Legal Guns Would Make Norway Safer

Michael Reagan

7/27/2011 9:48:00 AM - Michael Reagan

How long would the Norway gunman have lasted in Texas or any state where concealed-carry laws are on the books? I ran a survey while on a cruise: in Texas, 3 minutes; in Montana, 7 to 8 minutes; in Arizona, 2 minutes; and in Nevada, 3 to 5 minutes.

Had Norway not surrendered to the anti-self-defense nuts, and allowed Norwegians to protect themselves by legally carrying guns, the massacre might well have been prevented. There's a lot of truth in the old adage that if guns are outlawed only outlaws will carry guns.

That was certainly true in Norway where Anders Breivik, a lone gunman, launched his assault on youth campers of Utoya Island. According to press reports he fully expected Norway's special forces to swoop down and stop him at any minute. It didn't happen. Faced with unarmed victims he was given plenty of time to kill 68 innocent people who could not defend themselves. Had just one of them been armed, Breivik could have been stopped dead and lives would have been spared.

Moreover, if anyone had paid attention to Breivik's rants they would not have been surprised when he acted on them, especially since Breivik had preceded his attack by setting off a car bomb in the heart of Oslo.

Tragically, Norway's anti-gun hysteria resulted in laws restricting gun ownership by law-abiding citizens, leaving them exposed to gun violence at the hands of criminals such as Breivik, who simply ignore anti-gun ownership laws. Despite the Second Amendment, which protects American citizens' rights to access to guns for self-protection, the Constitutional right of citizens to bear arms is under constant assault.

In his best-selling classic "More Guns, Less Crime," John R. Lott, Jr. has proven that guns make us safer. And in the book "The Bias against Guns," he shows how liberals bury pro-gun facts out of sheer bias against the truth.

With irrefutable evidence, Lott shot down gun critics and provided information we need to win arguments with those fanatics who want to ban gun ownership, leaving criminals who ignore anti-gun ownership laws armed.

History teaches us that governments faced with an armed citizenry are restrained from usurping the rights of individuals. It is thus no surprise that governments which seek to exercise dictatorial powers over their citizens inevitably seek to restrict of outlaw gun ownership by their citizenry.

In an interview with the University of Chicago, Lott said that states with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes. Thirty-one states now have such laws -- called "shall-issue" laws. These laws allow adults the right to carry concealed handguns if they do not have a criminal record or a history of significant mental illness.

He noted that criminals are deterred by higher penalties. Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself. He shows that there is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens who have gun permits and the crime rate, noting that as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. He adds that for each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent.

Concealed handgun laws reduce violent crime for two reasons. First, they reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves. Second, victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves. That's just common sense.

Our Founding Fathers understood the need for an armed citizenry. Thanks to the colonists who were armed, America triumphed over the strongest army in the world. They insisted that their fellow Americans have a right to bear arms in order to guarantee their liberties and safeguard them from those who would deny them the freedom they won on the battlefields of the American Revolution.

We need to be ever vigilant -- there are always those who would trample on our rights as free Americans. As long as we retain the right to self-defense guaranteed by the right to own and bear arms, our freedoms will be secure.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com, or e-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.