Do Guns Make Us Safer? Seattle Can Be Our Test Case

One of the ways that the gun industry tries to maintain momentum is to promote the idea that if everyone would go around with a gun, we would all be a lot safer.  Or to put it in the words of the chief gun guy in America, aka Wayne LaPierre, “a good guy with a gun will always stop a bad guy with a gun.”  The only problem is that although concealed-carry permits are now available in all 50 states, there isn’t a single state that actually requires any special training before all those good guys put a gun on their hip and go out to find and stop the bad guys.

Which is one reason among others for gun-free zones.  Because the real problem is that a lot of those good guys walking around with guns may not be able to do such a good job stopping the bad guys if they’ve had a couple of drinks, or maybe just lose control because it was a bad day at the office or the traffic on the way home just got to be too much.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not accusing gun owners of behaving any differently from anyone else.  That’s exactly the point.  If they behave like everyone else, a certain percentage are going to do something stupid or careless which could result in a good guy doing something very bad.

The truth is that the NRA is opposed to gun-free zones because they know that the more places where you can’t go with a gun, the more people will leave the gun at home.  And the more they leave the gun at home, the less likely that they’ll buy more guns.  The main reason that people have stopped smoking is not because of fears for their health, but because it’s just getting too difficult to find anywhere to light up. And the last thing the gun industry needs is for guns to be considered as much of a threat to our health as cigarettes.

In light of all this, it’s interesting that Seattle is making a big push in the business community to enroll business-owners to designate their shops, theaters and restaurants as gun-free zones.  Yesterday the organization spearheading the drive announced their 100th business, a movie theater, that has agreed to post a sign asking patrons not to enter the theater with a gun.  Of course the NRA and other gun activists immediately denounced the plan, claiming that they “knew” that gun-free zones resulted in more, not less gun violence.  And what is their proof?  An article on a Fox News blog by none other than John Lott, the gun researcher best known for inventing evidence about the alleged use of guns by armed citizens to prevent crime.

Lott claimed that the Aurora shooter, James Holmes, chose the Cinemark theater because it was the one theater near his residence that banned guns.  Did Lott interview Holmes to learn this so-called evidence?  Did anyone actually hear Holmes say that this was the reason? In all of the investigations that have taken place since the shooting has a single investigator stated that the theater’s no-gun policy is what motivated Holmes to  walk into the Cinemark and start blasting away?  And the answer is: no.

I really hope that authorities in Seattle will create a truly gun-free zone and then, at a later date, give us some hard data on the incidence of crime in that area before and after the gun-free zone came into effect.  I don’t know whether crime will go up or down.  But I do know this: every time the NRA parades someone like Lott out to support the use of guns by inventing evidence, an opportunity has been created to figure out whether we truly need to walk around with guns.  Maybe we do and maybe we don’t.  But Seattle may be giving us a real chance to find out.

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6 thoughts on “Do Guns Make Us Safer? Seattle Can Be Our Test Case

  1. “Or to put it in the words of the chief gun guy in America, aka Wayne LaPierre, “a good guy with a gun will always stop a bad guy with a gun.””

    Actually he said:

    “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/12/21/nra-only-way-to-stop-a-bad-guy-with-a-gun-is-with-a-good-guy-with-a-gun/

    Did you deliberately misrepresent him saying “a good guy with a gun will _always_…”?

    “Lott claimed that the Aurora shooter, James Holmes, chose the Cinemark theater because it was the one theater near his residence that banned guns”

    It is a fact that he did pass up several closer theaters where guns weren’t banned and a larger one also where guns weren’t banned and picked the one where guns were banned. The logic that he chose it because guns were banned is pretty obvious, even for you, if you didn’t have an agenda to attack the NRA and LaPierre.

    lwk

    • What’s the difference? Either way he’s wrong. I notice you didn’t bother to respond to my previous email in which I directly asked you if you had ever actually read the report by Kleck and Gertz. I know you haven’t by the way, but the fact that you haven’t actually read what you tell me is such excellent research doesn’t surprise. You’re not one to ever let facts get in the way of your opinions, right?

      And by the way, I was in the room at an NRA meeting when LaPierre said exactly what I quoted him as saying, but since I couldn’t link to that, I linked to his dumb remarks after the Navy Yard. And yes, I am a member of the NRA, in fact, a Life Member.

  2. ” I am a member of the NRA, in fact, a Life Member.”

    “A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious.But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

    For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.

    The traitor is the plague.”

    –Marcus Tullius Cicero

    • Right. And it figures that you would actually believe that I joined the NRA as some kind of ‘plot’ to destroy the organization from within. Let me ask you a question. How come you libertarians are so enamored of conspiracy theories?

      • “How come you libertarians are so enamored of conspiracy theories?”

        I had no idea that Libertarians were particularly susceptible to conspiracy theories? Maybe that is a conspiracy theory in itself and you are its practitioner? 🙂

        lwk

  3. Why do you need to look at Seatle for a working example? You can look at Washington, DC, where all handguns are prohibited for normal people…you could see that there is almost no cr…. Oh, that’s right, DC is one of the per capita murder capitols of the country. What would happen here if regular people here could lawfully buy and use a gun here to protect themselves. Then we’d have a chance to see the actual effect on the lawful ownership of weapons on crime. Of course, this has already been demonstrated all over the country.

    You write, “John Lott, the gun researcher best known for inventing evidence about the alleged use of guns by armed citizens to prevent crime.” How did you decide that? Did you arrive at that opinion as loosely as you claim John Lott arrived at his beliefs? I’ve bought Lott’s books, and heard him speak. He didn’t get in to the study of the effects of firearm ownership on purpose. He tried to find out some things and found that there was no good data, so he started researching himself. Because of his studies, academia has closed doors to him…he hasn’t become rich and academically respected for them. If he wanted the acclaim of the academic/media elites he could have invented proof that gun ownership leads to less safe homes and communities! He’d have a much more comfortable life now.

    You claim that there is no proof from Holmes that he chose the theater in Aurora because it was a gun-free zone. You don’t see it as a sign that he passed-up both larger theaters and closer theaters where guns were permitted in order to go to Aurora? You don’t see it as a sign that these mass-shooter idiots almost always choose gun-free zones? The few times that an active shooter goes to a location where there are guns usually ends quite quickly. Around the time of the Aurora theater shooting there was a shooter in a mall in Oregon who shot himself soon after he started when he saw a man with a concealed-carry gun. There was a shooter at the airport in Houston who was shot by a cop as soon as he’d put a couple of shots into the ceiling.

    Sometimes when you get hit on the head by a falling apple, you should just accept that there may be something going on…

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