Poof! Let’s make all privately-owned guns disappear; and then murder, suicide, and crime in general will magically dissipate into the ether. To progressives, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, more guns mean more violence and, therefore, fewer guns mean less violence. For progressives, this politically-correct assertion is all that is needed to justify their push for gun control. Fortunately, this simple-minded view of guns is unsupportable as it implies every human being is deranged enough to commit murder by merely having access to a gun. Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser, fortuitously, have produced a study dispelling the anti-gun drivel spewed by progressives; and, no surprise here, guns do not mysteriously impel individuals to commit murder and suicide. Although the truth does not matter to progressives, it is critical to speak truth to the anti-gun, power-seeking psychopaths in the progressive movement. Many people will listen and our liberty depends upon doing so.
Before delving into Kates’ and Mauser’s study titled Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?, let’s dig a little deeper into progressivism. Having lived in the Portland, OR area for over twelve years, I am surrounded by progressives. Such individuals are deeply concerned about the environment, speak with perfect political correctness, are rabidly egalitarian, believe gun owners are stupid rednecks, and are statists to the core. Progressives are Progressivism: A Prime... Best Price: $9.43 Buy New $12.95 (as of 12:20 EST - Details) cocksure they are correct about everything when they are merely the kings and queens of received opinion. The attractiveness of progressivism is that it relieves people from having to think for themselves while making them believe they are intellectuals. Is there really such a being as a know-nothing intellectual? Yes, it’s called a progressive.
To gain a better understanding of progressivism, I highly recommend reading James Ostrowski’s masterful book Progressivism: A Primer on the Idea Destroying America. In this book, Ostrowski hits a bullseye describing progressivism:
The progressive offers no plausible argument for his position. He does not and cannot proffer empirical data to support his view. And no amount of contrary evidence will change his mind! Why? Because progressivism, unlike liberalism, is not grounded in philosophy, logic, political science or economic theory. Rather, it springs from emotion or magical thinking. Just as a baby thinks he will disappear if he covers his eyes, the progressive thinks state force will improve life and believes this without evidence or logic and in the face of all contrary and obvious evidence of the failure of this approach.
For these reasons, some have called progressivism a mental illness. I prefer to view progressivism as a form of self-help therapy. The “illness” that progressive therapy seeks to cure is not necessarily a mental illness in the classic sense, but the pain and anxiety of living in a difficult, unpredictable and often hostile world where resources are scarce compared to human wants and needs and where the individual often feels powerless over events beyond his control. Woodrow Wilson himself described the goal of progressivism as helping the individual to deal with forces he “cannot alter, control or singly cope with.” (Italics in the original).[i]
Let’s get back to the progressive mantra in which more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. This chilling contention implies anyone with access to a gun can become a cold-blooded murderer. Hence, when in the presence of a gun, human beings may lose all sense of morality and respect for the sanctity of life. Does this make any sense? According to Kates and Mauser, this is pure gibberish. Here is what their research uncovered—in their exact words:
- Insofar as studies focus on perpetrators, they show that neither a majority, nor many, nor virtually any murderers are ordinary “law-abiding citizens.” Rather, almost all murderers are extremely aberrant Requiem for Marx Best Price: $10.00 Buy New $13.66 (as of 03:20 EST - Details) individuals with life histories of violence, psychopathology, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors.
- The vast majority of persons involved in life-threatening violence have a long criminal record with many prior contacts with the justice system.
- Though only 15% of Americans over the age of 15 have arrest records, approximately 90 percent of “adult murderers have adult records, with an average adult criminal career [involving crimes committed as an adult rather than a child] of six or more years, including four major adult felony arrests.”
- A New York Times study of the 1,662 murders committed in that city in the years 2003-2005 found that “[m]ore than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records.”
- Psychological studies of juvenile murderers variously find that at least 80%, if not all, are psychotic or have psychotic symptoms.
- Of Massachusetts domestic murderers in the years 1991-1995, 73.7% had a “prior [adult] criminal history,” 16.5% had an active restraining order registered against them at the time of the homicide, and 46.3% of the violent perpetrators had had a restraining order taken out against them sometime before their crime. (Italics in the original)[ii]
When it comes to a gun-less, egalitarian society, one can only imagine how peaceful and murder-free the Soviet Union was. On the contrary, Kates and Mauser found the “…manifest success in keeping its people disarmed did not prevent the Soviet Union from having far and away the highest murder rate in the developed world.”[iii] To this day, few Russian civilians own firearms, yet: “Between 1998-2004 (the latest figure available for Russia), Russian murder rates were nearly four times higher than American rates.”[iv] It certainly doesn’t appear Marxist egalitarianism left a legacy of peace and social harmony.
Speaking of Marxism, I do want to make one more book recommendation. If you want to understand the pernicious nature of progressivism, it is important to study the truth about Marxism. I can think of no better book than the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s book Requiem for Marx (edited with an introduction by Yuri N. Maltsev). Dr. Maltsev edited and wrote the introduction to this indispensable book. Keep in mind, Dr. Maltsev was an economist who worked for Mikhail Gorbachev before defecting, to the U.S., in 1989. In the introduction Maltsev wrote:
The sad legacy of Marxism is the mind set of certain people, both in the East and West, who believe that the state can cure all economic ills and bring about social justice…The mass media, moreover, pays tribute to Marx’s honor every time it uses the terms “progressive” and “reactionary,” demonstrating an unwitting acceptance of Marx’s version of the historical inevitability of socialism.[v] The Black Book of Comm... Best Price: $43.00 Buy New $48.72 (as of 08:15 EST - Details)
Maltsev, in this book, reports something Americans did not hear from its mainstream media: “As the Soviet Union came to an end, the public had been reduced to a collective of hunter gatherers, barely existing at a subsistence level.”[vi] Considering the environmentalist nature of western progressives, I believe they would deem such an outcome as desirable.
Having read Maltsev and Ostrowski, I see cultural Marxism and progressivism as being the same malignant movement.
With this digression out of the way, let’s get back to Kates’ and Mauser’s seminal study about guns. Here are some additional findings that delegitimize the progressive mantra asserting more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths.
- In the United States, murder rates amongst blacks are much higher than murder rates amongst whites. Conversely, gun ownership is much higher among whites than with blacks.[vii]
- In North America, homicide steadily declined over a period of five centuries coincident with the invention of guns and their diffusion throughout the continent.[viii]
- Regarding European gun ownership rates, Kates and Mauser provide statistical analysis which reinforces the point that murder rates are determined by basic socio-cultural and economic factors rather than the mere availability of firearms. Here are a few examples—among many:
- Norway has far and away Western Europe’s highest gun ownership rate (32%), but also its lowest murder rate.[ix]
- The Netherlands has the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe (1.9%), and Sweden lies midway between (15.1%) the Netherlands and Norway. Yet the Dutch gun murder rate is higher than the Norwegian, and the Swedish rate is even higher, though only slightly.[x]
- Finland has 14 times more gun ownership than neighboring Estonia, yet Estonia’s gun murder and overall murder rates are about seven times higher than Finland’s.[xi]
Now, onto the deeply personal topic of suicide; over 40-years ago, when I was in grade school, an aunt of mine took her own life. She used a firearm to commit suicide. This was a truly shocking event and I remember everyone in my family struggling to understand why this had happened. In looking back upon this extraordinarily sad episode, in my family’s history, not once did my parents place blame on my aunt having ready access to a firearm. Along these lines, with respect to suicide, Kates and Mauser found: “There is simply no relationship evident between the extent of suicide and the extent of gun ownership. People do not commit suicide because they have guns available. In the absence of firearms, people who are inclined to commit suicide kill themselves some other way.”[xii] To be sure, this finding makes sense to me.
Living in the orbit of the Peoples Republic of Portland, OR, I have grown weary of hearing progressives preach about making people safer through gun control; especially after the October 1, 2015 mass shooting/murder at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR. To the cheers of cultural Marxists living all around me, President Obama stated the following after this tragic event:
There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don’t work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns is not borne out by the evidence.
Just the way progressives lie about carbon dioxide’s negative impact on climate, they lie about guns to move forward their agenda for gun control. The truth of the matter, regarding guns, is the exact opposite of what President Obama stated:
To reiterate, the determinants of murder and suicide are basic social, economic, and cultural factors, not the prevalence of some form of deadly mechanism. In this connection, recall that the American jurisdictions which have the highest violent crime rates are precisely those with the most stringent gun controls.[xiii]
With cultural Marxism on the march, in the United States, Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to promote their politically correct and magical thinking that the state can protect us more effectively in conjunction with stronger gun control. As we know, during the twentieth century, Marxist totalitarian regimes were brutally repressive (with leaders, such as in the Soviet Union, preferring to rule over unarmed citizens). The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression provides the unvarnished truth about what happened to so many unfortunate citizens of these Marxist-communist countries. This list is an unofficial estimate of the numbers of people killed by their respective states—with the total approaching 100 million people killed:
- U.S.S.R.: 20 million deaths
- China: 65 million deaths
- Vietnam: 1 million deaths
- North Korea: 2 million deaths
- Cambodia: 2 million deaths
- Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths
- Latin America: 150,000 deaths
- Africa: 1.7 million deaths
- Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths[xiv]
How far will Marxists push political correctness? The Black Book of Communism conveys exactly how far:
The immense number of deaths conceals some wide disparities according to context. Unquestionably, if we approach these figures in terms of relative weight, first place goes to Cambodia, where Pol Pot, in three and a half years, engaged in the most atrocious slaughter, through torture and widespread famine, of about one-fourth of the country’s total population. However, China’s experience under Mao is unprecedented in terms of the sheer number of people who lost their lives. As for the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin, the blood turns cold at its venture into planned, logical, and “politically correct” mass slaughter.[xv]
Kates and Mauser have equipped us with excellent information to counter the gun-control arguments made by cultural Marxists. As James Ostrowski revealed, nonetheless, facts do not matter to progressives—as indisputably demonstrated by President Obama’s shameless, yet politically-correct, speech regarding the mass shooting/murder at Umpqua Community College. History has shown that not being politically correct can bring the wrath of the state down upon you; with grave consequences. The state, accordingly, is not your friend. That’s why we have the Second Amendment, and we must keep it at all costs.
I would be remiss not to mention Kates’ and Mauser’s study was published by the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (spring of 2007). Don Kates earned his J.D. from Yale University Law School and is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. Gary Mauser earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine and is a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. In this study, Kates and Mauser produced a first-rate piece of scholarship; which demolishes the cowardly and politically-correct mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. For those endeavoring to roll back cultural Marxism, with gun control being an important plank within progressivism, Kates and Mauser have armed us with the truth about privately-owned firearms. In the battle of ideas, I’m optimistic the truth will win out. Millions of gun owners know this.
[i] Ostrowski (2014), p. 23.
[ii] Kates and Mauser (2007), pp. 665-670.
[iii] Ibid p. 651
[v] Maltsev (1993), pp. 29-30.
[vi] Ibid p. 25.
[vii] Kates and Mauser (2007), p. 676.
[viii] Ibid p. 683.
[ix] Ibid p. 687.
[xi] Ibid p. 690.
[xii] Ibid p. 691.
[xiii] Ibid p. 663
[xiv] Courtois, et al. (1999), p. 4.
[xv] Ibid p. 5.