Several times over the past few months, I have turned the attention of this blog to the issue of firearms, and the erroneous approach of some people to gun law and gun control.

There is an oft-repeated claim of gun control advocates (gun control being laws which aim to curtail ownership and carry of firearms by citizens). The argument is entirely pragmatic: guns cause more harm than good, therefore they should be outlawed. Basically. As shown most recently in my posts of January 31st, February 6th and my November 14th condemnation of the San Francisco handgun ban, this is poppycock.

In fact, the opposite is true. Allowing citizens to defend themselves reduces violent crime, both directly when a crime is attempted, and, most importantly, by discouraging such crimes in the first place. This is a message people need to hear, particularly the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions which currently ban or widely restrict firearm ownership or carry.

What proof do I have? After all, left-liberal anti-gun groups like the Brady Bunch seem to be convinced that there are more cases of gun-related accidents than there are cases of guns used in legitimate self-defence. Well I’m glad you asked. What prompted me to write about this again is an incident which occurred not more than a quarter-mile from my place of work last Thursday, in a place where, generally, violent crime is very unusual.

The local headline reads: “Shop owner draws a pistol, thwarts robbery.” Police Cpl. Robert Shoemake, whom I have met several times, said he and other law enforcement officers were called to the scene of an attempted armed robbery at approximately 6.50pm. Two of the suspects had allegedly “…went into the shop and asked [owner] Villafana about some electrical equipment for their vehicle. When he turned to pull an item off a shelf, one of the suspects allegedly pulled out a knife and demanded money. A scuffle ensued, during which Villafana was able to get away and set off the store’s alarm. He also grabbed the pistol he kept under the counter. The suspects allegedly charged Villafana, and he fired a single shot into the floor. The suspects then fled outside and drove off in a vehicle, leaving the third suspect in the parking lot. He was detained by Villafana until the police arrived.”

Now. Here in Arizona, nobody has even entertained the notion of blaming or attempting to prosecute the shop owner in this case. He acted entirely within the law, and moreover is regarded highly for having had the testicular magnitude to defend his life and his property. But, if it were up to the Left, things would be different, as we see in other nations. For example, if you are unlucky enough to find yourself under the jurisdiction of the government of the United Kingdom, the following ALTERNATIVE scenarios are on offer to you as a shop owner:

Scenario 1. Robbers enter store. They hold you up at knifepoint. You fall to floor whimpering for your life, empty cash register, and blubber in helplessness. They leave with all your cash.

Scenario 2. Robbers enter store. They hold you up at knifepoint. You fall to floor whimpering for your life, empty cash register, and blubber in helplessness. They brutally kill you for having seen their faces and leave with all your cash.

Scenario 3. Robbers enter store. They hold you up at knifepoint. You fall to floor whimpering for your life, empty cash register, and blubber in helplessness. Robbers undo fly and piss on your head. They brutally kill you for having seen their faces and leave with all your cash.

Scenario 4. Robbers enter store. They hold you up at knifepoint. You fall to floor whimpering for your life and empty cash register, before remembering about your can of pepper-spray. You spray at their face, before they sink their knife into your chest and leave, slightly impeded, with all your cash.

Scenario 5. Robbers enter store. They hold you up at knifepoint. You fall to floor whimpering for your life, before remembering about your can of pepper-spray. You spray at their face, causing them to leave, slightly impeded. You are summonsed to court 3 days later and sued for twice the amount you had in cash register for causing them harm.

We may laugh. But you’ll notice that, in the absence of an effective means of self-defence, the attacker/provoker/criminal/perpetrator gets to choose whether his victim lives or dies at his hand. By disarming its citizens, the UK government is CREATING the victims of violent crime.

Guns do not equal evil. They are a tool, used to PREVENT harm more than they are used to cause it. Incidents like the one described above occur every single day. In this case, because it was so close to home, it was a reminder of the reason I have a firearm. The chances of my having to use it are tiny, which is a testament to how safe, peaceful and protected our society actually is (certainly in comparison to any other period in human history). Nevertheless, my right to defend myself, my family and my fellow citizen exists for a good reason, and our low crime rate in this part of America is DIRECTLY due to the proliferation of good, law-abiding citizens like shop owner Villafana who choose to own firearms for self-defence.

‘But John,’ I hear you ask, ‘How many of these kinds of crimes are actually thwarted by armed citizens? Surely this case around your corner is a rare exception?’

You be wrong, dude. America has a proud tradition of shooting assholes. There is no central record, but some prominent criminologists have estimated the number of justified firearm self-defence cases to be as high as TWO MILLION. Whether or not the number is accurate, that’s a lot of people needing to exercise their right to protect their lives and their property. The majority of criminals seem to have their style cramped sufficiently to retreat without any shots fired, which is good, because I hope to never be placed in a position where I must take someone’s life to survive. And therefore, the mere presence of guns is a GOOD, not a bad, thing, contrary to what your leftist politicians want you to believe. The author Robert A. Heinlein said it best: “An armed society is a polite society.”

For more examples, the Texas State Rifle Association maintains a small selection of such cases, updated every month from newspaper articles around America. It can be found at http://www.tsra.com/selfdfns.htm; a useful reference point for those interested in gun control issues.

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John Wright

johnwright@softhome.net