by Peter Grady –
Nationally known academic, author and economist John Lott Jr. systematically decimated all the claims currently being used by president Obama and state lawmakers to argue for increased gun control, arguing that such laws actually decrease public safety.
Lott spoke to a group of over 350 people at an event sponsored by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners at Grace Church, located at 6400 20th St. Professor Lott is the author of several books including More Guns Less Crime which is now in its third edition.
Lott’s research reveals how counties and cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest crime rates, however states and areas with more lax concealed carry laws are actually safer.
“The benefit of concealed carry goes beyond the individual with the firearm,” Lott explained to the Gazette. “When a criminal has no idea who is armed, he has to be constantly looking over his shoulder and consider every single person to be a threat. This is why all of these mass shootings occur in gun free zones.”
While the Aurora theater shooting has been used by legislators as one of the reason to pass four gun control bills this week including a ban on assault weapons, Lott noted James Holmes’ choice of which theater he went to for his rampage which left 12 people dead was significant.
“There were seven movie theaters within a 20 minute drive from his apartment, but there was only one that posted a sign banning people from carrying guns,” he noted. “The killer didn’t go to the one closest to his apartment that was two minutes away. There was another one that was just as far as the one he went to that bragged as being the largest auditorium in the area.”
“You would think if he wanted to kill large numbers of people he would have gone to the one with the largest auditorium, but he didn’t. He went to the one where he knew people would be unarmed.”
One of the frequent claims made by gun control supporters, including the president is that 40 percent of gun sales do not go through a background check.
Lott revealed that the claim is based on a false premise.
He noted that over 90 percent of the 40 percent without background checks involved inheritances and gifts between family members such as a father passing a firearm down to his son or daughter.
He also noted the study was conducted before the Brady bill was passed and only interviewed 250 gun purchasers, asking them if they had went through a background check.
Another administration claim is that background checks have prevented 1.7 million people who were denied by the check from buying a gun.
While that number may sound impressive, and make the case for instituting universal background checks, Lott says the majority of those 1.7 million were false positives. The problem comes from people having similar names as someone who is prohibited from owning a gun. They are denied solely on this basis of mistaken identity.
“The late senator Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list five times because his name sounded similar to a terrorist. Using Obama’s logic about the 1.7 million felons stopped from buying guns, we would have to say DHS stopped five terrorists from boarding a plane each time Kennedy’s name came up. Of course, that is absurd.”
While it may seem as if being caught up in a false positive during a background check is simply a necessary inconvenience for public safety, Lott says just the opposite is true.
“A person that needs a gun to protect themselves such as a woman from a boyfriend or ex-husband who is threatening them is now not able to get it in a timely manner. This is a real threat to public safety.”
When gun control advocates are confronted with the reality that cities with the strictest gun control laws have the highest murder and shootings, they respond by saying criminals are buying guns from states with lax gun laws.
However, Lott points out that doesn’t explain why the murder rates immediately skyrocket in these cities when the gun bans go into effect. “You would expect it to at least remain equal for a while, but it always goes up.”
Lott is not the only one to conduct this type of research. He pointed out that while some may not show that gun control laws increase crime, there are no studies that show gun control laws have a noticeable effect on crime.
Just this week the federal government released a study by the National Institute of Justice showing that assault weapons are not a major contributor to crime and a ban on them would do little to reduce gun deaths.
“The existing stock of assault weapons is large, undercutting the effectiveness of bans with exemptions,” it said. “Therefore a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on gun homicides.”
Despite the evidence produced by Lott and the government study, this week Democratic lawmakers followed the desires of the president and passed the gun control measures which included:
- HB-1224 which would bans all magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
- HB-1226 which would prohibit those with concealed carry permits including off duty police officers and former military personnel from bringing their weapons on college campuses.
- HB-1228 would force residents to pay for exercising a constitutional right by making them pay for a background check to prove they are not criminals. There is not limit on the amount the Colorado Bureau of Investigation could charge for the background check.
- HB-1229 bans the private sale and transfer of firearms and institutes universal background checks and/ gun registration for all Colorado gun owners