Shooting for Liberty - States competing for lowest Brady score
by Jeff Knox
The Brady Bunch has released their annual scorecard rating states based on how strict their gun laws are. The scorecard is a very useful tool to help rights groups understand how their state compares to others on a liberty scale; more points = less liberty.
Alaska, Arizona, and Utah have all achieved the coveted Zero Points/Zero Stars on the Brady scale and are now competing to see which state will be the first into negative numbers – which is possible through bonus points. Arizona and Alaska can reach a –2 point score by protecting carry rights on campuses of state colleges and universities. Utah already has such protections, but could achieve a –2 score by adopting Constitutional (permitless) Concealed Carry as Alaska and Arizona have. Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, and Oklahoma all came in with just 2 points apiece and all have a real shot at beating the leaders into negative numbers with the right combination of reforms.
The Brady Center released this latest scorecard with much hoopla and heavy breathing, but their own data clearly shows that there is no correlation between gun control and criminal violence. Crime statistics vary widely - from high to virtually non-existent among the 40 or so states Brady ranks as "poor," while several of the Brady's highest ranked states have some of the highest rates of violent crime. As a matter of fact, a full 25% of all violent crime in the US occurs in the Brady's top four states with the most severe firearms restrictions. Of course the Bradys and their political allies argue that the tight restrictions are a response to the high crime, but most of the restrictions have been in place for years, if not decades, and they have proven to be completely ineffective at reducing criminal violence.
Violent crime is a result of numerous factors, with poverty, population density, education, social and moral supports, and drug and alcohol abuse being chief among them. While it is difficult to prove whether fewer restrictions on firearms results in less crime, it is easy to demonstrate that stricter gun laws do not reduce violent crime – or accidents or suicide.
Even if strict gun laws could deter violent crime in general, that would be outweighed by the immorality of denying citizens the basic right to protect and defend themselves, their families, and their communities. These core rights cannot be justifiably discarded based on the bad behavior of a tiny minority of the population. History and an endless array of scientific studies – and the Brady's own simplistic scorecards prove that gun control laws do not save lives, do not reduce crime, and do not "protect the children," despite the hoplophobic rantings of the Brady Bunch and their so-called Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Even their name is a lie. They do not campaign to prevent gun violence, they campaign to restrict lawful access to firearms and limit legal firearms ownership. I have never seen any Brady propaganda proposing or supporting initiatives that might actually reduce violence; only an ongoing crusade against gun owners.
The Bradys do serve a useful purpose however, they highlight the threats to liberty posed by hoplophobes and politicians who don't believe the citizens can be trusted, and they give rights activists a better idea of how liberty is being subverted in various states. This latest Brady scorecard shows that the vast majority of states are effectively combating those who would infringe on the right to arms. Forty of the fifty states scored 25 points or less, while thirty one states scored 8 or less. Reports from state legislatures around the country indicate that scores will be lower next year. Virginia rights leaders are already celebrating an expected promotion to a "Red State" on next year's Brady map as they will move down at least 2 points from last year's embarrassing 12 to a much more respectable 9 points. They do acknowledge that they still have a lot of work to do though as better than half the states will still have lower scores.
We at The Firearms Coalition would like to express our thanks to the Brady Bunch and their cohorts at the Legal Community Against Violence (another deceptively named anti-rights group, which actually compiled the data the Bradys used) for providing us with this valuable information and offering incentives for states to compete in this race to preserve liberty.
To see how your state stacks up on the liberty scale, visit the Brady web site at http://www.bradycampaign.org/stategunlaws/scorecard/.
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