Fact Sheet: The Unintended Consequences Of Gun Control

Fact Sheet: The Unintended Consequences of Gun Control


A. Waiting periods threaten the safety of people in imminent danger

* Bonnie Elmasri -- She inquired about getting a gun to protect herself from a husband who had repeatedly threatened to kill her. She was told there was a 48 hour waiting period to buy a handgun. But unfortunately, Bonnie was never able to pick up a gun. She and her two sons were killed the next day by an abusive husband of whom the police were well aware.1
* Marine Cpl. Rayna Ross -- She bought a gun (in a non-waiting period state) and used it to kill an attacker in self-defense two days later.2 Had a 5-day waiting period been in effect, Ms. Ross would have been defenseless against the man who was stalking her.
* Los Angeles riots -- USA Today reported that many of the people rushing to gun stores during the 1992 riots were "lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they'd never need." Ironically, they were outraged to discover they had to wait 15 days to buy a gun for self-defense.3

B. Trigger Locks can delay one's ability to use a firearm for self-defense

* Trigger locks are dangerous and cumbersome for self-defense. The Wall Street Journal4 noted how when Beretta tested a "Saf T Lok," it cause 18 of 27 rounds to "totally malfunction." And when Handgun Control's chief attorney attempted to demonstrate the same trigger lock at an HCI-sponsored event, he found, to his embarrassment, that he was unable to disengage the lock.
* A trigger lock can be very difficult to remove from a firearm in an emergency. Maryland Governor Parris Glendening struggled for at least two whole minutes to remove a trigger lock at a training session in March 2000.5 If it can take that long to remove such a lock -- when there's only the pressure of being embarrassed in front of the cameras -- what will a trigger lock mean for a homeowner who needs to use his or her self-defense gun during an emergency, in the bedroom, in the dark?
* The Mafia favors trigger locks -- for their victims. Mafia turncoat, Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, expressed his love for gun control in an interview with Vanity Fair: "Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins."6

C. Real life examples of how "locking up one's safety" can result in death

* Canada: Ian Dunbar of Green Lake, B.C. was four years old and home from kindergarten in 1994. While playing in his back yard, a bear attacked him. His mother jumped on the bear and hit him. A neighbor went to get a rifle, but was unable to find the key. They finally snatched Ian away and rushed him to the hospital, but he died in his mother's arms on the way.7
* United States: Every month, the American Rifleman magazine publishes a column entitled the "Armed Citizen" -- a column which highlights recent press stories from around the nation where private citizens have used guns in self-defense. Virtually any self-defense story one reads out of the "Armed Citizen" would NOT have occurred if a trigger-lock had been in place on the firearm.
* Colorado: "If I'd had a trigger lock, I'd be dead." After being repeatedly stabbed by three young men in his Colorado home, Chuck Harris managed to grab the .44-Magnum pistol he kept in a desk drawer. Thankfully, Harris didn't have to remember a combination or fiddle with a trigger lock -- he just pointed the gun and fired.
That quick thinking saved his life, and has caused Harris to later reflect upon what was, perhaps, the obvious. "If I'd had a trigger lock, I'd be dead," he said. "If my pistol had been in a gun safe, I'd be dead. If the bullets were stored separate, I'd be dead. They were going to kill me."8

D. California: A Case Study in Contrasts

* Merced. On the morning of August 23, 2000, Jonathon David Bruce attacked a houseful of kids. Armed with a pitchfork -- and without a stitch of clothing on his body -- Bruce proceeded to stab the children. Two of them died.
The oldest of the children, Jessica Carpenter (14), was quite proficient with firearms. She had been trained by her father and knew how to use them. There was just one problem: the guns were locked up in compliance with California state law. Unable to use the firearms, Jessica was forced to flee the house to get help. Mr. Bruce's murderous rampage was finally cut short when officers -- carrying guns -- arrived on the scene.9
* San Francisco. Contrast the Carpenter's tragic situation to that of A.D. Parker. In February 2000, he was awakened by strange noises outside his bedroom in the middle of the night. The 83-year-old Parker grabbed a handgun he had not even used in several decades, went to his bedroom door, and found himself face-to-face with a thug holding a crowbar.
Thankfully, because Mr. Parker had not obeyed California law, he didn't have to fiddle with a trigger lock, remember a combination, or look for a key in the dark room. He simply pointed the gun and pulled the trigger -- which is why he survived the attack.10


1 Congressional Record (May 8, 1991), at H 2859, H 2862.
2 Wall Street Journal (March 3, 1994) at A10.
3 Jonathan T. Lovitt, "Survival for the armed," USA Today (May 4, 1992).
4 "A Simple Invention Points Up Complexity of Gun-Control Suits, The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 1999.
5 Gerald Mizejewski, "Device wins police praise but fails to move skeptics," The Washington Times (March 23, 2000).
6 Interview with Sammy Gravano in Howard Blum, "The Reluctant Don," Vanity Fair (September 1999), p. 165.
7 The Gun Owners, April 16, 1999, p. 5.
8 Ellen Miller, "Man faces suspects accused of attacking him after getting ride," Rocky Mountain News
9 Kimi Yoshino, "Gun advocates say fear of liability keeps parents from teaching survival skills," The Fresno Bee (August 26, 2000).
10 William Rasberry, "Ask A.D. Parker about gun control," The Denver Post (March 20, 2000). (March 14, 2001).