J. Neil Schulman’s Stopping Power — KNX Editorial Replies
Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Ripostes and Counters
The people who don’t like guns have a lot of media resources to call upon. That puts gun-rights activists in the position of playing defense most of the time.
Ah, but that’s just another opportunity for a clever attack, if you know how.
Remember: you’re never outnumbered. You just have a “target rich” environment. — JNS
KNX Editorial Replies
Broadcast January 9, 1992:
KNX’s call for fewer incidents of irresponsible gunplay is one no sane person can disagree with. But the reasonable-sounding laws KNX endorses undercut the individual right to own firearms in this country, so wider anti-gun laws can be passed later.
Take the legal requirement that you need to pass a government safety test before you’re allowed to buy a gun. What reasonable person can oppose gun safety? The problem is, it makes gun ownership a privilege instead of a right. It expands government power to decide who can’t own guns.
If unchecked government power doesn’t frighten you, consider that when Germany passed laws making Jews turn in their guns, it became possible for the Nazis to send them to death camps. Consider that it was armed soldiers who massacred unarmed students at China’s Tien an men Square a couple of years ago.
Then ask yourself whether the massive civil disobedience that thousands of Californians are committing, by refusing to register their so-called assault rifles with the state, is “irresponsible.” Just maybe it’s a higher responsibility to the U.S. Constitution, the Second Amendment of which tells the government, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Power-hungry officials understand the threat contained in the Second Amendment. That’s why they often lie about it. It’s the threat to all tyrants written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. It tells us that governments are instituted to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
Broadcast July 15, 1993:
KNX General Manager George Nicholaw asks why it takes a tragedy in a San Francisco high rise for there to be a chorus of outrage demanding stricter gun control. I’ll answer that question. It’s because the choir is the news media themselves.
When a lunatic misuses firearms to commit multiple murders and suicide, it’s headline news, every hour on the hour. Then, for weeks afterwards, pundits capitalize on the tragedy with calls for more restrictive gun laws, based on the charge that firearms can only be used to murder the innocent.
But that’s just not true. According to a study by Professor Gary Kleck, Criminologist at Florida State University, Americans use their privately owned firearms — handguns, rifles, and shotguns — 1.4 million times every year to save innocent lives. Let me say that another way. Three thousand, eight hundred times a day, an American firearm owner uses her or his firearm to prevent a rape, a robbery, or a burglary. In 99% of those thirty-eight hundred daily firearm defenses, no one is shot at all — and because non-violence is non-news, you never hear about it.
Let me put this statistic in perspective. During the fifteen-minute period in which a psycho murdered nine people at a San Francisco law office, forty ordinary Americans used their privately owned firearms to stop a crime, without shooting anyone.
The bitter tragedy in San Francisco is that some of those nine murders could have been stopped if anyone at that law office had kept a firearm locked in her or his desk for protection.
We do have a problem with firearms in this society. It’s not that too many criminals and lunatics have a gun handy when they need one, it’s that too many victims don’t.
Broadcast October 6, 1993
KNX General Manager George Nicholaw wants the LA Police Department to restrict licenses to carry concealed firearms to a small elite who can demonstrate a “clear and present danger” … but he also thinks that simple fear of violence isn’t enough. Under that standard, he says — and this is a direct quote — “every city resident would qualify.”
Amen to that!
Mr. Nicholaw also says — another direct quote — “Let’s be careful not to turn the ‘City of Angels’ into an armed camp of gun-toting vigilantes.”
Mr. Nicholaw seems to be more afraid that you might legally carry a firearm for protection than he is of the carjackers, ATM-robbers, and rapists who are already carrying them illegally.
This paranoia about ordinary citizens turning into vigilantes just isn’t supported by states where civilians are already commonly carrying firearms.
Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, Georgia, and New Hampshire are among the states where it’s easy to get licensed — and none of those states have problems with ordinary civilians carrying firearms. Vermont doesn’t even require a license for anyone to carry a concealed firearm. Have you seen any stories on 60 Minutes about vigilantes being a big problem in Vermont?
But Florida is the best example because they’re a big state and keep good records.
Florida issues a license to carry a concealed firearm to any adult who can meet minimal requirements. In the last six years, Florida has issued almost 120,000 new licenses to carry — and only 16 Floridians lost their licenses because they violated Florida’s laws regarding the use of that firearm. That’s a compliance with the law of 99.99987 percent.
And even though 120,000 concealed-weapons carriers aren’t all that many in a state with 13 million people, it just might be enough of a reason why criminals in Florida are attacking tourists whom they know are a lot less likely to shoot back.
Next in Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns is Excerpts from a Letter to Nadine Strossen, President, ACLU
Copyright © 1994, 1999 J. Neil Schulman &
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