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LOCK UP YOUR SAFETY - RISK YOUR LIFE

by
Annie
CodyExpress.com
June 24, 2001


Some gun control advocacy groups freely admit their desire to eliminate firearms in private hands.  They assert that citizens should rely solely on law enforcement for protection from predators.  Other groups don’t go quite that far – at least, not yet.  They, instead, call for “common sense” safety solutions for those of us who choose to own and keep guns.  We are told of the importance of trigger locks, for example.  We are advised not to keep our weapons loaded and to store the gun and the ammunition in separate places under lock and key.  In fact, in some places (England, for example), it is patently illegal to keep your gun loaded.  If you are found to have a loaded weapon in your home, it will be seized and you will face considerable legal ramifications. 

We are also urged to reconsider the decision to own a weapon and advised that we can rely on police protection if we are in danger.  Women who are fearful of abusive ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands are told to obtain restraining orders and other court mandates to prevent these men from harming them. 

Gun control advocates apparently find such advice to be sufficient in protecting lives and property, and try to convince us of the same.  Whether they promote prohibition or “common sense” restrictions, all gun control organizations promote the idea that personal safety will not be compromised if their policies are followed.  Some of us respectfully disagree. 

Consider the story of Lori Lewis of Foley, Alabama.[i]  In March 2001, Lori applied for, and received, a protective order against her former husband, William.  In addition, Lori filed 3 harassment complaints against him, one in March and two in April.  Gun control advocates would no doubt applaud Lori’s actions -- she sought the assistance of a court order and police protection.  They are the “common sense” actions that gun control organizations promote as reasonable and adequate responses by women who find themselves in a position similar to Lori’s. 

On April 25, 2001, William Lewis was arrested, charged with stalking, and subsequently released on a $5,000.00 bond.  He was scheduled to appear in court on June 8 to answer accusations that the stalking charge constituted a violation of a protective order.  This is, once again, the “common sense” approach so often touted by anti-self defense advocates when it comes to protecting the lives of clearly identified potential victims.  The protective order, the stalking charge, the arrest and the scheduled court appearance did not, however, prevent Lewis from visiting his ex-wife, armed with a gun. 

On May 28, 2001 William Lewis entered his ex-wife’s back porch, attacked her and drug her inside the house.  Once inside, the struggle continued with Lori suffering cuts and bruises before managing to break free from her attacker.  She dashed to her bedroom where she retrieved a handgun from the bedside table.  William followed her, aimed his weapon and fired one shot that missed.  Lori returned fire, with a better aim, fatally shooting her ex-husband in the chest. 

Although Alabama law allows the use of deadly force when one’s life (or the life of another) is in jeopardy, a grand jury will still have to make a determination as to whether deadly force was justified in this case.  But, had Lori followed all the advice given by those who want us to “lock up our safety” (a very accurate term used by Gun Owners of America), the grand jury would be making an entirely different determination – one that would most likely have involved the murder of Lori Lewis by her ex-husband, William. 

When I read news accounts of women who have successfully defended themselves with a firearm, a lot of questions come to mind about calls for handgun bans as well as the “common sense” advice given by gun control organizations.  Questions about the adequacy of relying on 9-1-1 or court orders, or on the advisability of trigger locks and other devices or methods designed to make easy access to a firearm impossible.  But the question that’s always foremost in my mind when I read such stories is why would anyone want to deny these women a very effective means of self-defense?  Why would anyone urge measures and seek legislation that could very well cost women (and men) their lives?  

As a society, we are deluged with laws and regulations designed to protect us from physical harm. Yet when it comes to self-defense against thugs and predators, we are advised to keep our most effective safety devices locked up.  Or, we are told to forego firearms altogether and rely on less effective means of protection, such as whistles or pepper spray, even though the probability of serious injury is 4 times greater for a woman (and 1.5 times greater for a man) resisting without a gun than when resisting with one.[ii]  Some gun control proponents even go so far as to tell us to simply submit to our attackers, although a woman who offers no resistance is 2.5 times more likely to sustain serious injury than when resisting with a gun (1.4 times more likely for men).[iii] 

Many consider (and studies have proven) such advice to be misguided, dangerous, and possibly even deadly.  Yet, gun control advocates continue to promote these inadequate measures for self-defense.  While claiming to want a safer society, gun control proponents illogically promote measures and demand legislation that will do nothing more than place innocent citizens in greater jeopardy and vastly increase the number of victims of violent crime.  Why?  If studies prove that law-abiding citizens are safer when they have access to firearms for self-protection, why promote restrictions to or bans on that access? 

The most common answer to that question concerns children’s access to guns and the tragic consequences that can occur.  The issue was addressed in the article “Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence or Pandemic of Propaganda?”

We offer the following questions which, of course, are never mentioned in the health advocacy literature on children and guns:  If so sweeping a measure as confiscating 230 million firearms is justified because some 273 children under the age of fifteen die in firearm accidents annually, is the less intrusive measure of banning child bicycles justified by the death of three times as many children in bicycle accidents annually?  If confiscating over 80 million handguns is justified because approximately fifteen children under age five die in handgun accidents annually, is a ban on cigarette lighters justified by the fact that four times as many children in that age group die from playing with them annually? 

Consider the fact that over 400% more children under age fifteen die in drownings than in gun accidents; twenty times as many children under the age of five drown in bathtubs or swimming pools as are killed in handgun accidents.  Few people need a bathtub (as opposed to a shower stall) or a swimming pool.  It the tragedy of accidental childhood gun fatalities justifies confiscating over 80 million handguns, or all of the more than 230 million firearms, do the much greater numbers of tragic childhood drownings justify a licensing system under which only the disabled and others who show they “truly need” a bathtub or swimming pool will be allowed to have them.”[iv]

There are far greater threats to the lives and safety of our children than guns.  Statistics show that only 2.1% (or about 2 of every 100) of all accidental deaths in children 14 and under occur from firearms.[v]  Common sense would guide us to address the greater risks first, yet gun control proponents have chosen to ignore those issues in order to focus on a lesser danger -- guns.  Why?  Is the safety of our children really their foremost concern?  If so, why not start with swimming pools or bicycles?  And more importantly, if children’s safety is the primary objective, why try to deny parents a very effective means of protecting children against predators, criminals and dangerous animals?  By denying or restricting access to firearms, would gun control advocates simply be exchanging one set of young (accident) victims for another set of young (crime) victims?

Gun control proponents and the media give us the impression that accidental gun deaths are an increasing problem requiring immediate and drastic measures to correct.  The truth is that these deaths (accidental gun deaths) declined by over 50% in the past 25 years, even though the population (and the gun stock) has continued to increase.[vi]   Although you will never hear them say so, gun control advocates are certainly aware of this decline. Still, they continue to promote their agenda as if no progress had been made in protecting children from guns and as if the gains made in this area will not continue unless they take immediate and drastic action.  Children’s access to guns is not the crisis we have been led to believe it is.  We have made great progress in protecting our children and others from weapons and with continued focus on the issue, it would seem likely we will continue to do so – without the far-reaching and extreme measures called for by those with an anti-rights agenda.

So, the question again comes to mind.  Why would anyone urge measures or seek legislation that could cost men, women, and, yes, children their lives?  Why would anyone want to deny honest, law-abiding citizens their best means of self-defense against thugs and predators?  Why would anyone think that we would be safer without an immediate and adequate means to defend ourselves?  The answers elude me. 

Do gun control advocates truly believe it would have been in Lori Lewis’ best interest to “lock up her safety” and depend on a court order for protection?  Do they believe she would be alive today if she had?  Do they think that death or serious injury to people like Lori Lewis would be an acceptable consequence to the harsh restrictions or outright bans they seek?  To some it might appear they do. I certainly hope not.

References

[i] Brendan Kirby, "Woman kills her former husband,” Mobile Register, May 30, 2001
[ii]
John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, p. 4
[iii]
Id.
[iv]
Don B. Kates, Jr., Henry E. Schaffer, Ph.D., John K. Lattimer, M.D., George B. Murray, M.D., Edwin H. Cassem, M.D., “Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence or Pandemic of Propaganda?” Tennessee Law Review, Volume 62, Number 3  (1995):564. 
[v]
Data compiled from National Health Safety Council, Injury Facts, 1999
[vi]
Kopel, Guns: Who Should Have Them?, at 311 and National Safety Council, Accident Facts: 1998 Edition, at 18.

Annie's articles may be disseminated for non-commercial purposes as long as credit (including our Web address) is given to The Cody Express: http://www.CodyExpress.com. Contact Annie at annie@codyexpress.com.

 

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The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions. [State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921)]

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