Guns and Roses, Part II

This was to be the wrap-up of Guns and Roses. But as I was writing the essay a strange thing happened! I was constrained by the Emperor's decrees. You know, the 23 proclamations that will henceforth prevent massacres such as Newtown and Aurora from ever happening again.

Allow me to just briefly outline what I had intended to write before I humbly dissect our monarch's diktat. Obviously the teleprompter burped since our Lord and Master can't make a mistake. The Emperor said that the Aurora murders were done with an "assault rifle" but the reports said the rifle jammed and most of the victims were shot with a shotgun. As we all know the Emperor doesn't lie and he can't make mistakes; it must have been George Bush's fault again; the source of all our troubles!

Since 1911 at least seven countries established gun controls and essentially disarmed their citizens. These countries were Turkey, Germany, the Soviet Union, China, Guatemala, Cambodia and Uganda. The roundup and extermination of defenseless people following disarmament totaled 56 million souls. China and the Soviets killed political dissidents; the other victims were killed for ethnic or religious reasons. Australia has been discussed a lot recently. This nation instituted a gun ban and in 1997 had a nation-wide buyback program. You either sold your guns back to the state or went to jail.

Did it work? Between 1995 and 2007 murder rates decreased by 31.9 percent. During the same period, the United States murder rate - without a gun ban - dropped 31.7 percent!

Now, what has transpired since the gun ban? Armed robbery has gone up 69 percent, assault with a gun up 28 percent, murder with a gun up 19 percent, robbery up 7 percent, rape up 30 percent. Assaults rose by almost 50 percent. And there was an increase in a fairly new phenomenon; home invasion. Overall violent crime increased by 42.2 percent in Australia. During this period in America, violent crime dropped 31.9 percent, rapes down 19.2 percent, robbery decreased 33.2 percent, and aggravated assault went down 32.2 percent. Another study done in 2010 found that overall, the United States has a lower crime rate than Europe, in the aggregate. And European countries have strict gun laws.

What about the Imperial Decree - you know, the 23-point plan to save the children? As I read through those proclamations I found only one that has merit.

Number 18 "provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers." I may have made a leap of logic to assume that meant armed officers but if that is the meaning - oorah!

The rest of the 23 commands are further attempts to limit freedoms.

They range from directing doctors to violate their oaths to demanding the ATF be the sole seal of approval for gun purchases. This seal of approval to be accomplished by compiling a federal database on all gun owners that will be pored over by some bureaucrat whenever you or I want to buy a firearm. Said database will contain all details of your behavior, misdemeanors, arrests, medical, and psychological conditions. From this record the bureaucrat will give a thumbs up or thumbs down on your capacity to handle or own a firearm in this United States of America!

So what will stop the mass murders which claim the focus of our national discussion? Perhaps nothing! New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and Los Angeles all have extremely onerous gun control laws yet the murder rate is horrific.

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University and the author of Violence and Security on Campus: From Preschool Through College (Praeger, 2010).

His article in The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the myths about mass shootings and was published before the decrees were issued. His research addresses the steps advocated by President Obama and finds them inadequate and unnecessary. His study even finds my solution of an armed citizenry insufficient, in that these killers are ready to die and end their miserable existence and take as many with them as possible. They choose the "gun free zones" to allow them to murder as many people as possible before the police arrive and then, in most cases, kill themselves.

Perhaps an armed citizen would reduce casualties, as it did in the Portland mall shootings?

Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.

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