“Yes, They Want to Take Your Guns Away”

That’s is the title of this Daily Beast column by James Kirchick. I’ll be including a few excerpts here, but go and read the whole thing. It will seem like typical gun-hating, liberal drivel at first, but it’s well worth the effort.

My first thought, after reading only the first two paragraphs, was that this was going to call for a thorough fisking…

Thirty thousand people are killed by firearms each year in the United States, an astronomically high figure for a developed Western country not in a state of civil war.

President Obama reminds Americans of this sad statistic with depressing regularity, and he did so again last month after a mass shooting in Oregon took the lives of nine people. “We know there are ways to prevent it,” the president said.

Yes, this is chock full-o-errors, and I’ll get to those in a moment. Kirchick goes on to list the “ways to prevent it”, really one way in his view, that Obama, Hillary, and others hint at, but never name. Hillary came the closest when she talked about the Australian “buy back” program. This “buy back” was, of course, confiscation done at gunpoint.

That one way Kirchick sees to solve America’s “gun problem” is forced confiscation. Kirchick also rejects this as a practical solution to the “problem”…

Second Amendment enthusiasts are fond of arguing that gun rights are enshrined in the Constitution not only for the sake of hunters or people who want to protect their homes and businesses from criminals, but also to allow the population to resist an overreaching government. If federal agents came to round up firearms, many gun owners would be prepared to shoot back. Clinton can joke all she likes about Americans fearing “black helicopters” taking their guns away, but it is no exaggeration to suggest that civil war could erupt on American soil were the U.S. government to attempt anything remotely resembling what was done in Australia.

It’s one thing when a “gun guy” writes about someone like Hillary sparking a civil war over guns; it’s quite another when someone like Kirchick does.

He concludes:

Perhaps, in a perfect world, the United States would never have had the Second Amendment. But such a country—one not forged in armed revolution against arbitrary rule from afar and founded upon the principle of individual liberty—would not be the United States, with all its virtues and vices. For Americans like myself with no attachment to guns but who respect the vast majority of responsible gun owners who exercise their right to own them, one can only observe gun violence, and the debate surrounding it, with a sense of dreary resignation.

As I have said before, it’s our job as responsible gun owners and as responsible citizens to keep people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from doing something horribly stupid. I look at the Antis and see a defeated force on the verge of collapse. Courts and state legislatures across the land have rejected their arguments. Congress has turned away from them. Most Democrats have stopped taking their calls. They’re at the end of their rope and they may be down to that one last gasp: A fellow extremist who’s willing to risk fire and blood to get them what they want.

Now about those errors…

  • Using the same CDC data that Kirchick cites, there were a total of 32,899 firearms related deaths in 2013. Of those, 21,175 were suicides. No amount of gun control would have saved those lives. Those intent upon taking their own lives will find a means to do so. Another 516 were shootings by law enforcement. Thus the “problem” deaths numbered 16,121. (And some of those were legal self-defense.) So the “astronomically high” number of deaths we have each years is half of what Kirchick states. And vast majority of those were criminals killing other criminals; something they’d likely continue to do by other means were guns not available.
  • The Australian “buy back” wasn’t a total confiscation of all firearms. Several varieties were banned and Aussies were ordered to surrender them. The total number of firearms in the hands of Australian civilians now exceeds the number they held before the ban.
  • Throughout the article, Kirchick utterly ignores the use of firearms for self defense in the US. These number upwards of 2,000,000 per year; encounters that could have, but didn’t, end in the death of an innocent. But even if we reject that figure, and use the DOJ estimate instead, defensive gun uses outnumber the total number of homicides each year.
  • Finally an error of omission: Kirchick correctly states that there are roughly 305,000,000 firearms in the US civilian arsenal. The number of civilian arms has steadily increased year after year for decades. During this same period, the total number of firearms related deaths has steadily decreased. Accidental shootings, whether fatal or not, have plummeted.