Becky Fenger Fenger PointingOCTOBER 27, 2010

Guns save lives

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Murder rates don't fall when guns are banned. Murder rates tend to climb when guns are banned. Those are the facts, people.

A Sept. 13 report on crime statistics from the FBI shows that all violent crime rates dropped in 2009 – murder rates by 7.4 percent and robbery rates by 9 percent! John R. Lott, Jr., economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime," credits President Barack Obama's election for causing gun sales to skyrocket and crime rates to plummet. This must tickle Lott a lot, since he was in college with Obama and treated frostily by him when Lott would try to convince Obama that guns weren't evil things.

As Lott points out, gun sales really skyrocketed immediately after Obama won the presidential election in November 2008: About 3.15 million more people bought guns in the 14 months following the election than in the preceding 14 months. Coinciding with this surge in gun ownership, murder rates took an unusually large drop. Actually, the drop was the biggest since 1999.

And what happened in 1999? Bill Clinton was president, and the country was shocked by the shootings at Columbine. Gun sales exploded. As Lott reminds us, Americans feared more gun bans on the horizon, with Clinton policy advisers such as Elena Kagan (now a U.S. Supreme Court justice) fighting hard for more gun control.

In a column last month for National Review Online, Lott wrote: "Higher arrest and conviction rates, longer prison sentences, and the more frequent use of the death penalty all reduce crime, and so does letting victims defend themselves with guns." Just witness what happened in Chicago and the District of Columbia after gun bans went into effect in those cities, Lott notes. Murder rates rose dramatically.

I wish the American Medical Association would see the light already. Starting about a decade ago, the AMA, under the direction of Richard P. Corlin, declared there was "an epidemic of handgun violence in the United States that occurs nowhere else in the world."
His goal was to lobby Congress to give gobs more money to the Centers for Disease Control (this was an epidemic, after all) to gather detailed data on which homes contained the dastardly firearms. One immediate result was to order doctors and school nurses to find out if their patients and students' parents possessed guns and how many! Scary stuff.

Mayo Clinic was all on board with this. Men and women of science turned emotional by ignoring the facts. One doctor there told me, "I just think guns are creepy." Gangrene is creepy; guns are just metal and wood. Here's something to put into your chart, doctor: Crimes are stopped with guns about 5 times more frequently as crimes are committed with guns. Transplant that onto your brain.

Evidently the pooh-bahs at the City of Phoenix are wound too tight to recognize the good that comes from responsible gun ownership. They ordered the gun-safety ads appearing at bus stops around town removed, with the laughable excuse that the city doesn't allow public service announcements. Never mind that the ads directs folks to, a Web site selling gun-safety classes. Alan Korwin, spokesman for the group of businesses that paid for the ads, suspects a deputy city attorney didn't like seeing the odious words, "Guns Save Lives," in the pretty red heart logo. (For a definition of "odious," see Mayor Phil Gordon's backroom deals with public transit provider Violia.)

An interesting juxtaposition on the TV news this weekend paired the stories of a 4-year-old girl accidentally shot by her older sister near Wickenburg with video of the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at University of Phoenix Stadium. The positioning was not accidental. The gun show organizer was asked to comment on the death.

One thing people should keep in mind is that gun shows are carried out in the public view, in compliance with a bazillion laws. If gun shows are closed down, guns get sold in back alleys. Public service announcements in movie theatres send the message that if you have kids, you shouldn't have guns. They were paid for by the founder of who has many anti gun-rights friends in Hollywood.

Never forget what mobster Sammy "The Bull" Gravano said: "Gun control? It' the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun."