Gun Control, Fact v. Fiction "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (1729-1797) A subject of much debate, in recent years, is the issue of gun-related violence. Although many media outlets appear to necessitate the use of false information, related to firearms, in order to further their own anti-gun agenda, there are many falsities which must be dispelled. The fact remains that increased gun laws will only prevent the law abiding citizens from owning a firearm the criminals will still have access to them. So then, one must ask themselves, how will I protect my family or myself? If an individual is breaking into your home; wouldn't you feel it prudent to protect your children or spouse? Or simply beg the intruder to leave as they assault you and your loved ones as you look on helplessly in horror. How can any reasonable person think themselves safe without proper means of protection? A 'please don't do that' does not always work.

If criminals are always going to possess firearms, why shouldn't you? After looking at the facts presented here forth, take a moment and ponder if the anti-gun movement, fueled by groups such as Cease-Fire, Inc. , Handgun-Free America, Inc. and many others, is really based on fact. After several isolated firearm crimes committed by children on school grounds in the late 1990's many argued, "What about school shootings?" Well, according to the Department of Justice surveys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, "only 2% of school administrators consider guns a serious problem on school grounds" (National Institute of Justice, Oct.

1998). Overall, crimes committed in schools with firearms are a fraction of 1%. (UCR 1996, 2002) In relation to school violence and children with guns, former Secretary of Education, Richard Riley stated: "The vast majority of America's schools are still among the safest places for youngsters to be." (White House Conference, Oct. 1998).

The fact is that crime in schools, by firearms, are a fraction of 1%. In respect to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, one has to wonder; if teachers were allowed to carry guns, might so many lives have been lost? The violence could have been stopped and children's lives saved. Instead, helpless, fifteen people dead and twenty individuals injured on the April 20, 1999 massacre. (CNN, 1999).

So what, then, is the solution? Armed guards in schools? This would certainly be a crime deterrent; what person then would attempt to shoot up a school if they, themselves, have a chance of being shot? Gun control is a topic that most individuals would just as soon avoid like the plague. It's not a 'comfortable's ub ject for most, one reason for that is a lack of knowledge which many possess regarding guns and their laws. There is such an overwhelming anti-gun movement in the media, it is often hard for the public to discern fact from fiction, and one lie which is frequent in the media is that anti-gun laws prevent crime. This theory is unfounded and most certainly untrue. The fact is there are thousands of federal, state and local gun laws.

In 1968, The Gun Control Act (Public Law 90-618, 18 U. S. C. Chapter 44) prohibits anyone convicted of, or under indictment for a felony which could be punishable for more than a year in prison.

This includes fugitives, illegal drug users, illegal aliens, and persons with mental incompetents and various other individuals from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Looking at gun control laws which have been passed, and their results; one has to wonder why individuals are still determined to remain on such a dangerous path. Washington, D. C. placed a ban on handgun sales which took effect in 1977; by the 1990 s the city's murder rate had tripled. The majority of the murders in the city were committed by a handgun; the law did not suppress the problem it amplified it.

(D. O. J. Survey 1996) In 1975, the state of California increased the waiting period on retail and private sales of handguns from five to 15 days. In 1996, California reduced the waiting period to 10 days. Since 1975, the state's annual murder rate has been an astonishing 32% higher than the rate for the rest of the country.

Maryland was another state to impose a waiting period for gun purchases. The state banned several small handguns and restricted 'assault weapons', even regulated private transfers between family members and friends, and for the last decade Maryland's murder rate has averaged 44% higher than that of the rest of the country, the robbery rate has an average which is highest amongst the states. (UCR 1996). Overall, the murder rate, in the jurisdictions which have the most severe restrictions on firearms purchase and ownership, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington D. C. , has increased; showing that banning guns will not solve the crime epidemic.

(UCR 1996, 2002). Britain and Australia banned firearms, from that we can learn much about gun control laws and their effect. In Britain the licensing and registration by gun owners, of their firearms, made it possible for the British government to confiscate all registered pump and semi-automatic shotguns in 1988 following a horrific shooting spree in Hungerford. Within a decade the government had criminalized the possession of large caliber handguns then all handguns. All licensed gun owners were instructed to forfeit their handguns; the deadline was February 27, 1998.

The ability to curb violence was the promise; the loss of liberty, the price. "According to the International Crime Victims Survey carried out by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, England -- together with Australia and Wales, where anti-gunners have also been at work -- has the highest burglary rate and highest rates for crime of violence among the top 17 industrialized nations." (Kester en, Mayhew and Nieuwbeerta 187) As the Guardian stated, the study "shows England and Wales as the top of the world league with Australia as the countries were you are most likely to become a victim of crime." (Travis, The Guardian, February 23, 2001. ) The London Sunday Times reported on October 13, 2002: "Britain's murder rate has risen to its highest level since records began 100 years ago, undermining claims by ministers that they have got violent crime under control." (Leppard, Dobson Oct. 13, 2002). Perchance, noted civil rights lawyer, Don. B.

Kates, best explained the international comparison myth, writing, "In any society, truly violent people are only a small minority. We know that criminals will neither obey gun bans nor refrain from turning other deadly instruments to their nefarious purposes... In sum, peaceful societies do not need general gun bans and violent societies do not benefit from them." (The American Guardian Oct. 1997). The fourth President of the United States, James Madison said that the Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... (Where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (The Federalist, No.

46, 1788) Which is true, those countries which do not wish for their citizens to be armed fear overthrow by their citizens. And in the United States of America, the government has nothing to fear from its citizens. The only people, who fear are those in the anti-gun groups; they believe to eliminate firearms they will eliminate crime; which is statistically proven to be untrue. The fact remains that there is insurmountable evidence to suggest that stricter gun laws do not deter crime they encourage it.

Those which have forfeited their rights to possess firearms have paid for it dearly. It is simply not enough to listen to the hype that the media uses to push anti-gun sentiments in this nation. What the media uses to scare the public are not statistics based on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniformed Crime Report (s), but statistics which have been altered to suit their cause. Regardless of legislation, criminals will always have weapons thanks to the black market; and gun laws will only hurt law abiding citizens.

If guns are taken as 'assault' weapons, what's next? Assault ball bats, knives or bowling balls? As silly as that sounds, all of those items can be used as implements to take a human life. To get on the 'anti-gun bandwagon' is to throw away the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You can aid in saving your rights as a citizen of the great United States of America; write your congress person and tell them you wish to preserve your rights; the voice of the people is a powerful one, so speak up!