Thomas Sowell

But that is not the way the issue is presented by many in politics or the media. Every story about an accidental shooting in the home will be repeated again and again, while a thousand stories about lives saved by defensive uses of a gun will never see the light of day in most newspapers or on most television newscasts.

More children may die in bathtub accidents than in shooting accidents, but you are not likely to read that in most newspapers or see it on television newscasts. Some in the media inflate the number of children killed by counting as children the members of criminal teenage gangs who shoot each other in their turf fights.

Many seize upon statistics which show that Britain has stronger gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates. Yet they ignore other countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, but which have much higher murder rates, such as Brazil, Russia and Mexico.

Even in the case of Britain, London had a much lower murder rate than New York during the years after New York State's 1911 Sullivan Law imposed very strict gun control, while anyone could buy a shotgun in London with no questions asked in the 1950s.

Today, virtually the entire law-abiding population of Britain is disarmed-- and gun crimes are vastly more common. Gun control laws make crime a safer occupation when victims are unarmed.

The gun control crusade today is like the Prohibition crusade 100 years ago. It is a shared zealotry that binds the self-righteous know-it-alls in a warm fellowship of those who see themselves as fighting on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. It is a lofty role that they are not about to give up for anything so mundane as facts-- or even the lives of other people.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate