Gun sales surge in Newtown, already surpassing the total for all of 2012. Gun sales are also sharply rising in the rest of Connecticut. This is common after a tragedy and runs counter to the Left’s prevailing narrative that fewer guns means less crime. Academic research also refutes the Left’s claim.
Gun Control advocates would have people believe that fewer guns are the answer, not more. However, communities victimized by tragic gun shootings usually reject that position and gun sales surge after such an event. Gun sales surged after Columbine, after the Tucson, Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and in Newtown, Connecticut. Newtown, the community that experienced the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting more closely than any other community in America has seen a surge in gun sales since the tragedy occurred in December.
The Wall Street Journal reports that through July 24 th, more than 200 Newtown residents have new local firearm permits, a requirement in Connecticut in order to purchase a firearm. There were only 171 permits issued for all of 2012. The surge in Newtown coincides with an increase statewide in Connecticut, which has seen more than 91,000 firearms sales this year – on track to surpass the 127,000 gun sales processed by Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection in 2012.
Local Newtown resident, Bill Stevens said “I think people realize that you can’t call the police all the time and expect them to save you. It’s sinking in to some folks that ‘I need to take responsibility for keeping my family safe.” Newtown resident, Ryan Delp, says that fear after the Sandy Hook shooting is responsible for some of the increase, and noted a 2007 home invasion in nearby Cheshire, Connecticut that left a mother and her daughters dead also struck a chord. He says, “Obviously both situations are places where you expect to be safe.” Resident Donald Casey states “Ever since this incident, people are afraid and want to protect themselves.”
The sentiment in Newtown is common following a mass murder shooting. Background checks in Colorado spiked more than 40% immediately following the shooting in Aurora, CO, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and are up 90% in 2013. Immediately after the Tucson, AZ shooting in January 2011, that left Rep. Gabby Giffords injured and killed six, sales of handguns in Arizona jumped 60% according to FBI data. One reason for the spike in gun demand is the understandable desire for safety and self-defense. Following most large shooting events, especially if it’s close to home, many people desire to have something to protect their family.
That perspective is supported by FBI crime data and the bulk of academic research on defensive gun use. Though nationwide, gun sales have surged, gun crime in the last decade has fallen; in the last 20 years, violent crime and homicides have been cut in half. Even anti-gun researcher David Hemenway concedes that defensive gun use occurs more than 152,000 times annually. But Hemingway’s contemporaries find that Americans use guns for lawful defense more often. One study in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, contends defensive gun use is between 256,000-373,000 times annually. A Department of Justice study conducted by Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig found 1.5 million “genuine” instances of defensive gun use.A study by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, found 2.5 million annual instances of defensive gun use. Most recently, a July 2013 report “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence” from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which was ordered by President Obama,states “Defensive uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms.” Regardless of which study is the most accurate, academic research shows defensive gun use far outpaces gun crime; even Hemenway’s study demonstrates this. People inherently understand this; the science just validates it: only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with one. The surge in sales in Newtown illustrates this basic truth and shows us that despite gun control advocates sentimentality that fewer guns is better, average people – like those in Newtown – use guns more often for their own lawful defense.
By Matt MacBradaigh. Matt is a Christian, Husband, Father, Patriot, and Conservative from the Pacific Northwest. Matt writes about the Second Amendment, Gun Control, Gun Rights, and Gun Policy issues and is published on The Bell Towers, The Brenner Brief, PolicyMic. TavernKeepers, and Vocativ.
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This article also appears on The Brenner Brief. (Original publication August 21, 2013).