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5 Gun Control Myths Debunked
Number 5 – Silencers Make Guns Quiet for Easy Murder
You may have heard the term “silencer” before and thought that the word “silencer” meant that guns with silencers were actually quiet. You may have watched Hollywood movies where a bad guy threads on a silencer and, magically, the gun whispers out bullets as good guys are slaughtered.
Reality is so far distanced from that fiction as to be comical.
While the word “silencer” is a legal term that has roots in the name given to one of the first devices, the more accurate, technical term to describe the often-cylindrical piece of metal pipe is “suppressor.”
Because the gunshot is not silenced, but rather suppressed by about 20-to-30 decibels depending on the model and caliber.
And while 30 decibels of suppression may sound significant, a typical handgun already produces around 160 decibels when fired.
For comparison, chainsaws create about 110 decibels, jackhammers around 120, and commercial jet take offs produce around 150 decibels.
The pain threshold for sound is around 130 decibels, with immediate hearing damage taking place around the 140s.
Which means that even a suppressed 9mm handgun shot can still produce more sound than a jackhammer and cause pain.
So, if suppressors do not silence, but rather, reduce sound, you may wonder what their utility is.
Suppressors simply help reduce hearing pain and damage that would normally occur when shooting.
If anything, suppressors are vital safety devices that, when combined with hearing protection, can help reduce damage to the ear drum during target practice.
Suppressors can also help reduce muzzle flash and reduce recoil in how they direct combustion gasses.
Does this make suppressors ideal for murderers, like Hollywood films would portray?
Hard data on criminal activity suggest no.
In fact, in a 2007 study of cases available to the major court reporting databases, Paul Clark of the Alaska Public Defender Agency found that suppressors were used for murder in only 2 cases between 1995 and 2005.
For comparison over that same period, there were over 180,000 documented murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in the United States.
This would mean that suppressors were a primary factor in only about one in 90,000 cases.
And this makes sense.
Despite suppressors being readily made from oil filters and other adaptable parts, criminals simply do not wish to use them likely because they make handguns less concealable and the benefit is low considering that the shots will still be loud enough to draw attention.
Robbers, rapists, and murderers tend to use that which is easy to conceal and run away with, and suppressors add on extra weight and length that is not likely worth the effort.
So next time someone tries to tell you that silencers are evil tools of mass murderers, you can tell them that they are far more likely to be used to help people keep their hearing than to hurt people.
Number 4 – Gun Shows are where Murderers Get Guns without a Background Check
The mainstream media has people believing that gun shows are the favorite spot for criminals to get guns through some mysterious “loophole.”
Of course, this is a myth that is readily debunked by hard data on criminal use of guns.
First, it should be noted that gun show dealers often are FFLs who require a background check.
Some people may engage in a private sale where there is no background check, but the idea that mass murderers get their gun without a background check at gun shows is unfounded.
In fact, there are virtually no cases where someone themselves bought a gun at a gun show without a background check and then went to commit a mass murder.
Even the murderers at the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy used a straw purchaser, someone else illegally buying the guns for them, to obtain guns from a gun show.
U.S. Department of Justice statisticians Mariel Alper and Lauren Glaze took a survey of prison inmates in 2016 and found that among prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense, only 0.8% obtained it at a gun show.
Which makes sense.
For those who are bent on doing harm and living a criminal life, the choice way to get guns is through criminal means.
In that same DOJ study, the survey found that 90% of the inmates did not obtain their firearm through a retail store, meaning many had gotten their gun elsewhere either by buying it on the black market or stealing it.
In 2012, scientists at the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Gun Policy and Research surveyed prisoners in 13 states with the least restrictive firearm purchase and possession laws.
In that study, they found that 34% of offenders surveyed were reported as having got their guns from drug dealers or other black-market sources.
40% of offenders in one group were already prohibited from legal firearm possession under current state or federal law.
All this is to say that gun shows are clearly not the problem as criminals prefer criminal means to obtain guns and are not deterred by other laws making them otherwise ineligible from obtaining a gun for past violent conduct.
So, the next time someone tells you that gun shows are a dangerous loophole, ask them to name one person who went to a gun show, bought a gun themselves at the gun show without a background check, and then used that same gun to go on a killing spree.
Chances are, they won’t be able to because it’s close to non-existent.
Number 3: Gun Bans Are Effective in Other Countries.
When gun control is argued, many try to bring up examples in other countries to suggest that gun control necessarily brings down the crime rate.
The problem with this argument is that when people compare countries, they do not compare them proportionately, but instead, frame the situation in a way that deceives others.
For example, one of the most referred to countries is Australia as Australia enacted a uniform approach to firearms regulation at the federal level, applying bans across all territories with the Firearms Act of 1996.
This act, along with other acts and regulations, essentially banned most firearms for private possession and required those who still had firearms such as simple shotguns and rifles to pass a screening and a waiting period.
Self-defense with guns was also essentially banned with this act as the possession of a firearm for self-defense purposes is reason for denial of an Australian firearms permit.
Australia’s gun and self-defense bans might appear to be something remarkable as their homicide rate declined to 1 in 100,000 in 2017.
However, this statistical significance is diminished when put into context for comparison.
Australia’s violent crime rate was already on the decline, with a firearm crime reduction of 3% annually for years before the ban, meaning that other factors were influencing the change.
Also, when comparing Australia to the United States, the population size and nature of legal differences must be accurately accounted for.
Australia is a country of about 24 million people. The United States population is over 330 million.
To make an accurate comparison on gun control laws, one must consider that Australia has a smaller total population and uniform federal gun law restrictions, unlike the 50 states.
To make a proper analysis, one should compare the states in the U.S. with the most firearms freedom with Australia’s population.
If one counts the population in America’s most pro-gun states up to Australian population count, and then compares the homicide rate, a clarity will emerge that demonstrates a negligible difference.
In Australia, across 24 million people, there is approximately 1 homicide per 100,000.
Counting approximately 24 million people from the most gun friendly populations of New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Oregon, and Arizona, the homicide rate is approximately 1.6 per 100,000, a negligible difference in what is a vastly different legislative scheme for gun control.
From this note, it should be clear why the mainstream media frames nationwide comparisons to make it appear that gun control laws are the magic bullet to stopping homicides: they don’t want to look carefully at the states with greater respect of the right to bear arms.
For further understanding in comparing Australia’s gun laws to the U.S., look at the states in the U.S. with the most gun control: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Rhode Island.
Taken together, these states have an average of 3.78 homicides per 100,000 people.
From this information, we can infer that gun control laws are not themselves the core attribute that makes murder rates go up or down.
Rather, what we see is that dense populations with localities limiting gun ownership and self-defense can be a possible factor in the equation.
And, looking closer at the localities, this holds true when narrowing in where the higher murder rates are coming from.
In 2014, the Crime Prevention Research Center reported that just 1% of the counties in the United States, with 19% of the U.S. population, accounted for 37% of the total murders.
About 50% of all murders in the U.S. took place in only 2% of all U.S. counties, and these areas have some of the toughest gun restrictions like in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
As you can see, the homicide rate is more closely correlated with urban clustering and gun control.
So, when people try to compare the whole of the United States to other countries, remind them to not compare apples and oranges.Number Two: Homicide Can Be Stopped by Banning Assault Rifles
Gun-grabbers often suggest that certain types of guns should be banned because they look scary without considering the comparative harm.
For example, some ignorant gun control advocates try to suggest that black guns with scopes and pistol grips should be banned because they can shoot a lot of people.
These guns are often incorrectly labelled as “assaut rifles,” when they are just semi-automatic rifles.
“Assault” means selective-fire with the ability to shoot in automatic mode, and automatics have been generally illegal to make and purchase in the U.S. since 1986 without special, limited applications under the National Firearms Act.
Those ignorant of this distinction go on to demand a ban on semi-automatic rifles in the Armalite Rifle style, AR for short, without any meaningful analysis as to what guns are used to harm others.
According to the FBI’s statistics, handguns are used as a murder instrument some 8,000 times per year while rifles are used in less than 300 instances.
In other words, rifles are used only 3 percent of the number of times handguns are used.
The FBI’s classification of “rifle” doesn’t even differentiate between an AR-styled rifle and any other kind of rifle, so it’s likely that the percent is even lower for AR-styled rifles.
Even clubs, hammers, and body parts are used more often for murder than rifles, with blunt objects totaling 428 murders in 2013 and hands and feet some 687 times.
When looking at what people are arguing to ban, consider the fact that there are far more weapons that can be used to murder than rifles, and banning rifles will not stop people being murdered by other means.Number 1: The Second Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Individuals And Modern Guns
Some try to say that the second amendment doesn’t apply to individuals owning modern guns because the founding fathers didn’t foresee it.
Hypocritically, these same people argue this using their freedom of speech via the internet, which also didn’t exist at America’s founding.
The reality is that the second amendment was always about the individual right of self-defense, the interpretation of which is settled case law from the United States Supreme Court Cases of D.C. versus Heller and McDonald versus Chicago.
Justice Scalia noted in Heller that: “It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia…on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
Justice Alito noted in the McDonald case that gun rights were even fundamentally about resisting government, saying:
“As we noted in Heller, King George III’s attempt to disarm the colonists in the 1760’s and 1770’s provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep and bear arms.
This understanding persisted in the years immediately following the ratification of the Bill of Rights.
In addition to the four States that had adopted Second Amendment analogues before ratification, nine more States adopted state constitutional provisions protecting an individual right to keep and bear arms between 1789 and 1820.
Unless considerations of stare decisis counsel otherwise, a provision of the Bill of Rights that protects a right that is fundamental from an American perspective applies equally to the Federal Government and the States.
We therefore hold that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller.”
As Justices Alito and Scalia noted, it is important to see that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental human right, one that must be held first and foremost as a defense against government.
The second amendment is not a tiered system: military use cannot be reason to keep arms out of the public’s hands as guns are for self-defense against enemies foreign and domestic.
Defend yourself. Don’t become another statistic.
Backers of a Federal Ban on 'Gun Silencers' Claim Only Murderers Use Them
Criminal Use of Firearm Silencers*
Western Criminology Review 8(2), 44–57 (2007)
Silencer Sound Levels: https://www.silencercentral.com/blog/we-tested-27-rifle-suppressors-heres-what-we-found/
Murder Rates 1995-2005
Occupational Noise Exposure
Cato Australia: https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/homicide-rate-was-already-declining
50 state gun freedom https://www.freedominthe50states.org/guns
CDC Homicide Mortality: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/homicide.htm
FBI homicide: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2009-2013.xls
National Murder Rates: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state#MRalpha
Australia decline: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state
Law on guns Australia: https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/australia.php