Korwin: America’s Real Gun Problem – The Gun Myths

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

(Editor’s note: The following was syndicated with the permission of Alan Korwin, the author of the article. Mr. Korwin is the author of 14 books, has been invited by the U.S. Supreme Court twice to observe oral arguments and runs the website GunLaws.com. He is also a friend of GunsAmerica.)

Nothing points out the bankruptcy of our nation’s gun-control debate better than the mythologies that surrounds it.

Prior “common sense” proposals are perpetually abandoned. The so-called “news” media adopts each new absurd gun-control scheme dutifully, promotes it uncritically, then drops it like a hot potato when it is proven worthless and runs to the next latest greatest bit of hoplophobic (morbid gun fear) ridiculousness.

In effect the nation endures a serial mythology, with new myths invented constantly, so we lose sight of each established myth as new ones spring into the public eye.

This obscures the former paranoid fabrications, frustrating our efforts “to get to the heart of the problem,” which then never get adequately described. You’ll recognize them instantly, from the constant hammering of the not-too-distant past—try some of these on for sighs (sic)—

America has a gun problem (gun-violence problem?) because:

  • There are too many guns;
  • There are too many of the wrong kind of guns;
  • There is too much ammunition;
  • It’s too easy to get guns;
  • The guns are in the wrong hands;
  • There is too much crime;
  • The guns have pistol grips, flash hiders, folding stocks, features too numerous to list;
  • We have too many criminals, a permanent criminal underclass, non-existent families, no father figures, single-parent households, out-of-wedlock births, substandard government housing ghettos, gang environments, racial disparities, illegal aliens, black-on-black murders, five cities that account for most of it, poverty, inequality, inner cities;
  • It’s TV, movies, MTV, rap music, hip hop (there’s a difference?) the pop culture, the gangsta culture, a lack of culture, debauched culture;
  • Violent video games are the problem;
  • It’s the immoral unwinnable drug war;
  • The problem is the NRA, that’s it right there;
  • The gun companies control the politicians;
  • American men have small gonads and use guns as substitutes;
  • It’s the objectification of women;
  • Breakdown of the moral fabric is the cause;
  • It started when we banned God from the public square;
  • There is not enough education about guns;
  • We need more gun laws;
  • We need better gun laws;
  • We need the gun laws enforced;
  • We need universal background checks;
  • We need universal gun registration;
  • We need the Feinstein gun law;
  • We need the Manchin-Toomey gun law;
  • We need to disarm the criminals already;
  • The criminal justice system is just a revolving door;
  • They should just take all the guns away;
  • No one thinks about who is they;
  • Or what they would do with all these dangerous guns;
  • They is OK if it’s the current guy but certainly not if it’s Bush;
  • We have to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people;
  • Why does anyone need a (fill in the bad gun of the day);
  • We need more people carrying guns to stop the criminals;
  • It’s the poverty;
  • It’s the income inequality;
  • It’s the super rich;

This list has no end but I’m going to stop now.

If you examine this too-familiar list you’ll notice most blame goes to something other than the perpetrators themselves. If you believe in personal responsibility for your lot in life you know that’s wrong. (My guru taught me, with great insight: “If you want to know what you want, just look at what you have.”) In court, at least, the perp is responsible for the “gun violence,” what rational people call crime. But I digress.

The Serial Myths That Cloud the Solution

To fix America’s purportedly severe gun problem, an ongoing series of solutions have been proposed by the so-called “gun-control” advocates. These are people who, by and large, do not own guns, or use guns, and have little if any experience with guns. As a direct consequence of that, each of their proposed solutions have turned out to be mythological—that is, not grounded in reality.

This doesn’t stop the feckless media from trumpeting the inane plans loudly. The schemes are soon found to be preposterous, quickly abandoned, and new myths are invented, which are hoped against hope to address the purported problem. The cycle repeats.

“Purported problem,” because under careful scrutiny, an inconvenient truth arises. The so-called “gun problem” is not a monolithic dilemma, it has distinguishable elements.

Fully 6,000 of the tragic deaths annually are young black men killing each other in ghettos, typically in drug-related battles, making these war deaths, in the federally funded war on some drugs. Government declared war, combatants killed. Solution: declare a truce, save 6,000 lives.

Checking the stats, fully another half of so-called gun deaths are elder suicides, pointing out the disturbing fact that many Americans, approaching the end of their lives, find themselves in constant pain, alone, penniless or nearly so. Without resources, they turn to the option of ending it all, with reliable means. More than a gun problem, this is a medical issue, and a social-welfare issue, one which society sweeps under the rug. It is useful as an unexamined statistic, to build political capital for infringing on the right to keep and bear arms, but it is hardly an honest gun problem. These people need help. Society is unwilling to provide it. No solution available at present.

When we subtract crime numbers from the crime-ridden cities, we find America has brighter prospects than Scandinavia, usually held up as a paragon of virtue. But that’s a distraction to this paper’s theme. The myths perpetually created to justify denying or infringing upon the civil right to arms needs cataloging, to bring it into the full white light of day. Here’s a start. I’m omitting the juiciest. More coming soon. Hey—write to me with yours, make my job easier (ask your friends too).

The Armed Pilot Myth: Armed airline pilots will freak out, leave the cockpit, and shoot unruly passengers, or the guns will just go off presenting an unacceptable hazard to air travel, since planes will explode when shot. Proven false. After the 9-11 attacks, when radical Muslims murdered unarmed pilots, Congress argued literally for years and finally implemented the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, arming pilots nationally, with no ill effect. (In early years, planes carrying U.S. Mail required pilots to be armed.)

The National Parks Carry Myth: Discreet carry in national parks by the public will result in poached animals, murdered visitors, accidental shootings and terrified tourists. Proven false. In 2014 when Congress removed the ban on personal arms in National Parks and Monuments, amidst a great hue and cry, replacing it with the carry laws of each of the states in which the parks resided, no untoward incidents have been reported. Decent people now carry there the same as in the rest of their states.

The Off-Duty Officer Myth: Off duty or retired LEOs, if given national freedom to carry, particularly outside their jurisdiction, will mistakenly shoot innocent civilians and cost cities billions in liability. Proven false. When the LEOSA act passed in 2004, after multiple failed attempts, every honorable former and current peace officer gained the ability to carry discreetly nationwide (a precursor for the public’s similar right,which hasn’t yet materialized). Further law was needed to let officers carry safe hollow ammunition, to which some jurisdictions ignorantly raised objections.

The Saturday-Night-Special Myth: The big problem was cheap guns used in spontaneous shootings, and crime would drop if these were eliminated. Proven false. This term traces back to the 1930s, when police would refer to cheap guns in the bad part of town as “N-Town Saturday Night Specials.” Polite society dropped the N-word in later years. When it became obvious that the neighborhood and not the gun type was the problem, the term fell into disuse, but its proponents never fessed up to the nonsense, they just dropped it.

The Melting-Point Test Myth: Guns must be able to withstand enormous temperatures in order to be safe enough to make and sell. Proven false. A poorly concocted idea that circulated briefly, guns are no more subjected to abnormal temperatures than any other products, and withstand them as well as most household items. The attempt to outlaw certain firearms by this contrivance was demonstrably bogus and has largely been dropped.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Vernon L Jenkins December 29, 2015, 7:56 pm

    I SUGGEST THAT ALL PRISONERS BE PET ON A 500 CALLERY A DAY DIET AT LEAST UNTILL THEY LOSE THERE URG TO ABUSE OTHERS, IF THEY PERSISTE, SOLITARY CONFIENT , AND LOSE ONE MEAL PER DAY.

    Four juniviles I suggest that for first arrest for any mischift there should be a public whipping with a cat of 9tails well applied 5 to twenty strokes, with warning of further mischuf there would be at least a doubling the number of strokes

    f

    • Andrew N. January 8, 2016, 2:41 am

      The 500 calorie-a-day diet is a good plan, with exceptions. The prisoners willing to work GAINFUL employment to reduce expenditures for the prison will get “real” food, as opposed to the low-cal “gruel” fed to the non-participating inmates. There are examples of prisons in the US that actually turn a profit using prison labor. Make these the models for the other prisons. It also teaches trades and self-respect to the inmates, truly rehabilitating them and preparing them with real, usable skills when they are released.

      • Dewey June 10, 2016, 8:32 am

        Prisons that turn a profit using inmate labor also create an incentive to lock up more people. The very idea of privately run, for profit prisons should send a chill up the spine of anyone capable of critical thought.

  • SGT-N December 26, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Good article. I volunteer that we institute the draft for every man and woman over 18, with few exemptions like severe physical/mental disabilities, for a 3-year term of service. These draftees would free up the true volunteer Armed Forces from mundane jobs, which would still teach a work ethic and discipline, learn what a firearm truly is and how easy firearm safety can be accomplished, destroy the myths perpetrated by the media on how firearms work (for example, no pointing a firearm with an everlasting magazine at others who conveniently fall over dead and all return fire misses), and get them off the street at the prime gang recruitment age, and gain a sense of pride for a job well done. If the draftee likes the Armed Services, he or she can enlist, and the person’s rank, time in service, and time in grade as a draftee would carry over to the regular forces. If not, the person is placed on ready reserve status still subject to the UCMJ. The carrot is a modified GI Bill, VA loans, preferential federal/state job hiring, etc.

    Another option is to send them through basic training for firearm familiarization and to build discipline, assign them to the national guard for the same period of service with the daily mission to clean up Urban Blight, repair the homes of the aged, care for the aged, fight forest fires, clean up the environment, etc. with two weeks in the summer devoted to real combat arms’ training, medic training, and other jobs that the military may need in a time of war. Again, the person can stay in with retention of rank, time in grade, and time in service. If not, ready reserves under the strictures of the UCMJ. Same carrots apply. Because national guard service is part time for the regular personnel, Vets with honorable discharges and clean service records could volunteer to supervise the draftees. The Vets would enter at least as an E-5 or an O-1 with a college degree and would see more rapid promotions. This time would also count towards retirement when added to the volunteer’s previous time in service.

  • James Green December 26, 2015, 1:24 pm

    Actually, your 4th from the last statement is not a myth, but a truism…
    “We need more people carrying guns to stop the criminals.”
    Other than that your list is spot on.

    All this begs the question: How can there be so many stupid people out there who are clueless?
    Logic and Common Sense dictate that if we have more armed law-abiding citizens there WILL be less crime and LESS criminals.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Captain Jim Green

  • Nick v December 25, 2015, 9:59 pm

    Yeah yeah yeah…..Obama and crew keep puking up that term “common sense gun laws” yet believe THEY have the sense to come up with them. How about this…..dear Obama and Eric holder…..when you go on TV and say we need tougher punishment for gun crimes and straw purchases…..Then walk to your office and release 300 criminals with gun offenses from prison….that seriously undermines your credibility.

    Furthermore nobody has said what a common sense law is….You cannot pass “common sense”. There has to be something in it…but nobody has bothered to think of actual real ideas….It’s all lip service. And another strike to their credibility is when they propose measures that ARE ALREADY LAWS.

    Lastly come on, we know that the Democrats WANT this to get out of hand. They hate the idea of their subjects having discourse. Once it gets so bad people are begging for them to take our guns for our own protection, then we will be selecting children to compete in the hunger games. I mean….Why else would they give gun criminals a pass yet crucify weed dealers….

    • Allen Lawson November 24, 2017, 1:35 pm

      Bubba & holder have no credibility . Never have never will

  • JJ357 December 25, 2015, 6:13 pm

    Nice article. The problem is the media and most Democrats would entirely ban the 2nd amendment if it wasn’t political suicide. People need to be very careful especially gun owners who say well I don’t own this XXX brand so I am not opposed to banning it. BEFORE they will eventually get down to your precious XXX brand. I have seen many lawmakers say they want to ban semi automatic firearms, which obviously cuts a huge swath into everyone’s gun collection. This is AMERICA, if you want to shoot your galling gun go ahead, if someone wants to buy a 1200.00 golf club fine. We all have hobbies and certainly law abiding citizens owning firearms is the least of anyone’s worries. Gun Control, is only about total control, why else would they devote so much effort into something that isn’t even in the top 25 ways Americans die each year. Our government and the Elite knows they have screwed us over, and they know that we know so they are very nervous.

    • Gene March 16, 2016, 2:29 am

      I was a poor kid raised by a poor family.Poor never affected values.We all had shot guns and rifles.We would hunt rabbit ,squirl and any game we could put on our table and we raised a garden for our veggies.If a young man or girl removed one of our hunting weapons without just cause they got their ass busted really good and read the right act.I am sure that teaching responsability and values must be taught in the home by responsable parents.It starts in the home not in government regulations.If they have a single parent which is most usually the female then a family member needs to help with their knowledge.My point is–Not being able to raise your children without government interference and use the bible term spare the rod spoil the child.I believe all violence starts in the home and injects into sociaty.Bust that ass when it gets out of line early in life.Within reason.

  • jason v December 25, 2015, 12:49 pm

    Where does my I.O. ak rank?

  • Rob December 25, 2015, 11:35 am

    In the United States, the odds of being killed by conventional medicine are almost 20 times (2,000%) greater than being killed in an automobile accident (23) and almost 30 times (3,000%) greater than being killed by a gun.(24) The conclusion is that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.(25) So you have an almost 30 times higher chance of being killed by your doctor or by legal (approved by our government…) prescription drugs from big pharma than you have by being killed by a mass shooter or even by any gun at all. Do your own research and you will find out that this is true. Why don’t these self serving clowns do anything about THAT!? It is because they are taking bribes from big pharma…

  • Greg December 25, 2015, 11:14 am

    1. Enforce current laws and make mandatory sentencing for gun crime. Five or more years, first offense. Ten years second offense and 20 to life for third offense.

    2. Prison should be just that. In a small cell, by yourself. Limit socializing to classrooms only and perhaps chow halls. I do not have all the answers, for sure, but current rapes, drug trafficking, gangs, and such inside prison is outrageous. And, these big weight lifting devices only provide for monsters to come back into society.

    How does anyone fight off a criminal who has a baseball bat, knife, club, or just massive muscles and strength from prison and the element of surprise in most cases… how? GUN. Concealed Carry laws should be national. We, law abiding citizens, should always have the means to defend ourselves from criminals and tyranny.

  • Magic Rooster December 25, 2015, 7:59 am

    In the ever constant liberalistic efforts to eliminate “cruel and unusual punishment”, we now have better accommodations inside prison than most criminals enjoy outside of prison.
    I have never been one to advocate the death penalty, I would much rather see someone suffer for life. However “suffering” is not allowed in our current penal system, outside of rape while incarcerated.

    How about this idea;
    prisoners convicted of violent crime would be CHAINED, yes chained to a wall. Given only enough movement to sit upon a plastic 5 gallon bucket ( affixed to the floor). No exercise, no out of doors time, no visitation, and NO damn opportunity to conduct “business”. This would preclude the ever present gang rape.(even I would not subject inmates to rape).

    It seems that the only deterrent to crime is fear, and point out one human that would not fear an “Old Testament” style prison.
    This day and time, when you send the average criminal to prison, it is comparable to sending a high school senior to vocational school. When you send the two and three time criminal, it is the same as sending a college student to grad school to earn their doctorate.

    A certain part of society is hell bent to break the law, and not every criminal is capable of rehabilitation. For these bozos, the only answer is hard incarceration. Make prison a true hell on earth and keep them there.

    I realize this is a dream, it will never happen. However I can dream…..

  • Gunflint December 25, 2015, 7:40 am

    Their is no problem with guns, but their is “Constitutional ignorance at the highest level of Government”. Then theirs the trickle down effect, Senators/Congressmen/Governors, etc..

  • Ed Sjolin December 25, 2015, 7:38 am

    After reading the previous comments, I have renewed faith that there are people out there that actually DO have a modicum of common sense. Although I may not agree with everything said, the one common theme I find in all of these posts is the exercise of common sense. When some chowderhead says “Outlaw all personal firearms!”, I think to myself “How does this person find his/her fundament in the dark?”. The sheer stupidity of THAT idea is evident to ANY sentient being. For one thing, the toothpaste is already out of THAT tube and all the King’s horses aren’t going to stuff it back in. When these same people draw parallels to other countries (the UK, for one) the obvious cultural differences are totally ignored. Compare the per capita possession of firearms between the US and Switzerland and these anti-gun advocates can’t believe what they are hearing. I don’t profess to have a magic cure for stopping gun violence but, it would stand to reason, that harsh punishments for miscreants who abuse the privilege of gun ownership and engage in criminal acts involving firearms would be a step in the right direction. The sad fact is our politicians are prone to using “gun law rhetoric” to advance thier careers, knowing that nothing they say will make any difference but there enough naive people out there that it will garner them some votes.

    Having said a small fraction of “my piece” without reverting to base and vulgar language, I hope that someone reading this will take it to heart and try to develop some common sense, a factor that is so often lacking when this subject crops up.

    Have a Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate and keep safe,

  • Allen D. Benge December 25, 2015, 7:09 am

    A very well thought out article, and for the most part I agree. I do not so much see a new batch of stupid ideas being brought forth as I do the same stupid ideas keep getting promoted and supported by the mainstream media. If the lawmakers, and news outlets would realize one simple fact, it would do away with gun control hysteria. That fact is that criminals do not obey laws, so no criminals are going to magically obey the proposals. this means that only one class of people will obey these laws, and that is the honest, law-abiding citizen. You cannot make criminals harmless by making the public helpless. Look through history, from the ancient Japanese disarming the residents of Okinawa to Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin Dada, the pattern is the same. Disarm the people ‘for their own safety,’ then when they have no means of defense, slaughter them. The Congresspersons need to be educated, as well as news people as to the myths surrounding firearms. Fox News needs to be ashamed for saying that the California bullet button turns a semi-auto rifle into a fully automatic weapon. or Barbara Boxer stating that reciprocity is a bad idea, because legal gun owners from other states will be bringing burlap bags full of illegal guns into California. Nancy Grace saying on national TV that semi-auto weapons spew hundreds of bullets per second, when she was a prosecutor and should have had some familiarity with the weapons she faced in the court room.

    • John Rieske December 25, 2015, 12:02 pm

      People , like the proverbial “horse led to water” may be shown the truth over and over ad infinitum bndedut like the horse not wanting to drink, will learn only if they want to. Mainstream media is composed mainly of educated idiots, blinded by their own bias to the point of zombietude.

    • Smitty December 25, 2015, 1:48 pm

      Do you really think that the politicians and media do not know what they are doing? Do you really think they are just naive? Maybe some of the news people are to stupid to relieze what they are saying. The blame should be put on the sheeple for tolerating such nonsense.

      If you look at history the 18th amendment took close to one hundred years to get passed. The 16th amendment was passed to help support it. The government, both sides, the media and most important big money, the ones that control the circus want gun control. It may be a few years or 20 years but they will win its just a matter of time. History tells us the rest.

    • C.L.(Chuck)Troupe December 26, 2015, 4:49 pm

      Ms. Grace is (or was) a lawyer. Lawyers are just ordinary people with enough money to go to college and then to law school. Upon graduation from law school they must pass their respective state bar exams, and bingo! We now have an ordinary person with a “license” to practice law (and qualify as an “expert” on any television talk show). They then fill out a job application for the county, state or federal prosecutor’s office and get hired. So, whether this ordinary person (with a license to practice law) works for a private law firm, or as a county pubic defender … or a prosecutor … unless they are gun owners themselves they will have next to and including nothing about guns, so don’t ever be surprised when you hear lawyers on talk shows use terms such as “assault weapons,” “fully automatic pistols,” and “hand guns with multi-round clips. But what do I know … I’m still trying to figure out what “great legal minds” mean.

  • Martin B December 24, 2015, 6:20 pm

    Violent criminals are a special breed of nasty. By removing violence as a punishment, society is now seen as soft by these predators. My attitude is this: We live under a social contract, in which we agree not to rob each others houses, rape each other’s wives, and sell our kids drugs, nor to murder our fellow citizens, in exchange for the right to live in peace among our fellow men and women. Those who fail to live up to this social contract, which should be clearly enumerated at every stage of schooling, which must be compulsory, put themselves outside of society. That does not mean some modern, well equipped gymnasium masquerading as a prison, where inmates emerge with powerful muscles to match their evil intentions. No, this means permanent exile for those born outside the USA, or death for those born here. Society has no place for those who disregard the rules that govern civilized behavior. If you can’t fit in (and every effort must be made to try and fit every person for a functioning place in society) there is no place for you.

    • tommy s December 25, 2015, 6:49 am

      I like it. Makes the most sense and would work. Tough to get this by the liberals though. Oh, Merry Christmas everyone.

    • Murray L December 27, 2015, 12:52 am

      I agree with everyone’s statement that if they are constant repeat offenders that something must be done with them. But I really disagree with the death penalty of said offenders but I believe they should be rounded up and sent over to a country which the USA is trying to use military force to correct a situation and given equipment to fight with their loose morals and anger and hate to fight with no parole ever. until they have proved themselves to be worth living with. A life is very valuable and if it is conflictual then it should be used in a theatre where it will actually do some good not just done away with. All citizens that dis the USA and still want to live there should also be put into armed service for freedom. This includes members of religious groups the need reminding that they have moved into Christian territory and will have to fight along side Christians for a common cause to assist the USA for freedom for all.

  • SuperG December 23, 2015, 11:27 am

    I know I’m too drastic, but my plan would work. First, make parents stand in court when their kids miss or disrupt class. You’ll see little Johnny in class the very next day, though he may be a little sore to sit. Even the most worthless parent doesn’t want their day interrupted by seeing someone who can put them in jail.

    Let me preface my next solution by saying that the FBI has pointed out that the majority of crime is being perpetrated by repeat offenders. So I say execute them upon conviction of their third violent felony. It would free up bed space and get rid of the need for more prisons. Then the money you save from getting rid of them, you can use it to educate the first time offender.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude December 26, 2015, 2:16 pm

      SUPER G! Aahhhaa, I love the smell of a creative thinker in the morning. As much as I’m in the Rand Paul school of absolute minimalist government control over the people. I agree with you ‘Parental Responsibility’ idea. I’ve actually seen it work so well that it was amazing. Back in another lifetime, discipline and morals, and Good social behavior (anybody remember the word manners and politeness?) were a fundamental obligation and responsibility in the chosen career of Parenting. Even to a point that moderate corporal punishment was accepted even in much of the parochial school systems. Of course this doesn’t exist anymore and we are not better off while youth gangs have literally taken over cities, and most kids don’t even know how to say thank you anymore.

      Worked with a cop once who was a gang crimes officer and said his youth offender cases had the lowest recidivism rates in the city.
      I was intrigued so he gave me a demonstration on a visit to one of his recent arrests. The punk was under 16 so a ‘station adjustment’ was his ‘adjudication’ and he was released in the custody of his parents. Except with one difference, this officer did a follow up the next day to the parent’s house and i went with him. He told the parents that he would arrest at least one of them if young ‘Bobby Red’ was brought in again for anything. His logic to the parents was that if this kid is out doing bad punk shit, it was their faults because they must not be doing their duty to control him for some reason. That reason must be that you are criminally negligent in your parental duties. Which is a ‘charge’ by itself. But the reason you are being criminally negligent must be because you are doing some other ‘illegal’ activity that distracts you, which is what he was looking for. So he told the parents he, and his fellow plainclothes officers, would keep tabs on them and follow them anywhere they went watching anything they did until they were caught doing whatever crime it was that kept them from properly disciplining and watching their punk.

      Of course he never really did that, but nobody in that part of the city even wanted to ‘think’ about cops even looking at them so apparently it WORKED!

  • John December 22, 2015, 10:50 pm

    I suggest we send Obama a message about just how silly a ban on firearms is. Especially considering that more people are killed by motor vehicles in a year than firearms by far. And with the recent run ins of cars with crowds of people like in Stillwater, OK and Las Vegas, NV I started a petition to do just that. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/require-background-checks-vehicle-sales-and-ban-purchase-high-capacity-assault-vehicles

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