Heller and the sky is falling!

When the Heller decision came down square on the side of the ‘right to own’, there was immediately a cry of anguish from the gun-banners. According to articles and editorials that popped up in the MSM blood would run in the streets. The sound of gunfire throughout the land would strike terror into the hearts of the citizenry. A pall of death would ascend over the land.

US News and World Report:

Officials in urban areas like Washington should brace themselves for more violence. Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago likened the decision to a return to the days of the Wild West, with shootouts as the way to settle disputes.

The Kingston Whig Standard:

It’s amazing how well-educated, intelligent people can so often do stupid things.

Consider, for instance, the United States Supreme Court’s decision to shoot down the 32-year-old ban on handguns in Washington, D. C., last week, declaring it unconstitutional.

By a 5-4 margin, the nine justices effectively ruled every American has the right to own guns for self-defence and for hunting.

The U. S. Supreme Court is free to make whatever rulings it likes, but it seems a shame that so many people with Ivy League educations have arrived at a decision that will result in more murders and suicides throughout America, and possibly even Canada.

Add to that an inevitable increase in children playing with guns dying needlessly and you have a truly tragic result.

The Chatham Daily News:

Washington has one of the highest rates for violent crime in the U. S. — quite ironic considering it’s the U. S. capital. And now the gun laws there are much more liberal than they were for the past three-plus decades.

This could feasibly lead to an increase in the number of handguns in the wrong hands in Washington — be it an outright criminal or gang member, or just an irate citizen.

Daily Kos:

It’s fine to be a Second Amendment absolutist. But we predict that Scalia’s majority opinion in the Heller case, allowing everybody to keep loaded and accessible guns in their homes, will cause many more deaths of innocent Americans than the Boumediene opinion that Gitmo prisoners are entitled to court hearings.

Chicago Sun Times:

Thursday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision gutting a Washington, D.C., handgun ban can best be viewed, from Chicago’s perspective, as a tax on Chicago citizens.

A tax to be paid in blood and money.

******

A handgun “is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the 5-4 opinion.

Handy for self-defense.

Also handy for blowing a spouse’s brains out during a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Or for blowing your own brains out, when life becomes too much to bear.

Or accidentally shooting yourself as you go downstairs to check out a suspicious noise.

Which of those scenarios is more realistic in everyday life?

The court’s decision will only, in the end, help criminals, by putting more guns out into society.

These are semi-hysterical comments made by commentators who have no knowledge or understanding of the facts or the statistics on gun ownership in the US.

Consider that a 2004 telephone survey determined that there were 42 million US households with firearms, and 57 million adult gun owners. Of those, 64% of gun owners or 16% of American adults reported owning at least one handgun. It was also estimated that there were 192 million working firearms in the US in private hands

Now given those figures, if you truly believed that the mere availability of a gun in a household would inevitably lead to violence, you would expect that on your way to the corner store you would be stepping over dead bodies in the street. Even more so considering that a large number of States now allow citizens to transport a handgun on their person either with concealed or open carry.

However, an NRA fact sheet from 2007 shows the following:

The number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high, and rises by about 4.5 million per year. Meanwhile, the nation’s violent crime rate has decreased 38% since 1991. Below, statistics from 1981 forward are from the National Center for Health Statistics, while those prior to 1981 are from the National Safety Council. The NCHS’ annual numbers, rates and trends of common accidents and selected other causes of death, for the U.S., each state, and the District of Columbia, are available on the NRA-ILA website in spreadsheet format.

Firearm accident deaths have been decreasing for decades. Since 1930, their annual number has decreased 80%, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such deaths have decreased 89% since 1975.

  • Firearm accident deaths are at an all-time annual low, while the U.S. population is at an all-time high. Therefore, the firearm accident death rate is at an all-time annual low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94% since the all-time high in 1904.
  • Today, the odds are a million to one, against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident.
  • Firearms are involved in 0.6% of accidental deaths nationally. Most accidental deaths involve, or are due to, motor vehicles (39%), poisoning (18%), falls (16%), suffocation (5%), drowning (2.9%), fires (2.8%), medical mistakes (2.2%), environmental factors (1.2%), and bicycles and tricycles (0.7%). Among children: motor vehicles (45%), suffocation (18%), drowning (14%), fires (9%), bicycles and tricycles (2.4%), falls (2%), poisoning (1.6%),environmental factors (1.5%), and medical mistakes (0.8%).

Given all that, it is difficult to believe that the Heller decision will result in an increase in gun violence in the DC. And if that is the case maybe it will force the Mayor and his Council to look at the real reasons for their current crime rate and end their misguided efforts to cover their failed policies by placing the blame on the tool rather than the criminals misusing that tool.

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