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A tower of confiscated smuggled weapons about to be set ablaze in Nairobi, Kenya

Gun politics addresses safety issues related to firearms through criminal and noncriminal use. Gun politics deals with rules, regulations, and restrictions on the use, ownership, and distribution of guns.[1]

Contents

International

National sovereignty

Most nations hold the power to protect themselves and police their own territory as a fundamental power vested by sovereignty. However, this power can be lost under certain circumstances. Some nations have been forced to disarm by other nations, upon losing a war, or by having arms embargos or sanctions placed on them. Likewise, nations that violate international arms control agreements, even if claiming to be acting within the scope of their national sovereignty, may find themselves with a range of penalties or sanctions regarding firearms placed on them by other nations.

Enforcement

National and regional police and security services also conduct their own gun regulations. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) supports the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) program "to aggressively enforce this mission and reduce the number of weapons that are illegally trafficked worldwide from the United States and used to commit acts of international terrorism, to subvert restrictions imposed by other nations on their residents, and to further organized crime and narcotics-related activities.[2]

Worldwide politics and legislation

There are many areas of debate into what kinds of firearms should be allowed to be privately owned, if any, and how, where and when they may be used.

Australia

Firearm laws in Australia are enforced at a State level. The minimum age for any shooter is 12 years. To obtain a full firearm license a person must pass a background check, a basic course of firearm safety and be at least 18 years of age.

For every firearm, a purchaser must obtain a Permit To Acquire. The first permit for each person has a mandatory 28 day delay before it is issued. In some states, such as Queensland, this is waived for second and subsequent firearms of the same class, whilst in others, it is not. For each firearm a "Genuine Reason" must be given, relating to pest control, hunting, target shooting, or collecting. Self-defense is not accepted as a reason for issuing a license.

Handguns are only available to target shooting club members after a rigorous probation period. Since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, all semi-automatic longarms and pump shotguns have been almost completely banned. There is an on-going amnesty for those who surrender such weapons.

Brazil

All firearms in Brazil are required to be registered with the state. The minimum age for ownership is 25[3] and it is generally illegal to carry a gun outside a residence.[4] The total number of firearms in Brazil is thought to be around 17 million[4] with 9 million of those being unregistered.[3] Some 39,000 people died in 2003 due to gun-related injuries nationwide.[4] In 2004, the number was 36,000.[3] Although Brazil has 100 million fewer citizens than the United States, and more restrictive gun laws, there are 25 percent more gun deaths;[5] other sources indicate that homicide rates due to guns are approximately four times higher than the rate in the United States.[6] Brazil has the second largest arms industry in the Western Hemisphere.[6] Approximately 80 percent of the weapons manufactured in Brazil are exported, mostly to neighboring countries; many of these weapons are then smuggled back into Brazil.[6] Some firearms in Brazil come from police and military arsenals, having either been "stolen or sold by corrupt soldiers and officers."[6]

In 2005, a referendum was held in Brazil on the sale of firearms and ammunition to attempt to lower the number of deaths due to guns. Material focused on gun rights in opposition to the gun ban was translated from information from the National Rifle Association, much of which focused on US Constitutional discussions focused around the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.[5] Although the Brazilian Government, the Catholic Church, and the United Nations, among others, fought for the gun ban, the referendum failed at the polls, with 64% of the voters voting no.[3]

Canada

The stated intent of Canadian firearms laws are to control firearms so as to improve public safety. There is no inherent right to own or to use firearms in Canada. There is no right for non-residents to import firearms legal in their home country. There are aspects of the national laws that are controversial in some areas of the country, mainly due to large cities having gang gun violence problems and rural areas not having these problems.[7]

Every firearm is required by law to be registered in Canada. In addition, users must possess a license, called a "possession and acquisition license (PAL)". A firearms safety course must be passed prior to applying for a PAL. A non-resident (i.e., non-Canadian) can have a "non-resident firearms declaration" confirmed by a customs officer, which provides for a temporary 60-day authorization to have a firearm in Canada. A 12-17 year old licence enables the borrowing (not owning) of a shotgun or firearm for target or hunting purposes.[8] There are three categories of firearms for purposes of Canadian law: non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited. Restricted and prohibited weapons may actually be owned and used in some circumstances.[9]

China

Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China outside of the military, police, and paramilitary is forbidden. Possession or sale of firearms results in a minimum punishment of 3 years in prison, with the maximum being the death penalty.[10]

East Timor

Under East Timorese law, only the military and police forces may legally possess, carry and use firearms. However, despite these laws, East Timor has many problems with illegally-armed militias, including widespread violence in 2006 which resulted in over 100,000 people being forced from their homes, as well as two separate assassination attempts on the Prime Minister and President in early 2008.

However, in late June 2008, the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, introduced a proposed gun law to Parliament for "urgent debate", pushing back scheduled budgetary discussions. The new law, which would allow civilians to own guns, sparked heated scenes in the East Timorese parliament between the parliamentarians who support the new law and those who oppose it. The United Nations, which has a peacekeeping force deployed in the nation, also expressed concern over the new law.[11]

India

Gun ownership in India is a right under the Arms Act of 1959.[12] The Arms Act of 1959 and the Arms Rules of 1962 were derived from the text of the Indian Arms Act of 1876 created by the British Rulers in view of the 1857 rebellion against the East India company.[13]

To obtain a license to own a firearm, a person has to prove that there exists "threat to life."[citation needed] Once a license is obtained, there are several restrictions on caliber (9mm is prohibited) and types of firearms(semiautomatic rifles, short barrel shotguns, and automatic weapons are not allowed for civilians).[citation needed] A licensee is limited to three firearms under section 3 of the Arms Act 1959.[13] Under the wake of terror the government is considering making the rules even more stringent.[citation needed]

India has won an Olympic Gold medal in the 10m air gun category.[citation needed] It also as few good shooters in the trap and skeet shooting areas.[citation needed] However, only renowned shots are allowed to import firearms, that too only after requisite permission from the authorities.[citation needed]

All manufacturing is done by the government ordnance factories,[14] who without any competition, produce poor quality products.[15]

European Union

In late 2007 the European Union lawmakers adopted a legislative report to tighten gun control laws and establish an extensive firearms database.[16] Passed with overwhelming backing, the tough new gun control rules were "hoped to prevent Europe from becoming a gun-friendly culture like the United States," in the words of the International Herald Tribune.[17]

Czech Republic

Gun ownership in the Czech Republic is regulated by relatively liberal gun laws compared to the rest of Europe. The last Gun Act was passed in 2001 and replaced the old law tightening the legislation slightly. Generally, handguns in the Czech Republic are available to anybody above 21 years of age (18 or 16 years in some cases) with a clean criminal history who passes tests about gun laws and weaponry and the medical inspection (which may optionally include psychological test). The gun ownership is also acceptable for self-defense purposes. Unlike most European countries the Czech gun laws allow its citizens to carry a concealed weapon without having any specific reason.

Slovakia

Gun ownership in Slovakia is regulated by gun laws. Gun ownership is not fully acceptable for self-defense purposes because it is required to have specific reasons other than to bear arms. Generally guns in the Slovakia are available to anybody with a gun licence and purchase permission above 21 with a clean criminal history. Air guns with muzzle energy up to 15 J, gas pistols and muzzle-loaded guns are available to anybody above 18 without permission. There is restriction in muzzle energy output - handguns up to 1000 J, rifles up to 6000 J. Automatic guns, laser sights, silencers and hollow-point bullets are forbidden. A gun licence can be issued for 6 categories (A - gun-toting, B - gun-holding, C - gun-toting for work purposes, D - long guns for hunting, E - sporting guns, F - guns collecting )

Finland

32% to 56% percent of the Finnish population own a firearm.

Germany

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) has low levels of gun ownership and generally one of the lowest rates of intentional gun deaths. However, this is only in mainland Great Britain. Firearms ownership is still very high in Northern Ireland. Private ownership of firearms is far more common and largely accepted in rural areas.[18] The gun crime rate rose between 1997 and 2004 but has since slightly receded,[19] while the number of murders from gun crime has largely remained static over the past decade.[20] Over the course of the 20th century, the UK gradually implemented tighter regulation of the civilian ownership of firearms through the enactment of the 1968, 1988, 1994 and 1997 Firearms (Amendment) Acts[21] leading to the current outright ban on the ownership of all automatic, and most self-loading, firearms in the UK. The ownership of breech-loading handguns is, in particular, also very tightly controlled and effectively limited (other than in Northern Ireland)[22] to those persons who may require such a handgun for the non routine humane killing of injured or dangerous animals. Each firearm must be registered on a Firearms Certificate (FAC) or shotgun certificate. These are issued by local police after the buyer demonstrates good reason for each firearm (e.g. hunting, pest control, or target shooting). Police may restrict the type and amount of ammunition held, and where and how the firearms are used.[23] Historically, most certificates approved for handguns listed "self defense" as a reason. Since 1968 in mainland Britain, self-defense alone is not considered an acceptable "good reason" for firearm ownership (however use of a licensed firearm in self defense is often justified provided that the victim can prove they used necessary reasonable force or acted in fear of their life). Only in Northern Ireland is self-defense still accepted as a reason. The police should not amend, revoke (even partially) or refuse an FAC without stating a valid reason. (Section 29(1) of the 1968 Act gives the chief officer power to vary, by a notice in writing, any such condition not prescribed by the rules made by the Secretary of State. The notice may require the holder to deliver the certificate to the chief officer within twenty one days for the purpose of amending the conditions. The certificate may be revoked if the holder fails to comply with such a requirement.)

Air rifles under 12 ft/lbs and air pistols under 6 ft/lbs can be purchased legally by anyone over the age of 18, and do not require a licence.[24]

Japan

During the Tokugawa period in Japan, starting in the 17th century, the government imposed very restrictive controls on the small number of gunsmiths in the nation, thereby ensuring the almost total prohibition of firearms.[25]

Japan, in the postwar period, has had gun regulation which is strict in principle, but the application and enforcement has been inefficient. Gun licensing is required, but is generally treated as only a formality. There are background check requirements, but these requirements are typically not enforced unless a specific complaint has been filed, and then background checks are made after the fact. As is common in Japan, "regulations are treated more as road maps than as rules subject to active enforcement. Japan is still a very safe country when it comes to guns, a reality that has less to do with laws than with prevailing attitudes".[26][27]

The weapons law begins by stating "No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords", and very few exceptions are allowed.[26] The only types of firearms which a Japanese citizen may even contemplate acquiring is a rifle or shotgun. Sportsmen are permitted to possess shotguns or rifles for hunting and for skeet and trap shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure.[28] Without a license, a person may not even hold a gun in his or her hands.

The former ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in response to violent crimes by minors and gangsters, has called for rewriting the constitution to include new more stringent firearms control measures.[29] In January 2008 Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in a policy speech called for tighter regulations on firearms.[30]

Mexico

Mexico has strict gun laws. Mexican citizens may purchase arms for self-protection or hunting only after receiving approval of a petition to the Defense Ministry, which performs extensive background checks. The allowed weapons are restricted to relatively low-caliber and must be purchased from the Defense Ministry only. President Felipe Calderón has recently called attention to the problem of the smuggling of guns from the United States into Mexico, guns which are easily available both legally and illegally in the United States, and has called for increased cooperation from the United States to stop this illegal weapons trafficking.[31][32]

Norway

While having a large amount of civilian owned guns, Norway has a low gun crime rate. In fact, almost all guns used in crimes are stolen (usually from large warehouses) or otherwise illegally obtained.[citation needed]

South Africa

Switzerland

In one study by David Kopel of seven countries, including the United States and Japan, Switzerland is found to be one of the safest countries in the study.[33] In recent times political opposition has expressed a desire for tighter gun regulations.[33] Switzerland practices universal conscription, which requires that all able-bodied male citizens keep fully-automatic firearms at home in case of a call-up. Every male between the ages of 20 and 34 is considered a candidate for conscription into the military, and following a brief period of active duty will commonly be enrolled in the militia until age or an inability to serve ends his service obligation.[34] During their enrollment in the armed forces, these men are required to keep their government-issued selective fire combat rifles and semi-automatic handguns in their homes.[35] Up until September 2007, soldiers also received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home.[36] In addition to these official weapons, Swiss citizens are allowed to purchase surplus-to-inventory combat rifles, and shooting is a popular sport in all the Swiss cantons. However Swiss gun laws are still stricter than in the US. Unlicensed persons are not permitted to carry weapons except under special certain circumstances such as travel to military training. Owners are legally responsible for third party access and usage of their weapons. Licensure is similar to other Germanic countries.[37]

United States

The issue of firearms has, at times, taken a high-profile position in United States culture and politics.[38] Michael Bouchard, Assistant Director/Field Operations of ATF, estimates that 5,000 gun shows take place each year in the United States.[39] Incidents of gun violence in 'gun-free' school zones have ignited debate[40] involving gun politics in the United States.

Support for gun control in America has been steadily dropping. Currently, the American public strongly opposes attempts to ban gun ownership, and is divided on attempts to limit gun ownership. A 2008 Gallup poll revealed that 28% of the population supported a total ban on handguns — the lowest level since the poll was first taken in 1959 (when support for a total ban was 60% of the population). This same poll revealed that 49% of Americans in 2008 preferred more restrictive gun laws, compared to 78% when the question was first asked in the 1990 version of the poll.[41] A 2009 CNN poll found even lower levels of support for gun laws: in this poll, only 39% favored more restrictive laws. The poll indicates that the drop in support (compared to 2001 polls) came from self-identified Independents, with levels of opposition among Democrats and Republicans remaining consistent.[42]

There is a sharp divide between gun-rights proponents[43] and gun-control proponents.[44] This leads to intense political debate over the effectiveness of firearm regulation.[45]

On the whole, Democrats are far more likely to support "stricter" gun control than are Republicans. According to a 2004 Harris Interactive survey:

Republicans and Democrats hold different views on gun control. A 71% to 11% majority of Democrats favors "stricter" rather than "less strict" gun control, whereas Republicans are split 35% "stricter" to 35% "less strict" with 24% of Republicans and 13% of Democrats opting for "neither".[46]

The division of beliefs may be attributable to the fact that Republicans are more likely to own guns, according to General Social Surveys conducted during the last 35 years. The graphs, below, show that gun ownership has generally declined; however, Republicans — especially men — are far more likely to own "guns or revolvers."[47]

More recently in a 2008 survey completed by Gallup, there are large differences between Republicans and Democrats on the issues of gun ownership and control:[48] •More than half of Republicans report having a gun in their homes, while only about a third of Democrats report this. •Two in three Republicans say they are satisfied with the nation's laws or policies on guns. This percentage is much lower among Democrats, at 37%. •The strong majority of Democrats feel that gun laws in the United States should be stricter, while only about 4 in 10 Republicans feel this way. Forty-eight percent of Republicans feel gun laws should remain as they are at the present time.

Fig 44 - Do you have guns in your home - Men.JPG
Fig 45 - Do you have guns in your home - Women.JPG

Incidents of gun violence and self-defense have routinely ignited bitter debate. About 10,000 murders are committed using firearms annually.[49] Surveys have suggested that guns are used in crime deterrence or prevention around 2.5 million times a year in the United States.[50][51][52][53] The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study that concluded "the United States has higher rates of firearm ownership than do other developed nations, and higher rates of homicide. Of the 233,251 people who were homicide victims in the United States between 1988 and 1997, 68% were killed with guns, of which the large majority were handguns."[54] The ATF estimated in 1995 that the number of firearms available in the US was 223 million.[55]

Some perceive that firearms registration– by making it easier for Federal agents to target gun owners for harassment and confiscation– constitutes an easily exploited encroachment upon individual personal privacy and property rights.[56][57][58][59]

In contrast, in a 2008 brief submitted to the United State Supreme Court, the Department of Justice advocated that reasonable regulation of weaponry has always been allowed by the Second Amendment in the interests of public safety.[60] In District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to own and possess handguns in a home for self-defense. See below.

Fully-automatic firearms are legal in most states, but have requirements for registration and restriction under federal law. The National Firearms Act of 1934 required approval of the local police chief, federally registered fingerprints, federal background check and the payment of a $200 tax for initial registration and for each transfer.[61] The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited imports of all nonsporting firearms and created several new categories of restricted firearms. The act also prohibited further registry of most automatic firearms. A provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 banned private ownership of machine guns manufactured after it took effect.[62]

The result has been a massive rise in the price of machine-guns available for private ownership, as an increased demand chases the fixed, pre-1986 supply. For example, the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine-gun, which may be sold to law enforcement for about $1,000,[63] costs a private citizen about $20,000.[64] This price difference dwarfs the $200 tax stamp.

Political scientist Earl R. Kruschke states, regarding the fully-automatic firearms owned by private citizens in the United States, that "approximately 175,000 automatic firearms have been licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (the federal agency responsible for administration of the law) and evidence suggests that none of these weapons has ever been used to commit a violent crime."[65]

District of Columbia v Heller

On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held that American citizens have an individual right to own guns, as defined by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. In District of Columbia v. Heller,[66] the Court stated that an absolute firearm ban was unconstitutional.[67] The Court further determined that its decision in Heller does not impinge upon existing statutes and regulations, such as those that prohibit felons and the mentally-ill from owning or possessing firearms.[68]

Arguments

Several studies have examined the correlations between rates of gun ownership and gun-related as well as overall homicide and suicide rates within various jurisdictions around the world.[69][70] Martin Killias, in a 1993 study covering 21 countries, found that there were substantial correlations between gun ownership and gun-related suicide and homicide rates. There was also a substantial though lesser correlation between gun ownership and total homicide rates.[71] A later 2001 Killias study however, reported that while there was a strong correlation between gun-related homicide of women and gun-related assaults against women; however, this was not the case for similar crimes against men and that " Interestingly, no significant correlations with toal suicide or homicide rates were found, leaving open the question of possible substitution effects." [72] This study indicates correlation, but no causality. That is to say it could mean that the easier access to guns lead to more violence, or it could mean that larger amounts of violence lead to a higher level of gun ownership for self defense, or any other independent cause.

A study by Rich et al. on suicide rates in Toronto and Ontario and psychiatric patients from San Diego reached the conclusion that increased gun restrictions, while reducing suicide-by-gun, resulted in no net decline in suicides, because of substitution of another method — namely leaping.[73] Killias argues against the theory of complete substitution, citing a number of studies that have indicated, in his view "rather convincingly", that suicidal candidates far from always turn to another means of suicide if their preferred means is not at hand.[72]

Gun ownership as a means of resisting tyranny

Advocates for gun rights often point to previous totalitarian regimes that passed gun control legislation, which was later followed by confiscation. Totalitarian governments such as Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II, as well as some communist states such as the People's Republic of China are cited as examples of this,[74][75][76] Gun control opponents often cite the example of the Nazi regime. In their view, once the Nazis had taken and consolidated their power, they proceeded to implement gun control laws to disarm the population and wipe out the opposition, and genocide of disarmed Jews, gypsies, and other undesirables followed.[77][78][79] Historians have pointed out that already the democratic Weimar Republic had restrictive gun laws, which were actually liberalized by the Nazis. According to the Weimar Republic 1928 Law on Firearms & Ammunition, firearms acquisition or carrying permits were “only to be granted to persons of undoubted reliability, and — in the case of a firearms carry permit — only if a demonstration of need is set forth.” The Nazis replaced this law with the Weapons Law of March 18, 1938, which was very similar in structure and wording, but relaxed gun control requirements for the general populace. The relaxation included, for example, the exemption from regulation of all weapons and ammunition except handguns, the extension of the range of persons exempt from the permit requirement, and the lowering of the age for acquisition of firearms from 20 to 18. It did, however, prohibit manufacturing of firearms and ammunition by Jews.[80] Shortly thereafter, in the additional Regulations Against Jew’s Possession of Weapons of November 11, 1938, Jews were forbidden from possession of any weapons at all.[79][80]

Location and capture of such records is a standard doctrine taught to military intelligence officers; and was widely practiced by German and Soviet troops during World War II.[77][78]

Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union did not abolish personal gun ownership during the initial period from 1918 to 1929; the introduction of gun control in 1929 coincided with the beginning of the repressive Stalinist regime as part of Resolutions, 1918 Decree, July 12, 1920 Art. 59 & 182, Pen. code, 1926.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord, sometimes known as the Shot heard 'round the world, in 1775, were started in part because General Gage sought to carry out an order by the British government to disarm the populace.[81]

Self-defense

In an extensive series of studies of large, nationally representative samples of crime incidents, criminologist Gary Kleck found that crime victims who defend themselves with guns are less likely to be injured or lose property than victims who either did not resist, or resisted without guns. This was so, even though the victims using guns typically faced more dangerous circumstances than other victims. The findings applied to both robberies and assaults.[82] Other research on rape indicated that although victims rarely resisted with guns, those using other weapons were less likely to be raped, and no more likely to suffer other injuries besides rape itself, than victims who did not resist, or resisted without weapons.[83] There is no evidence that victim use of a gun for self-protection provokes offenders into attacking the defending victim or results in the offender taking the gun away and using it against the victim.[84]

Kleck has also shown, in his own national survey, and in other surveys with smaller sample sizes, that the numbers of defensive uses of guns by crime victims each year are probably substantially larger than the largest estimates of the number of crimes committed of offenders using guns.[85] Thus, defensive gun use by victims is both effective and, relative to criminal uses, frequent. In a largely approving review of Kleck's book Point Blank (1991) in the journal Political Psychology, Joseph F. Sheley argues that Kleck sidesteps the larger political problem of the role of gun culture in contributing to the spread and effect of violence in the United States.[86]

The economist John Lott, in his book More Guns, Less Crime, states that laws which make it easier for law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a gun in public places, cause reductions in crime. Lott's results suggest that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms deters crime because potential criminals do not know who may or may not be carrying a firearm. Lott's data came from the FBI's crime statistics from all 3,054 US counties.[87]

Critics, mostly gun-control advocates, have asserted that Lott's county-based crime data were largely meaningless because they did not reflect actual rates of crime in all the counties that Lott studied, but rather the number of crimes occurring in whatever local jurisdictions (towns and cities) that happened to report their crime statistics to state authorities. Thus, some of the supposed crime drops that Lott attributed to the new carry laws could merely have been the result of fewer local police forces reporting crime statistics. Lott answered their assertions by publishing his study and noting that this fact was taken into account by using the same police agencies that reported their statistics both before and after the new concealed carry laws took effect.

The efficacy of gun control legislation at reducing the availability of guns has been challenged by, among others, the testimony of criminals that they do not obey gun control laws, and by the lack of evidence of any efficacy of such laws in reducing violent crime. The most thorough analysis of the impact of gun control laws, by Kleck, covered 18 major types of gun control and every major type of violent crime or violence (including suicide), and found that gun laws generally had no significant effect on violent crime rates or suicide rates.[88] In his paper, Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do not,[89] University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt argues that available data indicate that neither stricter gun control laws nor more liberal concealed carry laws have had any significant effect on the decline in crime in the 1990s. While the debate remains hotly disputed, it is therefore not surprising that a comprehensive review of published studies of gun control, released in November 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was unable to determine any reliable statistically significant effect resulting from such laws, although the authors suggest that further study may provide more conclusive information.

Thirty-nine U.S. states have passed "shall issue" concealed carry legislation of one form or another. In these states, law-abiding citizens (usually after giving evidence of completing a training course) may carry handguns on their person for self-protection. Other states and some cities such as New York may issue permits. Only Illinois, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have explicit legislation forbidding personal carry. Vermont and Alaska do not require permits to carry concealed weapons, although Alaska retains a shall issue permit process for reciprocity purposes with other states.

Many supporters of gun-rights consider self-defense to be a fundamental and inalienable human right and believe that firearms are an important tool in the exercise of this right. They consider the prohibition of an effective means of self defense to be unethical. For instance, in Thomas Jefferson’s "Commonplace Book," a quote from Cesare Beccaria reads, "laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."[57][90][91]

Domestic violence

Gun control advocates argue that the strongest evidence linking availability of guns to injury and mortality rates comes in studies of domestic violence, most often referring to the series of studies by Arthur Kellermann. In response to public suggestions by some advocates of firearms for home defense, that homeowners were at high risk of injury from home invasions and would be wise to acquire a firearm for purposes of protection, Kellermann investigated the circumstances surrounding all in-home homicides in three cities of about half a million population each over five years, and found that the risk of a homicide was in fact slightly higher in homes where a handgun was present, rather than lower. From the details of the homicides he concluded that the risk of a crime of passion or other domestic dispute ending in a fatal injury was much higher when a gun was readily available (essentially all the increased risk being in homes where a handgun was kept loaded and unlocked), compared to a lower rate of fatality in domestic violence not involving a firearm. This increase in mortality, he postulated, was large enough to overwhelm any protective effect the presence of a gun might have by deterring or defending against burglaries or home invasions, which occurred much less frequently. The increased risk averaged over all homes containing guns was similar in size to that correlated with an individual with a criminal record living in the home, but substantially less than that associated with demographic factors known to be risks for violence, such as renting a home versus ownership, or living alone versus with others.[92]

Critics of Kellermann's work and its use by advocates of gun control point out that since it deliberately ignores crimes of violence occurring outside the home (Kellermann states at the outset that the characteristics of such homicides are much more complex and ambiguous, and would be virtually impossible to classify rigorously enough), it is more directly a study of domestic violence than of gun ownership. Kellermann does in fact include in the conclusion of his 1993 paper several paragraphs referring to the need for further study of domestic violence and its causes and prevention. Researchers John Lott, Gary Kleck and many others dispute Kellermann's work.[93][94][95][96]

Kleck showed that no more than a handful of the homicides that Kellermann studied were committed with guns belonging to the victim or members of his or her household, and thus it was implausible that victim household gun ownership contributed to their homicide. Instead, the association that Kellermann found between gun ownership and victimization merely reflected the widely accepted notion that people who live in more dangerous circumstances are more likely to be murdered, but also were more likely to have acquired guns for self-protection prior to their death[97] Kleck and others argue that guns being used to protect property, save lives, and deter crime without killing the criminal accounts for the large majority of defensive gun uses.[98][99][100]

Armed forces' reserves and reservist training

In several countries, such as in Finland, the firearm politics and gun control is directly linked on the armed forces' reserves and reservist training. This is especially true in countries which base their armies on conscription; since every able-bodied citizen basically is a soldier, they are expected to be able to handle the gun reasonably and be able to practice for the time of need.

Switzerland is a noted example of a country in which, due to the country's conscription and militia traditions, firearm ownership is widespread. Owing to Switzerland's history, all able-bodied male Swiss citizens aged between 21 and 50 (55 for officers) are issued assault rifles and ammunition in order to perform their annual military obligations. Because of this, Switzerland is one of the few nations in the world with a higher rate of firearm ownership than the United States.[101] Also, Switzerland has a relatively low rate of gun crime.[101] The comparatively low level of violent crime, despite the liberal gun laws, is demonstrated by the fact that Swiss politicians rarely have the same level of police protection as their counterparts in the United States and other countries, as was noted following the fatal shooting of several government officials in the Swiss canton of Zug in September 2001.[102] Some authors argue that Switzerland's militia tradition of "every man a soldier" contributed to the preservation of its neutrality during the Second World War, when it was not invaded by Nazi Germany because the military cost to the Nazis would have been too high.[103][104][105] However, this claim has been disputed by historians who cite the existence of detailed invasion plans, which rated the overall Swiss defense capacity as low.[106][107]

Civil rights

Jeff Snyder is a spokesman for the view that gun possession is a civil right, and that therefore arguments about whether gun restrictions reduce or increase violent crime are beside the point: "I am not here engaged in...recommending...policy prescriptions on the basis of the promised or probable results [on crime]...Thus these essays are not fundamentally about guns at all. They are, foremost, about...the kind of people we intend to be...and the ethical and political consequences of decisions [to control firearms]."[108] He terms the main principle behind gun control "the instrumental theory of salvation:" that, lacking the ability to change the violent intent in criminals, we often shift focus to the instrument in an attempt to "limit our ability to hurt ourselves, and one another."[109] His work discusses the consequences that flow from conditioning the liberties of all citizens upon the behavior of criminals.

Some of the earliest gun-control legislation at the state level were the "black codes" that replaced the "slave codes" after the Civil War, attempting to prevent blacks' having access to the full rights of citizens, including the right to keep and bear arms.[110] Laws of this type later used racially neutral language to survive legal challenge, but were expected to be enforced against blacks rather than whites.[111]

A favorite target of gun control is so-called "junk guns," which are generally cheaper and therefore more accessible to the poor. However, some civil rights organizations favor tighter gun regulations. In 2003, the NAACP filed suit against 45 gun manufacturers for creating what it called a "public nuisance" through the "negligent marketing" of handguns, which included models commonly described as Saturday night specials. The suit alleged that handgun manufacturers and distributors were guilty of marketing guns in a way that encouraged violence in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. "The gun industry has refused to take even basic measures to keep criminals and prohibited persons from obtaining firearms," NAACP President/CEO Kweisi Mfume said. "The industry must be as responsible as any other and it must stop dumping firearms in over-saturated markets. The obvious result of dumping guns is that they will increasingly find their way into the hands of criminals."[112]

The NAACP lawsuit was dismissed in 2003.[113] It, and several similar suits—some brought by municipalities seeking re-imbursement for medical costs associated with criminal shootings—were portrayed by gun-rights groups as "nuisance suits," aimed at driving gun manufacturers (especially smaller firms) out of business through court costs alone, as damage awards were not expected.[114] These suits prompted the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in October, 2005.

Martin Luther King said, "By our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim... we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes."[115]

Inversely, the Dalai Lama said "If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." (May 15, 2001, The Seattle Times) speaking at the "Educating Heart Summit" in Portland, Oregon, when asked by a girl how to react when a shooter takes aim at a classmate.

Civic duty

Some proponents of private gun ownership argue that an armed citizens' militia can help deter crime and tyranny, as police are primarily a reactive force whose main loyalty is to the government which pays their wages. The Militia Information Service (MIS) contends that gun ownership is a civic duty in the context of membership in the militia, much like voting, neither of which they believe should be restricted to government officials in a true democracy.[116] MIS also states that the people need to maintain the power of the sword so they can fulfil their duty, implicit in the social contract, to protect the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, much as individual citizens have a legal and ethical duty to protect dependents under their care, such as a child, elderly parent, or disabled spouse.[117]

Statistics

Private ownership of guns

Private ownership of guns and their relationship to domestic violence casualties is a significant variable used for political leverage in the policy debate. In 2002 in the U.S., 1,202 women were killed by their intimate partners, accounting for 30 percent of the 4006 women murdered that year. A total of 700 women were killed by intimate partners using guns. The same year, 175 men were killed by intimate partners. According to statistics available from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, of nearly 31,000 firearm-related deaths in 2005, suicides account for 55 percent of deaths in the United States whereas homicides account for 40 percent of deaths, accidents account for three percent, and the remaining two percent were legal killings.

While many shootings occur in the course of a mutual argument of passion, others occur where a partner or family member of a "romantic" or familial relationship, who is an ongoing victim of domestic physical abuse or sexual abuse, uses the force of a firearm in self-defense action against a perpetrator who also happens to be known to or related to the victim. As a corollary, in such policy advertising campaigns, the comparison of "domestic" gun casualties is usually not accompanied by murder and assault prosecution numbers stemming from the shootings occurring in that context. In many of the latter cases, the victim firing in self-defense is frequently a woman or youth victim of a more physically powerful abuser. In those situations gun rights advocates argue that the firearm arguably becomes an equalizer against the lethal and disabling force frequently exercised by the abusers.[118]

Many gun control opponents point to statistics in advertising campaigns purporting that "approximately 9 or so children are killed by people discharging firearms every day across the US,"[119] and argue that this statistic is seldom accompanied by a differentiation of those children killed by individuals from unintentional discharges and stray bullets, and of those "children," under the age of majority—which is 18-21 in the U.S.—who are killed while acting as aggressors in street gang related mutual combat or while committing crimes,[120][121] many of which are seen as arising from the War on Drugs. There is further controversy regarding courts, trials, and the resulting sentences of these mostly "young men" as adults despite them not having reached the age of consent. A significant number of gun related deaths occur through suicide.

Gun Safety and Gun Laws

The importance of gun safety education has a mitigating effect on the occurrence of accidental discharges involving children. So much importance is not placed upon the vicarious liability case law assigning strict liability to the gun owner for firearms casualties occurring when a careless gun owner loses proper custody and control of a firearm.

In an argument against gun control, the National Center for Policy Analysis, a non-profit conservative think tank, reported the following statistics:[122]

  • New Jersey adopted what sponsors described as "the most stringent gun law" in the nation in 1966; two years later the murder rate was up 46% and the reported robbery rate had nearly doubled.
  • In 1968, Hawaii imposed a series of increasingly harsh measures and its murder rate tripled from a low of 2.4 per 100,000 in 1968 to 7.2 by 1977.
  • In 1976, Washington, D.C., enacted one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. Since then, the city's murder rate has risen 134% while the national murder rate has dropped 2%.

In addition:

  • As of 2006, approximately 35% of American households have a gun in them. About 22% of Americans actually own a gun.[123]
  • Evanston, Illinois, a Chicago suburb of 75,000 residents, became the largest town to ban handgun ownership in September 1982 but experienced no decline in violent crime. It has subsequently ended its ban as a result of the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court case, upon a federal lawsuit by the National Rifle Association being filed the day after Heller was entered.
  • Among the 15 states with the highest homicide rates, 10 have restrictive or very restrictive gun laws.[124]
  • Twenty percent of U.S. homicides occur in four cities with just 6% of the population—New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.—and each has or, in the cases of Detroit (until 2001) and D.C. (2008) had, a requirement for a licence on private handguns or an effective outright ban (in the case of Chicago).[125]
  • In England, Wales and Scotland, the private ownership of most handguns was banned in 1997 following a gun massacre at a school in Dunblane and an earlier gun massacre in Hungerford in which the combined deaths was 35 and injured 30. Gun ownership and gun crime was already at a low level, which made these slaughters particularly concerning. Only an estimated 57,000 people —0.1% of the population owned such weapons prior to the ban.[126] In the UK, only 8 per cent of all criminal homicides are committed with a firearm of any kind.[127] In 2005/6 the number of such deaths in England and Wales (population 53.3 million) was just 50, a reduction of 36 per cent on the year before and lower than at any time since 1998/9. The lowest rate of gun crime was in 2004/4 whilst the highest was in 1994.[citation needed] There was, however, a noticeable temporary increase in gun crime in the years immediately after the ban, though this has since fallen back. The reason for the increase has not been investigated thoroughly but it is thought that 3 factors may have raised the number of guns in circulation. These are, the reduction in gun crime in Northern Ireland (which led to guns coming from there to the criminal black market in England); guns (official issue or confiscated) acquired by military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan; and guns coming from Eastern Europe after the fall of the iron curtain.[citation needed] Firearm injuries in England and Wales also noticeably increased in this time.[128] In 2005-06, of 5,001 such injuries, 3,474 (69%) were defined as "slight," and a further 965 (19%) involved the "firearm" being used as a blunt instrument. Twenty-four percent of injuries were caused with air guns, and 32% with "imitation firearms" (including airsoft guns).[129] Since 1998, the number of fatal shootings has varied between 49 and 97, and was 50 in 2005. In Scotland the picture has been more varied with no pattern of rise or fall appearing.[citation needed]
  • Violent crime accelerated in Jamaica after handguns were heavily restricted and a special Gun Court established.[130] However, a high proportion of the illegal guns in Jamaica can be attributed to guns smuggled in from the United states, where they are more freely available.[131]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report ranking of cities over 40,000 in population by violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) finds that the ten cities with the highest violent crime rates for 2003 include three cities in the very strict state of New Jersey, one in the fairly restrictive state of Massachusetts.

# City State
1 Saginaw MI
2 Irvington NJ
3 Camden NJ
4 Alexandria LA
5 Detroit MI
6 East Orange NJ
7 Atlanta GA
8 Springfield MA
9 Fort Myers FL
10 Miami FL

See also

Gun political groups

References

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  106. ^ Urner, Klaus Die Schweiz muss noch geschluckt werden, Zürich, Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 1990, ISBN 3-85823-303-X.
  107. ^ Schelbert, Leo Switzerland under siege; Rockport, Maine; Picton, 2000, ISBN 0-89725-414-7.
  108. ^ Snyder, J: Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control. Accurate Press, St. Louis, 2001:pp. i-ii.
  109. ^ ibid, p. 1.
  110. ^ Halbrook, SP: That Every Man be Armed: The evolution of a Constitutional Right. 2nd ed., The Independent Institute, Oakland, 1994:p. 108.
  111. ^ Cramer, CE: The Racist Roots of Gun Control, 1993.
  112. ^ Editors (Sept/Oct 1999) "NAACP causes furor by suing gun manufacturers." New Crisis.
  113. ^ [3] "Gun Makers Repel Lawsuit by N.A.A.C.P." New York Times, July 22, 2003.
  114. ^ "Reckless Lawsuits: Courts Reject Lawsuits against Gun Makers." NRA-ILA, October 16, 2003.
  115. ^ King Jr., Martin Luther and Clayborne Carson (2001) The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Grand Central Publishing. p. 147.
  116. ^ Militia Information Service ": Facts Page". http://www.militia.info/facts.html Militia Information Service. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  117. ^ Militia Information Service ": Myths Page". http://www.militia.info/myths.html Militia Information Service. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  118. ^ Haciendapub.com gunpage 15.
  119. ^ med.umich.edu.
  120. ^ Haciendapub.com gunpage12.
  121. ^ Haciendapub.com gunpage 13.
  122. ^ Reynolds, Morgan O.; Caruth, W. W., III (1992). Myths About Gun Control. National Center for Policy Analysis. ISBN 0-943802-99-7. http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/st176.pdf. 
  123. ^ Smith, Tom. Public Attitudes towards the Regulation of Firearms. Figure 2. (2007) NORC/University of Chicago [4].
  124. ^ Lott, John JR. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 50-96, 135-138.
  125. ^ Reynolds, Morgan O. and Caruth, III, W.W. (1992). NCPA Policy Report No. 176: Myths About Gun Control. National Center for Policy Analysis. p. 7. ISBN 0-943802-99-7. http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st176/. "20 percent of U.S. homicides occur in four cities with just 6% of the population – New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., and each has a virtual prohibition on private handguns" 
  126. ^ paragraph 58.
  127. ^ Home Office statistical bulletin on Homicide and firearms offences in 2005/6.
  128. ^ Blair wants gun crime age reduced, BBC News, February 18, 2007.
  129. ^ Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2005/2006 Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2005/2006).
  130. ^ Kopel, David B. The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy--Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? (1992), Prometheus Books, New York, pp. 257-277, ISBN 0-87975-756-6.
  131. ^ "Guns from America fuel Jamaica's gang wars". My Sinchew. 2009-06-22. http://www.mysinchew.com/node/26251. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Guns article)

From Wikiquote

Contents

Sourced

  • "Every communist must grasp the truth, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun."
    • Mao Zedong, "Problems of War and Strategy", 1938 [1]. Mao was justifying war as a means to achieving political ends. The quote has been altered or otherwise interpreted by American gun control opponents as a totalitarian endorsement of gun control, for instance with the phrasing, "The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party."
  • "If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of crime rates reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying -- that they must sweep under the rug the southern attempts at gun control in the 1870-1910 period, the northeastern attempts in the 1920-1939 period, the attempts at both Federal and State levels in 1965-1976 -- establishes the repeated, complete and inevitable failure of gun laws to control serious crime."
  • "Remember when she had Tom Selleck on her program a while back? She blind-sided Tom Selleck! He's a good fella, ain't never hurt nobody, but he's in the NRA, so she hates that. She was like, 'Well, you're in the NRA. Let me tell you something, Tom: guns kill people!' Do you believe she said that? On the Rosie O'Fatass show! She looks right at him and says, 'Guns kill people!' Let me tell you something: husbands that come home early kill people! Alright? The gun was just sitting there! If guns kill people, I can blame misspelled words on my pencil! Git-r-done!"
  • "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn."
    • Mahatma Gandhi, "An Autobiography OR The story of my experiments with truth", Chapter 27, Recruiting Campaign, from a leaflet urging Indians to serve with the British Army in World War II. [2]
  • "I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun."
  • "And in my mind, I'm going why can't I just shoot this guy in the spine right now; shoot him in the spine, explain the facts of life to him"
    • Ted Nugent, as guest DJ on WRIF-FM, Detroit, September 28, 1990; referring to an encounter with a Hare Krishna
  • "GUN CONTROL: An ongoing public debate that might easily be resolved if we allowed everyone to obtain firearms but suspended the production of bullets."
    • Rick Bayan, The Cynic's Dictionary, 1997
  • "My personal opinion is that guns kill people."
    • Sam Donaldson, ABC News Primetime Live, February 22, 1990
  • "Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advise by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual was to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia."
    • George Mason, June 14, 1788, quoted on page 380 of The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adooption of the Federal Constitution, 1861, Jonathan Elliot, ed. (The "artful man" in the quote is Sir William Keith.) This quote has typically been rephrased by gun control opponents; for instance, "To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them."
  • "The laws of [false utility] are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator?"
    • Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishments, 1764, Chapter 40 [3].
    • Has been falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson transcribed this passage (in the original Italian) in his Legal Commonplace Book, item 828.
  • "A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies."
    • George Washington, January 8, 1790, First State of the Union Address [4]
    • This quote concerns national war preparations. It has sometimes been altered by gun control opponents into an endorsement of private gun ownership; for example "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
  • "The [balance of power] would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong."
    • Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War, July, 1775 [5]. (Written anonymously but attributed to Paine.)
  • Every man, woman, and responsible child has an unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon — rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything — any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.
  • "...Let me make a short, opening, blanket comment. There are no good guns. There are no bad guns. Any gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a decent person is no threat to anybody -- except bad people..."
    • former NRA president Charlton Heston, at NBC's "Meet the Press", May 18, 1997
  • "If people don't want to defend themselves, they deserve to die."
    • Ted Nugent, quoted by Wisconsin State Senator David Zien, November 3, 2005 [7].
  • "There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?"
    • Arms dealer Yuri Orlov (played by Nicolas Cage), Lord of War, 2005 [8]
  • The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
    • Hubert Humphrey, Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies, p. 328
  • Any politico who's afraid of his constituents being armed, should be. Leaders of the anti-gun movement (for the most part, politicians who enthusiastically advocate confiscatory taxation and government control of everything) realize that a populace is much easier to herd, loot — and dispose of — if it has been stripped of its weapons. The naked fraud and transparent fascism of victim disarmament must be eradicated through the repeal of all gun laws at every level of government.

Unsourced

  • Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State.
  • Be not afraid of any man no matter what his size; when danger threatens, call on me, and I will equalize.
    • Legend on a Colt revolver
  • "There's no question that weapons in the hands of the public have prevented acts of terror or stopped them."
    • Israeli Police Inspector General Shlomo Aharonisk
  • "After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it."
  • "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word."
    • Al Capone
  • "Everyone has a right to bear arms. If you take guns away from legal gun owners, then the only people who have guns are the bad guys." Even a pacifist, he insists, would get violent if someone were trying to kill him. "You would fight for your life."
  • "And I swear that I don't have a gun...no I don't have a gun"
  • "The good people of this world are very far from being satisfied with each other and my arms are the best peacemakers."
    • Samuel Colt. (From ForbesLife Magazine)
  • "25 States allow anyone to buy a gun, strap it on, and walk down the street with no permit of any kind: some say it's crazy. However, 4 out of 5 U.S. murders are committed in the other half of the country: so who is crazy?"
    • Andrew Ford
  • "History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so."
  • "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms."
  • "The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
  • "The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose."
    • James Earl Jones
  • "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
  • 'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."
    • General MacArthur
  • "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms."
  • "To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic."
  • "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
    • Joseph Story
  • "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe."
  • "Gun Control: The notion that Matthew Shepard tied to a fence post in the middle of Wyoming is morally superior to Matthew Shepard explaining to the local sheriff how his attackers got all those fatal bullet holes."
    • Dan Weiner
  • "Hell, when the man said Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, I just thought he was making a delivery!"
    • James Wesley, Rawles
  • "I believe that guns don't kill people, husbands that come home early do."
    • Daniel Lawrence Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy)
  • "Give a guy a gun, he thinks he's Superman. Give him two and he thinks he's God."
  • "The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's goodbye to the Bill of Rights."
    • Unknown
  • "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
    • Unknown
  • "If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns."
    • Unknown
  • "You want more gun control? Use both hands."
    • Unknown
  • "Smith & Wesson, the original point and click interface."
    • Unknown
  • "Guns, the American way to keep crime at bay. "Civilized" Europeans must settle for extra Vaseline.
    • Unknown
  • "GUNS DONT KILL PEOPLE, I KILL PEOPLE WITH GUNS!!!."
    • Chase Dowpalpatine
  • "God made man and God made woman, but Samuel Colt made them equal."
    • Unknown
  • "Study: 1.7 Million Children in Homes Where Loaded, Unlocked Gun Kept. Most have been told not to take gun to school, fire on teachers, classmates."
  • "...treatment of a gunshot wound to the chest costs on average $322,000, according to the Violence Prevention Institute..."
  • "Guns, in the hands of a countries citizenry, are what makes the difference between a free state and a totalitarian one."
    • Brian Lott
  • "Shooting is not about aggression. Honest!"
    • Unnamed British Armed Forces Officer

Misattributed

  • "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." - Falsely attributed to Sigmund Freud.
    • This has been sourced to General Introduction to Psychoanalysis [10] [11] [12] [13] due to a misreading of a 1990 essay by Don B. Kates [14]. The quote is Kates' own characterization of a passage in Freud and Oppenheim, Dreams in Folklore, and not Freud's words.
  • "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson
    • This has been sourced to "The Papers of Thomas Jefferson", edited by C.J. Boyd. The quote does not appear in Jefferson's collected papers as searched in Google Print. The name of the editor is also problematic: some volumes of Jefferson's papers were edited by Julian P. Boyd, not C.J. Boyd.

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