LOCK UP YOUR SAFETY - RISK
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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
[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,
[vi] Kopel, Guns: Who Should Have Them?, at 311 and National
Safety Council, Accident Facts: 1998 Edition, at 18.
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