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megimoo
12-03-2008, 03:44 PM
The Life-and-Death Cost of Gun Control

Banning guns is in the news. India practically bans guns, but that didn’t stop the horrific Muslim terrorist attacks this last week.

A football player concerned for his safety violates New York City’s tough gun control regulations by carrying a concealed handgun, and people call for everything from banning NFL players from carrying guns to demanding that the athlete serve many years in jail.

Where is the sympathy or debate in either case over letting people defend themselves? Given that the terrorists smuggled their machine guns in with them, would anyone argue that India’s extremely strict gun licensing and artificially high prices for guns helped prevent the terrorist attacks? In fact, the reverse is more likely the case.

Would Plaxico Burress, the New York Giant’s receiver who was arrested yesterday, really have been safer just trusting the police to protect him?

Terrorism

In India, victims watched as armed police cowered and didn’t fire back at the terrorists. A photographer at the scene describedhis frustration: “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything. At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”

Meanwhile, according to the hotel company’s chairman, P.R.S. Oberoi, security at “the hotel had metal detectors, but none of its security personnel carried weapons because of the difficulties in obtaining gun permits from the Indian government.”

India has extremely strict gun control laws, but who did it succeed in disarming?

The terrorist attack showed how difficult it is to disarm serious terrorists. Strict licensing rules meant that it was the victims who obeyed the regulations, not the terrorists.

Academic research has continually found that police are the single most important factor in reducing crime, but police can’t always be depended on to be quick enough.

The attack also illustrates what Israelis learned decades ago. — Putting more soldiers or police on the street didn’t stop terrorist’s machine gun attacks. Terrorists would either wait for the armed soldiers or police to leave the area or kill them first. Likewise, in India, the Muslim terrorists’ first targets were those in uniform (whether police or security guards).

Terrorists only stopped using machine guns to attack Israelis once citizens were allowed to carry concealed handguns. In large public gatherings, a significant number of citizens will be able to shoot at terrorists during an attack — and the terrorists don’t know who has them.

With mass shootings becoming more difficult, terrorists were forced to switch to a less effective strategy: bombs. Bombings are more difficult for armed citizens to stop because they can’t respond after the bomb blows up.

Still, even though handguns can only kill would-be bombers before they set off their bombs, during waves of terror attacks, Israel’s national police chief will call on all citizens who are allowed to carry guns to make sure they carry their firearms at all times, and Israelis have many examples where citizens with concealed handguns have saved lives.

In their warped minds, both terrorists and the murderers are kamikaze-like killers,

who value maximizing the carnage. Even if the killers expect to die anyway, letting victims have guns at the scene can help deter these crimes in the first place by reducing their expected return.

Do Football Players Need Self-defense?

Physically huge NFL players admitting they feel threatened by crime?
This hardly fits their tough, macho image. Our concern is supposed to be for women walking alone at night. Who can have sympathy for a professional football player such as Plaxico Burress who is 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 232 lbs.?

Burress, who has no previous criminal record, now faces between three and a half to 15 years for illegally carrying a concealed handgun with him in Manhattan, if convicted. He was arrestedMonday and was released on $100,000 bail. — Burress had had a concealed handgun permit in the state of Florida for the last five years, but he forgot to renew it in May this year.

While the massive size and strength of NFL players might make them seem like unlikely potential crime victims, their wealth and high public profile nonetheless make them particularly attractive targets for violent criminals. While “only” two players were murdered last year, that means a murder rate of 118 per 100,000 people, compared to 5.9 per 100,000 for the rest of the population. In other words, the rate for NFL players was 20 times higher than the average for the rest of the country. This is even higher than the most at risk segment of the population -– young black males between 18 and 24. It is higher than the risk faced by police officers.

Last year, the Washington Redskins’ Sean Taylor was killed during a robbery at his house. The Denver Broncos’ defensive back Darrent Williams was killed outside a nightclub.

As Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber noted, “We are targets, we need to be aware of that everywhere we go.” Yet, the news coverage doesn’t engender much sympathy for Plaxico Burress.

So, what do many NFL players do when they realize that their physical strength does not give them enough protection from violent crime? The same thing that many other would-be victims do — they get guns. Well over 50 percent of NFL players are estimated to own guns, somewhat higher than the 45 percent of American adults who own guns.snip


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