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The Open Society`s Closed Mind On Guns

Friday, April 20, 2001

In March, The Open Society Institute, part of the Soros Foundation Network, released "Gun Control in the United States,"a strikingly simplistic evaluation of gun laws in the 50 states. Directed by Rebecca Peters, an Australian gun prohibitionist, this document, posing as analysis, arbitrarily awards various point values to each state that has imposed gun control restrictions favored by the group.

Such restrictions include, for example, compact handgun prohibitions, gun registration and gun owner licensing, various gun sale regulations and gun storage requirements. States that do not allow local jurisdictions to impose gun laws more restrictive than state law, those that prohibit the filing of junk lawsuits against the firearm, and those that do not duplicate the federal age requirement for possessing a handgun are penalized in the Society`s point system.

Out of a maximum of 100 points possible in the system, only seven states received scores above 30%. The other 43 states, the Society claims, "lack even `basic gun control laws` [and therefore] fall below minimum standards for public safety." Twenty-three of the supposedly sub-standard states got scores of zero or below. You would never know this is a country with more than 20,000 gun laws.

The only real value in the Society`s evaluation is that it tells us the extent to which this particular anti-gun activist group favors different types of gun control laws. The Society makes no attempt to correlate the laws it favors to any effect on crime, hoping that its acknowledgment that "the relationship between particular regulatory measures and violence lies outside the scope of this survey," will pacify the average reader.

The simple truth, of course, is that the "particular regulatory measures" we know as "gun control" are absolute failures in the war on crime. Case in point: the average violent crime rate of the seven states whose gun laws the Society believes best is 21% higher than the average rate for the 43 states the Society believes are "below minimum standards for public safety." Of the 10 states that have the lowest violent crime rates in America, eight received scores of zero or below, and the Society`s favorite state, Massachusetts, has a violent crime rate five times higher than its least favorite state, Maine.

Texas has achieved its lowest homicide rate since the 1950s, but under the Society`s politically-driven grading system, the Lone Star state gets a 47th ranking. The other two of the three largest states, California and New York, were ranked 3rd and 8th best by the Society, though their violent crime rates are 41% higher and 13% higher, respectively, than that of Texas.

In the final analysis, The Open Society`s only measuring rod is its own hatred of guns—the more objectionable a law is to a law-abiding gun owner . . . the harder a law makes it for a law-abiding citizen to acquire or possess a gun . . . the closer a law moves toward a total prohibition on gun ownership, the better the Society likes it.

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