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Homicides & Gun Permits

December 27, 2011

1. History, 2. Law

Homicides & Gun Permits

If you want the politically sanitized version of this discussion – “If we just got rid of every gun in the world, unicorns would prosper and every day would have rainbows” – Google “homicides and gun permits” then enjoy. I’ll make it easy for you - read this tripe.  I have no use for such contorted discussions wherein the concluding paragraphs are written before the data is gathered (and this is too-often true for both sides of the argument).  Face it – unicorns don’t exist because they tasted good (particularly with garlic and a white-wine sauce), and rainbows only happen after it rains.

For the first part, you’ll have to go to this link, then the left side – click on “Right to Carry History.”  I can’t hotlink it.  It shows the Right-to-Carry laws by state  as they changed from 1986 until 2011.  Great visual.  Go there – I’ll wait … here’s what you’re looking for – but animated:

Do you see the No-issue (red) and May-issue (yellow) being swallowed by Shall-issue (blue) from 1986 until now?  Now look at these two graphs:

There – argument done.  As more states joined the “Shall-issue” crowd, homicides dropped.  They dropped so much, in fact, that we no longer need to view only the statistical side – that is, “normalizing” data (as in the first graph) to a rate per 100,000 of population.  That’s a way to compare disparate things – like the UK to the US or the US in one time period to another time period.  In the instance of Homicide, the actual number of Homicides has dropped precipitously even though the population has grown.  It seems it is good to be well-armed.

And even as these trends were becoming clear, folks were trying to undermine the right to bear arms through SCOTUS.  In 2008, District of Columbia v Heller was issued.  Here’s your resource page, or go here to mainline the full opinion.  As an aside, one thing I’ve found humorous about watching the mainstream press and SCOTUS coverage is that by process of elimination those of us that follow SCOTUS closely can guess with a touch of accuracy which justice is going to write an opinion.  The MSM has never caught onto this.  But once it was becoming evident that Scalia would write Heller then it was likewise clear which way the opinion would go.

Heller addressed the conundrum created by a WDC law:  It was illegal to carry an unregistered firearm, and there was no authorized method to register a handgun. Other firearms could be registered for one-year shots, but they had to be kept at home, unloaded, disassembled, blah, blah, blah.  Nice.  “Excuse me, Mr. Burglar Rapist, I need a minute to do my Forrest Gump impersonation of assembling a gun.  Watch me!”

Everything we needed to know about the Opinion (which is a brilliant tour through history and well-worth reading) we learn very early:

The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” See J. Tiffany, A Treatise on Government and Constitutional Law §585, p. 394 (1867)

And if you do read it, oh my, savor such thrust swords as this:

In any event, the meaning of “bear arms” that petitioners and JUSTICE STEVENS propose is not even the (sometimes) idiomatic meaning. Rather, they manufacture a hybrid definition, whereby “bear arms” connotes the actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really an idiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No dictionary has ever adopted that definition, and we have been apprised of no source that indicates that it carried that meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easy to see why petitioners and the dissent are driven to the hybrid definition. Giving “bear Arms” its idiomatic meaning would cause the protected right to consist of the right to be a soldier or to wage war—an absurdity that no commentator has ever endorsed. See L. Levy, Origins of the Bill of Rights 135 (1999). Worse still, the phrase “keep and bear Arms” would be incoherent. The word “Arms” would have two different meanings at once: “weapons” (as the object of “keep”) and (as the object of “bear”) one-half of an idiom. It would be rather like saying “He filled and kicked the bucket” to mean “He filled the bucket and died.” Grotesque.

It is to laugh.  OK, back to our story.

As our “No-issue” states went from 15 to 2 (op cit., cool graph of country above), it’s common knowledge that the United Kingdom did not follow suit.  Find your own discussion of UK laws – as I said, it’s common knowledge.  And now I will cherry-pick some data:

  • You are 133% more likely to be assaulted in the UK than the US
  • You are 125% more likely to be raped in the UK than the US
  • You are 25% more likely to be the victim of a crime in the UK than the US

So if you want to be raped, get your ass kicked, or otherwise just enjoy victimization, go to the UK … unarmed and known in advance by the criminal to be unarmed.

Alright, let’s be fair:

  • You are 668 times more likely to be murdered in the US than the UK

That’s a big multiplier, but it’s just the way we roll.  C’mon now, you see the overall homicide rate is dropping, right?  We’re getting better.

Do I have a Concealed Carry Permit?  Absolutely.  So do each of my kids.  And the way my house is set up, a burglar has no chance.  We have a rule with handguns – “Safety first, then pull the trigger.”  If you do it in reverse order, the gun won’t discharge.

If you want to tour crime data, here’s a great place to start.

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About Clyde

Clyde is the lead attorney in the firm. Licensed to practice in 1993, he's also taught Constitutional and Criminal Law for several years at a private university, primarily at the Master's level.

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