October 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton, the Second Amendment, the Future of America

My Ruger American in .308 with Boyd's Custom Stock

According to Hillary Clinton's own webpage, the United States of America is facing a terrible epidemic of gun violence. The core problem with this analysis is that it fundamentally overlooks one simple reality: violence is violence, regardless of the weapon used.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Table 12, in 2015 there were 15,192 murders in the United States. This represents an 11.8% increase over 2014. 11,862 of those murders occurred in cities. 6,146 murders took place in cities with populations over 250,000 while 2,231 murders happened in cities with more than 1 million people.

If we go to Table 20, we find a state by state breakdown of the different weapons used to commit these murders. This is important because different states have different gun laws. California, for example, should be the safest state in the nation because in 2015 it had one of the nation's most complex and complete set of gun control laws. When Hillary Clinton and her supporters defend strict gun controls, California is one of the first examples they use as a nearly ideal set of laws. California is also one of the most populated states in the nation with 39,144,818 people as of July 2015 (Census Bureau California Population Table). For over a hundred years California has been considered a progressive paradise, passing multiple laws covering hate crime, homosexual marriage, and medical marijuana use just in the past decade alone. All of this makes California a very good example of how all of America will be under Hillary Clinton. In 2015, of the 15,192 murders in the United States of America, 1,861 took place in California and 1,275 of those murders involved the use of a firearm. In California in 2015, 33 shotguns, 34 rifles, and 855 handguns were used to commit murder. There were also 353 murders in which the type of firearm remained unidentified. That sure does seem like a lot of bad guys using firearms in a state held up as a shining example of nearly perfect gun control.

Table 8 of the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting breaks down the California numbers by city. It is no surprise that Los Angeles leads the pack with 299 murders. In Los Angeles, just about all forms of firearm possession, sales, and use are covered by some kind of exacting regulation and taxation. By the time Federal, State, County, and Municipal gun control laws all work their magic, Los Angeles becomes one of the most restrictive cities in America for law-abiding gun owners. Despite all these regulations, Los Angeles remains the most violent city in California.

Oakland, California, with barely one-third the population of Los Angeles, is still the second most violent city in the state with 127 murders. In addition to strict limits on how many firearms a person can own, what kind of firearms a person can own, large municipal taxes on ammo sales, background checks for every firearm transfer, background checks on ammo sales, and a whole host of other restrictions on firearms, both Los Angeles and Oakland are Sanctuary Cities where illegal immigrants cannot be arrested and deported just for failing to comply with immigration laws. Both cities have very diverse populations with large pockets of mixed neighborhoods, race-specific neighborhoods, and transient neighborhoods where people come and go so often no one is ever quite sure who lives there and who is just passing through. Both Oakland and Los Angeles have lost tens of thousands of jobs over the past twenty years as industry moves overseas, military bases are reduced or closed, and corporate headquarters shift their operations to places with lower taxes and fewer state regulations on workplace safety, pollution, record keeping, and so on. Both cities also have a large gang presence with a massive underground market for drugs, firearms, prostitution, gambling, and even slaves.

Just taking California alone as an American example of the effectiveness of gun control, it is clear that within the United States of America, even in our most progressive state with our most progressive firearm regulations, violent people are still getting possession of both guns and ammunition and are using them to commit murder. This does not even take into account shootings in which no one dies, suicides, or accidental shootings. 1,275 people were murdered with firearms in California in 2015. Clearly, none of the murderers were paying attention to California's exhaustive and complete catalog of gun control regulations. Criminals, by definition, do not obey laws; therefore, passing more gun control laws on top of existing gun control laws in an effort to prevent crime is useless. The only thing it does is make life harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and easier for criminals to commit violent crimes. Gun control laws empower criminals by creating a greater number of defenseless victims. California is a very good example of this principle in action.

If Hillary Clinton becomes president and appoints at least two Supreme Court Justices who do not agree with the decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller or McDonald v. City of Chicago, then all of the United States will quickly follow California down the road of extensive and exhaustive gun control laws. Fewer law abiding Americans will be able to own firearms, learn to use firearms effectively, and defend themselves against violent criminals. Criminals all across the United States will find themselves more free to operate as they become less concerned with sorting through which victims are likely to offer armed resistance and which are not. The forty year decline in violent crime that we have enjoyed will reverse direction, perhaps strongly, perhaps only over time, but it will definitely reverse direction.

People are violent by nature. Anyone who studies history knows this. We have been a violent creature ever since the first Australopithecus picked up a rock or a tree branch and used it to fight off a feeding predator so their family could scavenge the carcass. It is who we are. It does no good to pretend otherwise. Our ability to find weapons and use them to defend ourselves and advance our own agenda is one of the features that early on separated us from every other hominid on the planet. Our violence and our willingness to use whatever falls to hand as a deadly weapon is the exact quality of being human that set us on the course to advanced civilization. If Hillary Clinton takes away guns, then people will use knives and baseball bats. Even in Australia, the number one gun control example pointed to by Hillary Clinton and her supporters, violent crime is still present: people are still being murdered, people are still being raped, illegal drugs flow through the underground, gangs still try to kill each other in city streets, prostitutes and slaves can still be found hiding in the shadows.

In both America and Australia, ever since about 1990 there has been a slow, steady decline in violent crime (although in some years crime rises while in other years it falls). Confiscating a quarter million firearms from the Australian people did not change this in the slightest. True, "gun violence" has dramatically declined, but the violent criminals simply switched to different weapons. Would it really be an improvement to pass laws aimed at reducing "gun violence" in America? What will Hillary Clinton try to control next when she finds that even after successfully restricting the rights and freedoms of law-abiding American gun owners our children are still being murdered in their beds and schools, young couples are still being murdered while on vacation, and old people are still being murdered in their homes? Changing the weapon changes nothing. This is the core fallacy of Hillary Clinton's drive to undermine and eventually repeal the Second Amendment. The problem is not American gun culture. The problem is violent Americans.

All of which begs the question, "If reducing violent crime has no relationship to the Second Amendment, why is Hillary Clinton so zealous in her effort to undermine and repeal it?"


(Update, October 24, 2016)
In 1996 and again in 2003 Australia had a compulsory buyback program for law-abiding gun owners, over a million legal weapons that were made suddenly illegal through changes in gun laws were bought by local police precincts provided the owners turned them in during the amnesty period. So why are there still a quarter million firearms in the hands of criminals? Maybe because gun laws only disarm the law-abiding, making them easy picking for violent criminals. Gun control does not save lives, it empowers violent criminals.

Reuters: Australia Announces New Firearms Amnesty

(Update, October 24, 2016)
Despite being #1 in firearms ownership worldwide (no surprise, there!), it turns all the doom and gloom is very misplaced. The United States falls to #11 in gun deaths, even using the insanely inflated figure incorporating murder, assault with a deadly weapon, suicide, and accidental shootings all rolled into one number. All of the ten countries that outrank the United States in firearm deaths have very strict firearm regulations. In all ten countries, non-military/non-law enforcement citizens are prohibited from owning firearms except for a few, tightly controlled exceptions. So if only the good guys have guns, who is doing all the killing?

Telegraph: Mapping Firearm Ownership and Gun Violence Around the World