Tag Archive | gun

Alias Smith and Jones, actor Pete Duel – thoughts on his suicide and gun laws

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Remember Alias Smith & Jones?

Alias Smith & Jones was a TV series and a western which first aired during the years 1971-1973, and of course later in other parts of the world. The series was indeed popular internationally, also in countries which only had about one or two TV channels at this time, which increased the chances that viewers would find the series – and those who did liked it. Unfortunately the series is also well known for the suicide committed by one of the actors when he was 31 years old, Pete Duel (previously Peter Deuel), early New Year’s eve 1971. He was found naked and dead under the Christmas tree after having shot himself through the ear.

This suicide seems to have been truly spontaneous, where he left no suicide note, no explanation and he had even arranged wake up calls for the following morning in order to get up to work at Universal where he and his colleagues were finalizing a new episode of the show. His parents were travelling by plane in order to make their planned visit the following day. Pete’s girlfriend was, based on her own account, sleeping in the bedroom when Pete turned up to take his gun and said ”I’ll see you later”, before the shot was heard moments later.

”But Peter’s most serious personal crisis occurred when he was 16. ”My father took great pains to get me ready for college,” he pointed out. ”But I had been watching the world and I didn’t see one thing in my future that I really wanted. Everything seemed phony. I was down, terribly depressed. I knew that if I went to college I’d be educated like every other guy who ever went to college. I’d be given little chance to become Peter Deuel. People I didn’t even know, would never even meet, had planned my life for me. I said the devil with it.” / PETER DEUEL: HE KISSES THE GIRLS AND MAKES THEM CRY by Lou LarkinModern Screen, March 1967

”A series disrupts your life and makes you think. You have to do a lot of thinking. The pressures and the time involved in doing a series are the things that can either make you grow or beat you into the mud. I allowed myself to be beaten into the mud last year. I just didn’t really choose to deal with reality.”/ WHAT IS PETE DUEL AFRAID OF ? by Fiona MacDougall ‘TEEN Magazine, February 1972 

Peter sometimes felt lonely and depressed also later in his life and sadly too much alcohol became one of his problems He had a couple of DUI’s against him and pleaded guilty to a serious felony drunken driving charge. Two persons almost got killed in the accident and he had unfortunately removed himself from the scene of the accident (something he deeply regretted and couldn’t fathom that he even contemplated). He gave up his driver’s license for a period of time, and he was therefore driven to and from work by his stand-in at the series.

This type of personality change suggests that he was highly unreliable under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, this ordeal together with the fact that he was supposed to stay away from heavy drinking based on the court order, plus the fact that his work wore him out, plus his history of depression should all have motivated him to make precautions and to keep two things away from his house: alcohol and weapons. Unfortunately both were present. What might have happened if at least one of those two things were not present that particular night?

If Pete’s addiction to alcohol was so intense that he couldn’t keep it away from his house (which apparently was the case), then wouldn’t it have been a wise safety measure to at least keep weapons away from the house considering his shaky background and the risk for mood swings during too much drinking? Of course, when you’re sober you might not think that there is a risk of doing anything that foolish when you’re drunk …

Pete had already reached out to Alcoholics Anonymous for help.

It’s hard to know if a small argument with his girlfriend took place that evening, but at least it was established that they had split up a few months earlier and had tried to get back together. It’s quite possible that it still didn’t work out. It’s also possible that a number of factors caused him to drink heavily this evening, and which resulted in his unfortunate decision in the midst of his daze to kill himself.

Unlike his colleague Ben Murphy, Pete didn’t want to be in Alias Smith & Jones in the first place (or any series), but rather in film productions.

Gun laws 

pete duel.jpgPete was no criminal, and he got his weapon due to the risk of intruders who might try to enter his house. Intruders are still to be preferred over the risk of self inflicted injuries made under the influence of alcohol. A week prior to the death, he had shot a hole in a telegram which he had pinned to the wall and which was telling him he had lost the election to the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. (This extra shot is quite significant since the Police wanted to figure out why there were two bullets used in his gun.) Reportedly he shot at the document due to being disappointed at the rejection, and when looking at the result he declared to his friend that the statement of the document was now official thanks to the new period that he had inflicted on the paper.

As a European, I feel that it’s way too easy to get hold of guns in the US. Many spontaneous murders and suicides would have been prevented if people wouldn’t have guns laying around despite that they are neither hunters nor active in gun clubs. If there were more conditions involved for gun ownership (like extensive education about safety procedures, being required to store the weapon in a heavy gun cabinet, being active in a gun club, etc), then these obstacles would eliminate a lot of people from acquiring a gun, and especially criminals. If criminals can’t come by weapons easily, neither will the rest of us feel the need to own guns for protection. Criminals can get hold of guns anyway? Yes, in America! So criminals can never come by guns illegally in Europe? Of course some do, and the homicide rate is not zero in Europe – but the homicide rate in the US is towering compared to the rest of the western world. To me it’s not real freedom to walk around feeling you need to own a gun for protection due to too many criminals owning guns. The day I start to feel that I need a gun in my purse, is the day when I lose my freedom. In order to not head in that direction, I want to continue preventing criminals from owning guns.

Still, if there would be a new American law requiring people to turn in their guns unless they register in an extensive gun safety education class, then of course the criminals would be the last ones to turn in their guns. Maybe it’s too late for America because the guns are already in circulation. If Europe would change the gun laws and make guns more accessible (more like America), the criminals would of course laugh heartily and be the very first ones in line to get guns. THEN (unlike before) the rest of the people would start feeling they need guns for protection. I pray it will never go that way.

Americans might suggest that they want to increase their chances to survive a threatening gun attack by possessing guns themselves which they could use for protection, but my attitude is that it’s the attackers who shouldn’t have guns in the first place. If they don’t have guns, then neither would you need a gun. There are criminals also in Europe who will come by weapons despite serious gun control laws, and those guns are almost exclusively used against other criminals or used in large crimes like a bank robbery. If people would be able to acquire guns more easily, the risk will increase that even criminal teenagers can get hold of them and use them to threaten people on the streets.

If I lived in the US (or if I worked as a farmer in South Africa…), maybe I too would like to own a gun for protection due to the many guns in circulation in the wrong hands, but would an American moving to Europe really want Europe to become just as unsafe as America with the same enormous homicide rate? In America it’s a ”leftist” thing to be for strict gun control rules, but I’m definitely not a leftist either by American or Swedish standards.

Let’s suppose you want to change the airline rules by suggesting that weapons should be allowed to bring on board the plane, unless the airline could absolutely guarantee that you will not be threatened or harmed by other passengers with weapons or other threatening tools. It’s hard to guarantee something like this because it has happened, even if rarely, that passengers have used all sorts of things as weapons (if they haven’t been able to smuggle real guns or knives on board). Let’s suppose that the airline will start to accomodate your request and allow weapons on board because ”If a passenger is threatened by someone with a weapon, he/she has no way to turn in a plane, so if we allow passengers to carry on board weapons for protection, their chances of surviving a threat will increase!”. Who are you really kidding? Of course the risks will instead increase.

Japan is a country where homicides are rare (they say it’s because it’s illegal ….), and the risk of being shot by a gun is just a tiny percentage. On top of this it’s the same thing there, that criminals with guns aim at other criminals, so if you stay away from being a criminal yourself your chances of encountering a gun aimed against you is indeed very small. Still, what if you managed to change the gun laws in Japan and started to apply American gun laws? Maybe because you feel that you must protect yourself due to the 1% chance of being shot? Criminals will thank you and of course buy guns, but not for protection but in order to aim at you and others. THEN you will start to feel threatened.

Starting to apply American gun laws in Europe equals placing more guns in the hands of criminals.

The financial might of the gun industry

Michelle Cox is a researcher for a site that provides education and industry insights to current and prospective MBA students, and included in their collection of resources is a series of business-focused videos that have been featured by news outlets like The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Businessweek. The video “The Business of Guns” can be found on this website, and it illustrates the financial might of the gun industry in the United States.

hair dryer

 

 

The second amendment was established 1791 when they had no assault weapons

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right for American citizens to bear arms, and it was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. Clearly there were other kind of weapons in use 1791 compared with today (2013). Can we be certain of that the founding fathers would have included also assault weapons in the Second Amendment if such weapons should exist during this time? We can’t be certain of that at all, and we must conclude that they wrote this amendment based on the situation that applied during a certain time over 220 years ago. We can only speculate how they would have phrased themselves today, if they would have written such a document.

Some suggest they also had cannons during this time, but even if they are powerful cannon and cannon balls are hard to maneuver, and nothing that you can carry around in your handbag to protect yourself with.

Americans have good reasons to be proud of their country, but  when it comes to the subject of gun control the rest of the world is likely not impressed when an American says ”There is no other country in the world that has something similar as the Second Amendment in their own constitution”. Just as though they expect Europeans to ENVY America’s huge homicide rate which is 20 times higher than other western countries (based on 100.000 inhabitants) – see this article. No, you can have your Second Amendment, but don’t bring it over here! We want to keep our low homicide rate, and we want to continue being free without having to fear criminal gangs with weapons and without risking to end up in areas with anarchy and mafia cartels. The good thing about having a gun control is that criminals have a hard time getting hold of guns, and that is the whole idea. That will lead to that citizens in their turn have no need to protect themselves, and that is the situation for most Europeans.

Sure, the Obama administration might do something very sinister to the American people in the future, and one can only wonder why he is buying and storing up so many weapons and ammunition – see this article . Obama said that as president he would create “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military, to advance his “objectives” for America. This astonishing announcement was made July 2, 2008, to an audience in Colorado Springs, but it was ignored by virtually the entire media – except WND. Nobody bothered to ask Obama specifically what he meant, or how he could possibly assemble and fund such a massive civilian army, or why – and he never spoke of it again.

So, unlike the situation in Europe, there are certainly reasons to fear what your president might do to you in the future, but if he manages to get an entire civilian army to do his errands, including the possibility to direct drones towards American people, then some private guns won’t do much good anyway. America needs to change its entire political system which opens up for corruption and a constant hunt for money to even think about winning a presidential race. A presidential candidate who isn’t rich (or with little support from rich people and organisations) can forget about becoming a president no matter how skilled he is to run the country. The American mainstream media isn’t doing its job to investigate in certain matters and instead they are keeping quiet or cover things up. That’s not the situation in every single country.

This film can make us ponder about the outcome, should the man have another form of weapon in his hands.

Hitler was no big fan of gun control in nazi Germany

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It’s naive to believe that a few, or a lot of  weapons in some private homes could prevent dictators such as Hitler and Stalin from doing harm, with entire armies (with tanks) at their hands. Instead of living under the paranoia that the government might turn nazi, and/or that politicians might come after you and your family, it’s way more likely that liberal gun laws will enable criminals to form gangs and use mafia methods. This is particularly a big risk in certain countries where people from different ethnic groups and cultures live side by side with a hard time to get along. Add poverty and drug problems to the picture and you  might have total anarchy in certain areas where criminals terrorize people who might not even dare to go out when it’s getting dark in the evenings.  Is that an environment we would like to live in and should strive for? Is that really FREEDOM? I don’t want to live in chains, so I’m FOR gun control in my country.

There will be an Antichrist in the future, and our private guns won’t prevent him from ruling the world. Until he shows up on the scene, we could try to eliminate criminals from getting hold of guns and in that way protect our loved ones. With liberal gun laws criminals can easily get hold of guns, which means they can point them at YOU and your family.

Below is excerpt from this article in Huffington Post/Walker Bragman:

”But Hitler and Stalin took away the guns and look what happened!”

This argument is historically inaccurate. University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in his 2004 paperWeimar Germany had tougher gun laws than Nazi Germany. Hitler expanded private gun ownership. It is true that Gypsies and Jews were not permitted to own guns, but there is no basis for the belief that these two groups would have stopped the Holocaust had they been armed. If anything, it would have ”hastened their demise” according to Robert Spitzer, Chair of SUNY-Cortland’s political science department. Hitler was extremely popular among the German people and throughout the world. To suggest that the only thing keeping Hitler in power was control of guns exonerates the many who supported him. The same is true of the Bolsheviks in Soviet Russia: the idea that an armed populace would have stopped Stalin is a fantasy. Like Hitler, Stalin was extremely popular.

Below text can be found in full in this article from Mother Jones

Of course, attempts to equate gun control with fascism are bogus. But the ”Hitler took the guns” argument has long had a prominent and fairly effective role in America’s gun control debate despite its obvious reductionism.

In 1989, a new pro-gun group called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership began arguing that the 1968 federal gun control bill once favored by the NRA’s old guard ”was lifted, almost in its entirety, from Nazi legislation.” (That false claim is still being repeated.)

In 1994, JPFO founder Aaron Zelman implored the NRA’s board to seize on the alleged Nazi connection:

Some of you may even have figured out that unless the NRA changes its strategy, the law abiding firearm owner in America will go the way of the Jews in Nazi occupied Europe: extermination…The choice is yours; you can turn your back on a failed strategy—one of compromise with evil-doers—and attack the concept of ”gun control” by exposing the Nazi roots of ”gun-control” in America. Or, you can persist in a failed strategy, and accept your own extinction.

Whether or not the NRA was influenced by his advice, that same year its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, published Guns, Crime, and Freedom, in which he claimed, ”In Germany, firearm registration helped lead to the holocaust,” leaving citizens ”defenseless against tyranny and the wanton slaughter of a whole segment of its population.” The following year, President George H.W. Bush famously resigned from the NRA after LaPierre attacked federal law enforcement officials as ”jack-booted government thugs” who wore ”Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” More recently, Stephen Halbrook, a lawyer who has represented the NRAargued (PDF) that ”if the Nazi experience teaches anything, it teaches that totalitarian governments will attempt to disarm their subjects so as to extinguish any ability to resist crimes against humanity.”

So did Hitler and the Nazis really take away Germans’ guns, making the Holocaust unavoidable? This argument is superficially true at best, as University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in a 2004 paper (PDF) on Nazi Germany’s impact on the American culture wars. As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition ”be surrendered immediately.” The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens ”of undoubted reliability” (in the law’s words) but not ”persons who are itinerant like Gypsies.” In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.

”But guns didn’t play a particularly important part in any event,” says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland’s political science department and has extensively researchedgun control politics. Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy ”wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group.

Gun enthusiasts often mention that the Soviet Union restricted access to guns in 1929 after Joseph Stalin rose to power. But to suggest that a better armed Russian populace would have overthrown the Bolsheviks is also too simplistic, says Spitzer. ”To answer the question of the relationship between guns and the revolutions in those nations is to study the comparative politics and comparative history of those nations,” he explains. ”It takes some analysis to break this down and explain it, and that’s often not amenable to a sound bite or a headline.”

(Ironically, pro-gun white nationalists have tried to stand the ”Hitler took the guns” idea on its head by arguing that he was in fact a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms—for Aryans.

Even if President Obama suddenly unleashes his inner totalitarian, there’s no chance he could successfully round up all of America’s 300 million-plus firearms. Such an idea is practically and politically impossible. A tough assault weapons ban like one Democrats are currently proposing would affect just a fraction of the total privately owned firearms in the country. Yet by invoking the historical threat of disarmament, Spitzer says, ”the gun lobby has worked to throw a scare into gun owners in order to rally them to the side of the NRA.”

Below is from this article in Somaliland Sun
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University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review. As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them.

The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. ”The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general. Does the fact that Nazis forced Jews into horrendous ghettos indict urban planning? Should we eliminate all police officers because the Nazis used police officers to oppress and kill the Jews? What about public works — Hitler loved public works projects? Of course not. These are merely implements that can be used for good or ill, much as gun advocates like to argue about guns themselves. If guns don’t kill people, then neither does gun control cause genocide (genocidal regimes cause genocide).

Besides, Omer Bartov, a historian at Brown University who studies the Third Reich, notes that the Jews probably wouldn’t have had much success fighting back. ”Just imagine the Jews of Germany exercising the right to bear arms and fighting the SA, SS and the Wehrmacht. The [Russian] Red Army lost 7 million men fighting the Wehrmacht, despite its tanks and planes and artillery. The Jews with pistols and shotguns would have done better?” he told Salon.

Proponents of the theory sometimes point to the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as evidence that, as Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano put it, ”those able to hold onto their arms and their basic right to self-defense were much more successful in resisting the Nazi genocide.” But as the Tablet’s Michael Moynihan points out, Napolitano’s history (curiously based on a citation of work by French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson) is a bit off. In reality, only about 20 Germans were killed, while some 13,000 Jews were massacred. The remaining 50,000 who survived were promptly sent off to concentration camps.

Robert Spitzer, a political scientist who studies gun politics and chairs the political science department at SUNY Cortland, told Mother Jones’ Gavin Aronsen that the prohibition on Jewish gun ownership was merely a symptom, not the problem itself. ”[It] wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group,” he explained.

Meanwhile, much of the Hitler myth is based on an infamous quote falsely attributed to the Fuhrer, which extols the virtue of gun control:

This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!

The quote has been widely reproduced in blog posts and opinion columns about gun control, but it’s ”probably a fraud and was likely never uttered,” according to Harcourt. ”This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date often given [1935] has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been any need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar government were already in effect,” researchers at the useful website GunCite note.

”As for Stalin,” Bartov continued, ”the very idea of either gun control or the freedom to bear arms would have been absurd to him. His regime used violence on a vast scale, provided arms to thugs of all descriptions, and stripped not guns but any human image from those it declared to be its enemies. And then, when it needed them, as in WWII, it took millions of men out of the Gulags, trained and armed them and sent them to fight Hitler, only to send back the few survivors into the camps if they uttered any criticism of the regime.”

Bartov added that this misreading of history is not only intellectually dishonest, but also dangerous. ”I happen to have been a combat soldier and officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and I know what these assault rifles can do,” he said in an email.

He continued: ”Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

Gun control has helped the UK to have one of the lowest homicide rates in the world

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Homicide rates for the USA, and for the UK (info for 2011 not available for the UK)

The homicide rate 2011 for the USA was 5,1 (by any method) and 3,6 (by gun) per 100.000 population (10,3 for ALL gun deaths 2011)

The homicide rate 2009 for the USA was 5,48 (by any method) and 2,98 (by gun) per 100.000 population

The homicide rate 2009 for the entire UK was 1,2 (by any method) and 0,22 (by gun) per 100.000 population (0,25 for ALL gun deaths 2010)

The homicide rate 2009 for Scotland was 1,9 (by any method) and 0,04 (by gun) per 100.000 population

From gunpolicy.org.  Chart with comparison between the USA and the UK here.

 

I try to not engage too much in American gun laws discussions even though I often see rude comments where some people demonize those with opposing views (those for strict gun control laws) and equate them with ”leftists” (I’m not), but when incorrect claims about gun laws in Europe are in focus I’d like to say something. I’m certainly not a fan of all laws in Europe (and they are vastly different from country to country) and we should be able to handle the subject of gun control without talking about politics in general. Where I live ALL are for gun control (left to right) because we all share the same goal to NOT place guns in the hands of criminals, and the only way is to do this is to prohibit ALL to buy guns for protection. This has led to the pleasant fact that we don’t need guns for protection since there is no threat. If you’re a criminal it’s a different matter, because criminals tend to want to harm each other.

Britain – a country with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world

It happens time and again that people against gun control (usually either Americans or criminals) falsely claim that the violent crime rate in the UK has ”sky rocketed” ever since the country started to apply gun control, but that is an exaggeration and doesn’t change the fact that the homicide rate in the UK is one of the lowest in the world and VERY much lower than the rate in the USA. It’s also common that the same people are not interested in facts that speak against their desired scenario, so they either continue spreading the incorrect statements as though they haven’t heard, or they go elsewhere in their hunt to find support for their idea that low murder rates are not correlated to strict gun control. When being presented to world-wide statistics that show homicide rates listed per country – indicating that the US homicide rate is enormously high compared to other western countries – they usually say ”you can show anything with statistics!” and immediately brush it off. Instead they find youtube clips or Facebook posts with pictures with claims such as ”Australia’s homicide rate sky rocketed ever since the gun control laws, bla bla” and choose to trust these figures thoroughly! Then the song isn’t ”statistics can show anything” any more.

USA compared to other western countries (the most fair way to compare)

Comparing an American state with other American states is of course not an honest way to make a proper analysis, since it’s not impossible to take guns across the boarders or get hold of guns in other ways. Guns used for crimes in NY and other cities can in some cases be traced back to states with more liberal gun laws. In order to appear in a better light when it comes to the comparison with other nations, it’s common that Americans against gun control would like to be compared with countries with even higher homicide rates, and that’s why they must go to infamous countries like Colombia, Venezuela and South Africa to look better. However, a more honest approach is of course to compare with those countries which are closest in culture, wealth, politics, etc. That’s why a comparison with Canada is interesting (but not perfect since it’s possible to take guns across the boarders there too), and other western countries. The below information is from Politifact Virginia, and the text is actually an attempt to HELP the US to appear in a better light! Still, the outcome is devastating for the USA and liberal gun laws.

The U.S. gun homicide rate is 20 times the combined rate of other western nations”. The number is based on a study of the homicide rates of wealthy nations in 2003, conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health. The report, published in 2010, uses data from the World Health Organization to compare gun-related homicide, gun-related suicide and unintentional and undetermined gun deaths for all ages and both sexes. Vital statistics from the U.S. were compared to those from 22 other high-income countries with populations over 1 million people who reported causes of mortality to WHO for 2003. Researchers relied on The World Bank’s definition of a high income  nation. In addition to the U.S., the study included Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Wales), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) and United Kingdom (Scotland). The rate of homicides with guns in the U.S. was 4.1 per 100,000 people; the same rate combining the 22 other countries was 0.2 per 100,000 in 2003. The rate of homicides using guns in the U.S. was 19.5 times the rate of the other countries.

Below is an attempt by the writers to change these stats to improve the scenario for the US, and they took the most favorable and updated stats for the US but not so with the other countries with stats mostly from 2009. They also chose to compare with NATO countries, and  by doing so they would also include countries that are NOT considered wealthy but actually rather poor (such as Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, etc) and by doing so of course the stats will improve.  But is it an honest comparison? For instance, in Bulgaria (in the east block of Europe) middle class people can’t afford to have the electricity on all day so it’s not in the same wealth bracket as western countries. Despite the attempt to improve the scenario for the US, the conclusion is still that the homicide rate in the USA TOWERS over other wealthy European nations: 

The most recent gun-related homicide rate for the U.S. was 3.0 per 100,000 compared to an 0.3 for the rest of the NATO nations. If you compare the most recent data on the same group of nations, mostly based on 2009 statistics, the U.S. gun homicide rate is 15 times higher than the other countries. The number fell to 10 times as high when we defined the inexact term of ”western nations” as countries belonging to NATO. However, that gun homicide rates in the U.S. tower over those of other wealthy  European nations — holds up.

Wikipedia – Britainguns0

People who are desperate to find statistics that show that gun control doesn’t work search high and low, and lately the crime statistics in Britain have been in focus. Those against gun control certainly can’t use the charts for homicide rates as a basis of their reasoning (since those all speak heavily against them) so they have to look for other columns (not homicide). So they found poor Britain, but is it an honest approach make a fair comparison and judgment?

The UK and the USA actually have very close figures when it comes to ”violent crime” rates, with the number for the UK slightly higher. The difference is of course that the UK has a considerably lower homicide rate than the USA, and the difference is HUGE! When studying statistics for Britain or any country, it’s important to understand what is behind the numbers. An affray is considered a violent crime in the UK, while in some other countries it will only be logged as such if a person is physically injured. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year – compared with Britain’s 921 in 2007! Some crime cases are not reported at all in certain countries and not only the ”poor” ones. For example, I saw an American documentary about a murder in Philadelphia where a man had raped several women and ended up also murdering one. The investigators discovered that the first rape was not reported due to the aim to improve the statistics for this particular police department, and it was very unfortunate since the follow-up rapes in the same area would have been easier to pin down to the rapist a lot sooner, and before he ended up murdering someone. It’s impossible to know how many other such cases there are for the USA and for other countries. That’s why the HOMICIDE RATE (rather than crime rates) is the best crime to compare with since this is the crime that countries are most likely to report. 

Below is what wikipedia says about the gun situation in the UK and since the data shows that gun control has done the UK a lot of good  (having one of the lowest homicide rates in the world is surely good) it’s a risk that pro-gunners will immediately scream that wikipedia is not a trustworthy source. But they think various youtube clips and information in cute Facebook pictures are reliable sources? Wikipedia might not always be correct whenever ”opinions” are involved, but more trustworthy when it comes to boring facts with proper sources listed. That’s why it’s interesting reading. Interestingly Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where owning firearms for protection is allowed, and it’s also the part with the highest homicide rate in the UK.

In the United Kingdom, firearms are tightly controlled by law—The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. There were 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010, compared to the 3.0 in the United States (over 40 times higher) and 0.21 in Germany (3 times higher).

Northern Ireland has a very high rate of gun ownership, one of the highest in the world. In contrast England and Wales have considerably lower rates and Scotland has the lowest in the United Kingdom. The gun crime rate rose between 1997 and 2004 but has since slightly receded, while the number of murders from gun crime has largely remained static over the past decade. Northern Ireland: Under the new law, first-time buyers will be required to demonstrate they can be trusted with the firearm. —  Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where personal protection is accepted as a legitimate reason to obtain and own a firearm and is the only part of the United Kingdom where handguns and semi-automatic firearms are permitted. Also, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed without a permit. However a firearm certificate for a personal protection weapon will only be authorised where the Police Service of Northern Ireland deems there is a ‘verifiable specific risk’ to the life of an individual and that the possession of a firearm is a reasonable, proportionate and necessary measure to protect their life.

A Home Office study published in 2007 reported that gun crime in England and Wales remained a relatively rare event. Firearms (including air guns) were used in 21,521 recorded crimes. It said that injury caused during a firearm offence was rare, with fewer than 3% of offences resulting in a serious or fatal injury.

For 2010/11, police in England and Wales recorded 648 offences as homicide, of which 58 (9%) involved the use of firearms — a rate of 0.1 illegal gun deaths per 100,000 of population. The number of homicides per year committed with firearms in England and Wales remained between 39 and 81 in the nine years to 2010/11, with an average of 58.3 per year. During the same time period, there were three fatal shootings of police officers in England and Wales, and 149 non-fatal shootings, an average of 16.5 per year. The overall homicide rates per 100,000 (regardless of weapon type) reported by the United Nations for 1999 were 4.55 for the U.S. and 1.45 in England and Wales. The homicide rate in England and Wales at the end of the 1990s was below the EU average, but the rates in Northern Ireland and Scotland were above the EU average.

Britain has had few firearms rampage incidents in modern times. During the latter half of the 20th century there were only two incidents in which people holding licensed firearms went on shooting sprees and killed on a large scale

A legislation was introduced in 1997 to prohibit ”Small firearms” with a barrel length of less than 30 cm or an overall length of less than 60 cm. Whilst intentional firearm homicides did in fact eventually decline —homicides involving the class of firearms prohibited initially increased in the early years following the legislative change before commencing a downward trend in 2008. With an alternative view, in 2012 the Home Office reported that, ”in 2010/11, firearms were involved in 11,227 recorded offences in England and Wales, the seventh consecutive annual fall”. Firearms statistics in England and Wales include airguns and imitation guns, which make up a high proportion of these recorded offences.

Fully automatic (submachine-guns, etc.) are totally prohibited from private ownership and self-loading (semi-automatic) weapons, including shotguns and .22 calibre pistols, are totally banned other than in Northern Ireland. Shotgun possession and use is controlled, and even low-power air rifles and pistols, while permitted, are controlled to some extent. A firearms certificate issued by the police is required for all weapons and ammunition except air weapons of modest power (of muzzle energy not over 12 ft·lbf for rifles, and 6 ft·lbf for pistols).

Any person who has been sentenced to three years or more in prison is automatically banned for life from obtaining a firearms licence.[35] Similarly, persons applying for licences with recent, serious mental health issues will also be refused a certificate. Any person holding a Firearm or Shotgun Certificate must comply with strict conditions regarding such things as safe storage. These storage arrangements are checked by the police before a licence is first granted, and on every renewal of the licence. A local police force may impose additional conditions on possession, over and above those set out by law. The penalty for possession of a prohibited firearm (section 5) without a certificate is a maximum of ten years in prison and an unlimited fine.  

From the 6 April 2007 the sale and transfer of ”air weapons” by mail order became an offence (they may still be purchased in person), as well as the sale of primers, and realistic imitation firearms (RIFs).

While the number of crimes involving firearms in England and Wales increased from 13,874 in 1998/99 to 24,070 in 2002/03, they remained relatively static at 24,094 in 2003/04, and fell to 21,521 in 2005/06. The latter includes 3,275 crimes involving imitation firearms and 10,437 involving air weapons, compared to 566 and 8,665 respectively in 1998/99. Only those ”firearms” positively identified as being imitations or air weapons (e.g., by being recovered by the police or by being fired) are classed as such, so the actual numbers are likely significantly higher. In 2005/06, 8,978 of the total of 21,521 firearms crimes (42%) were for criminal damage.

Most of the rise in injuries were in the category slight injuries from the non-air weapons. ”Slight” in this context means an injury that was not classified as ”serious” (i.e., did not require detention in hospital, did not involve fractures, concussion, severe general shock, penetration by a bullet or multiple shot wounds). In 2005/06, 87% of such injuries were defined as ”slight,” which includes the use of firearms as a threat only.

In 2008 The Independent reported that there were 42 gun-related deaths in Great Britain, a 20-year low. However, in late 2009 The Telegraph reported that gun crime had doubled in the last 10 years, with an increase in both firearms offences and deaths. A government spokesman said this increase was a result of a change in reporting practices in 2001 and that gun crime had actually fallen since 2005.—A 2006 statistical analysis found no measurable effect detectable from the 1997 firearms legislation.

In the year Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 there were 11,227 recorded offences involving firearms, broken down as follows.

  • Long-barrelled shotgun = 406
  • Sawn-off shotgun = 202
  • Handgun = 3,105
  • Rifle = 74
  • Imitation firearm = 1,610
  • Unidentified firearm = 957
  • Other firearm = 670
  • Air weapons = 4,203

Only those items proven to be ”imitations” (which includes BB/soft air types) or air weapons are classed as such, otherwise they are placed by default in the main ”live” categories, e.g. an imitation pistol not proven to be such would be counted as a live ”handgun.” ”Other firearm” includes CS gas (223 crimes), pepper spray (118), and stun guns (149).

Gun comic 4

Israel has strict gun laws and guns are not common among civilians

Excerpts from an article in The Times of Israel from Dec. 24th 2012

israel flagIsrael rejects NRA’s claims concerning guns laws

 ”Israel’s policy on issuing guns is restrictive, and armed guards at its schools are meant to stop terrorists, not crazed or disgruntled gunmen, experts id Monday, rejecting claims by America’s top gun lobby that Israel serves as proof for its philosophy that the US needs more weapons, not fewer.

”Far from the image of a heavily armed population where ordinary people have their own arsenals to repel attackers, Israel allows its people to acquire firearms only if they can prove their professions or places of residence put them in danger. The country relies on its security services, not armed citizens, to prevent terror attacks.”

”Israel never had “a whole lot of school shootings.” Authorities could only recall two in the past four decades.”

”Because it is aimed at preventing terror attacks, Israel’s school security system is part of a multi-layered defense strategy that focuses on prevention and doesn’t depend on a guy at a gate with a gun.”

”Gun lobbyists who might think Israel hands out guns freely to keep its citizens safe might be less enamored of Israel’s actual gun laws, which are much stricter than those in the US. For one thing, notes Yakov Amit, head of the firearms licensing department at the Ministry of Public Security, Israeli law does not guarantee the right to bear arms as the US Constitution does.”

”Gun licensing to private citizens is limited largely to people who are deemed to need a firearm because they work or live in dangerous areas, Amit said. West Bank settlers, for instance, can apply for weapons licenses, as can residents of communities on the borders with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Licensing requires multiple levels of screening, and permits must be renewed every three years. Renewal is not automatic.”

”The gap between Israeli gun ownership and US gun ownership is consequently staggering. A total of 170,000 guns are licensed for private use in Israel, or about one gun for every 30 adults.”

”By contrast, US authorities estimate that at least one-third of all American households have firearms — and in many cases, not only one.”

”Eighty percent of the 10,000 people who apply yearly for licenses are turned down, he said. In the US, people can purchase firearms from private dealers without a background check or a license of any kind.”

”In Israel, applicants must undergo police screening and medical exams, in part to determine their mental state, Amit said.”

Anybody who possesses a legally acquired gun waives the right to confidentiality, and authorities cross-reference for new information about the gunholder every three months.”