- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 19, 2007

Alex Gerber (“The Gun Culture,” Commentary, May 13) decried the “absurd contention” that if some Virginia Tech students were armed there would have been far fewer victims. Yet recent examples abound where private citizens with firearms stopped unhinged murderers, such as the Appalachian School of Law, and public schools in Pearl, Miss., and Edinboro, Pa. It is no coincidence that mass murderers typically choose “gun-free zones” rather than shotgun ranges for their crimes.

No one advocates arming all students: Just refrain from disarming those who have legally qualified for concealed carry permits. The empirical evidence refutes Mr. Gerber’s premise: States that enacted concealed carry laws saw deaths and injuries from multiple victim public shootings fall an average of 78 percent. [See “Disarming Facts,” John R. Lott, National Review Online, March 23, 2005, www.nationalreview.com/comment/lott200503230744.asp]

Mr. Gerber deliberately cherry-picks data to mislead, using dubious statistics for “firearm murder rates” in Britain and Japan. Why not total murder rates? And why single out Britain and Japan? Mexico and Russia have draconian gun laws and very high violence rates. On the other hand, Switzerland has a much higher gun ownership rate than the U.S., and a much lower violence rate.

Almost all of the statistical disparities can be explained by cultural differences. Even so, the homicide rate in Japan (with its draconian gun laws) is nearly twice the level as the homicide rate of Japanese-Americans in the United States, where guns are readily available. The homicide rate among Americans of British descent is similarly far lower than the homicide rate in Britain. By 1996, the homicide rate in England was 132 percent higher than it was before enactment of the original gun ban. [See Footnote 4 from http://www.gunowners.org/sk0703.htm]

Mr. Gerber also unconscionably ignores the mass murder of disarmed citizens by the governments of Europe, Africa, and Asia, ludicrously asserting that such fears are only “germane” to the 1700s. Look at the math: On average, European governments have murdered about 400,000 of their own citizens per year over the last 70 years. Even using the highest single-year tally of U.S. murders over the last 70 years shows that gun-controlled Europe experiences 16 times as many murders as the United States. [See calculations at http://www.gunowners.org/sk0703.htm] Five thousand years of recorded human history prove that victim disarmament (e.g., “gun control”) emboldens predators — locally, nationally, and internationally.


Great Falls, Va.



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