Sam Goodstein’s courageous en-dorsement of statistics over ideology in the gun control debate certainly ennobles us all. [RECORD; March 23, 2001] How dismaying, then, to find that he is not above a little statistical prestidigation [sic] of his own! None of the numbers he cites says anything about the relationship between gun ownership, crime, and safety. Yes, England and Germany have fewer gun deaths per annum than America, but so do Israel and Switzerland, both of which have very high rates of gun ownership. Yes, 13 children are killed by guns each day, but the number of children killed in accidental gun deaths is considerably less than the number killed by buckets, windows, plastic bags or bicycles. And yes, nearly half of our gun victims are children, but it is unclear how it would be worse if, say, three-quarters of the victims were children but there were fewer deaths overall. If Mr. Goodstein actually cared about the effect that gun ownership has on crime, he would be interested to know that the only comprehensive study on the subject (John Lott’s “More Guns Less Crime”) found that where gun ownership increases, violent crime decreases, that high rates of gun ownership deter multiple person shootings, and that brandishing a gun is the single most effective defense a woman has against an attack.
Mr. Goodstein’s disingenuous appeal to statistics only confirms my suspicion that advocates of gun-control dislike the very idea of guns far more than their putative ill effects. The stereotypical gun-owner, after all, is a stout Christian man who honors his family, loves his country and fears his God. Alas, reformers of Mr. Goodstein’s ilk have lead an ongoing and now largely successful 100-year campaign, of which gun-control is only a part, to make him a stranger in his own homeland. But I must now admonish them: They may have desiccated our cities, made a mockery of our public schools, dissolved our families, emasculated our religion, befouled our popular culture, and sanitized our sex lives, but, by God, they are not going to take our guns away! This is one right we will defend, no matter how unseemly it may be to our more enlightened opponents.
Austin W. Bramwell ’03March 27, 2001
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