Ignorance No Longer An Excuse

"GUILTY of criminal negligence", so saith the court, "for denying the right of self-protection."

Will this be the outcome of your decision?

Not since the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968 has the debate in America been so intense about firearms and the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

In less than two-years time several barbaric shootings by students of their fellow classmates and teachers has prompted outrage among our citizens. Emotions are so inflamed that what is occurring can not by any means be called a debate of the issues. The rhetoric is hot and impassioned … and often facts, knowledge and reason are the casualties left bleeding from the engagements.

Although millions of Americans own, carry, and use firearms peacefully, their significant numbers are nevertheless a minority. This means there is a good possibility that people in the position to make decisions affecting the ownership and purchase of firearms and handguns in particular have no direct knowledge about firearms. Firearms and the facts about them are not something they are versed in at all.

Therefore these people, these decision makers, are most likely to be have their opinions affected by the headlines of the day and by statements proclaimed by advocates and pundits.

What can be the result of making irrevocable decisions based on a lack of information or false information? Who are these decision makers? Are you one of them?

Policies and decisions have and will be made that, literally, affect life and death.

They are made by corporate executives, personnel directors, shop keepers, press and broadcast reporters and journalists, judges, lawyers, legislators, bureaucrats, police officers, and voters. Here are a few examples:

  • Shall I ban legal firearms from the workplace even when held by employees licensed to carry such firearms?
  • Shall I also ban these same law abiding citizens from having a legal firearm stored in their vehicle if parked on company property?
  • Shall I ask at the time of employment if an applicant owns firearms? Has a concealed-carry permit? Is a member of a shooting or hunting club? Is a member of a pro-firearms organization?
  • Shall I refuse to allow employees to legally carry a firearm while working in my store? Even if my business is open to the public late at night? Even if they handle large amounts of money or valuable items?
  • Shall I ban customers from entering my place of business with a legally concealed firearm? How will I know … metal detectors at the entries? Will I allow entry if they temporarily store them in a lock-box that I provide?
  • As a journalist or reporter, will I fact-check statements made regarding firearms before repeating it in print or broadcast? Even if such statements undermine my own opinion of the issue? If my repeating false or misleading information can be shown to have affected the outcome of a public referendum and is later discovered to be false, can I be held liable? If not legally liable, liable in the court of public opinion?
  • As a legislator, should I cast a deciding vote on a firearms related matter based on emotion and the current public sentiment or on known facts? Should I adhere to a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution? My own state's constitution? Will my vote inadvertently lead to the death of innocent, unprotected people?
  • As a voter, will my vote prevent a fellow citizen from defending his life, his spouse, his children, his property? What if that fellow citizen is a member of my own family or a close friend? What will be the consequences of my vote?
  • If as a result of any of these decisions I may make, an innocent, defenseless citizen is killed or injured by a criminal or deranged person MAY I BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IN CRIMINAL OR CIVIL COURT? If my decision effectively prevents someone from defending themselves, AM I NOT AT FAULT? How will I ever be able to live with myself and look in the mirror?

If you are a decision maker, either by virtue of office or position. If you are a voter. Then I suggest that you DO inform yourself because the day will come when you WILL be forced to make a decision.

Every single item that follows is fact, not fiction. Complete references are at the end of this document. DO NOT make a life-and-death decision and say you were ignorant of the facts … the facts are here for you now.


(collected by Paul Gallant)


  • In 1990, a convicted felon could expect to serve the following prison time:
    1.8 years for murder,
    60 days for rape,
    23 days for robbery,
    6.7 days for arson, and
    6.4 days for aggravated assault.

    According to a U.S. Justice Department survey in 17 states, of felony offenders placed on probation in 1986, 43% were re-arrested on other felony charges within 3 years of their release. (1)
  • Passage of the Brady Law in 1994 has not been accompanied by a statistically significant decline in murder or robbery. It has been associated with significant increases in rape and aggravated assaults, presumably from the increased difficulty encountered by law-abiding citizens in obtaining firearms for self-defense. (2)
  • In 1987, Florida's concealed-carry law went from "may-issue" to "shall-issue" (also known as "Right-To-Carry," or RTC). This meant that issuing authorities must provide a concealed-carry handgun license to all qualified applicants. Other states followed suit, and modeled their own RTC laws after Florida's.

    On 4/7/98 (the latest date such figures were available), Florida's Dept of Law Enforcement announced that the state's murder rate had dropped, again, in 1997, just as it had in each of the 5 previous years. The additional drop marked the lowest murder rate experienced by "Dodge City East" since 1933. (3)
  • In 1982, Kennesaw, GA (pop. 17,000) passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their home, exempting those with criminal records or religious objections.

    Seven months after it took effect, the residential burglary rate dropped 89%, vs. 10.4% statewide. Since 1982, only 2 murders have occurred (1984 and 1989), both committed with knives. (4)
  • Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crime. The reduction corresponds very closely to the number of concealed-handgun licenses issued. On average, murder rates in states banning concealed-carry are 127% higher than in states having the most liberal carry laws. A 1% increase in firearm ownership reduces violent crime by 4.1%. Large, densely populated urban areas benefit the most from concealed-carry laws. (5)
  • Ordinary, law-abiding Americans use guns defensively 2.5 million times, or more, each year. About 75% of these instances are with handguns. That translates to rapes prevented, injuries avoided, medical costs saved, and property protected. (6)
  • Firearms provide the safest and most effective means of resisting violent criminal attack. For robbery and assault, resistance by defenders armed with a gun leads to termination of the incident with the smallest chance of injury to the victim. In U.S. government studies, victims resisting robbery with a gun were injured 17.4% of the time. Those who did nothing at all were injured 24.7% of the time. Those who used non-violent resistance, like trying to run away, were injured 35.9% of the time. Those who resisted with a knife were injured 40.3% of the time.

    For assault, injury rates were 12.1%, 27.3%, 25.5%, and 29.5%, respectively. While 17.4% of those who resisted robbery with a gun were injured overall, this includes victims who were first injured before they used their guns; less than 6% of robbery victims were injured after using a gun to resist. (7)
  • Women who carry concealed handguns provide a greater margin of safety for other women. While murder rates decline when either more men or more women carry concealed handguns, the drop is even greater among women than among men. Rapists are particularly susceptible to the deterrence of a potentially armed woman. (5)
  • Increased incidents of "road rage" from allowing more citizens to carry guns have not materialized. In the 31 states where it is currently legal for citizens to carry a concealed handgun, there have been no documented instances of such acts by armed law-abiding citizens. (2)
  • Armed defenders lose their guns to an attacker less than 1% of the time. (7)
  • The net value of private firearm ownership - the dollar savings from defensive gun use, minus the costs of "gun-violence" - has been estimated at up to $38.9 billion, annually. (8)
  • So-called "assault weapons" are military look-alike semi-automatic firearms, and are exactly the same as guns which have been around for over 100 years — only their looks have changed. Semi-automatic firearms do not "spray" bullets, and are not machine guns - they require a separate pull of the trigger for each shot to be fired, just like a revolver - and are used in 3% or less of all firearm-related crimes. They are the most modern tools the law-abiding citizen can use for self-defense and protection of home and family. They are especially valuable for physically handicapped victims. (9)
  • In 1856, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that local law-enforcement had no duty to protect individuals, but only a general duty to enforce the laws. (10) In 1982, the U.S. Court of Appeals held that "there is no Constitutional right to be protected by the state against criminals or madmen. The Constitution does not require Federal or State government to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order." (11)
    [See a thorough examination of this subject by TYSK]
  • In Great Britain, handguns are outlawed, and possession of long guns is severely restricted. Yet, despite strict gun control, as of 1995, rates for robbery, assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft in England and Wales had surpassed those here in the States. On average, for all 4 crimes, English rates were double U.S. rates. (12)


  • Deaths and injuries from mass public shootings (like Jonesboro AR, and Littleton CO) fall dramatically after RTC concealed-handgun laws are enacted. Where data was available, both before and after passage of such laws, the average death rate from mass shootings plummeted by up to 91% after such laws took effect, and injuries dropped by over 80%! (2,13)
  • Armed with a hunting rifle, 16-year-old Luke Woodham killed his ex-girlfriend and her close friend, then wounded 7 other students, in 1997 at a high school in Pearl, Mississippi. Assistant Principal Joel Myrick retrieved a handgun from his car, and interrupted Woodham's shooting spree, holding him at bay until police arrived. Earlier that morning, Woodham had stabbed his mother to death. (14)

    A similar script played out in 1998 in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, when local merchant James Strand used his shotgun to "coax" 14-year old Andrew Wurst into dropping his gun, and surrendering to police. Wurst had just killed one teacher, wounded another and two classmates. (14)
  • "...the recent rash of public school shootings...raise[s] questions about the unintentional consequences of laws. The five public school shootings [which occurred during the 1997-98 school year] took place after a 1995 federal law banned guns (including permitted concealed handguns) within a thousand feet of a school. The possibility exists that attempts to outlaw guns from schools, no matter how well meaning, may have produced perverse effects.

    "It is interesting to note that during the 1977 to 1995 period [of our study], 15 shootings took place in schools in states without right-to-carry laws and only one took place in a state with this type of law. There were 19 deaths and 97 injuries in states without the law, while there was one death and two injuries in states with the law." (13)
  • A July 1993 U.S. Department of Justice study found that "boys who own legal firearms...have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use [than those who obtained them illegally] and are even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns." It concluded that, "for legal gun owners, socialization appears to take place in the family; for illegal gun owners, it appears to take place 'on the street' ". (15)


  • In 1994, fatal firearms accidents dropped 11% from 1993 figures, to the lowest annual number since record-keeping began in 1903. They dropped even lower by almost 7% in 1995. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, fires, drownings, poisonings, suffocation, and other accidents all accounted for more deaths than did firearm accidents. Among children aged 0-14 years, there were 185 fatal firearms accidents, vs. 500 per year in the mid-1970s. (16)
  • In 1993, there were 1,334 drownings and 528 firearm-related accidental deaths from ages 0-19. While firearms outnumber pools by a factor of over 30:1, the risk of drowning in a pool is nearly 100 times higher than from a firearm-related accident. From ages 0-5, the risk of drowning skyrockets to 500 times the risk from a gun! (16,17)
  • "Trigger-lock" laws don't equal safety. While California has such a law on the books, it saw a 12% increase in fatal firearm accidents in 1994. Texas doesn't have one, and experienced a 28% decrease, instead. (16) "Trigger-locks" do, however, render guns inaccessible for self-defense.
  • Accident and suicide rates are unaffected by the passage of Right-To-Carry concealed handgun laws. (2)
  • Suicide rates fluctuate independently of gun control laws and gun ownership. Banning guns will not affect the suicide rate -- other equally deadly implements would only be substituted in their place. (18)


  • The scholarship on the 2nd Amendment overwhelmingly agrees that it protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and not simply the right to arm the "militia." (19)
  • In 1982, the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution evaluated the historical record, and unanimously came to the same conclusion. (20)
  • From "Survey of Police Officers in Lehigh and Northampton Counties" by Stephen L. Christopoulos: In addition, my Internet search uncovered many dozens of articles from law review journals which dealt with the subject of the Second Amendment. Dr. Edgar Suter, MD reports that "[o]f the 11 peer-reviewed articles claiming the Second Amendment is a collective states' right, 5 are by employees of Handgun Control, Inc. or the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence and 3 are students. Of the 51 peer-reviewed articles noting that the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right of the people to keep and bear arms, 4 are by attorneys employed by the National Rifle Association. Excluding students and employees of lobbying organizations then, 47 support the individual right view and 3 support the collective right view." (21)
  • On April 7, 1999, U. S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings in U.S.A. vs Timothy J. Emerson (Criminal Action No. 6:98-CR-103-C)  found that an examination of (a) English History, (b) Colonial Right to Bear Arms, (c) The Ratification Debates, and (d) Drafting of the Second Amendment all show clearly that the right was meant as an individual protection. The Judge repeatedly cited relevant English and Colonial laws, quoted from numerous founding fathers, and provided a crucial history lesson on how, "Without that individual right [to bear arms], the colonists never could have won the Revolutionary War." (22)


1. Reynolds M, Caruth W; "Myths About Gun Control"; National Center for Policy Analysis, 1992

2. Lott J; "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws"; University of Chicago; 1998

3. Florida Department of State documents

4. "Kennesaw Update"; The New American, 6/10/96

5. Lott J, Mustard D; "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns"; Journal of Legal Studies; Vol 26(1); Jan 97

6. Kleck G, Gertz M; "Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun"; Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; Vol 86 1, Fall 1995

7. Kleck G; Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control; Aldine de Gruyter; NY 1997

8. National Center for Policy Analysis, March 1999

9. Suter E; "Assault-Weapons" Revisited - An Analysis of the AMA Report; Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, May 1994

10. South v. Maryland, 59 US (HOW) 396, 15 L.Ed.433 (1856)

11. Bowers v. DeVito, US Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit 686F.2d 616 (1982)

12. "Crime and Justice in the United States and England and Wales, 1981-1996"; U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics; October 1998

13. Lott J, Landes W; "Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement"; University of Chicago, Working Paper 73, 1999

14. "How to Stop Mass Public Shootings"; Lott J; The L.A. Times 3/25/98

15. U.S. Department of Justice study

16. National Center for Health Statistics

17. National Spa and Pool Institute

18. Suter E; "Guns in the Medical Literature: A Failure of Peer Review"; Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, Mar 1994

19. Reynolds H, Kates D; "The Second Amendment and States' Rights: A Thought Experiment"; William & Mary Law Review; Vol 36 5,8/955

20. Senate Subcommittee of the Commission of the Judiciary on The Constitution, 97th Congress, 1992

21. "Survey of Police Officers in Lehigh and Northampton Counties" by Stephen L. Christopoulos, 1997.

22. United States of America v. Timothy Joe Emerson (Criminal Action No. 6:98-CR-103-C).


The Committee for Law Abiding Gun-Owners, Rockland (LAGR)
Paul Gallant, O.D., Chairman
PO Box 354
Thiells, NY 10984-0354
914-354-9090 or (Fax) 914-354-9091
Email: 70274.1222@compuserve.com

Originally located on:
Political Women (http://www.politicalwomen.com/document.htm)

Page history:
May 1999 (original release)
(updated August 1999, ref. #22)
(revised broken links January 2003)

Please keep this document in tact
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updated 8 aug 1999
updated 9 jan 2003