Anti-Gun Theology Needs Its Reformation



Our country has had more than fifty years of strict gun control laws, varying state by state, imposed on law-abiding citizens. The ideology that “gun free zones” and strict gun control laws save people is outdated and has been disproved by historical trends of murder rates and mass shootings. Nearly all mass shootings occur in “gun free zones” where the criminal does not obey the laws set by society. Despite gun free zones, strict gun control laws, and over 16 million licensed concealed carriers, we are at a 50-year low in the rate of homicide, with evidence that the violent crime will likely continue to decrease.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation published a study in September 2013 on active shooters.  Bear in mind that this study did not include shootings resulting from drug or gang violence. According to the FBI, from 2000-2013 there were 160 active shootings, some of which involved two or more shooters. There was an average of 11.4 shootings per year. A total of 486 people were killed and 557 people were wounded:

  • 60% of the shootings stopped before law-enforcement arrived on scene.
  • All but 2 incidents involved a single shooter
  • In at least 9 instances the shooter killed a family member, then proceeded to another location to kill others
  • In at least 6 instances the shooter was female
  • 40% of the shooters committed suicide; 54 did it at the crime scene
  • At the time of the study’s publication, 5 shooters remained at large
  • 70% of active shootings ended before police arrived, either because a citizen intervened, the shooter fled, or the shooter committed suicide or was killed by another citizen at the scene.
  • 40% of these incidents qualified under the federal definition of mass killing, defined as “three or more killings in a single incident.”

The study documents that most of the damage may occur in just minutes. 70% of the shootings ended within 5 minutes. 23 of the incidents ended in just 2 minutes or less! Even when law-enforcement was on scene, civilians still had to make decisions that made the difference between them living and dying. The author recommends that civilians engage in training and discussion to make their lives safer. Please note that the average response time for law-enforcement is 18 minutes, as of February 28, 2016.

Armed with knowledge of the federal definition of “mass shooting,” we look to the Crime Prevention Research Center to see how many mass shootings occur in places that ban the public from carrying firearms for personal defense. This data was published in 2014; as of 2016, the United States has just surpassed 15.7 million concealed permit licensees. From 1950 through 2016, 98.4% of all mass shootings occurred in “gun free zones.”

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law published a study on March 16, 2015. They use data from 1985-2013. Who remembers the Clinton Gun Ban? What year did that go into effect? The answer is 1994, which is where the climax in crime can be viewed on the graph.

Clinton’s gun ban legislation expired in 2004. From 1994-2003, where the graph’s timeline ends, violent crime was on a continual descent, relative to its peak about the year 1973. Fast forwarding to 2016, a preliminary report from the same source shows a further decline from 2003-2016 in the rate of violent crime. Some may argue that the gun ban yielded the decrease in violent crime, but that is an inadequate explanation.

Gun Facts published a graph with data from the FBI reflecting a curve correlating the decrease in crime (from Brennan’s March 2015 study) to the drastic increase in citizens acquiring concealed carry permits from 1994-2004 , in light of Clinton’s gun ban. The intent of Clinton’s gun ban was to outlaw new AR-style rifles. The Clinton AR ban ignored the fact that the percentage of crimes involving these rifles was (and is) nonexistent. The legislation accomplished nothing except to prohibit citizens from exercising their fundamental rights and had no impact on crime.

In that report, Brennan considers three theories as to why the violence in Chicago continues to increase exponentially. The first is from Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. He states that there is a small segment of repeat firearm offenders driving the violence. 1,400 people have been flagged and put on the “Strategic Subject List,” which encompasses 70% of the people who were shot in Chicago. These 1,400 also include 80% of those arrested in association with criminal shootings.

According to the Chicago Tribune, on September 9, 2016, the similar sized cities of Houston and Philadelphia had case clearance rates (cases solved) of 56% and 49% respectively. By contrast, Chicago has seen an increase of 50% in violent crimes; apart from old unsolved cases, Chicago has a case clearance rate of just 21%. Thomas Alexander, a University of Maryland professor, credits this poor success rate to people distrusting the police and citizens being threatened by gangs if they come forward. Clearly, the powers that be don’t have the resources to protect their citizens in Chicago. Yet, Illinois continues to pass legislation designed to inhibit people from defending themselves.

A second theory gives substance to the first one. Chicago has a net loss of more than 300 detectives since 2008. Brennan argues that more police officers combined with improved investigative techniques can reduce crime. Without this combination, they see a cycle of repeated crimes expanding distrust in the communities. In Brennan’s report, Chicago’s clearance rate in 2015 was 46%. A flaw in the percentages is discovered between Brennan’s 2016 numbers and those of the Chicago Tribune, which stated Chicago’s clearance rate was 30%. But when you consider only new cases, that percentage drops to 21%. Suffice it to say that Chicago’s case clearance success is only about half of the national average, 63.5%.

The third theory in this last report contends that homicides in Chicago occur in areas cut off from wealthy neighborhoods and police, and occur mostly in the economically strained parts of the city. The authors believe there is a relationship between elevated poverty levels and increased gang activity. They conclude that a few select cities will have an increase in murder rates, which in turn, raise the overall murder rate of the United States. They predict that murder rate in Chicago will immensely increase. However, the evidence does not support the idea of a future nationwide crime flare. Local crime flares that bump averages do not imply nationwide trends.

The data indicates that “gun free zones” increase the danger of being victimized. However, for this section, we will only compare large cities to rural areas. The reports reflect greater violence in large cities in contrast to rural areas.

Let’s next look at the politics of these cities, per Pew Research. Most cities with the highest crime rates lean more Democrat, who are generally anti-gun. As such, let’s look to their legislation because many states with high numbers of gun crimes are blue states, like Illinois, California, New York and Maryland.

Look at the expense of being a lawfully licensed firearm carrier for Illinois residents. This state requires 16 hours of training, and the cost of that $250. The application fee alone is $150, and boom—$400! Now, do you want to wait 90 days or 120 days for your license? If the latter, there’s no added expense; if you prefer the 90-day option, it’ll cost another $50. That’s $450 and the resident hasn’t even purchased a firearm or ammunition.

And not everyone’s schedules are the same. Those at the grass roots may suffer lost wages to attend the 16 hours of training. At $8 per hour, that’s an additional, hard-to-earn loss of $128, in addition to the $450 in expenditures. Then the grand total becomes $578.

New York’s application fee is $340 and most people will probably have to submit finger prints, which is an additional $105.25, which brings the total cost to $445.25.

Maryland requires a $250 class, $75 for the application fee, and $50 for fingerprints.  Grand total: $375.

Residents of California pay up to $100 for the application fee, about $50 for fingerprinting, and $200 for the 16-hours of training. Grant total: $350

All these states are “may issue” states, meaning it’s at the state’s discretion to issue licenses, whether you have a justifiable reason or not. These states discriminate against the civil rights of the poor through outrageous expenses that most simply cannot afford.

As of this writing, there are 15 states with Constitutional Carry—that is, the Constitution is your permission to carry a firearm—no fees required. Texas has a limited version of Constitutional Carry, in that it only permits non-licensed citizens to carry inside their homes, vehicles, land, or business; anywhere else requires licensure. This may be a reason that Dallas and other cities continue to be relatively more dangerous.

Recall that Brennan states that cities like Chicago will see an increase in violent crime and that crime substantially exists in the most minority populated and economically strained parts of the city. Criminals look for soft, defenseless targets. Why? If you were a criminal, would you risk getting shot by a target you knew was armed or would you select one you knew to be defenseless? That is the mentality of most criminals. Thugs want to live, too.

The evidence presented here shows that gun free zones, large cities, and poverty-stricken areas heighten the risk of being victimized by criminals. An online search for “Home invasions” will leave you considering the risks to you and your loved ones. More than anyone, people in these places need the ability to defend themselves and their families.

The Second Amendment is a civil rights issue. Anti-gun theology is outdated, incorrect, and discriminates against citizens who need it the most. It’s time for its Reformation.


Clinton Roberts is in pre-law at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge during 10 years of Army service. He is a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights and of NRA, SAF and USCCA. He hopes to represent clients in self-defense cases in practice.

All DRGO articles by Clinton Roberts