by Dave Kopel
The Second Amendment is a violation of human rights.
So says China’s dictatorship and the United Nations.
The Communist Party and military clique that has ruled China since 1949 has long been one of the world’s greatest violators of human rights. Every year, the U.S. State Department publishes a series of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which detail the protection and violation of human rights in almost every nation. Of course, the annual reports describe some of the many human rights violations in China.
Galled by any criticism, since 1998 the Chinese dictatorship has been publishing an annual Human Rights Record of the United States. The 2011 document claims, “the United States turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and kept silent about it.” So the anti-U.S. report “is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the United States to people across the world and urge the United States to face up to its own doings.”
The Chinese report is available at http://tinyurl.com/c2ywh7q/.
What is the very first item in China’s litany about how terrible the United States is? The right to keep and bear arms.
The Chinese attack on the Second Amendment begins with a long paragraph of crime statistics culled from U.S. government sources and newspapers, all of which are supposed to support the claim that last year, “The crime rate surged in many cities and regions in the United States.” For example, “Grand larcenies in the subway in New York City increased from 852 in 2010 to 1,075 cases in the first nine months of 2011, a 25 percent jump.”
Perhaps it’s true that under Mayor Michael Bloomberg the New York City subways are becoming more dangerous. However, the Chinese report turns a blind eye to the true national picture: While lawful gun ownership in the United States reaches new peaks every year, violent crime is falling to historic lows. In June, the FBI released preliminary data from the Uniform Crime Reports, compiled from more than 14,000 law enforcement agencies around the nation. Homicide showed a decrease of 1.9 percent, and other major violent crimes showed a decline of 4 percent. Property crimes also showed a decrease. This crime decline has been going on for nearly two decades; in 2011, the number of homicides in the U.S. was at its lowest point since the 1950s.
Criminologists argue about the extent to which firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens have deterred or thwarted violent crime. But what can’t be denied is that our ever-lower crime rates coincide with more and more guns in our society. The theory that more guns leads to more violent crime is conclusively disproven by the American experience.
Nevertheless, the Chinese report complains that, “The United States prioritizes the right to keep and bear arms over the protection of citizens’ lives and personal security and exercises lax firearm possession control, causing rampant gun ownership.” The report then accurately lists various social science data about American gun ownership—that about half of all Americans report having guns at home; that there is approximately one gun per person in the U.S.; and that at least one-third of civilian guns in the world are in the United States.
From there, the Chinese report lists data about gun misuse, such as “over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun violence.” Like the gun prohibition groups in America, the Chinese regime uses this phrasing to convey the false impression that there are 30,000 firearm homicides in the U.S. The fact is that a large majority of gun deaths are suicides.
Thus, according to the Chinese Communists, “High incidence of gun-related crimes have long ignited complaints of the U.S. people and they stage multiple protests every year, demanding the government strictly control the private possession of arms. The U.S. government, however, fails to pay due attention to this issue.”
It’s true that there are “multiple” (at least three) anti-gun protests every year in the U.S., but they typically attract tiny crowds. For example, Jesse Jackson recently called for Father’s Day protests at 25 gun stores and ranges throughout the U.S. In Southfield, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, Jackson targeted a gun shop called Action Impact. Only three protesters—one of them a paid employee of Jackson’s organization Operation push—showed up. They were overwhelmed by a multiracial counterprotest of more than 50 Americans supporting constitutional rights (for details, see First Things First, Sept. 2012, p. 21).
Bashing Second Amendment rights has been a theme of the Chinese dictatorship’s annual anti-U.S. propaganda. For example, the 2002 report complained, “The United States is the country with the biggest number of private guns.”
That’s true. We are also the country with the biggest number of private books, private churches, private newspapers, private computers, private single-family homes and other tools and accoutrements of freedom. It is no coincidence that America is simultaneously a well-armed and prosperous nation, for both traits stem from America’s culture of freedom and individualism.
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