Aftermath Of Tragedy: Defending Freedom

GOA Defending Freedom in the Wake of an American Tragedy

(Friday, April 23, 1999) — You wish that it didn’t have to happen. But as soon as some deranged killer goes on a rampage with a gun, the Sarah Bradys and Bill Clintons of the world start crawling over the bodies of the victims to further their gun control agenda. Americans are grieving this week with the parents in Littleton, Colorado. But to those who would try to use this tragedy to foist more gun control, we must say: “These shootings have occurred at a time when we’ve never had more gun control in this country. No law will ever stop these kinds of thugs from getting guns.”

Truly, there is a lot at stake as the media covers and reports on the Colorado tragedy. Many frivolous lawsuits are being launched against the manufacturers and sellers of firearms. The future jury members who sit on those cases could very well be affected by the media spin that they see and read during the coverage of the Littleton shooting.

Spokesmen for Gun Owners of America have been busy this week defending your rights; defending the majority of Americans who will never use any kind of weapon in a crime. From Fox Cable News to CNN News, and on countless radio shows around the clock, GOA staff have debated with Handgun Control, Inc. and others who would try to take away the guns of law-abiding citizens like yourself. Editorials by Larry Pratt will be running Monday in USA Today and The New York Times.

Many of you have been doing your part as well. We have received numerous examples of the Letters to the Editor which activists have sent to local newspapers in response to the anti-gun media coverage this week. All of this helps. Remember, your letter could affect the thinking of a future jury member that sits on a “gun case.” If you have not written a letter yet, GOA is providing some talking points below that you can use. Letters should be about 250 words long. There is too much below for one letter. Pick and choose from the following:

Gun bans don’t work. Where has gun control worked? Washington, D.C.? Chicago? In the public schools of this country? Congress has enacted a nation-wide gun ban in every school and yet young thugs still violate that ban.

Gun control actually endangers the lives of innocent people. If teachers and school principals were allowed to possess firearms in their briefcases or in their purses– or to conceal them under their jackets– it would strike fear into the hearts of these juvenile Rambos. Unfortunately, the nationwide gun ban ensures that these would-be-Rambos are the only ones with guns at school. Decent teachers are forced to break the law to defend their students.

One such teacher did in Pearl, Mississippi in 1997. Assistant Principal Joel Myrick saved the lives of countless students when he used his own firearm to subdue the gunman that had already killed two students. Who knows how many lives were saved by Myrick’s courageous act? And likewise, who knows how many lives could have been saved in Colorado if just one teacher had a gun? If teachers had a choice other than just hiding under their desks?

Guns save lives– even in schools. Just look at the nation of Israel. Editorialist Vin Suprynowicz of the Las Vegas Review Journal stated this week that, “In Israel, teachers and parents who serve as school aides go armed at all times on school grounds, with semi-automatic weapons. Since this policy was put into effect, terrorist attacks in Israeli schools have dropped to zero. The only recent exception was the tragic case of a group of schoolchildren who were murdered by an Arab gunman as they visited the ‘Zone of Peace’ on the Jordanian border. The Jordanians specifically requested that the Israeli teachers and chaperones leave their weapons behind … which they did. American schools are, on the other hand, ‘gun free zones.'”

In this country as well, the facts show that guns save lives. Dr. John Lott of the University of Chicago made it clear that violent crime has fallen in those jurisdictions that have made it legal to carry concealed firearms. States which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%.

America’s “gun culture” is not responsible for the Colorado tragedy. Even though there was greater access to guns in the 1950s, we did not have a problem with illegal guns in schools. Thus, at a time when there was almost no gun control on the books, we had fewer shootings. The top problems in school were things like chewing gum or talking in class, and running in the halls.

Today, the problem has actually gotten worse while the number of gun control laws has increased. The gun culture has always been with us, it’s the other aspects of our culture that have changed over the last 40 years. As stated by GOA spokesman, John Velleco, in an online interview with The Washington Post yesterday:

The high court in this land has told us that we can’t display the Ten Commandments on the walls of our schools because some children might actually follow them. Parents are told they shouldn’t spank their children, or they might be taken away from them. Children are not taught the difference between right and wrong, and when children do wrong, very often there are no consequences that rise to the level of the wrong they commit. . . . In a few years, the two boys in the Jonesboro, Ark., shooting are going to be out. What kind of message does this send to the young people in this country?

Following England’s gun control lead WILL NOT reduce crime in this country. This is perhaps one of the greatest myths in circulation today. England had a murder rate that was ALREADY LOW before enacting its gun control laws. Thus, its restrictive laws cannot be credited with lowering its crime rates. The truth be known, England’s crime rate has actually risen tremendously since passing gun control legislation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reported last year that England’s crime rate is now HIGHER than the rate in the United States. That’s right, most crime rates in England have now surpassed the rates in the U.S. “You are more likely to be mugged in England than in the United States,” stated the Reuters news agency in summarizing the DOJ study. The murder rate in the United States is higher than in England, but according to the DOJ study, “the difference between the [murder rates in the] two countries has narrowed over the past 16 years.”

Another interesting point is this: the United States’ NON-GUN murder rate is higher than the TOTAL murder rates in the gun control countries of Canada or Japan. In other words, Americans kill each other more often with weapons other than guns– such as with knives, fists and feet. Thus, it is absurd to claim that the U.S. has more murders because it has more guns. If one were to “magically” make every gun disappear in the U.S., the hard fact is that Americans would still kill each other– without guns– more often than the citizens of Canada or Japan kill each other will ALL types of weapons.

The problem is not the type of weapon used, but rather, the failure in America to keep violent criminals off the street.