Gun control laws cost lives

“Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it.” — Will Rogers

Down in Concord, the big news last month, i.e. February 12, was the defeat of yet another gun control bill. The NH House killed HB 1589 by the overwhelming vote of 242 – 118. The battle is over, but could always reappear.

How would you have voted? Do you think we should require a background check for every gun buyer except for criminals? Okay, that isn’t exactly what the bill said but that would have been its effect. Common sense tells you that criminals would not have obeyed this new law any more than they obey existing laws.

Some months ago I came upon some people holding signs for “universal background checks”. I asked one of them, “How are you going to get the criminals to submit to a check?” His answer was, “We probably won’t. So what?” His side apparently wants to do background checks on all the law-abiding people who would pass a background check, but not do checks on any of the criminals who would fail a check.

Supporters admit that the bill would have had no affect on criminals, and they admitted at a hearing that it would not have stopped the Newtown tragedy or any of the other terrible shootings. But what if the bill could save just one life? Sadly, all such bills are more likely to cost a life than save a life.

One simple fact that the gun controllers don’t understand is that guns are used in America far more to STOP crime than to cause crime.  A wheel-chair bound grandfather uses his gun to stop an armed robbery in a restaurant. A mother saves herself and her two kids by shooting a home invader. There are hundreds of thousands, even millions, of episodes every year where a law-abiding citizen stops a crime, usually without even firing a shot.

Gun haters often say that guns are designed for one thing – to kill people. But that is nonsense. By most estimates, there are about 300 million guns in America. 299.99 million of those guns never killed anyone. Did they not work as designed? Or could it be that their owners never had any intentions of killing anyone?

No, guns are not designed to kill people. They are designed to DEFEND against people who would kill or rob or rape others. Throughout history there have been thugs who used knives, baseball bats, or simply their fists to victimize the weaker, the aged, the infirm, the women. Very few of us are martial-arts experts able to defend ourselves without a weapon. Firearms make it possible for a little old woman to defend herself against a big strong man.

The fastest-growing group of gun owners is women. They are buying guns to defend themselves and their families. Many are carrying their guns concealed. That gives thugs something to think about. Criminals are lazy; they go where the pickings are easy. If they think a woman might be carrying a gun, they will go looking for easier prey.

There is a photo going ’round the web of a woman shooting an assault rifle. The caption says, “You are not for women’s rights when you want to strip them of their right of self-defense.”

The right of self-defense is the most fundamental of all rights. Every living creature has the right of self-defense – not just defend self, but defend family and community. Just picture a mother bear defending her cubs. A bear has natural built-in weapons but a human mother needs artificial weapons to defend her children.

For self-defense, a firearm is the most useful tool yet invented. Just showing a gun can scare a criminal away. Nothing else can do that, not a Taser, not pepper spray, not a knife, definitely not calling 911. If a criminal continues to threaten, a gun can stop him before he can hurt or kill the victim. Virtually every would-be victim is capable of using a gun. It does not require special strength, agility, or training.

Guns have been called the great equalizer because even the weak, infirm, or untrained can be the equal of the criminal. Without guns the weak are at the mercy of the strong, the ordinary person at the mercy of an attacker who is well trained in fighting or knife work.

In his excellent “Opinion on Gun Control”, Larry Correia reports that “The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5.” Armed civilians save lives. The other side tries to dispute that fact by defining mass shootings as only those shootings in which 4 or more people are killed. They throw away the shootings that would have killed dozens or even hundreds but an armed citizen stopped the criminal early.

The many gun control laws have no effect on the criminals. But for law-abiding citizens, these laws cost time and money. In effect, they tilt the balance in favor of the criminal. One or two victims won’t have guns. That is why these misguided laws are more likely to COST lives than save lives.

Advertisements

Mom brandishes gun to protect family

When a would-be home invader tried to kick in her door at 5 am, Betty Collins grabbed her .357 revolver, went to the door, and ordered the attacker to leave. When he saw her gun, he laid down and waited for the police.

Four months later, another criminal tried to steal a bike from her front porch. Once again, she brought out her gun, and subdued the man until the police arrived.

These events are almost so common as to be not worth reporting. The story made the paper probably because it was a woman brandishing the gun, and it happened twice just four months apart.

This kind of thing happens more than a million times each year. A law abiding citizen displays a gun, doesn’t even try to shoot it, but scares away the criminal or forces him to surrender to the police.

Those who say that guns are designed for one thing, killing people, simply do not know that guns are used far, far more often to defend the good guys against the bad guys who would harm them.

Why didn’t this make the news?

A man shoots and kills a teenager, claims self-defense, gets acquitted. The victim’s family claim that he was a good kid. The shooter says the kid charged at him yelling that he would get the shooter. The jury believed that it was legitimate self-defense. Why did that story not make the news?

You say that the Trayvon Martin story was all over the news. How could I have missed it?

No, I’m talking about a black man lawfully carrying a pistol, killing a white teenager in self-defense, and being acquitted by the jury.

The media was all over a story that they thought was about a white man killing a black kid in self-defense, but totally ignores a very similar story about a black man killing a white kid in self-defense.

Down in Concord

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” — Pericles (430 B.C.)

Down in Concord it is another quiet week. There are 47 bills with public hearings in the House or in the Senate. Most probably are not interesting to most people. I found four that are mildly interesting.

On Tuesday morning, the Senate has public hearings on two firearms bills. HB 135 restricts your right to defend yourself, your family, and your community. It says that if someone attacks you with deadly force, you may not use deadly force to defend yourself, if you can run away. So if you or your daughter is a young nurse walking through a dark parking lot, and a would-be rapist pulls out a knife, you should try to run away instead of pulling out your pistol. I expect a large crowd to oppose the bill.

The second firearms bill is HB 388, which says that if a thief steals a weapon from your house, you are not responsible for any damage the bad guy does with your weapon. That bill passed with a strong bipartisan vote in the House. The crowd on hand to oppose HB 135 probably will stay to support HB 388

Wednesday the Senate hears HB 595, which would repeal changes to photo identification requirements of voters that was passed just last year. By wide margins, voters approve of the requirement for a photo ID, so there might be a good crowd opposing this repeal bill.

Thursday the House Fish&Game committee will hold a public hearing on SB 122, establishing a commercial shrimp license. We have survived all these many years without needing a shrimp license. Thursday we will learn why some people think we really need yet another license.

…..

Some time ago a friend asked why I spend time on politics. Well, the fact is that politicians can have an enormous impact on our well-being. It’s not so much that they can do good but that they can do great harm. As Walter Williams puts it, “In general, presidents and congressmen have very limited power to do good for the economy and awesome power to do bad. The best good thing that politicians can do for the economy is to stop doing bad. In part, this can be achieved through reducing taxes and economic regulation, and staying out of our lives.”

A report from the government’s Small Business Administration estimates that the cost of federal regulations is $1.75 trillion. That works out to about $15,000 per family. Are you getting your money’s worth?

It wasn’t regulations that made us the greatest country on earth. It was freedom – the freedom for ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, and Steve Jobs created entire industries that provided good jobs for tens of millions of people.

Today there are so many regulations that FedEx could not get off the groundSubway RestaurantsHome Depot, Whole Foods, and Wynn casinos might not exist at all if they had started in today’s regulatory environment.

Together these companies have over 800,000 employees. How much worse would our economy be without those jobs? without the goods and services they produce? How many of tomorrow’s giant companies are being killed today by excessive regulations?

An old American adage declares that “To err is human, but it takes a politician to really screw things up.” They certainly have screwed things up. The latest jobs report was just one more example. Almost half a million people gave up looking for a job. The labor force participation rate is the lowest since 1979.

Poverty is the worst since the mid-1960s. The number of people collecting food stamps is at record high levels. Median family income is down for four straight years.

The current so-called recovery is the worst in 70 years. Per capita income and employment are lower than they were at the start of the recession. If this economy had been merely average, we would now have a GDP per person more than $4500 higher and we would see more than 14 million more people employed.

Why do I spend time on politics? Because it matters. Bad economic policies produce the conditions we now suffer. Good policies produce growing economies.

Canada’s conservative government adopted principles of lower taxes, smaller government, and more decentralization of federal government powers. For the first time in history, the average Canadian is wealthier than the average American.

There is one set of economic policies that has worked every time it has been tried. Year after year, around the world, among the fifty states, one simple policy has produced greater prosperity, better life expectancy, a cleaner environment, and more human rights.

That policy is economic freedom.

That is not just theory or ideology; that is history. Nearly 20 years of analyzing 183 countries has consistently shown that more freedom produces higher per capita income, longer lifespans, and more “happiness”.

Sadly, the United States’ rank in the Index  of Economic Freedom has dropped every year since 2006. We have fallen from “Free” to “Mostly Free”.

For a better economy, we need to elect politicians who support property rights, limited government, less regulating, and free markets. It works every time it is tried.

Down in Concord

“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” — Frederic Bastiat

Bastiat’s maxim was on display at the regional public hearing in Claremont last Monday (March 18). With a few exceptions, the participants were saying, “Please government, take money from everyone else so that my favorite program might live.” Sooner or later, they might understand another Bastiat quote: “People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.”

At the hearing, I spoke against the new gas tax. I did not speak well, but apparently people did understand that I oppose the massive increase in the gas tax because the existing highway funds would be enough if even 83%, not to mention 100%, of the highway funds were dedicated to roads and bridges instead of having a full one-third diverted to things that have nothing to do with building and maintaining our road system.

The House began the year with 604 bills. To date, 234 have been killed, 207 were passed and will go to the Senate, 127 were retained in committees for more work in the Spring and Fall. The House will vote on 32 bills next week. The three big budget bills and a related resolution are still being drafted. The committees will make their budget recommendations by Thursday next week for floor action on April 4.

Last week the House met in session on both Wednesday and Thursday to act on 69 bills. It killed some good bills and some bad bills, passed some good bills and some bad bills. Most bills are fairly innocuous and of little interest to most people. There were three bills (at least) that many people might find interesting. The House killed HB 665, a casino gambling bill, by a bipartisan 4-1 vote. It passed HB 573, medical marijuana, by a similar bipartisan vote. By a smaller, but still bipartisan, 3-2 margin, the House passed HB 621, making possession of one-quarter ounce or less of marijuana a violation instead of a misdemeanor.

Next week the House will vote on 32 bills. Many of these bills went to a first committee, then passed the House, and were referred to a second committee. Having passed the House once already, they likely will pass the House when they come back for a second vote.

One bill that no doubt will be debated is HB 135, requiring would-be victims to try to retreat from an assailant before they are allowed to use a weapon to defend themselves, their families, or their community. There have been many instances of an armed civilian stopping a gun massacre before it became a massacre. If they had retreated to save themselves, those incidents would have turned into full-blown massacres. E.g. a woman in church killed a shooter who was carrying hundreds of rounds of ammo. Under HB 135, she would have had to escape to safety instead of using her handgun to save the lives of dozens of church-goers.

Another bill to be debated is HB 617, the largest tax increase in state history. Republicans will oppose it as unnecessary; we should just stop diverting $80 million each year away from the department of Transportation (DOT). Before the House takes even more money from struggling taxpayers it should ensure that the existing gas tax is used almost entirely for roads and bridges and not spent on agencies that have nothing to do with building and fixing our highways.

Proponents of this massive tax hike claim that we need it to fix our “crumbling” infrastructure. But HB 617 won’t repair a single bridge nor pave a single mile of road. It does not spend a dime on roads and bridges. It is a taxing bill, not a spending bill. With their arguments they are trying to tie together taxes and spending but the two are separate. The legislature could spend the exact same amount on roads and bridges with or without HB 617. For instance, they could allocate 100% of the highway fund to DOT, and that would actually put more money into DOT than the new gas tax would.

Conversely, the legislature could raise this new tax, and still not spend a dime extra on roads and bridges. Even if they keep their promise to put all the new money into roads and bridges, they could divert all the old money into state police and courts, welcome centers, etc.

Even if people favor the new spending, that does not mean we should accept the new taxes. If roads and highways are high priority, that means that something else must be lower priority. Let them cut lower priority spending – e.g. send less money to rich faculty and administrators in the university system.

The new tax lets them get away without making the hard choices as to which items are higher/lower priority. The net effect of a new tax will be more money available for low priority items.

And finally, the House Finance Committee will hold a budget briefing on the two big budget bills. I don’t want to suggest that the budget will be a joke but the briefing is on Monday, April 1st.

If it would save just one life…

A gun saved the lives of a Texas family from armed home invaders. Two heavily armed men tried to break into their home. The wife called her husband who retrieved “the family gun” and confronted the would-be robbers. He was injured but the two men killed themselves.

A sheriff department spokesman said “It’s another reason that we’re good with our homeowners being armed. I believe there would’ve been a different outcome if they hadn’t been armed. Our suspects were heavily armed.”