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Mar. 29, 2010
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A new report published by MSNBC.com shows that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens results in fewer deaths from the use of firearms.
“Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens prevent 1 million robberies, murders and rapes every year,” John Pierce, a Virginia-based gun-rights activist with opencarry.org, told MSNBC.com.
Alan M. Gottlieb, vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), called the finding "further evidence that everything the gun prohibitionists have been claiming and predicted over the past two decades has been fundamentally fraudulent.”
However, not everyone shares the sentiment of those pushing for laws that allow open carry and concealed carry. Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun-control group, said the movement for more open-carry and concealed-carry gun laws “has to do with selling more guns.”
While it was pushed by groups like the National Rifle Association, it also “dovetailed with the gun industry’s desperate need to find a new market,” she said.
The MSNBC.com report, Record numbers now licensed to pack heat, says that in the 1980s and 1990s, Americans were killed by guns at a rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population, at the time the concealed-carry movement (carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or close proximity) began gaining momentum.
In this decade, the gun-homicide rate has fallen to 4.07 per 100,000, which equates to a 28 percent reduction in homicides with the use of firearms. This decline in homicides follows a five-fold increase in a “shall-issue” (requirement of a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but where the granting of the permit is subject only to meeting certain criteria laid out in the law) and unrestricted concealed-carry laws in states from 1986 to 2006, reported MSNBC.com.
According to federal background checks conducted on the sale of most firearms, the decline in homicides comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing.
While the number of gun sales held stable between 8.5 million and 9 million from 1999-2005, the FBI reported a rise in sales to 10 million in 2006. In 2007 the number jumped to 11 million; in 2008, up to 13 million; and more than 14 million in 2009 -- an increase of 55 percent in four years.
The nation's highest gun homicide rates are in Washington, D.C., with 20.50 deaths per 100,000 people, five times the general rate. Yet the District of Columbia has the strictest gun-control laws in the nation. The lowest rate of gun-related homicides is in Utah: 1.12 deaths per 100,000 people. Utah’s gun-control policy is very unrestricted.
According to SAF's Gottlieb, gun control advocates "repeatedly argued that more guns will equate to more crime and more firearm deaths, and MSNBC.com just let the air out of their sails with this exhaustive and well-balanced report.
“This is why,” said Gottleib, “anti-gun groups have lost their momentum and their credibility. They failed to gain traction even with a Democrat-controlled Congress and anti-gun White House. They are so desperate for attention that they have now declared war on private businesses just to generate publicity. Their high-profile campaign of hysteria against Starbucks for complying with state laws that allow concealed and open carry in their coffee shops is based on an issue they fabricated just to grab headlines and television face time, and the public knows it.”
Gottlieb concluded, “Every restrictive gun law, every ban, every gun-free-zone they have advocated and defended have one thing in common: they gave us a body count. The MSNBC.com report suggests America has had enough.”