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Gun-control enthusiasts in the United States and western Europe have a lot to answer for on the heels of two reports last week that prove, beyond a doubt, the barbaric lunacy of ensuring citizens are defenseless against armed criminal threats.

In the first, a British paper reported authorities have seen a 35 percent increase in gun violence in 2002 – not so ironically, in the sixth year since Parliament passed a law banning personal ownership of most firearms.

So bad is the violence now that police say it has “spread like a cancer” across the whole of the country, the Observer reported. To put the level of violence in perspective, more British subjects are dying from gun violence now than before idiots in Parliament banned virtually all firearms.

“Handgun crime has soared past levels last seen before the Dunblane massacre of 1996 and the ban on ownership of handguns introduced the year after Thomas Hamilton, an amateur shooting enthusiast, shot dead 16 schoolchildren, their teacher and himself in the Perthshire town,” the paper reported.

“It was hoped the measure would reduce the number of handguns available to criminals. Now handgun crime is at its highest since 1993,” said the Observer. “New laws that make carrying a firearm an offence with a mandatory five-year sentence have won little favor with officers on the street. ‘It changes nothing,’ said one drug squad detective who asked to remain anonymous.”

Meanwhile, here in the States, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released last week found no conclusive evidence gun-control laws curb violent crime, suicides by firearms or firearms-related accidents.

The study found “inconclusive evidence” that gun-control laws, which include entire bans of certain classes of weapons, have any appreciable effect on gun-related violence.

Interestingly enough, where gun control is the staunchest – New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and other major urban centers – Britain-like handgun and rifle bans, some analyses contend, are doing little more than filling morgues with innocent, unprotected, law-abiding citizens.

“The sale of assault rifles has been outlawed. However, this has done little to reduce crime,” says an analysis by National Issues, a non-partisan research site on the Internet.

What has helped reduce violent crime in our society? Criminals’ fear of dying, that’s what.

For example, on the issue of concealed-carry laws in the U.S. and their effect on crime, Jeffrey Snyder, a New York attorney writing for the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank, said initially “many people feared [such laws] would quickly lead to disaster: blood would literally be running in the streets.”

But, after more than a decade since Florida broke ranks in 1987 and passed one of the nation’s first liberal concealed-carry laws, “it is safe to say that those dire predictions were completely unfounded.”

“Indeed,” Snyder writes, “the debate today over concealed-carry laws centers on the extent to which such laws can actually reduce the crime rate.”

I recall throughout the 1990s, as more states were passing concealed-carry laws, the FBI consistently reported reductions in violent crime. The anti-gun Clinton administration hailed this data as “proof” federal gun-control laws such as background checks and assault-weapons bans were working. Interestingly, not once did the FBI gauge the effect of state-level concealed-carry laws on violent crime. If the bureau studied the issue, they didn’t make their findings public, but maybe that’s because such information isn’t politically useful to a regime bent on banning guns.

Despite the truth about an armed populace’s effect on criminal activity, the “conventional wisdom” among our power elite remains that we the people should be as disarmed and as powerless as possible. It’s almost as if our elected leaders fear an armed populace almost as much as criminals do.

But it’s past time for Americans truly concerned about public safety to reject this authoritarian viewpoint. Armed criminals don’t fear unarmed victims – all too often, the crime statistics now overwhelmingly indicate, they kill them instead.

Any elected representative who supports a continuation of laws aimed at depriving Americans of their constitutional right to a firearm for self-defense deserves to be arrested, charged and convicted of murder. Their “fewer guns” approach to crime is responsible for more deaths than if we the people had been “allowed” the means to protect ourselves all along.

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