Robin Kelly, freshman representative for Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District (southeast Chicago suburbs), recently released a manifesto on gun control. As has become the standard for any politician’s statements regarding gun control, Kelly prefaces her calls for restrictions on guns and gun owners with a declaration of support for the Second Amendment and an assertion that her “modest proposals” are not about limiting people’s rights, but rather about taking “common-sense” steps to reduce the “epidemic” of gun violence in our country. Kelly claims her report is breaking new ground as “the first collaboration of its kind between Members of Congress, gun safety advocates, and the public health and academic communities,” and is “an anthology of analyses of the gun violence crisis by federal, state, and local stakeholders and gun reform advocates.”
A look at the contributors to the report immediately puts the lie to Kelly’s claims. There are no gun safety advocates represented in the collaboration, only gun control advocates. As a matter of fact, all are well-known and long-time, vocal advocates of all manner of gun control, including Dan Gross from the Brady Campaign and Peter Ambler from Americans for Responsible Solutions – the group founded by Gabby Giffords’ husband to advocate for gun control. Kelly’s representatives from the health-care and academic communities include Dr. David Hemenway, whose results-driven “research” was a prime factor in Congress restricting research funds to the CDC, and two representatives from the Bloomberg-funded Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All of these people have been collaborating for years, if not decades, on different approaches and excuses to make firearms and ammunition more expensive and complicated to own.
The most significant thing to note in the “Kelly Report” is that not one of the proposals is new, nor would any of them have any impact whatsoever on crime or criminal misuse of firearms. All of the proposals would, however, create more hurdles for legal gun owners and greatly expand the network of trip-wires and snares that increasingly entangle regular, law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise their constitutional right to arms.
The report starts from the assumption that guns only do harm. The authors use all manner of twisted statistics to paint dangers and problems with guns and gun ownership, but never even consider the positive aspects of guns. Their approach could be compared to using statistics concerning motorcycle deaths caused by the weight of a helmet breaking the rider’s neck to reach a conclusion that helmets are bad and dangerous, without ever considering statistics regarding lives being saved by helmets.
The fact is that guns save lives every day, usually without ever being fired and generally without a police report.
Numerous peer-reviewed studies have concluded that guns are successfully used by civilians in defense of self or others between 750,000 and 2.5 million times a year. That’s one and a half to five times more frequently than guns are used in crimes. And those numbers don’t begin to calculate the impact fear of armed citizens has on criminal behavior. The police chief of Detroit recently gave a good deal of the credit for declining crime rates in his city to increasing armed civilian response to crime.
The indisputable fact is that in the past two decades, while the numbers of guns and gun owners have skyrocketed, and laws regarding carrying and using firearms have been liberalized – meaning more legally carried guns on our streets and legally owned guns in our homes – crime has been steadily going down. The murder rate has gone down a full 50 percent in the past 20 years, and the lion’s share of reductions have occurred in places where gun restrictions are the least or have been reduced, not places where they are strict or have been tightened.
What the Kelly Report actually amounts to is a taxpayer-funded publicity stunt for Mike Bloomberg and his hoplophobic obsession. Most of the contributors to the report receive all or a significant amount of their funding from Bloomberg. Kelly herself received over $2 million dollars in campaign support from Bloomberg just in her primary campaign. That’s more than most congressional candidates spend on their entire campaign.
The Kelly Report is 64 pages of rehashed, discredited propaganda and failed policy proposals. It shows that politicians like Kelly do want to place limits and restrictions on our rights that the Constitution says “shall not be infringed,” that their approach is incremental with a final objective of Chicago-style total restrictions, and that they are willing to lie and misrepresent to achieve their goals. That isn’t paranoia on the part of gun owners. It’s proof that we can read.
If you read the report – which I encourage you to do – take it with a generous sprinkling of salt. When you see something that seems like a strong point or a compelling argument, ask yourself how facts are being distorted and manipulated to make that point or argument, because I guarantee you they are. If you don’t see the distortion and manipulation, feel free to post any specific question in the comments below, and I will be happy to explain the lie.
Guns are up, crime is down, and every “solution” offered by Kelly and her cohorts is a step in the wrong direction.
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