Second Amendment: a Research Perspective

Research shows that citizen ownership of firearms prevents violent crimes. As a result, the right to keep and bear arms should be encouraged not infringed upon. When police officers are used to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, it endangers the lives of both the police officer and the citizen. Which instead, citizens should be encouraged to own firearms because this helps law-abiding citizens and police worked together. Defensive gun use stops violent crimes from occurring, which assists the Criminal Justice systems aim to deter crimes.

Private ownership of guns gives power to the people to be able to defend themselves from imminent threats. Violent crimes can occur to anyone, from robbery to assault. Without a form of self-defense, it leaves the citizen defenseless, allowing the criminal to do as he pleases with them. Criminals do not obey the laws in the first place, nothing stops them from illegally owning firearms. It should be said that a police officer is not able to be at every place at every time. So, when Citizens are allowed to own firearms, it gives them the ability to not only protect themselves but stop crime from occurring.

The FBI reported in 2018, 50 active shootings occurred in the United States (2018, pg. 3). Of these 50 active shootings, 8 of them were stopped by citizens (2018, pg. 6). This equates to 16% of the active shooters being stopped by citizens. In five of these circumstances, the citizens were able to stop the shooter or thwart the shooter from shooting more citizens, by using a legally owned firearm (2018, pg. 6). This equates to 10% of all active shooters being stopped by a good guy with a gun. However, if you look at the instances where citizens stoped the shooter, over half of the citizens successfully stoped or thwarted the shooter by using a firearm. If citizens were without the use of the firearm, the numbers of citizens stopping active shooters would have been less. Since only 6% of citizens stopped/thwarted active shooters without the use of a firearm.

Citizens using firearms to stop active shooters may be smaller to the total population of active shooters because of gun-free zones. From 1998 to 2015, 96% of mass public shootings occurred in gun-free zones (Lott, 2018). It comes to no surprise that only law-abiding citizens honor policies that prohibit gun use. Instead of stopping crimes, these gun free-zones have become a hotspot for active shooters, since law-abiding citizens will not carry a firearm into a gun-free zone, the people inside are at the mercy of the active shooter. If gun-free zones were taken away, citizens would be able to stop more active shooters, which in turn would save more lives. Who knows how many more lives would have been lost without the use of a firearm? Which the citizens with firearms, were able to assist the police in stopping or deterring the crime from occurring. The firearm gives those who do not have any power, the ability to protect not only themselves but the people of the United States.

Firearms such as a concealed handgun can be used by the disabled to defend themselves from attackers. Of course, not only the disabled use them but all types of people within the United States, to protect themselves, their loved ones, and any victim of an attacker. In the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, a research article was published called Armed Resistance to Crime and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 140). The article was by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, in which they found there are over 2 million times that a gun is used for self-defense purposes(Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 164). Kleck and Gertz, data collection is superior to the National Crime Victimization Survey, due to being unbiased from pressure from political reasons since much of the government employees are highly polarized in policies (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 166). The other reason the study they conducted was superior was that they remained anonymous to the individuals that were surveyed (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 166). At first, the 2 million seems impossible until you compare it to the number of private ownership of firearms, which is 220 million (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 167). This equates to only 3% of private owners of firearms using a firearm to defend themselves or others (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 167). Another survey was done with interviewing inmates with a ten-state sample size. This research came up with 34% of the interviewed inmates stating they were deterred by an armed citizen (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 168). Also, of the victims of violent crimes, 14% were armed with guns (Kleck & Gertz, 1995, p. 175). These numbers are staggering in supporting the need for citizen ownership of firearms.

First off, the fact that there over 2 million defensive uses of firearms shows that citizens are defending themselves from attackers. Even 34% of inmates advocate that these defensive uses work. If more than 14% of victims were armed with guns, it would stop or deter violent crimes from occurring. Since police officers are minutes away when seconds count, citizens rely on themselves to protect themselves and others. Police officers can stop crimes when they are nearby, but one cannot expect any human to be at all places at once. With the help of armed citizens, crimes can be stopped or deterred in the first place. Since the focus of the criminal justice system is to prevent and stop crimes, these defensive uses support the focus of the criminal justice system.

So, defensive gun use by citizens deters crimes. What happens if citizens are prohibited from the use of firearms? Well, as stated before, active public shootings occur proximally 96% of the time in gun-free zones (Lott, 2018). So, where the citizens are disarmed and most venerable is where attackers target.

A study was done by Crime Prevention Center, using data from Tribal Agencies’, State Police, FBI UCR, found that 51% of murders occur in 2% of the counties within the United States (Lott, 2017). So, what makes these 2% of counties a hotspot for murders? Within these counties murders are concentrated in urban areas (Lott, 2017). These urban areas do not possess as many private firearms as rural. Rural areas have over two times the amount of firearm ownership than urban (Lott, 2017). Also, when looking at the counties with zero murders, these counties have extremely high citizen ownership of firearms (Lott, 2017). So, where gun ownership is more prevalent, murders occur less, but where gun ownership is less prevalent murders occur more. What does not help with crimes is when states or cities prohibit firearms. This is because instead of deterring more violent crimes, the prohibiting of firearms increases murder and firearms (Lott, 2016). Wherever private ownership of guns is banned, there is an increase in murder, from Chicago to England (Lott, 2017). The prohibition of firearms is counterproductive and increases violent crimes. The solution is to allow citizens the right to possess and own firearms.

Since the Bill of Rights are inherently given by God and not man, it so no wonder that the Word confirms the Second Amendment. During the time of Jesus and His disciples, thieves were around as they are now. In Luke 10:30, it states, “30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.” (Luke 10:30, NASB). Luke 10:30 shows that people had to be careful as they walked the roads from one place to another because it was possible to be a victim of a crime.

In the context of these verses, Jesus was teaching to love your neighbor as yourself. So, we should take care of and love others. However, it also shows the need to defend one’s self because of robbers. Luke 22:36 states, “36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.” (Luke 22:36, NASB). Jesus told His disciples to buy a sword. Jesus also taught that the need of the sword was high enough that the disciples should sell their coat to buy a sword. A sword is a weapon someone carries to protect themselves. Since the roads were dangerous, it makes sense why God would want His disciples armed. What is the modern equivalent of the sword?  A firearm. This is how the Word of God backs up the citizen ownership of firearms, which is the Second Amendment. If the man who was beaten had a sword in the first place, he might have been able to avoid the robbers.

The Word of God also supports private firearm ownership, by teaching to take care of your own. 1 Timothy 5:8 states, “8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, NASB). A big part of taking care of your family is defending them. A father would never want their child to be attacked or hurt, and part of the father’s duty is to defend their child. If someone breaks into their home, and this attacker wishes to harm the family, the father should use a firearm to protect his family. The gun is the highest means of self-protection at this time and should be used to defend. In our society, we have many single moms, and disabled people, which owning a firearm would help them protect themselves and their children from an attacker.

For more information on a Biblical bases of the right of self-defense click-here: https://arsenaloftheking.org/2019/07/31/biblical-view-of-the-right-of-self-defense/

Hsiao and Bernstein, in their Journal Article, state that the Second Amendment has imbedded into it the right of self-defense (Hsiao & Bernstein, 2016, p. 294). Since both the Second Amendment and the Word of God support the right to self-defense, what is the best way to have self-protection? The firearm at this time is the highest form of self-protection and is the modern equivalent of the sword, which Jesus had his disciples buy. If Jesus were here in this modern world, instead of the sword, the Lord would have had his disciples buy a firearm. This means that private ownership of firearms should be supported by both the American and the Christian.

Police officers also support legal gun ownership for citizens. A study done by PoliceOne surveyed over 15,000 law enforcement professionals on their opinions related to gun violence (Wyllie, 2013). The study found that roughly 29% of law enforcement think “more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians” (Wyllie, 2013), would help prevent mass shootings (Wyllie, 2013). 80% of law enforcement believes that injuries and lives would have been less if citizens with firearms were present at Newton and Aurora tragedies (Wyllie, 2013). The majority of law enforcement professionals believe prohibiting guns for citizens will not affect officer safety and will have no effect on violent crime (Wyllie, 2013). They found 71% believed banning assault weapons will have no impact on violent crime, and 20% thought it would have a negative effect on violent crime (Wyllie, 2013). 60% believe gun-control policies will have no effect on law enforcement safety, were as roughly 25% think it would negatively affect law enforcement safety (Wyllie, 2013). With police officers on the scene to a lot of these violent crimes, their opinions come from experience. Law enforcement has seen first-hand the effects of violent crimes and legally owned firearms. Law enforcement agrees that a citizen could help prevent violent crimes, such as mass shootings. Citizens can assist law enforcement in preventing violent crimes. 25% of officers even believe private ownership would help with keeping law enforcement safe.

Citizens can save police officers when they are being overpowered. An officer was being overtaken by a suspect on the scene (Lott, 2017, Six Defensive Gun Uses by people legally carrying guns over 6 days, permit holder protected law enforcement officer). During this time, a woman saw what was occurring, and went to help out the officer (Lott, 2017, Six Defensive Gun Uses by people legally carrying guns over 6 days, permit holder protected law enforcement officer). The women fired a single shot, hitting the attacker, and saving the officer (Lott, 2017, Six Defensive Gun Uses by people legally carrying guns over 6 days, permit holder protected law enforcement officer). In this instance, the citizen was able to save the officer with her firearm. If she did not intervene, the police officer might have died. Although a police officer rarely needs assistance from citizens when it relates to dealing with a deadly threat. When a rare instance as this comes around, a citizen with a gun can help.

One of the newer forms of gun control that endangers the lives of police officers and citizens is Red Flag Laws. Red flag laws can be based on a single complaint from an individual who deems a citizen as dangerous to themselves or others, certain states require the complaint to come from a family member of the citizen deemed dangerous (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). Once an individual is considered dangerous, due process is not required, and the extreme risk protective order can be served (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). This protective order causes the citizen to have their right of the Second Amendment revoked, so their firearms are confiscated (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). As well as the citizen is put under arrest to be put under protection (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). A Psychiatrist does not need to be involved, just a complaint that they are a danger to themselves or others from someone who knows the individual, however some states do require a doctor’s involvement before someone can be Red Flagged (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+).

The Red Flag Laws endangered the lives of two police officers and caused the death of a non-violent individual. In Maryland, two police officers showed up to the house of Gary Willis (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). When they showed up, Willis had a firearm in his hand, but put it down when he saw it was the police officers (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). After the police officers served him with an ERPO, Willis became unreasonable and picked up his weapon (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). One officer started to wrestle the gun off Willis, and Willis’s gun fired, causing the other officer to shoot Willis (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). In this instance, the ERPO did not hold any ground, since multiple family members stated he was not dangerous, but he was only opinionated (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). The reason the ERPO was called was that a family member after an argument called on Willis (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+). The Maryland Courts have deemed the case confidential, so no further evidence is known (Sullum, 2019, p. 46+).

Two police officer’s lives were endangered, and the death of a citizen occurred because of the Red Flag laws. Instead of assisting with saving lives, these laws only help jeopardize the lives of citizens and police officers alike. The Red Flag laws do not have any effect on violent crimes; besides that, rape rises slightly when these laws are implemented (Lott & Moody, 2018, p. 4). If these laws do not help with violent crimes, implementing Red Flag Laws only causes lives to be endangered. More private ownership of firearms will assist with deterring violent crime, but more gun control will only lead to an increase in endangerment of people’s lives. Red Flag Laws do not assist police officers in deterring crimes. These laws only put them in harm’s way.

Private ownership of firearms can deter violent crimes. Instead of taking away citizens’ right to bear arms, their rights should be protected. If more freedoms were given to law-abiding citizens, then it enables them to protect not only themselves but others. Police officers cannot be everywhere at once. Officers were never meant to stop crimes, but help deter violent crimes by bringing justice to those that wish others harm. Research shows more gun control comes with an increase in homicides, but where citizens are able to own firearms, homicides decrease. To use police officers to take away guns of private citizens is counterproductive, and only endangers lives. The answer is to allow freedom to abound and honor the Second Amendment it has worked for hundreds of years so, why change it now?

 

References

The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, & the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2018). Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017. the FBI’s Office of Partner Engagement. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-incidents-us-2016-2017.pdf/view/

 

Hsiao, T., & Bernstein, C. (2016). Against moderate gun control. Libertarian Papers, 8 Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/2001924933?accountid=12085

 

Kleck, G., & Gertz, M. (1995). Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 86(1), 150–187. Retrieved from https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6853&conte  xt=jclc

 

Lott, J. R., & Moody, C. E. (2018, December 28). Do Red Flag Laws Save Lives or Reduce Crime? Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3316573#.

 

Lott, J. R. (2018, June 15). UPDATED: Mass Public Shootings keep occurring in Gun-Free Zones: 94% of attacks since 1950. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from: https://crimeresearch.org/2018/06/more-misleading-information-from-bloombergs-everytown-for-gun-safety-on-guns-analysis-of-recent-mass-shootings/

 

Lott, J. R. (2017, February 23). Six Defensive Gun Uses by people legally carrying guns over 6 days, permit holder protected law enforcement officer. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://crimeresearch.org/2017/02/six-defensive-gun-uses-people-legally-carrying-guns-6-days-permit-holder-protected-law-enforcement-officer/.

 

Lott, J. R. (2017, April 25). Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51% of the murders. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://crimeresearch.org/2017/04/number-murders-county-54-us-counties-2014-zero-murders-69-1-murder/.

 

Lott, J. R. (2016, April 16). Updated: Murder and homicide rates before and after gun bans. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://crimeresearch.org/2016/04/murder-and-homicide-rates-before-and-after-gun-bans/.

 

Moody, C. E. (2019). Is the United States an outlier in public mass shootings? A comment on adam lankford. Econ Journal Watch, 16(1), 37-68. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/2277335976?accountid=12085

 

Sullum, J. (2019, November). States Are Depriving Innocent People of Their Second Amendment Rights: “RED FLAG” LAWS LEAVE GUN OWNERS DEFENSELESS. Reason, 51(6), 46+. Retrieved from https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/apps/doc/A603160850/AONE?u=vic_liberty&sid=AONE&xid=20429398

 

Wyllie, D. (2013, April 8). PoliceOne’s Gun Control Survey: 11 key lessons from officers’ perspectives. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.policeone.com/gun-legislation-law-enforcement/articles/policeones-gun-control-survey-11-key-lessons-from-officers-perspectives-m4At3JUr9iHpA45K/.

 

Featured Image from:

Igor at work. (2007). AR15_AimpointCompM4. photograph. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AR15_AimpointCompM4.jpg

 

 

 

 

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