The title of ABC’s 20/20 program this week was promising: “If I only had a gun.”

Finally, the title suggested, a look at the benefits of firearms ownership.  A woman under attack, a homeowner being invaded, a carjack victim; if only they were armed, the outcome might have been different.  They would have been able to protect themselves.

But surprise, surprise, Diane Sawyer and 20/20 had a different agenda.  “If I only had a gun” was in fact a sarcastic title.  What they really meant was, “Don’t think that a gun would actually help you in a time of crisis, because it won’t.”

Nothing new from 20/20 here.  Ten years ago they came up with the astounding “finding” that boys will - gasp! - play with firearms given the chance.  Wow, what a shock.  My kids will pick up a banana and pretend it’s a gun.  Kids are curious and imaginative.  Parents were put on earth to protect and guide them so they are not harmed by their natural curiosity. 

On Friday 20/20 picked up where they left off in 1999, giving the impression of an epidemic of accidents involving children and guns. 

As every parent would agree, even one accidental gun death is one too many.  Anti-gunners cannot claim the high ground of caring for children more than gun owners.  But before people get so frightened that they send their guns off to the U.N. to be melted down into Volvos, let’s look at some facts. 

Here are some real numbers of accidental child deaths per year:
Cause .............................Number (Ages 0-14) .....................................Number (Ages 0-4)
Motor-vehicle ...................................2,591.............................................................819
Drowning ...........................................943.............................................................568
Fires and flames ..................................593............................................................ 327
Mechanical suffocation ........................601.............................................................508
Ingestion of food, object........................ 169 .............................................................169
Firearms ..............................................86...............................................................19
Source: Figures are for 2000. National Safety Council, Injury Facts: 2003 Edition, at 10-11, 129.

It turns out that gun owners are among the most responsible people in all of society, and have pushed accidental firearm discharges to an all-time low.  Accidental shootings have declined by over 50% over the last three decades, even as the number of gun owners has greatly increased. 

Considering the above numbers, if you really want to protect children, keep them away from cars, swimming pools and matches because children are far more likely to be killed in that manner than by an accidental shooting. 

But even that is only part of the story, because unlike automobiles, pools and matches, firearms can have tremendously positive results.  Consider: you’re in your house with your children.  The house is broken into and you find yourself face to face with a drug-crazed intruder.  Do you: a) grab your car keys; b) go for a swim; c) get your gun?

People usually talk about guns being deadly weapons as if that’s a bad thing, but if you’re life is on the line would you want anything less?  How many children’s lives are saved each year by armed citizens? 

The 20/20 show highlighted tragic cases like the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings.  What they did not mention is that mass shootings usually occur in government mandated gun free zones, aka, “criminal safety zones.”  Tragedies like these are sadly compounded by the fact that there is no one on the scene able to shoot back.

Picking up on the school shooting theme, much of the 20/20 program involved an experiment purportedly showing that a person with a gun would not be able to protect himself or herself if surprised by an attack in a university setting.

Diane staged a group of “students” (played by police officers and people working for ABC) in a classroom, along with her “armed” subject.  She wanted to show how that person would react when someone burst into the room and started firing. 

The subjects didn’t respond like people have come to expect from watching movies.  They were startled.  They didn’t calmly and coolly hit their targets.  One almost mistakenly hit an innocent in the chaos. 

Well, it so happens that police officers often don’t perform optimally under pressure either.  Columnist George Will noted over ten years ago that, “only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The ‘error rate’ for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high.”

And even if victims are not as impassive as Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson, what’s better: to be equipped with a notebook, pen and cell phone, relegated to hiding under a desk, or to be armed and at least have a chance to stop an attack? 

Besides, the “nervous victim” argument for banning guns is a red herring.  The reality is that attackers, too, are often startled if they meet armed resistance.  That’s why criminals generally avoid victims they think might be armed. 

One victim who regrets being disarmed during an attack is Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a Texas resident who watched both her parents die when a maniac crashed his truck into a restaurant and began shooting people indiscriminately.  Suzanna testified that she was in a perfect position to take down the gunman, but, being a law-abiding citizen, she left her handgun in her car in compliance with Texas state law. 

Given a second chance, Suzanna said she would have violated the law and saved the lives of her parents.  In response to that shooting, the Texas legislature passed a concealed carry law. 

Ms. Sawyer didn’t bother to get a balanced picture by interviewing Suzanna or any responsible gun owners.  While the NRA declined to comment, the show’s producers didn’t bother to call Gun Owners of America.  GOA’s Executive Director Larry Pratt has appeared on ABC programs dozens of times, but was never called by 20/20 to offer an opposing viewpoint.

In a particularly glaring omission, the program didn’t even mention that American citizens use firearms more than one million times per year successfully in self-defense, and that merely brandishing a weapon usually is sufficient to repel an attack.

Ms. Sawyer was also astounded at how “easy” it is to buy a firearm.  She acts like it’s no big deal that the federal government regulates all gun businesses in the country. 

She talked about the so-called “gun show loophole.”  20/20 producers gave the impression that the rules for buying a gun at a gun show are different than buying a gun any place else.  Not true.  Any person who buys a firearm from a federally licensed dealer has to undergo a government background check, whether the transaction is at a gun show or a gun store. 

Private citizens, on the other hand, can buy and sell their lawfully possessed and constitutionally protected firearms to other private citizens without having to get Barack Obama’s or Eric Holder’s permission, whether the sale is at a gun show or in one’s living room.  That’s why we call it a “right,” and not a privilege.  What Diane calls a “loophole” is what we call “freedom.”

Those of us who cherish the First Amendment would recoil at the idea of needing a government issued permit in order to buy a newspaper or to watch 20/20.  What makes such infringements acceptable for the Second Amendment?

How about cars?  More people are killed in automobile accidents than with guns, but people don’t have to undergo a criminal background check to buy a car.  Car ownership is not even a constitutionally protected right and automobiles don’t offer the same life saving self-defense benefits of firearms.  

In another segment, 20/20 videoed foolish, ignorant college kids stumbling across firearms and not handling them in a safe manner.  This is supposed to show how dangerous it is to have a gun in the home.  More nonsense.  Firearms are often used, though rarely fired, to repel home invaders.

In addition, the fact that people in this country can live to the age of nineteen or twenty and not know how to properly handle a firearm is just another example of how we’re moving from a self-reliant citizenry to becoming a nation of defenseless subjects.

Interestingly, anti-gunners would like to require mandatory tests and safety training for people who own guns.  This might be a revelation to Ms. Sawyer: the 100 million or so gun owners aren’t the problem.  It is extremely rare for a gun owner to accidently discharge a firearm.  As even the 20/20 program shows, ignorant non-gun owners are the ones who can’t discern the business end of a weapon. 

Here’s an idea.  How about mandatory safety training for non-gun owners?  Maybe every radical out there who hates guns and hates the Second Amendment should be required to take mandatory gun safety training with real guns out on the range.  After all, there are over 200 million guns in this country.  Anti-gunners just might come across one and they should know how to handle it safely.

Diane also showed what appeared to be a group of armed gangbangers.  It’s a mystery why this would cause anyone to advocate for civilian disarmament.  Criminals are always going to get weapons.  Just look at England, an island nation that banned virtually all guns and has seen its gun crime rate rise dramatically!

If anything, the clips of armed violent thugs should be a reminder to non-gun owners to buy a gun, learn how to use it and be prepared, God forbid, if it’s ever needed for self-defense.

Apparently, there are some things Diane Sawyer didn’t learn at the elite Massachusetts’ college she attended.  The right to keep and bear arms was not an afterthought of our Founding Fathers.  They understood that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be meaningless without the means to protect our lives and the lives of our loved ones from violent law-breakers.

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The Lie Behind Gun Free Zones | Video

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