Foreign gun policies show weakness

By Paul Lalonde

Many people in the United States don’t know that it is illegal to own firearms in England and Australia, even for self defense. The citizens of these two countries pay dearly for the ridiculous laws.

In a Wall Street Journal Europe article titled, “Gun Control Misfires in Europe,” John Lott Jr. pointed out crime rates rose dramatically in these supposed democracies after the gun bans.

Four years after the ban, England’s violent crime rate rose 40 percent. It’s even worse in Australia. He wrote, “in those four years [since the 1996 gun ban] … armed robberies rose by 51 percent, unarmed robberies by 37 percent, assaults by 24 percent and kidnappings by 43 percent.”

Laws such as these were intended to protect the populous, but have had the reverse effect as stated by Joyce Malcolm, in her article “Gun Control’s Twisted Outcome” written for the nonpartisan magazine Reason.

“In reality, the English approach has not reduced violent crime. Instead it has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident their victims have neither the means nor legal right to resist them.”

So what? That’s England. It could never happen here in the U.S., right?

Unfortunately, it already has. Since 1976 it has been illegal for residents of Washington D.C. to own a handgun. The rise in murders has prompted the National Riffle Association to refer to the city as “the nation’s murder capital” in the September issue of its magazine “America’s 1st Freedom.”

According to FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics, D.C. had 192 murders in 1977, when the population was 690,000 people. In 2000, the populous had declined to 572,000 but suffered 239 murders.

Thankfully, many U.S. states do not follow Washington’s poor example.

States are adopting “Right to Carry” laws, which permit citizens to carry a concealed firearm for protection.

The laws produce astonishing results.

According to, states with RTC laws have lower violent crime rates; the five states with the lowest violent crime are such states.

Lott did a study on the effects of gun laws in every U.S. county.

He stated, “when state concealed handgun laws go into effect in a county, murders fell by an average of 8.5 percent, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell, on an average, of 5 percent and 7 percent.”

We can look at this phenomenon at the state level too. Once RTC laws went into effect in Texas in 1996, the state murder rate fell by 60 percent in four years. In Florida, it fell 27 percent in five years, while the national homicide rate rose 9 percent during the same time.

The data suggests the easier it is for law-abiding citizens to obtain and carry firearms, the safer a community actually is, which is the exact opposite gun-grabbing liberals want you to believe.

Many gun-grabbers mislead Americans, saying the Second Amendment is a state’s rights issue. This is simply not the case.

The wording of the Amendment is quite clear, stating the right is a civil right given to the individuals, not the state, and many quotes by our founding fathers back this claim clearly.

Though I am a Second Amendment rights advocate, I am not down-playing the dangers of guns.

They are dangerous, but so are cars, knives, ropes and baseball bats, which have all been used to murder and intimidate people.

I want people to realize the importance of the right to bear arms. We cannot afford to lose this most precious right. Because a disarmed society is defenseless, it looks toward the government for protection, and in administering protection, officials adopt police state tactics which destroy civil liberties.

This is why our right to gun ownership is the single most important civil liberty we have, because it reduces our dependence on a police state while securing our freedoms given to us by God.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.