I Heard a Gunshot

by John Glatthar

Want an interesting exercise for a creative writing class? Assign your students the task of writing a short fictional tale, based solely on this eight-word sentence: “I heard a gunshot in my neighborhood today.” With a classroom full of diverse students, you should expect a wide variety of literary creations. Some might launch into an anti-gun tirade. Some might create a crime story. Others might integrate into their tale an episode they recalled where a gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen saved lives.

If I were a student in that class, I would say that, to me, the gun shot is the “sound of freedom,” and I would spin my pro-gun tale with that premise in mind. As I live in a sparsely populated area with very large parcel sizes (none smaller than 40 acres), the sound of gunfire means to me that someone is most likely hunting, or is exercising his or her God-given, Constitutionally–protected right to keep and bear arms. By extension, this also means the right and responsibility to practice with their privately-owned arms.

If this classroom were located in a foreign country with strict gun control, however, the chances are that very few students, if any, would spin a tale that paints firearms in such a positive light.

Herein lies one of the many challenges in dealing with gun control advocates in America. Anti-gunners constantly look at the gun control policies and the crime rates of other countries around the world and, in doing so, attempt to draw comparisons between “them and us.” One misleading and erroneous conclusion they often draw is that countries with stricter gun control have lower per capita crime rates than those with looser controls. Note that what they call “loose controls” we call “freedom.” To them, the more that the government controls its citizens, the “better” the country is, and the safer its citizens or subjects are.  Is there any evidence to support this? Is there anything that dispels this generalization that countries with strict gun control have less crime?  Yes, of course there is. Look at three indisputable facts:

  • Japan has strict gun control and a low crime rate
  • Mexico has strict gun control, yet has a very high crime rate.
  • Switzerland has a very high percentage of per capita gun ownership, yet has a low crime rate.

How can this be? Were the gun-grabbers lying to us? They wouldn’t do that, would they? How do we explain these incongruous results? The answer lies within the culture of the nation or the region, not in the availability of those inanimate objects we call firearms.  One reason that the foreign students in the writing assignment would tend to lean positively or negatively toward firearms is, again, because of their respective cultures and upbringing. You don’t even need to travel outside the U.S. in order to find a variety of cultures that have differing views of gun rights. Studies show that inner city dwellers tend to view guns less favorably than rural folks. There are also differences among ethnicities, races, age groups, sexes, and of course, political groups.

Sociologists, criminologists, behaviorists, and psychologists have studied crime and subcultures in the U.S. for decades. Works on this subject are plentiful. I am not sure, however, that there have been such intensive studies undertaken which compared foreign cultures and their view of gun ownership to ours here in America.

Now, even if such a study were performed and published, would it be unbiased and devoid of craven political correctness? I seriously doubt it. In other words, I do not believe, as do the PC multiculturalists, that all cultures are equally meritorious. Based on what I have read, for example, I do not believe that Mogadishu, Somalia has a culture as refined and civilized as, say, Vienna, Austria. Such a politically incorrect observation would never be published in any study in academia, at least not in this country.

In that same vein, can it be argued that Swiss culture is “superior” to American culture by virtue of the fact they have as many guns as we do, per capita, yet their violent crime rate is much lower?  Perhaps, but that example does not fit in with the biased narrative of the anti-gunners. They do not like to talk about the Swiss example, as it destroys their flawed generalization that fewer guns equates to fewer crimes.

As an American who is fully immersed in this magnificent American culture that loves God, guns, and freedom, I have no interest in trying to be like people in the cultures of foreign countries. While other cultures can be very interesting, and travel to these foreign lands can be a wonderful, eye-opening pursuit, I have no desire to take on their values, customs, or cultural characteristics.

Furthermore, as a Christian, I adhere to the Biblical view of self defense.  Read the viewpoint here: http://www.biblicalselfdefense.com/

For the balance of this article, I am pointing to the findings of the researchers at GunFacts.info.  (http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/guns-in-other-countries/#note-99-1) This well-researched body of work obliterates the half-truths and outright lies used by the anti-gunners in their quest to disarm us.

Myth: Countries with strict gun control have less crime

Fact: In America, we can demonstrate that private ownership of guns reduces crime, but from country to country there is no correlation between gun availability and the violent crime rate.

Or, to use detailed data, we can contrast the per capita homicide rate with the per capita gun ownership rate between different industrialized countries (see graph below). Contrasting the data shows zero correlation between the availability of guns and the overall homicide rate.

Fact: Countries with the strictest gun-control laws also tended to have the highest homicide rates.

Fact: According to the U.N., as of 2005, Scotland was the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. Violent crime there has doubled over the last 20 years. 3% of Scots had been victims of assault compared with 1.2% in America.

Fact:“… the major surveys completed in the past 20 years or more provides no evidence of any relationship between the total number of legally held firearms in society and the rate of armed crime. Nor is there a relationship between the severity of controls imposed in various countries or the mass of bureaucracy involved with many control systems with the apparent ease of access to firearms by criminals and terrorists.”

Fact: Even if we examine just firearm ownership and firearm homicide by country, we see no correlation between the two.

Fact: Switzerland has relatively lenient gun control for Europe, and has the third-lowest homicide rate of the top nine major European countries, and the same per capita rate as England and Wales.

Fact: Indeed, the Swiss basically have a military rifle in nearly every closest. “Everybody who has served in the army is allowed to keep their personal weapon, even after the end of their military service.

Fact: “We don’t have as many guns [in Brazil] as the United States, but we use them more.” Brazil has mandatory licensing, registration, and maximum personal ownership quotas. It now bans any new sales to private citizens. Their homicide rate is almost three (3) times higher than the U.S.

 Fact: In Canada around 1920, before there was any form of gun control, their homicide rate was 7% of the U.S. rate. By 1986, and after significant gun control legislation, Canada’s homicide rate was 35% of the U.S. rate – a significant increase. In 2003, Canada had a violent crime rate more than double that of the U.S. (963 vs. 475 per 100,000).

Fact: One study of Canadian firearm law and homicide rates spanning 34 years “failed to demonstrate a beneficial association between legislation and firearm homicide rates” for three major gun control bills.

Fact: Many of the countries with the strictest gun control have the highest rates of violent crime. Australia and England, which have virtually banned gun ownership, have the highest rates of robbery, sexual assault, and assault with force of the top 17 industrialized countries.

Fact:  The crime rate is 66% higher in four Canadian Prairie Provinces than in the northern US states across the border.

Fact: Strict controls over existing arms failed in Finland. Despite needs-based licensing, storage laws and transportation restrictions, Finland experienced a multiple killing school shooting in 2007.

So, these so-called “civilized” countries with strict gun control aren’t so “civilized,” after all, are they? Why should we Americans model ourselves after them?  Do we have a crime problem here in good ‘ol USA? Yes, there is no denying it. The question is, how does rendering me defenseless (by disarming me) make me safer?  The anti-gunners have no acceptable answer.

At Semper Firearms Training we encourage you to buy a gun, get trained in how to use it, get a Nevada CCW permit, and continue your firearms training as part of a defensive lifestyle.

Image courtesy of Oleg Volk