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Please, don't get started even before finishing to read this article.
Here at ALL4SHOOTERS.COM, we are perfectly aware of the fact that most of our readers are not based in the United States but in Europe, South America and Asia, where local gun politics are much harsher and the opinion that politicians and high-rank Law Enforcement officials have about privately-owned guns and civilian gun ownership in general is all but positive.
However, as you know, we have sworn multiple times to uphold the right to keep and bear arms of all people, anywhere in the world, as a basic human right. We believe that public servants shouldn't be allowed to maintain staunchly anti-gun stances, as they are offensive for an entire category of law-abiding citizens − legal gun owners, which are seen as potential criminals and murderers with no proof whatsoever of them being really dangerous. From Italy to Germany, from the United Kingdom to the Philippines, from India to Brazil and Argentina, however, day after day these persons must accept to be pointed out as "potentially dangerous" individuals by public administrators and high-rank Law Enforcement officials, who show to be unworthy of their role.
The fact that many United States citizens have the same problem with many local, State and federal law enforcement agencies and officials is of very little comfort.
The current U.S. Administration has poor or no sympathy at all for gun owners, despite the fact that the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America clearly states that « A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.»
Same goes for the highest ranks of several very important Police departments: law enforcement chiefs in the biggest U.S. cities often speak out in favour of stricter gun control, and advocate that Police officers should be the sole individuals ever allowed to carry firearms in public. Furthermore, high-rank members of local, State and federal law enforcement agencies called for stricter regulations, or outright bans, on military sporting rifles − often addressed to as "assault weapons" − and detachable magazines holding over ten rounds of ammunition.
As a matter of fact, America's biggest cities − New York, Washington, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco − have the strictest gun control regulations in the United States.
In some States − such as Massachussets or Illinois − obtaining a FOID ("Firearm Owner's Identification Document") that allows its holder to purchase firearms to keep at home and to use for hunting or sports shooting − but not to carry them for self-defense! − is today even harder than it is to obtain a standard gun license in most European Countries!
However, said anti-gun stances is not common to all law enforcement operators in the Country. Definitely most Sheriffs and local Chiefs of Police in rural or suburban areas don't share these restrictive points of view − but most notably, neither do the average beat cops in the bigger cities!
Outside of the small world of the "politicians in uniform" − high-rank Police officials in metropolitan or State departments, who are closer to the political Èlites than they are to the average law enforcement professionals! − only a negligible number of U.S. Police officers see civilian gun ownership as a negative phenomenon. As a matter of fact, most of them see them as a useful resource, and they learned this fact the hard way, patrolling the streets of towns and cities with strict gun control laws and regulations which (unsurprisingly!) have no effect in making criminals harmless, and even make the crooks more bold in their actions as their potential victims are disarmed and defenseless by statute!
Should we take the word of the NRA or some other pro-gun association?
No... we should take the word of PoliceOne.com, the biggest on-line community for U.S. law enforcement professionals and the biggest LEO-dedicated Internet portal in north America.
In march, PoliceOne.com conducted the Gun Policy & Law Enforcement Survey 2013, that was answered in nine days by 15.595 verified Police professionals from all over the United States: 76.2% of them were active, 18.7% were retired, 5.2% were neither − e.g. temporarily assigned to other duties.
The results were surprisingly positive for law-abiding gun owners, and leave very little or no room at all for the pipe-dreams of those who advocate stricter gun control measures as a "necessary measure to improve public safety". Police professionals who risk their lives daily in the world's biggest and most dangerous cities beg to differ: as a matter of fact, 26.5% of the Police offircers who took part to the survey declared to be part of a small department (25 to 100 men in the force), while a good 19.3% declared to be part of a large local, State or federal agency with over 1000 operators in force.
30.5% of them declared to be a simple Police officer; 20.4% of them declared to be a Sergeant, 9.8% of them declared to be a Police detective, while 10.5% of them declared to be "Other", assigned to different duties. Higher ranks, from Lieutenant and up to Chief of Police, were definitely marginal in number.
This means that most of the verified U.S. Police officers who answered the PoliceOne.com survey are these very same "men in blue" who patrol the streets every day, and make their own opinion basing on what they see and live every day.
44.1% of the verified Police officers who took part in the survey considered the gun violence issue in their jurisdiction as "average", with 39.8% of them considering it "low" and merely 16.1% of them considering it "significant"... another proof of how the number of gun-related crimes in the United States is actually much lower than what the anti-gun front would like us to believe.
Actually, we already knew that... just like we knew that here in Europe, it's even lower. In the latest European Commission's White Paper advocating stricter gun control measures, it's clearly stated that the number of gun-related deaths in the entire European Union amounts to ten thousands in a decade: that's one thousand a year, in TWENTY-SEVEN COUNTRIES. And this also includes gun-related accidents, suicides, and criminals murdered by their accomplices or killed in self-defense by Police officers, Private Security operators and simple citizens while they were attempting to commit a felony. That's hardly an emergency − particularly considering how, in the year 2011 alone, more than 30.000 people died on the roads of the European Union, and ten years before, the death toll for road traffic accidents had hit a historical high of 54.000 Europe-wide.
U.S. Police officers have a clear idea of what is happening and what should be done in America about guns.
60.6% of them think that the passage of the gun control legislation pushed earlier this year by the White House (and killed in Congress) would have had no effect in impriving Police officers' safety, and 24.6% of them thought that said legislation would have had a negative effect on their safety.
Hard to understand? Not really. Most Law Enforcement officials in the United States trust legally armed citizens, and are confident that they may actually provide help in case of an emergency.
It occurred multiple times to undergunned, overpowered Police officers in the United States to be saved by legally armed individuals; similar episodes made headlines several times even this year. In such a vast Country as the United States of America, Police officers serving in rural and State departments often have to patrol vast areas alone, with little or no hope to obtain quick backup when needed. By statute and by common law, Police officers in the United States can "deputize" citizens if they require their help to face an emergency situation: that's called a Posse Comitatus. With civilians disarmed by decree, and thus unable to provide assistance when needed, Police officers may find themselves in deadly disadvantage situations − and they know it.
PoliceOne's survey also busts one of the anti-gun front's most supported myths − the one concerning the need to ban dangerous "assault weapons" (a monicker invented to designate modern sporting rifles so to make people mistake them for machineguns and fraudulently obtain support for their ban!) on "public safety" grounds.
Well, 71% of the Police officers who answered to the PoliceOne Survey thinks that a federal ban on "assault weapons" would have no effect on reducing violent crime, and 20.5% of them thinks that a ban on "assault weapons" would have negative consequences.
Same goes for "high-capacity magazines", these detachable pistol and rifle magazines holding more than ten rounds which the anti-gun lobby in the United States would like to see banned from private ownership.
95.7% of all interviewed Officers stated that, in their opinion, a ban on "high capacity magazines" would have no effect in reducing violent crime.
So, appearently U.S. Police officers − unlike most of their superiors and foreign colleagues − have great confidence in law-abiding armed citizens: 91.3% of Police officers who took part to the survey supports concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not deemed psychologically or medically incapable, without question and without further restrictions, Furthermore, 54.7% of them thinks that the role of legally-armed citizens in reducing crime rates is very important, topping 5 on a scale from 1 to 5.
Of course, some of the questions in the survey came to touch delicate matters, such as school shooting or mass murders. But even when it comes to the Sandy Hook and Aurora tragedies, 80% of Police officers thinks that the presence of legally-armed citizens in the place when the shootings took place would have been enough to reduce the death toll; 6.2% got as far as to state that, being that the case, innocent victims would have been outright avoided.
Concerning a particularly hot matter in the United States − the possibility to arm teachers to that they may provide protection to schoolchildren and students in the event of a school shooting − 76.6% of the Police officers who took the poll declared to be in favour as long as said teachers are vetted, trained, and qualified yearly.
Even when it comes to some matters concerning regulation of purchasers and vetting of gun owners − hard to understand for European readers, but very hot topics in the U.S. given that many pro-gun movements consider them as infringements to 2nd Amendment rights − the Officers appear to be quite sure of what they say: 43.3% of them opposes mandatory gun safety training classes for gun owners, 44.8% opposes mental health background checks as mandatory conditions for gun transfers, 70% of them opposes a national database of gun purchases and 79.7% of them opposes a ban on private (non-dealer) transfers of firearms between individuals.
Appearently, U.S. Police officers feel personally endangered by possible restrictions on civilian gun ownership − 67.6% of them would feel personally damaged by laws limiting the availability of high-capacity magazines − and 44.8% of them feel sympathetic towards these Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police that, in the wake of recent gun control law proposals, stated their intentions not to enforce them and publicly oppose them, driving their departments' policies in opposite directions, if passed.
When specifically asked about this in two different questions found in the survey, 44.9% of them stated that, if they were in their shoes, they'd take the same decisions.
Even more: 81.5% of the interviewed Police officers stated that, in their opinion, gun buyback programs would have no effect in improving public safety.
Training for Police officers and civilians seems to be taken in way superior consideration as a deterrent against crime: 59.9% of the interviewed officers carries a gun when off-duty, 66.6% of them regularly trains in individual marksmanship, and 63.2% provided some kind of limited training to their family members, discussing their roles in certain case-specific situations.
But, if guns are not a cause for violence, why there's so much bloodshed in America? And how should the problem be addressed?
With their real-life street experience, the interviewed Police officers have their opinions, and their straightforward suggestions. They put the blame on the decline of family values and parenthood, on some popular culture, on social inequalities and lenient sentences and easy parole for violent criminals.
A vast majority of them − 91.4% − endorses harsher sentences with no plea bargains for crimes committed with guns; 58.8% of them calls for harsher sentences for arms trafficking and straw purchases; 19.6% of them would endorse a more aggressive institutionalization of dangerously insane individuals, and 15.8% of them would call for an increase of armed Private Security personnel presence in certain high-risk places such as schools, hospitals, or shopping malls.
More generally speaking, 28.8% of them (the vast majority of those who answered to the specific question, which had multiple options and was severely fragmented in answers) think that more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians would be important in reducing criminal acts, mass shootings and terror attacks.
So, let's get this straight: a lot of people out there thinks that Police officers should be the only individuals allowed to carry a gun, but Police officers themselves disagree.
Their opinion seems to be corroborated by data analysis of most recent gun attacks on schools and public places in the United States − with outcomes going towards a totally different direction than what the anti-gun lobbies would suggest, starting from the facts on the victims number: mass shootings stopped by the intervention of armed civilians have an average death toll of 2.33 victims, while if the attacker has to be stopped by Law Enforcement, the death toll skyrockets to an average of 14.29; another confirm comes from a recently thwarted shooting at the Arapahoe High School in Colorado: a gun attack was ended in about 80 seconds when a legally armed school employee confronted the shooter, who had just wounded a student and was preparing for more bloodshed. When confronted by an armed citizen, the shooter decided no to fight back and to take his own life instead.
Want further facts? Here they come: less than 2% of all murders committed yearly in the United States see the use of so-called "assault weapons". More specifically, American citizens are three times more likely to die in a traffic accident or because of medical malpractice than by gunshot.
In the wake of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault that took place in September in Nairobi (Kenya), even INTERPOL Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble spoke out in support of armed citizenship as a resource to prevent acts of terrorism and mass shootings. The message seems to be quite clear: let law-abiding gun owners alone, let them exercise their rights for the common good.
And that's not a message coming from some wicked "Gun Lobby" association: it comes from highly-trained, experienced law enforcement professionals, the "Thin Blue Line", these men and women who put their lifes at stake in some of the world's most chaotic cities to defend the common good and uphold law and justice.
According to the anti-gun lobbies, the persons who wear a Police uniforms should be the only ones entitled to have and carry guns: these very same persons don't want to be the only ones to have and carry guns!
That's a very powerful message that all European, American and international anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats should take into serious consideration.
Maybe the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, and the other gun grabbers in the European Commission should stop thinking of new ways to strip law-abiding EU citizens of their gun rights, and should instead start wondering what would have happened on July 22nd, 2011, if somebody else other than Anders Behring Breivik would have been carrying a gun on Utøya island. Probably the sociopath extreme right-wing extremist would have been stopped dead in his tracks before taking sixty-nine innocent lives and permanently scarring sixty-six more!