By Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive VP
Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage can rest easy. The hosts of "Mythbusters" aren't in any danger of losing their jobs to Phillip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig anytime soon. The academics from Duke and the University of Chicago, respectively, tried to bust "5 Myths Surrounding Gun Control" in the pages of the Washington Post recently, but they only showed how tired and out of touch the gun control movement has become.
In trying to take on the idea that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Cook and Ludwig rely on some hefty evidence: a study from the 1960s and a quote from that noted philosopher, Ozzy Osbourne. Using that weighty material, the pair suggests if we had fewer guns, we'd have fewer shootings. It's a simplistic argument. North Dakota, for instance, has a high rate of gun ownership and a low rate of gun homicides. How can that be, if according to Cook and Ludwig, more guns equals more homicides? They don't explain.
The pair also suggests that gun registration and licensing schemes are actually effective at stopping violent criminals, but they don't even pretend to rely on evidence for this assertion. Instead we're told that, despite the fact that 91% of homicide offenders in Chicago had previous criminal records, police can use the state's Firearms Owner Identification Card to "potentially" link a gun used in a crime to its owner. The researchers also say that these gun restrictions "provide police with a tool to keep these high-risk people from carrying guns." Obviously Cook and Ludwig haven't paid much attention to what really happens when a criminal is caught illegally carrying a gun. Most of the time he cops a plea, and is soon back out on the street. Ask the average street cop how effective these gun control laws, like "one gun a month," are in stopping criminals from using a gun. Violent criminals laugh at laws like these.
The attempts to "bust" the other myths are just as bad. Cook and Ludwig attempt to take on the supposed myth that "when more households have guns for self-defense, crime goes down." However, the pair is forced to conclude that "such arguments can't be dismissed." The two researchers argue that Chicago's gun laws are making it more difficult for criminals to get guns, so the laws should be kept on the books. Chicago's homicide rate, which is about three times higher than the national average, indicates to me that the city's gun control laws aren't working.
Finally, the researchers say that even if Chicago's gun ban is struck down as unconstitutional, crime may not rise when more people can legally own guns. That's right, after dedicating their entire column to the idea that we need more of the same failed gun control policies, Cook and Ludwig admit that Chicago's handgun ban may not be contributing to public safety.
The truth is, there's only one real myth surrounding gun control, and that's the myth that it works. It's a pretty simple fact: when you weaken the law-abiding, you make the law-breakers that much stronger. Right now the NRA is involved in a challenge to a gun ban in Delaware public housing. That ban isn't stopping violent gang members from arming themselves, but it prevents good people from being able to protect both their own life and the lives of their children ... and that's a fact.