People are Buying Guns and Ammunition for a Reason

It's 2:00 a.m.  You are at home in your bed sound asleep.  Your wife is sleeping beside you, and your children are asleep in their rooms down the hall.

The muffled sound of a window breaking interrupts your slumber.  You're groggy and you wonder if it was just a dream, so you lie there quietly and listen.  A few seconds later, you hear other sounds.  The window opens; a table beside the window makes a noise as it is jostled by an intruder; through your open door, you see reflections from a dim light that's moving from side-to-side on the floor below. 

You are your family's protector.  What should you do? 

If you are like most Americans, there is not much that you can do except pray that the intruder won't come upstairs.  In 2011, only 47% of Americans had a gun in their home or on their property.  Republicans were more likely to own a gun than Democrats, but between 2009 and 2011, gun ownership among Democrats increased by 33% compared to less than 4% for Republicans.  Obviously, people who call themselves "Democrats" are beginning to realize that something isn't right.

The scenario that I presented may sound like a nightmare situation, something that happens only rarely, but that's not the case.  According to the FBI, in 2011 there were 1,203,564 violent crimes in the United States.  That's 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people in our country.  That means that in 2011 you had a less than 1% chance of being a victim of a violent crime in the U.S., but for those who were victims, statistics didn't matter in the slightest. 

The FBI reports that aggravated assault accounted 62.4% of violent crimes committed in the U.S. in 2011; robbery was the criminals' motive 29.4% of the time; forcible rape occurred in 6.9% of the cases; and murder resulted just 1.2% of the time.  Murder may be a rare occurrence, but homicide victims are still dead and their deaths are anything but peaceful. 

According to the FBI, violent crime was down 3.8% in the U.S. in 2011, but that statistic means nothing to you if you are confronted by an intruder in your home.  Police response time to a 911 call is roughly 8 minutes, but making that call may attract the intruder's attention.  There are other sounds that are sure to get his attention as well.  For instance, there's the sound that a 12 gauge pump shotgun makes when you chamber a round, and then there's the sound of an AR 15 when you release the charging handle.  Both of those sounds will put the fear of God into anyone with any sense, and the response time of an AR 15 is 3200 feet per second.

The AR 15 is taking lots of heat because it's an "assault weapon," but if an intruder breaks into your home and threatens your family, as far as you are concerned it's just an effective weapon.  High capacity magazines are under attack as well, but despite what you hear from pandering politicians, those magazines enable you to fire freely so that your attacker has to advance on you and your family through a wall of bullets. 

According to the FBI, in 2011, 67.7% of murders, 41.3% of robberies, and 21.2% of aggravated assaults involved guns.  If someone is brazen enough to break into your home, it's a safe bet that he's armed and dangerous.  Most criminals aren't stupid, though.  Few of them are willing to die to prove their manhood, to steal your property, or to commit any other offense.  Even if they are armed, they aren't excited about engaging in a gunfight.  When they hear those sounds that I mentioned, most of them will beat a hasty retreat, and they'll probably be miles away from your house by the time the police arrive -- that is if you have a gun.  But if you don't have a gun, you may become another statistic.

It should come as no surprise that when gun ownership increases, the incidence of crime decreases.  People are buying guns and ammunition for a reason.  That's true in Connecticut as well where the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre took place.  They aren't fools.  Most of them follow the news, and almost every day they see the president on television engaging in open class warfare.  They see his stooges on television, too, people like Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and Andy Stern, former president of SEIU.  They have done everything except declare war on job providers because they want to collect dues from every worker in America.  Make no mistake about it: they are in it for the money.

The president and his flunkies should realize that there are consequences for incitement.  But even if they don't, sane people (i.e., responsible people) do.  They are buying guns and ammunition as insurance to protect themselves and their families if and when the need arises.  When the dust settles, they will think long and hard about the wisdom of limiting their options at a time when the need is great and the threat level is increasing. 

As public sentiment regarding guns shifts, most of those pandering politicians will do what they do best -- change their tune to avoid defeat at the polls thus leaving the president high and dry.  They know that Barack Obama will not be there to protect them in 2016, and his power will wane between now and 2014.  That's the nature of politics.

Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog,, is posted daily.

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