We begin with a look back at the history of gun control throughout the world. Next, we look at the history of gun control in the United States. We continue with an examination of the racist, sexist, and anti-gay underpinnings of gun control using Maryland as an example. We conclude with a summary of facts about gun-related deaths in the United States.
Gun control is a politically and emotionally charged topic. The politics of gun control finds politicians crafting messages that appeal to potential voters who are horrified by gun-related deaths. The emotions of gun control find people unwilling to consider the facts behind gun-related deaths.
Some people who are anti-guns don’t believe there is a cause-effect relationship between a disarmed citizenry and mass murders of citizens by their governments; for example, Snopes.com refutes the relationship saying “‘Gun control’ isn’t synonymous with gun confiscation; in some cases where genocide occurred, gun restriction laws had already been in place for many years prior, and evidence does not demonstrate a causal link between gun control and mass exterminations.” (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/little-gun-history/).
Anyone with a basic understanding of research knows that it is very difficult to establish causal (cause and effect) relationships in the social sciences. “It’s amazing how rarely total causation is proven in social research.” (https://ask.metafilter.com/80526/How-do-we-establish-causation). Yet, Snopes and other anti-gunners want us to believe that because there is no cause-effect relationship between disarmament and mass murder that the examples are invalid.
Rather what we see in the examples below is a correlation between an unarmed citizenry and mass exterminations. It doesn’t make any difference when the mass extermination happened–before or after disarmament–what matters is when the governments started killing their citizens the people did not have access to firearms to defend themselves.
To those who question the validity of the information below we have a simple two-part question: Were the citizens of these countries victims of mass murder by their governments? Did the citizens have access to firearms to defend themselves?
A Brief History of Gun Control Worldwide
There are numerous historical accounts of brutal despots, kings and tyrannical governments victimizing their subjugated citizens who were too powerless to resist (see https://thefederalistpapers.org/us/10-most-brutal-tyrants-in-history-compared-by-number-of-victims.
The availability of firearms for self-defense has made it more difficult for governments and tyrants to victimize their citizens. This is one explanation about why the most murderous governments and despots in the last 150 years limited gun ownership and, in some cases, confiscated firearms from their citizens.
King George of England attempted to implement gun confiscation policies in the Colonies before the Revolutionary War. We all know that didn’t work! The King’s intent to disarm American colonists was one of the foundational reasons for our Founding Fathers adopting the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
Gun control is once again at the surface of discourse and policy-making in the United States. Some lawmakers, academics, pundits and ordinary Americans call for outright gun bans and confiscation in the wake of these shootings. Given the increase in calls for more gun control including confiscation and even talk about repealing the Second Amendment we believe it is appropriate to start with an examination of the history of gun control around the world and its impact on common folk.
The Ottoman Empire – 1911
The Ottoman Empire existed in the region of current-day Turkey. That government slaughtered millions of Armenians who were native to the empire. A short history of the slaughter was published by the University of Michigan. The university’s report noted that in 1911 the empire achieved full gun confiscation. Between 1915 and 1917 approximately 1.5 million Armenians (out of a total of 2.5 million) were murdered by their government. This mass murder has become known as the Armenian Holocaust.
The University of Michigan report also discussed the formation of “Butcher Battalions” composed mostly of violent criminals released from prison to kill ethnic Armenians. https://www.coursehero.com/file/pvni5rt/Butcher-Battalions-of-convicts-released-from-prison-were-organized-into-killing/ Armenians who were part of the Ottoman military and discharged “…were disarmed, placed into labor battalions, and then killed.”
Soviet Union – 1929
Soviet citizens were allowed to have firearms until 1929 when private gun ownership was abolished. The repressive and brutal régime of Joseph Stalin emerged at the same time that firearm ownership was outlawed. Tens of millions of Soviet dissidents and others perceived as threats to the government were rounded up and either murdered or placed in labor camps or prisons and forced to work, sometimes to their deaths during Stalin’s tenure.
Stalin’s heartless indifference for life combined with his extreme paranoia eventually led to the purging of the Communist Party at the same time a total gun ban was instituted. Stalin once famously said during the purge “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.” (This reminds us of a statement by Representative Eric Swalwell, the first 2020 presidential candidate to drop out of the race, when he said: “If Americans fight against gun confiscation, Feds can nuke them.”)
Germany – 1938
Nazi Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler instituted gun control in 1938 at about the same time he ordered the extermination of Jewish men, women, and children. By the time the killing stopped his murderous decisions resulted in the death of approximately 13 million Jews and others from different unwanted minority groups.
China – 1935
The greatest mass murderer of the 20th century was China’s Mao Zedong. According to the authoritative “Black Book of Communism,” an estimated 65 million Chinese died as a result of Mao’s repeated, merciless attempts to create a new “socialist” China. Anyone who got in his way was done away with — by execution, imprisonment or forced famine. The Nationalist Chinese government established gun control in 1935.
Mao Zedong famously said on at least two occasions in speeches “Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Although he was likely referring to the use of firearms in times of war given the number of Chinese citizens and dissidents killed under his régime we presume that his “truth” applied to gaining power by killing innocent people.
Cambodia – 1956
The year this Asian nation issued its total gun control edict was 1956, but the real carnage did not begin until several years late during the regime of the demonic Pol Pot. Between 1975 and 1977, his regime murdered as many as 1 million “educated” people in “killing fields” that were later depicted in a movie by the same name.
Summary of World Wide Gun Control
160,000,000 to 200,000,000 people have been killed by their totalitarian governments around the world. Some estimates are as high as 262,000,000 (https://reason.com/2014/05/15/be-antigovernment-and-proud). There is a correlation between the citizens being disarmed through gun control and the mass murders (see the summary above). There appears to be a relationship between the mass murders and gun confiscation imposed by rulers and despots who knew that the only way they could continue to brutalize their people and stay in power was by disarming them.
And now anti-gun politicians, academics, pundits, and uninformed people (who Vladimir Lenin referred to as “useful idiots”) want our leaders to have the same ability to rule unopposed and unafraid of reprisal by disarming our citizens. A useful idiot “…is a political insult that describes a person who, through manipulation or not, is useful to a political cause that is not their own despite not fully realizing their role.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiot). This makes them an unwitting and useful pawn of a propagandist.
The above examples of governments killing disarmed citizens is a very powerful rationale for the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Our Founding Fathers were brilliant and they knew what could happen if a government subjugated disarmed citizens. They experienced it first-hand in Europe and the Colonies.
Please remember a statement by Bradlee Dean in WorldNet Daily: “Our forefathers did not arm the American people for the purpose of hunting, but rather to protect themselves from those who were doing the hunting, namely the tyrant King George…,”
Gun Control in the United States
The murderous organized crime groups and individuals of the 1920s-1930 resulted in President Franklin D. Roosevelt launching the National Firearms Act of 1934, the first federal gun-control law. That law applied $200 tax on the manufacture or sale of machine guns and sawed-off shotguns and sales of those firearms were recorded in a national registry.
President Roosevelt took a second bite at firearms restriction with the approval of the National Firearms Act of 1938. This iteration of the law required interstate gun dealers to be licensed and mandated that they keep a record of their sales. The law also prohibited the sale of firearms to people who were indicted or convicted of crimes of violence.
President Lyndon B. Johnson reignited gun control efforts in the wake of several prominent assassinations (both Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King). He successfully won passage of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. The Gun Control Act of 1968 became the foundation for future federal laws regulating firearms. That law prohibits convicted criminals, habitual drug users, and certifiably mentally ill people from buying firearms, raises the age to 21 to purchase handguns, and expands the licensing requirements for federal firearms licensed dealers and record-keeping of firearms sales.
Congress passes the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 in response to complaints about the Federal Government over-regulating firearms. The law specifically limits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from conducting inspections of federal firearms licensed dealers. An amendment to the law banned civilian ownership of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986. The law denies the government the ability to create a national registry of gun ownership.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 expanded required background checks. The purpose of the background checks was to prevent the sale of firearms to people specifically prohibited from purchasing firearms under the 1968 laws.
This legislation also resulted in the creation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), maintained by the FBI. By law, background check records cannot be uploaded into a national registry of gun ownership. Private sellers of firearms were exempt from the background check process except for a handful of states that require them (https://www.thoughtco.com/gun-show-laws-by-state-721345).
A 10-year federal ban on the manufacture of new semi-automatic assault weapons was instituted with the passage of The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The law identified by name 19 firearms that have the features of assault rifles. The act also banned large-capacity ammunition magazines by limiting them to 10 rounds.
The Tiahrt Amendment is a provision of the U.S. Department of Justice appropriations bill that prohibits the National Tracing Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiahrt_Amendment).
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 expired. Efforts to renew it failed.
Gun manufacturers receive immunity from civil lawsuits filed over crimes committed with firearms with the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act promoted by President George W. Bush. The law effectively derailed a legal strategy used against tobacco companies to hold firearms manufacturers for the wrongful use of their products.
The Supreme Court in the District of Columbia v. Heller holds that Americans have an individual right under the Second Amendment to possess firearms in federal enclaves “for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” The ruling strikes down a local law banning handguns in the District.
Eighteen years after the Brady law is passed, the 156 millionth background check is performed under the law. The number of gun sales rejected through federal denials reaches nearly a million. President Obama vows to impose new limits on guns and ammunition in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
Summary of Gun Control in the United States
Gun control dates back to the pre-Revolutionary War era with King George’s efforts to disarm the colonists. It continued in the post Civil War era when gun control focused on preventing Black Americans from having access to guns. Our summary of gun control in the U.S., however, starts in the 1930s and continues today. The anti-gunners continue to chip away at our Second Amendment rights under the guise of “reasonable gun control” and “no one wants to take your guns.”
The Racist Underpinnings of Gun Control
Kim Trent in an opinion piece in USA Today titled “Mass shootings are a call to arms for some black Americans, not a moment for gun control” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/08/26/mass-shootings-some-blacks-reject-gun-control-in-face-of-racism-column/2115325001/) observed that “Black gun rights advocates say limiting access would make them more vulnerable to racist attacks, especially in the absence of real problem solving.“
Trent continued by saying “Black Americans have had a curious relationship with firearms. These weapons were used to keep them subdued during slavery, then terrorized in the Jim Crow south. African-American gun advocates argue that guns also preserved our ancestors’ peace when they were menaced by racists in the antebellum South and the divided North. They argue that, as with all social issues in America, the role of race cannot be downplayed in gun control debates.”
In the same article, Kofi Kenyatta (co-founder of Detroit’s Black Bottom Gun Club– https://blackbottomgunclub.com/) said “I know that there are people who don’t like me just for the color of my skin who are heavily armed, and I can’t in good conscience relinquish my ability to defend myself, my family and my community knowing that law enforcement and even the government doesn’t have the capability and often times isn’t willing to protect my community….”
The population demographics of large American cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Chicago fall into a category called “minorities.” The dominant minorities in those urban areas tend to be Black and Hispanic.
Those same cities have draconian gun control laws that essentially and effectively prevent the good citizens of those minority populations from getting concealed carry permits. Let’s use Baltimore as a perfect example of the racist underpinning of gun control.
Maryland’s concealed carry requirements essentially strip Maryland residents of their ability to use a handgun for self-defense outside their homes. These requirements are extraordinarily punishing for people of color living in Baltimore.
To get a concealed carry permit in Maryland the applicant must provide a “good and substantial reason” to carry concealed. If a person doesn’t have a good reason he or she doesn’t get a permit. Self-defense, by the way, is not considered a good and substantial reason. We believe Maryland is the only state that has these restrictions and many of us believe the restrictions are unconstitutional.
The wear and carry regulations also require 16 hours of classroom instruction and passing a firearms qualification course of fire. The average cost of that training is $400 plus the cost of fingerprinting and application fees which bring the total fees to about $500. People taking the course have to pay the tuition and fees without knowing if the Maryland State Police will approve their application. The tuition and fees are non-refundable.
Few people in minority populations would take the risk of shelling out $500 only to find out the Maryland State Police turned down their application.
Even if a select few people of color living in Baltimore could get a concealed carry permit there is not one shooting range in the city that they could go to practice. The ranges are in surrounding counties. Getting to those ranges require transportation other than public transportation.
The Maryland concealed carry requirements (and similar restrictions in other states and jurisdictions) and the lack of firearms shooting ranges essentially prevent people in minority groups from having access to a firearm to protect themselves and their families outside their homes; thereby making the laws and regulations blatantly racist.
The Sexist Underpinnings of Gun Control
Let us take you back about 50 years ago to Orlando, Florid. In 1966 hundreds of women began buying handguns to protect themselves after a breakout of brutal rapes. When the anti-gun Orlando Sentinel Star found out they started running editorials complaining about women buying guns for self-protection. The editorials implied that women were too weak and inept to handle guns effectively. The paper’s publisher even had the nerve to go to the chief of police demanding that he stop the sales of handguns to women. The Chief did not comply with the publisher’s request and ultimately the number of rapes significantly decreased.
Now, back to Maryland…you will recall that to get a concealed carry permit an applicant must have a good and substantial reason. If the Maryland State Police doesn’t accept a reason to carry the applicant doesn’t get a permit. And, please recall that self-defense is not accepted as a good and substantial reason. Who among us would especially benefit from being able to exercise self-defense with a concealed handgun–of course, women of all races. So, Maryland’s gun control laws are both racist and sexist which is likely true of other states and municipalities that severely restrict gun ownership and concealed carry permits.
The Anti-Gay Underpinnings of Gun Control
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (or questioning) (LGBTQ) populations throughout the United States are highly vulnerable people at risk of personal attacks against them because of their sexual identity. For example, in 2018 many LGBTQ people out for a good time at the Pulse Night Club were the victims of a mass shooting. “The violence that has occurred over the existence of the LGBT community has been very extensive considering how long the incidents have occurred. From the first incident that was recorded in the 1969 Stonewall Riots to the present, there have been many more reports and other happenings of violence against this group of people in the United States.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_violence_against_LGBT_people_in_the_United_States)
Gun laws that restrict or blocks members of the LGBTQ population from getting a concealed carry permit for self-protection are inherently anti-gay. Maryland’s restrictive concealed carry regulations are essentially anti-gay.
Summary of Racist, Sexist, and Anti-Gay Underpinnings of Gun Control
Gun control has a racist, sexist, and anti-gay history that continues today. In many cities and states, it is nearly impossible for good citizens from minority communities, women of all colors, and members of the LGBTQ community to get concealed carry permits for self-defense.
Facts Vs. “Truth”
The president of our company observed that the anti-firearms crowd was interesting to him. He related a story about a conversation with the father of one of his friends. He gave the father some data points and numbers on firearms deaths to which the father replied: “Using statistics and data in the gun control debate is counterproductive.”
That statement from the father reminded us of a quote by Joe Biden who is currently (2019-2020) running to become our next President. He said we choose “truth over facts.” Some people thought that was just another of Biden’s infamous gaffes. We don’t think it was a gaffe in the sense of not saying what he meant to say. Rather it was a gaffe in the sense of divulging a dirty secret of the anti-gunners.
The secret is this: truth is subjective whereas facts are not. Facts get in the way of the truth. Facts and data about firearms deaths in the United States get in the way of the anti-gunners’ “truth.” Their truth is that all guns are evil and must be strictly regulated or even confiscated. They don’t care about the facts they only care about their truth and seeing it come to fruition.
Here are some of those pesky facts:
32,000 die annually from firearms
60% are suicid-
Of the remaining 13,000 roughly 65% are drug and gang-related.
There are estimated to be between 300,000,000 and 500,000,000 firearms in the U.S. (the number is estimated because they have not always tracked them and it is legal to manufacture firearms for personal use).
Gun ownership in the US has increased 30% in the last 20 years while violent crime has fallen 50% -(FBI crime statistics) See data graph, below.
The U.S. isn’t even in the top 100 countries for homicide rate per 100,000 (we are 103, about the middle). -U.N. homicide statistics
Annually police kill on average 606 people.
There are between 800,000-2.5 million uses of a firearm in self-defense annually.
Of all the self-defense uses of firearms, between 80,000-200,000 are women defending themselves. -Journal of Criminal Law
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that firearms are 80 times more likely to be used in defense of life than by a criminal to take it.
The FBI reports that during a mass shooting the average number of deaths when the shooter is confronted by police is 14.3. When confronted by an armed citizen the average number of people killed is 2.3.
The UK and much of the EU has a violent crime rate that is 4 times that of the US (UK 2,034 per 100,000 US 466 per 100,000).
The media reports there have been 250 mass shootings in the US this year. Their definition of a mass shooting is when 2 or more people are injured or killed including the assailant (imagine that?). When you look at the assailant in those shootings 25% are Caucasian, 73% are black or Hispanic, 2% other. In 99% of those 250 cases, the weapon of choice is a handgun. Less than 1% are motivated by politics. However, the mainstream media would have us believe that most of the mass shootings are committed by crazed white men using those evil weapons of war (aka, long rifles) and motivated by the rhetoric of President Trump
The media leads uninformed people (Lenin’s “useful idiots”) to believe that the firearm of choice for mass shootings is what they call a “weapon of war”… a long rifle often called an AR-15 (AR, by the way, doesn’t stand for Automatic Rifle…it stands for the manufacturer–ArmaLite Rifle). They assume that because it resembles a military firearm that it must be a weapon of war. There is no soldier or marine that we know of that would use one of these civilian semi-automatic rifles in combat.
As illustrated in the graphic below the firearms of choice in mass shootings since 1982 is the handgun (https://www.statista.com/statistics/476409/mass-shootings-in-the-us-by-weapon-types-used/)
The above facts are important because they are being left out of the conversation from the anti-gun crowd. They manipulate the language, gun deaths versus gun homicide to inflate the numbers to make the case that firearms must be severely restricted or confiscated. The facts conflict with the anti-gunners’ truth: guns are evil, used by crazy politically motivated white guys and therefore firearms must be severely restricted and even confiscated.
All of those gun deaths are tragic. We don’t mean to make them seem insignificant. It is important however to remember that in the last century somewhere between 160,000,000 and 200,000,000 people were murdered by their Governments (see the summary of this history earlier in this article). History and human nature tells us that can happen anywhere and it’s why the Second Amendment is so important.
In this article, we traced a brief history of gun control throughout the world and in the United States. We also commented on the racist, sexist, and anti-gay underpinnings of gun control. We finished up with an observation that facts about firearms deaths conflict with the “truth” that anti-gunners hold dearly; that is, guns are evil and must be severely restricted or even confiscated. Some anti-gunners are even questioning the validity of the Second Amendment in our contemporary society.
Kevin D. Williamson in a brilliant article titled “Our 21st-Century Second Amendment” (https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/10/second-amendment-timeless-natural-right-protected/) makes a profound argument about the validity of the Second Amendment in 21as Century United States. One of the most profound quotes from the article is:
“The right to keep and bear arms, like the right to speak one’s mind, worship as one sees fit, and petition the state for redress of grievances, is not the king’s gift to give or to withhold — the matter was settled by no less an authority than God Himself. For those who are not of a religious cast of mind, the same conclusion can be arrived at through the tradition of natural law and natural rights,…”
Buy a gun. Buy lots of guns. Buy handguns and long rifles. Train to use them effectively. If you have a good and substantial reason to carry a concealed handgun in Maryland apply for the permit. Work to protect your Second Amendment rights. They are precious.
We close with a wonderful quote by Benjamin Franklin which is as true today as it was when he first said those words: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” – Ben Franklin