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NCJ Number: 74985 Find in a Library
Title: Why a Civil Libertarian Opposes Gun Control
Journal: Civil Liberties Review  Volume:3  Issue:2  Dated:(June/July 1976)  Pages:24-32
Author(s): D B Kates
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article contends that handgun controls would give the police and military a monopoly on arms, deprive minority groups of a needed means of protection, and fail to reduce violent crime.
Abstract: Advocacy of controversial political or social views frequently provokes violent antagonisms and convert withdrawal of police protection. During the civil rights turmoil in the South, Klan violence might have been worse if some blacks had not had guns to fight back. In contrast, political opposition groups in Mexico and Spain where civilian possession of guns is forbidden have been helpless against mob violence. Women would also be handicapped by gun restrictions, particularly in today's violent society where women increasingly choose lifestyles independent of male protection. Women are as capable of combat shooting as men, as demonstrated in several incidents where women successfully prevented rape or robbery with guns. Although the Eisenhower Commission's Firearms Task Force Report concluded that a gun was ineffective in preventing unexpected burglary or robbery in private homes, the report did not develop comprehensive statistics on the number of lives saved by armed citizens. However, another national survey showed that householders against whom crimes were attempted injured far more criminals than killed and captured without shooting far more criminals than they wounded. The frequency of successful self-defense cases is unknown because many are not reported. However, civilian firearms training programs in Florida and Michigan have been followed by a decrease in violent crime. Misleading American statistics and misrepresentations of the british experience have led many people to believe that banning handguns would reduce violence. Demands for gun control allow us to ignore out own unwillingness either to make fundamental changes in values and institutions or to accept and live with a violent society. Several studies have demonstrated that gun restrictions have no effect on reducing crime in violent societies. Switzerland's firearms violence rate is negligible even though it has the world's highest rate of gun possession among civilians. A University of Wisconsin study which compared each State's gun control laws with crime data found no correlations between lower crime rates and gun control or between high civilian pistol ownership and violence. A handgun probation would be virtually unenforceable because of the attitudes of many Americans, and even partial enforcement would not be worth the enormous cost in civil liberities. Eight references are cited.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Gun Control; Handguns
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