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CPRC in the New York Daily News: "The myth of American gun violence"

JUNE 24, 2015 . JOHN R LOTT

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at Wednesday, June 24, 5.38 AM

John Lott's piece at the New York Daily News starts this way:

To see this isn't just a problem for the U.S. or a few small countries, Obama doesn't need to look any further than reports released by his own State Department. Between 2007 and 2011, there were an average of 6,282 terrorist attacks per year outside of Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. The number of people killed, injured or kidnapped averaged more than 27,000 per year.

On Friday, Obama claimed once again that, "You don't see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth."

Among developed countries, however, the U.S. isn't anywhere close to having the highest homicide rate. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the arbiter of which countries are considered industrialized, ranks Russia and Brazil far ahead of the U.S., with homicide rates that are respectively 2 1/2 to five times higher than ours. Our rate was tied with Chile's, and just slightly above the average for developed countries.

In fact, across all developed countries, more gun ownership is generally associated with lower homicide rates. Switzerland, with widespread gun ownership, enjoys one of the lowest homicide rates in Europe. At the other end of the spectrum, Russia and Brazil make legal gun ownership virtually impossible, yet experience very high homicide rates.

Obama advocates expanded background checks. But background checks clearly would not have stopped either the Newtown or Charleston killings. In one case, the killer got his weapon from a relative; in the other, he appears to have passed a background check . Besides, such mass shootings are also almost always planned long in advance, giving the attacker plenty of time to figure out how to obtain a gun.

How difficult is it to keep weapons out of the hands of would-be attackers? The terrorists who attacked in France this January were armed with handguns, Kalashnikov rifles, an M42 rocket launcher, 10 Molotov cocktails, 10 smoke grenades, a hand grenade and 15 sticks of dynamite. So much for the laws prohibiting all of these items.

There is a common thread: Many of these attacks occur in places where general citizens can't carry guns. According to one of his friends, the Charleston killer initially considered targeting the College of Charleston but decided against it because it had security personnel.

This logical behavior on the part of attackers is common. It is abundantly clear from diary entries and Facebook posts that the shooters last year in Santa Barbara, Calif., and New Brunswick, Canada, passed on potential targets where people with guns could stop them.

With virtually all of the mass public shootings in America and Europe taking place where general citizens can't carry guns for protection, at some point it has to become apparent even to die-hard gun control advocates that gun-free zones only protect the killers.

Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime."