Since 2006 there have been 223 mass murders – 55 of which did not use a gun. Just over 50% of these mass killings were committed against the assailants own family. That’s 112 families of 4 or more that were murdered by a loved one. Are we missing the mark when focusing on the murder tool rather than the individual committing murder? Is this an issue of gun control or a much deeper issue about people and their behavior?
Kurt Wallace for Rare: According to a USA Today report, over the last seven years there have been 223 mass killings defined by the FBI as four or more people dying. Thirty-one cases were robbery/burglary, 36 cases were public killings, but the most staggering statistic is 112, over 50 percent, committed mass murder by killing four or more of their own family.
It’s an endless gun debate with a vicious cycle that may be missing the mark. Is there something we’re missing in the discussion that gun rights activists and gun control activists could be strange bedfellows in curbing the violence we all can agree is a symptom of insanity people who commit these terrible tragedies? Here to discuss is Larry Pratt.
He is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. And Larry, it’s good to have you with us.
Larry Pratt: Well, thank you. Good to be with you.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: What if guns never existed? We still had knives, bow and arrows, explosive materials, tasers, bats, rocks, what have you. Would this mean that less people would die or would it also mean that less people have the ability to protect themselves?
Larry Pratt: It’s the latter. And we know from FBI statistics that guns are used at least four times more in self-defense everyday than they are to commit any kind of crime, let alone murder. Guns are the best thing that women, the elderly, the smaller among us have, for self-defense. Otherwise, the big folks would have an advantage in committing their crimes and the gun is quite a bit of an equalizer, and the data make it very clear we’re better off with guns.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: Between those who support gun legislation to control it and those who support getting the government out of our way and they’re pro-second amendment, we kind of have a vicious cycle. And there’s an article today in PolicyMic that said, “The sad reality of the vicious gun-control debate cycle is that America has become desensitized to mass killings, not in the sense that we don’t feel for the victims of the latest tragedy, but in the sense that we’ve lost the energy to believe that there can be any real solution in the gun-control debate that can actually help prevent future massacres.”
Now, I wonder if the cause-and-effect that we’re talking about here is deeper than guns themselves. 36 cases were public killings: 112 — over 50 percent– were families. People killing their own family — four or more. Where is the solution?
Larry Pratt: Well, for one thing, the ones that are committed in public are all committed in “gun-free zones” — legally imposed in gun-free zones. So we could start by getting rid of the laws that say that you can’t have a gun in the school. You can’t have a gun in the mall, whatever it might be and recognize that people have a right to protect themselves. And we could go a long way to putting an end to that kind of crime if we would simply eliminate gun-free zones. One of the more dramatic examples of how these mass killings can be stopped occurred in Clackamas, Oregon at a mall, which under Oregon law was able to say no guns. A mass murderer went there and obviously intending to commit murder on a mass scale, but he was stopped after he had killed two people because nearby was another gun owner who actually — had he been outside the mall would have been legally carrying concealed at a permit — heard the sounds of the shots, ran toward the shooter, the shooter saw him with his gun — which, by that time was at his hand, and the murderer committed suicide – did not become a mass murder — because there was a good guy with a gun. Somewhat in the same vein, the creep that committed the murders in the theater in Aurora, CO went by six other theaters that did not have a posting “No guns,” and he chose to commit his crime in the theater that was posted “No guns.” It seems to me we can start there in order to eliminate some of the crimes by making it so that people can defend themselves.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: In the case where we’re dealing with over 50 percent dealing with families, what is a solution that we could start to look at that those who are interested in gun control and those who are interested in gun freedom could come together and deal with something more core, something deeper?
Larry Pratt: Well, we could start by not releasing murderers from jail. It would be an improvement if we would execute them. But for goodness sakes, let’s not put them back out on the streets, because recidivism among murderers is well over 60 percent. So the authorities are saying, “Eh, you know, too bad. We’re going to let these guys kill some more.” That’s crazy.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: That’s a staggering statistic — 60 percent. So, when we’re dealing with these kinds of issues — 55 cases out of 223 of the mass killings — were without a gun.
Larry Pratt: That’s another problem for those who think restricting guns more than they are is somehow going to change the nature of the human condition. We are what we are. The Bible says we are a fallen people. And the first murder, interestingly, was committed early on, and there’s no indication whatsoever of what kind of instrument Cain used to kill his brother Abel, whether he had a knife, a rock, a stick. Apparently that was not of any great interest to God. He simply dealt with Cain and he had to pay for his own crime. So, the idea that somehow, we’re going to get rid of some murder if we restrict guns just doesn’t pass the laugh test.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: Now, is there something that gun owners can do to promote unity to stop some of this insane violence that is occurring in our society regardless of what weapon is used?
Larry Pratt: We found that there is a way to make some progress. There are four states now that have laws saying, “If you want to carry a gun, have a nice day No permit required from your employee, the government, who is going to decide whether you, our boss, can protect yourself with a gun.” We have, therefore, well, let’s see, we’ve used the president’s data — we have 53 more states to go. But this has been an act of legislative consideration in many state legislatures recently and hopefully we’re going to see more and more states coming into line with the Constitution, saying we don’t have any business deciding if you can carry a gun.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. Thank you for spending some time with us today.
Larry Pratt: Well, thank you for having me with you. Appreciate it.
Mr. Wallace is the host of Rare talk radio, and is a father, writer and “liberty “propagandist.” He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mr. Pratt is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America.