Guest Opinion by Richard Douglas. October 30th, 2019
In the 1990s, Kansas City had a problem — too much gun violence. They had to reduce it.
Their solution? Order police to strip away illegal weapons from the bad guys in ‘problem gun spots’. The results of this simple change were astonishing: A 49% reduction in gun crime.
The best part?
They were able to reduce gun crime and protect our most essential right to bear arms…at the SAME time. Isn’t that the ideal scenario? Think about it: We don’t live in a perfect world. Guns are weapons and just like any weapon — whether it’s AR-10s equipped with scopes or cars — evil people will misuse them. That’s an unfortunate fact of life. Just because a few bad people misuse a weapon doesn’t justify trying to take guns from all. There’s no denying guns are essential for the protection of civil rights and freedoms.
Taking them away and depriving good people of their rights merely opens the door for criminals to rule as well as tyrants — not something that should ever happen. So, what can be done towards mitigating the gun violence problem? By learning for example from…
The Deadly Weapon of Our Past
In 1975, cars were killing WAY too many people. In fact, they killed about 33.5 people per 1 billion miles.
That may not sound like much, but when you compound that over the average miles Americans drive yearly — 3 trillion — you’re left with a STAGGERING number of deaths.
Thankfully, we got smart and found out a way to reduce the number of deaths from automobiles to a mere 11.8 per billion miles. How was that achieved?
As a result of this research, scientists have invented life-saving devices like airbags, anti-lock brakes, effective seat belt laws and reductions in impaired driving, saving millions of lives. You’d expect the same is being done for guns until you read about the amendment that stopped gun research…
The Dickey Amendment
This amendment halted research on guns.
In 1996, the Dickey Amendment (backed by the NRA) was passed, preventing the CDC from researching gun control.
At first, this was welcome. It helped protect the 2nd amendment right to bear arms and made sure bad science or political agendas didn’t erode gun rights.
However, there was an unintended ‘side effect’ of the amendment:
Government gun research became prohibited.
Researchers viewed the Dickey Amendment as a clear line in the sand that gun research SHOULDN’T be conducted. They feared their jobs. As a result, the CDC never conducted much gun violence research, leading we now know to very few tangible science-backed solutions towards improving the gun related violence problem.
Because let’s face it, with people dying due to guns which get blamed for killing more people than cars do, what might be the cause? Gun misuse leading to…
Did you know ⅔ of gun related deaths are attributed to suicide? Yes really, but It turns out gun homicides are actually going down. In fact, gun homicide is literally HALF of what it was in 1993.
So, the fear that guns are getting ‘more dangerous’ just doesn’t align with the hard facts. Gun related violence is actually reducing while misuse is almost increasing, as seen in the graph above.
So, how do we solve gun violence without sacrificing our rights?
More specifically, researching the causes of gun-related violence and how we can reduce it, possibly like what was done with cars as well as paying better attention to genuine mental health issues and drugs usage. With research and hard facts, we can start having productive (and science-backed) discussions about gun-related violence and restrictions on liberty.
Richard Douglas is a strong 2nd amendment advocate and believes in science-backed gun solutions to our nation’s biggest problems. In his spare time, he reviews various optics and firearms on his Scopes Field blog.