The old saying goes that God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal. Col. Samuel Colt’s revolver continues to serve as an equalizer. Being bigger, tougher and meaner than the next guy may not mean jack spit if the next guy carries a .357 in his waistband.
Bad attitude and big muscles make a poor match for a 200-grain lead slug.
John Birch – of no relation to the famed anticommunist – knows this well. His organization, Concealed Carry Inc., awards a free handgun every month to Chicago residents. The reason? To give citizens in the nation’s murder capital a fighting chance.
“I would feel terrible if someone needed a gun and I didn’t give him one, and they ended up dead,” said Birch, quoted in a May 26 Associated Press report.
Even though “Awards only go to people who are at least 21-years-old, have had a background check, and have completed a firearms training course,” the city of Al Capone is going ballistic over Birch’s giveaway, in which recipients are selected on the basis of an essay contest and lottery.
“I think he is encouraging violence,” said City of Chicago Attorney Mara Georges. “I think he is encouraging civil disobedience. I think he’s encouraging people to break the law,” namely a 20-year-old, citywide handgun ban.
Warned Georges, “if he’s going to violate the law, we are going to have to very, very fiercely protect our laws.”
Nearly 700 homicides happened in Chicago last year, and three-quarters of those were gun-related, according to AP. With fewer guns in fewer hands, Georges is confident the murder rate will drop.
Actually, it’s the other way around.
“Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crimes,” argues John Lott in his groundbreaking book, “More Guns, Less Crime.” Further, “reductions coincide very closely with the number of concealed-handgun permits issued.” Having more guns in the hands (and inside the jacket pockets) of Americans deters violent crime, including murder.
The reason for this fact is simple: Firearms reduce the power differential between the weak and the strong, making it harder for the strong to prey upon the weak. Being strong doesn’t help much when you’re dead or wetting your pants in fear because your potential victim shoved a barrel muzzle under your nose.
Take rape, a crime usually involving a stronger person attacking a weaker person. Typically, the rapist gets the upper hand in a battle of fisticuffs. This is one of the reasons women are often cautioned to act passively when attacked by a rapist.
When you look at the various types of active resistance (yelling, physical force, etc.), fighting back can be more dangerous than passive behavior. But with active resistance that actually shrinks the strength gap – removing the power monopoly from the attacker – the dynamics change dramatically.
Whereas a woman may be severely beaten, even killed, if she resists by using her fists – where the man likely has her outmatched – says Lott, “by far the safest course of action is to have a gun. A woman who behaves passively is 2.5 times as likely to end up being seriously injured as a woman who has a gun.”
Who knew Sam Colt was a feminist?
Criminologist Gary Kleck agrees with Lott, noting that firearms benefit women because “guns are the weapon type whose effectiveness is least dependent on the physical strength of its user.”
Swinging fists or a baseball bat requires a good deal of force to make them effective. A gun, however, requires very little strength to achieve a very potent effect. It matters little if the man is twice as strong as the woman – he’s probably not twice as strong as her friends, Messrs. Smith and Wesson.
Guns empower women, and women are robbed of that power when they are denied access to firearms.
Consider the case of Polly Pryzbyl. After separating from her husband, Polly took her children to her mother’s house. When her husband showed up and threatened her, Polly answered by producing a gun. He stood down, but when the police arrived, they took Polly’s weapon. A week later, while going to her husband’s house to pick up clothes for the kids, she and her mother were gunned down by her husband.
Preventing such tragedies is as simple as letting folks purchase guns and carry them.
Which takes us back to Georges’ absurd notion that reducing gun availability will take care of Chicago’s homicide problem: Says Lott, based on his research, “The largest drops in violent crime from legalized concealed handguns occurred in the most urban counties with the greatest populations and the highest crime rates” (emphasis added).
Chicago, instead of hounding Birch, ought to be helping him hand out more guns. If Sam Colt were still around, he would.
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