More Guns = 40% Drop In Crime?
WASHINGTON, DC-Gun-related crime has plunged 40% in recent years while the number of guns in circulation has reached an all-time high, according to a new study by the US Department of Justice-and that's terrible news for supporters of gun control, Libertarians say.
"The message is clear: More guns equal less crime," said Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. "The biggest threat to your safety isn't guns; it's politicians who want to restrict gun ownership.
"That's why we need to do everything we can to keep dangerous gun laws out of the hands of politicians like Al Gore and George W. Bush."
Data released last week by the FBI shows that gunshot wounds inflicted during crimes dropped to 39,400 from 64,100 nationwide between 1992 and 1997-a decrease of 40%.
But during the same five years, the number of guns in America surged to 230 million from 205 million, according to the National Association of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers.
"Even street thugs understand what gun-banning politicians don't: Guns deter crime," Browne said. "Americans went on a gun-buying binge from 1992 to 1997, purchasing 11 million new handguns and 14 million new rifles and shotguns-and crime continued to decline.
"Imagine how much further crime would fall if politicians made it easier for more law-abiding citizens to buy guns by repealing many of the 20,000 gun laws currently on the books."
One immediate target for repeal: State laws preventing Americans from carrying concealed weapons.
"The three most violent cities in America-New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles-all have something in common: Gun control," Browne said. "According to the FBI figures, these three cities led the nation in murder, armed robbery, and assault. And no wonder. In those cities, it's illegal to carry a concealed weapon. Democrats and Republicans who refuse to repeal these laws are painting a target on the backs of innocent Americans."
Browne conceded that other factors-such as demographic changes, longer prison terms, and an improved economy-may have played a role in the drop in crime rates.
"But a dramatic increase in the number of guns didn't cause an increase in crime -- which is what politicians routinely claim when they spout off about the so-called need to reduce easy access to guns," he said. "In fact, giving ordinary Americans easy access to guns is apparently what criminals fear most."
Another shocking truth about gun control laws, Browne said, is that even politicians don't favor them-for themselves.
"Visit the Capitol building in Washington, DC, and notice how many guards are carrying guns," he said. "Politicians say you have to be disarmed to make America safer, but they don't disarm government employees. Senators and Congressmen may have a compelling need to defend themselves, but is it really more compelling than your need to defend your home and your family against criminals?
"Of course not. That's why if I'm elected president I will immediately sign an executive order disarming every single guard on Capitol Hill-until Congress fully restores your right to carry a gun."
During the presidential debates, both Bush and Gore emphasized their support for background checks, taxpayer-financed trigger locks, and enforcing current gun laws, noted Browne.
"Gore and Bush are both promoting the dangerous utopian idea that criminals will suddenly decide to follow whatever laws they manage to pass," he said.
"But more laws are not the answer. The best solution is to repeal every existing gun control law on the books. The number of guns in the hands of criminals will not change, but more Americans would recover the right to defend themselves-which will probably inspire many more criminals to seek a safer line of work."
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