The chairman of the Congress’ Second Amendment Task Force hosted a briefing for Capitol Hill staffers that included John Lott, the economist author of “More Guns, Less Crime;” Ron Dickson, the promoter of one of the country’s biggest gun shows and representatives of from both Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association.
“Like all Americans, I mourn with the families who have lost loved ones as a result of horrific, unconscionable shootings,” said Rep. Paul C. Broun Jr., (R.-Ga.), who is a safari hunter and a physician.
“I chair the Second Amendment Task Force because the 2nd Amendment is critical to ensuring our freedom in this country,” said Broun.
“We’re hosting speakers like Mr. Dickson and Dr. Lott to provide statistical, factual responses to some of the false charges and shaky claims coming from the Administration and others who want to restrict our constitutional right to bear arms,” he said. “We must, as a nation, find ways to prevent this violence from continuing to tear at our society. But the proposals out of this Administration would do little to accomplish anything other than disarming law-abiding citizens.”
Lott began his detailed presentation to the staffers in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building with remarks where he said defenders of gun rights often rely on the Constitution and the Second Amendment in their arguments. “I argue differently, to me and for most people in the middle of the debate, you have to argue safety.”
The fact is that guns make people safer, not more vulnerable, he said. Lott started his research for what became the book “More Guns, Less Crime,” seeking to prove statistically that guns are dangerous, but the data kept showing that the opposite was true.
When people argue that gun laws are ignored by criminals, so they have no effect, Lott said, “No, they actually make things more dangerous.”
Look at the simple gun bans, he said.
“We tried that here in D.C., tried it in Chicago and places around the world, they have tried it—and I can’t find a single place that has had a ban on guns, that has seen its murder rate fall,” he said.
Even when island nations ban guns, their murder rate does not go down, he said. “You often see very dramatic increases in the murder rate, instead.”
Lott said to the staffers that he was in Colorado the April 20, 1999 morning of the Columbine High School shooting at the invitation of legislators there who were scheduled to vote that day to restore concealed carry rights in the state.
The economist was in the air flying back to east when Eric D. Harris and Dylan B. Klebold executed their spree-shooting throughout their school, he said. The concealed carry bill vote in the state assembly was not held.
Later, Lott said before the shooting Kelbold had written letters to legislators against the concealed carry, and to his mind, they chose their day for the shooting because of the concealed carry vote scheduled that day.
Both shooters mortally shot themselves at the high school as police waiting outside for the shooting to end.
Dickson addressed the room in a commanding voice and wore a necktie pin shaped like an old-fashioned Colt revolver.
“Everybody talks about the ‘gun show loophole,” he said.
“Do you know what the gun show loophole is?” he asked.
“It’s called the Constitution,” he said to the more than 50 staffers from both Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
The actual gun show loophole is the fact that transactions between two individuals who both live in the same state where the transaction takes place do not require a background check.
There was a study done where inmates were asked where they got the guns for their criminal activity and less than 1 percent of the criminals got their guns at gun shows, he said.
Dickson said the reason the Democrats are pushing for the universal background checks because it is popular.
“Doesn’t it sound nice? Who would be against a background check?” he said.
Whoever controls the database and the background check process can approve or disapprove gun sales, he said.
The truth of the matter is that if all gun transaction has to go through a federal government computer, the government could very easily throw the switch and shut down gun sales across the country until the computer comes back online, he said.
“With the universal background check, you no longer have the right to own a gun in the United States without the pre-approval of the United States government,” he said.
“Where does it say in the Second Amendment that you have to ask for your rights?” he said.
“There are 250 gun show promoters in the United States, this weekend, this coming weekend, there will be at least 40 gun shows in the United States—that’s how popular they are,” he said. “That’s why the Democrats and the liberal people want to shut them down.”