohibited for nearly everyone (only a few public authorities and police can bear arms in Brazil).

    So although Brazilians are not exactly gun-toting, NRA-card member holding, intolerant folk, the fear of being ‘disarmed’ was somehow large enough to sink the proposed legislation. If they had a referendum on the right to bear arms, I fear the outcome would have been similar, unfortunately.

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  2. You state: “What I personally would favor is not prohibition but extensive gun control, including bans on gun possession by felons or minors etc., bans on the open or concealed carry of guns in certain places such as schools etc.”

    It’s obvious you know little about California gun rights and gun laws. If you had the most BASIC knowledge of California gun laws you would know that felons and minors ARE ALREADY forbidden from possessing guns, and open carry is not allowed within one thousand feet of any K-12 schools.

    And as for your assertion that more guns does not equal less crime:
    • Today, 48 states have laws permitting concealed carry, in some circumstances. Forty states, accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population, have RTC(Right To Carry) laws. Thirty-six have “shall issue” permit laws (including Alaska, which also allows carrying without a permit), three have fairly administered “discretionary issue” permit laws, and Vermont (and Alaska) allow carrying without a permit. (Eight states have restrictive discretionary issue laws.) Most RTC states have adopted their laws in the last decade.

    • Citizens with carry permits are more law-abiding than the general public. Only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued by Florida have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders. Similarly low percentages of permits have been revoked in Texas, Virginia, and other RTC states that keep such statistics. RTC is widely supported by law enforcement officials and groups.

    • States with RTC laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, 22% lower total violent crime, 30% lower murder, 46% lower robbery, and 12% lower aggravated assault, compared to the rest of the country. The seven states with the lowest violent crime rates are RTC states. (Data: FBI.)

    • Crime declines in states with RTC laws. Since adopting RTC in 1987, Florida’s total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32% and 58%, respectively. Texas’ violent crime and murder rates have dropped 20% and 31%, respectively, since its 1996 RTC law. (Data: FBI.)

    • The right of self-defense is fundamental, and has been recognized in law for centuries. The Declaration of Independence asserts that “life” is among the unalienable rights of all people. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for “security.”

    • The laws of all states and constitutions of most states recognize the right to use force in self-defense. The Supreme Court has stated that a person “may repel force by force” in self-defense, and is “entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force” as needed to prevent “great bodily injury or death.” (Beard v. U.S., 1895)

    • Congress affirmed the right to guns for “protective purposes” in the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (1986). In 1982, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution described the right to arms as “a right of the individual citizen to privately possess and carry in a peaceful manner firearms and similar arms.”
    December 8, 2009 at 1:06am ·
    You say

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    1. It’s not because I favor something that I assume it doesn’t exist. I’m well aware of US law. And if you’ve read my post attentively, you will know that I’m more sympathetic to self-defense concerns than you give me credit. As for the deterrent effect of gun possession (“more guns less crime”) the data are less favorable than you assume. Beware of the correlation/causation problem (your 3rd and 4th bullet point) and the difficulty of comparing with the counterfactual.

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  3. It looks like you do a bunch of research but I believe you are being selective and not looking at government research as a whole. The areas with the highest gun control also have a fairly large rate of crime. Most who own a gun legally are not those who are killing people and comitting those crimes. The people comitting the crimes are those who obtain firearms illegally or are not in lawful posession. Rarely in a defensive use is a gun actually fired. I believe we should have the right to defend ourselves against the criminals both with police and with ordinary citizens. It takes an average of 11 minutes and up to 30 minutes for police to show up to “TAKE A REPORT” Look at how many reports are filed but how little criminals are caught. If more of the public were involved and have the ability to defend against attacks the crime rate lowers. Our government is out of control allowing for corruption so we provided public transparancies so people willing can assist the government. The same goes for our communities; I volunteer and would be called in if there is an emergency or the police need help. We have radio trainings, search and rescue and CERT in this area. I own and am willing to use a firearm as reasonable to assist in an emergency and gain control for the safety of our entire population. I would not defend property unless it endangers a life. I will defend my children, my life and my neighbors as necessary. My best tool for defense in an emergency is a gun and the same is true for the police and military. I am an equal citizen and should be treated the same. If I can be relied on for emergencies as a volunteer, I am equally right to defend lives. If I can save a life on the streets until transport to a hospital, I have the right to save my own and others. We should not create special classes of citizens, that is discrimination and problematic. Should we disarm some and allow others to remain armed? If you answer yes than prove to me that we will never be invaded and you can remove guns from the hands of those willing to violate my rights such as criminals. If we are all safe then remove the guns from the police, remove them from the military. Guns is the reason we live in the USA because we fought and won multiple battles, those battles were filled with ordinary volunteers at times and now we are those volunteers. You would not have your most basic rights if guns were never in use in this country. We are not immune to attacks, we risk attacks if we are no longer armed, both foreign and domestic.

    Why don’t you spend more time volunteering so your eyes can be opened to the realities that we live in. I pick my battles right now but I can never guarantee there will not be any we are forced to fight we do not wish to. People are so removed from the communities that they do not even know their neighbors. We have to have 2 person working homes in CA so we can buy stuff (and sometimes just basic survival) and many will do what ever they need to get there. This damages our society. I would rather be poor and connected to my community then ever live that life where I believe all is safe because that is SHELTERED. Big difference between ignoring the real world and sheltering yourself and living in your community where we know there are problems. I am not nor have I ever been sheltered so I will keep my gun because I know better.

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  4. The author, Filip Spagnoli, makes some fundamentally flawed assumptions in his blog entry, “A Human Right to Possess and Carry Firearms?” For instance, Mr. Spagnoli casually asserts near the beginning of his article that, “widespread (firearm) possession is correlated with high crime rates.” This basic assertion, however, is simply not true. In fact, widespread firearms possession by common, law-abiding citizens is highly correlated with lower violent crime rates and this fact has been found to be true throughout the world. Allow me to illustrate this point.

    Here is an unbiased, academic study that will provide Mr. Spagnoli with the information he is looking for with a copious number of references cited that he can check and verify for himself. Keep in mind that this is not just a national study conducted in the US. It is an international study that provides him with implications of gun ownership worldwide. The truth is, that the cold, hard facts, evidence, and statistics prove that the higher the instance of gun ownership by law abiding citizens in a country, the lower the rate of violent crime in that country.

    http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7212&context=expresso

    The Mauser-Kates Study linked above, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International Evidence”, was academically peer reviewed and then published on Volume 30, Number 2 of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (pp. 649-694). Allow me to provide the reader with a few passages from the study to illustrate my point.

    “Whether gun availability be viewed as a cause or as a mere coincidence, the long term macrocosmic evidence is that gun ownership spread widely throughout societies consistently correlates with stable or declining murder rates. This pattern simply cannot be squared with the mantra that more guns = more death and fewer guns = less. Whether causative or not, the consistent international pattern is that more guns = less murder and other violent crime.” (Page 33)

    “As of 2006, 40 states have adopted laws under which guns became vastly more available to law abiding, responsible adults, i.e., 3.5 million Americans are legally entitled not just to keep guns in their homes but to carry concealed handguns with them wherever they go. But this has not resulted in more murder or violent crime in these states. Rather adoption of these statutes has been followed by very significant reduction in murder and violence in those states.” (Pages 14-15)

    “Over a decade ago University of Washington public health professor Brandon Centerwall undertook an extensive, statistically sophisticated study comparing areas in the U.S. and Canada to determine whether Canada’s much more restrictive policies had better contained criminal violence. When he published his results it was with the admonition:

    If you are surprised by my findings, so are we. We did not begin this research with any intent to “exonerate” handguns, but there it is — a negative finding, to be sure, but a negative finding is nevertheless a positive contribution. It directs us where NOT to aim public health resources” (Pages 98-99)

    (Study by Brandon Centerwall referenced above is called, “Homicide and the Prevalence of Handguns: Canada and the United States, 1976 to 1980”, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 134 No. 11:1245-1260)

    So, as the reader can clearly see for him/herself, Filip Spagnoli’s claims that widespread gun possession correlates with high crime rates is simply false. Since so much of his argument in “A Human Right to Possess and Carry Firearms?” is based upon this demonstrably flawed assumption, the majority of his assertions are, therefore, logically inaccurate.

    Filip Spagnoli then asks, “the question is then what on earth is wrong with the American psyche that even a supposedly massive deterrent effect still produces crime rates that are higher than in other comparable countries that don’t have the same deterrent?” The answer is that the crime rates in America are NOT higher than in other comparable countries that do not have the same deterrent—an armed, law-abiding, general populace. Allow me to demonstrate.

    For the sake of argument, let us examine what happens when a country that is very similar to US institutes a handgun ban. Why don’t I use a country that can be considered as similar to the US as possible with regard to their general philosophy and culture, the UK. Ever since the institution of their wholesale handgun ban in 1997, there are now so few legal handguns in the UK that even most of the cops there don’t carry them. And yet, the criminals there have absolutely no problem whatsoever getting theirs. Find this fact hard to believe? Examine what the British mainstream media has to say about this topic:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/up-to-4m-guns-in-uk-and-police-are-losing-the-battle-505487.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1440764.stm

    In fact, since the institution of that wholesale handgun ban in England in 1997, the violent crime rate in that country has become so unacceptable that the government has resorted to lying about it and has been caught by their mainstream media for under reporting gun crime by as much as 60%.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/3222063/Gun-crime-60pc-higher-than-official-figures.html

    The published violent crime rates, all from their respectively linked government sources below, tell you the effect by which gun bans have in raising those rates:

    USA: 466/100,000
    Canada: 900/100,000
    U.K.: 3580/100,000

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_01.html
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080717/dq080717b-eng.htm

    Click to access hosb0708.pdf

    Keep in mind that the violent crime rate (gun crime being a significant portion of this measurement) for the UK, as horrendous as it is, is under reported by as much as 60%.

    Therefore, the reader can very clearly see for him/herself that the underlying assumptions made by Mr. Spagnoli do not reflect the facts regarding the issue of gun control. And without the facts supporting his underlying assumptions, his entire argument completely falls apart.

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  5. If the NRA endorses a particularly study, are the conclusions then automatically deemed to be false? Mr. Spagnoli, while you might cite one particular article from Science Blogs in an attempt to support your argument, allow us this–how does the commentary from Tim Lambert, a computer scientist from the University of New South Wales, weigh against a Harvard peer-reviewed study on the subject of gun control that should be examined by an expert in the field of Law, Public Policy, Economics, or Criminology? Furthermore, as has been clearly demonstrated in the comments section of the same Science Blogs article you cite in your response above, “Kevin” in Comment 3, has clearly indicated the flaws in Tim Lambert’s amateur analysis.

    For the record, crime rates in the US are NOT demonstrably higher than in comparable countries as I have clearly proven by providing the government-sourced data from the countries mentioned above. From the US, I cited FBI-sourced statistics. From Canada, the statistics are from StatCan. From the UK, the Home Office provided those figures. Whereas you may point to articles that you have written previously and a source from Wikimedia, which is as flawed to use as a factual or citable source as Wikipedia, the Responsible Citizens of California have actually provided facts/evidence/statistics directly from government sources and credible news organizations like The Independent, the BBC, and The Telegraph in the UK. Comparing the quality of the sources side by side, I would venture that the credibility of the information provided would not be deemed by most academics to favor your submissions.

    Furthermore, what you assert to be the “standard study” on this subject has nothing to do with the Harvard peer-reviewed Mauser-Kates Study. The Ayres-Donohue critique is directed at John R. Lott’s book, “More Guns, Less Crime.” Any attempt to use the Ayres-Donohue critique as some type of review of the Mauser-Kates Study is disingenuous at best.

    Mr. Spagnoli, your attempts to cite “studies” that support your viewpoint while ignoring the prominent, peer-reviewed studies that do not are a transparently obvious tactic that is commonly employed by gun control advocates all over the world. For years, the general public has not been wise to this ploy. However, in recent years, as more interest of a personal nature has been piqued on the subject of gun control in the US, more and more Americans are beginning to see past this ruse. This is exactly why support for gun rights in the US hasn’t been this high in decades.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/123596/in-u.s.-record-low-support-stricter-gun-laws.aspx

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/gun_control/69_say_cities_don_t_have_right_to_ban_handguns

    Your attempts to dismiss legitimate discourse on this subject and labelling those who disagree with you as hacks is nothing short of an academic travesty. But no matter, our response to your blog will be posted on the Responsible Citizens of California website and there will be a record of our legitimate academic disagreement available for public review at the link provided here. This is your blog and, as such, your management policies about which comments to respond to or block from public view are your own.

    http://www.responsiblecitizensofcalifornia.org/profiles/blogs/the-responsible-citizens-of

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  6. As a traveled person and a as a law- abiding citizen and as a professional personal protective service officer, I for one question your article.
    Historical data provides the actual data that Crime rates drop in areas where concealed carry and open carry are allowed, Secondly As a professional I favor the rights of law abiding citizens to bear arms for their protection be it personal, property, or family.
    More laws or bans prohibiting that right is allowing the criminals the advantage.
    With over 25,000 laws pertaining to guns in general throughout the United States, enforcement of these established laws is paramount. Until then it is ridiculous to establish any more laws or bans.

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      1. Thank you for bringing up the National Research Council of the National Academies Study, “Firearms and Violence”. So, let us argue, for the moment, that this study and all of its findings are true and that the bottom line of the study is as you assert, that “there is no credible evidence that ‘right-to-carry’ laws, which allow qualified adults to carry concealed handguns, either decrease or increase violent crime.”

        If this statement is true, then this begs the question, “Why then, would you oppose every American’s 2nd Amendment Right to keep and bear arms?” Carrying handguns, according to the National Research Council of the National Academies Study, “Firearms and Violence”, does not make for a more violent society. Does this not, then, constitute a victory for those who wisht to exercise their 2nd Amendment Rights as Americans? As long as the violent crime rate does not increase as more common, law-abiding citizens carry handguns while in a public setting, why then, would you not allow for the practice? Would the uproar and controversy then be hoopla over nothing?

        While the overwhelming evidence suggests that an armed, law-abiding general populace actively reduces violent crime in society, I would be willing to concede the position that an armed general populace has no effect at all on the violent crime rate in society. Therefore, there is no reason to keep common, law-abiding citizens from carrying handguns in a public setting if this practice poses no danger to the rest of the population.

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  7. Please understand this line of thought, If by and large a large percrnt of residents of the United States, Own, have, had ,or are thinking about owning a handgun,Rifle ,or Shotgun it is their right, granted by the constitution, to do so if they are able to. I own several af each kind, I exercise my right to bear arms, I have a concealed weapons permit and have trained extensively with these weapons. No more laws or bans are needed, what is needed and is almost religously spoken of by the major gun lobbyists is better over all training and instruction on the use and saftey of these weapons , therefore making for a safer overall society! If they take away this form of protection from the average law-abiding citizen criminals are more likely to use violence to get what they want, and only law enforcement is there to sort it out after the fact!

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  8. […] I didn’t feel I needed to comment on the recent Colorado shooting. Although this blog is about human rights it deals with the topic on a rather abstract level and it’s not my purpose to keep track of and discuss every major rights violation. However, the Colorado incident – as usual in such cases – has rekindled the old debate about gun rights and gun control, and since this debate is suitably general and abstract I should maybe reiterate my stance on the issue (a previous post is here). […]

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