Larry Elder

Did it work -- the Washington, DC, gun ban, that is?

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down the ban, holding that a) the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms, and b) while the government may regulate the boundaries of the Second Amendment, the DC ban goes too far.

The New York Times, in an editorial condemning the Supreme Court case, says: "Thirty-thousand Americans are killed by guns every year -- on the job, walking to school, at the shopping mall. The Supreme Court on Thursday all but ensured that even more Americans will die senselessly."

Really?

The 30,000 number includes 17,000 suicides. But a person intent on suicide finds a way -- gun or no gun. In Japan, for example, more than twice as many people, per capita, kill themselves, yet that country bans handguns.

The hand-wringing New York Times editorial fails to ask the following questions: How many Americans use guns to defend themselves? Of that number, how many believe that but for their ability to use their guns in self-defense, they would be dead?

"When a robbery victim does not defend himself," former assistant district attorney and firearms expert David Kopel writes, "the robber succeeds 88 percent of the time, and the victim is injured 25 percent of the time. When a victim resists with a gun, the robbery success rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery -- from drawing a knife to shouting for help to fleeing -- produces such low rates of victim injury and robbery success."

Criminologist and researcher Gary Kleck, using his own commissioned phone surveys and number extrapolation, estimates that 2.5 million Americans use guns for defensive purposes each year. One in six of that number, or 400,000, believe someone would have been dead but for their ability to resort to their defensive use of firearms. Kleck points out that if only one-tenth of the people are right about saving a life, the number of people saved annually by guns would still be 40,000.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.


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