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Monday, June 29, 2015

Murder Rates: Why Comparing The United States Only To Other Developed Countries Is Deceitful

Bicycle taxi drivers waiting for passengers outside 
of a hospital in poor but peaceful Malawi

My recent article “Islands, Churches, and Guns” was met with a ridiculous criticism that gun rights advocates have left unrefuted for far too long. Namely, the idea that it's only legitimate to compare the US murder rate to that of other developed countries. When one does compare the US to that cherry picked group the US looks, for the most part, bad. This false point is why gun rights haters try to limit the comparison. The problem with that limited comparison is the fact that many very poor countries are also very peaceful. Gun rights haters would have to be able to show that virtually all affluent countries are very peaceful and that virtually all poor countries are very violent for their limited comparison to make any sense. That would indeed make the US an outlier. Fortunately for gun rights they can't meet the above conditions. There are many poor countries with high murder rates. The table below shows that there are at least 36 poor countries (that's over 18% of the 195 countries that exist in the world today) with a murder rate under 5 per 100,000. This puts them in the same category that the US and most of Europe is in. This tells us that a country's level of development or poverty is irrelevant to the murder rate.

Sierra Leone
Sri Lanka
Libya doesn't have income figures on the source chart but this note says 1/3 of Libyans live under the poverty line. With a murder rate of only 1.7 per 100,000 they deserve to be included in this article.
Vanuatu is a country with little economic information available on the Internet. With its murder rate of only 2.8 per 100,000 and a per capita income under $5000 per year it merits mention.
East Timor isn't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $1847 and a murder rate of 3.6 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here.
Tuvalu isn't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $3400 and a murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here too.
The Solomon Islands aren't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $3191 and a murder rate of 4.3 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here as well.

The US has a rate of 4.5 murders per 100,000 of population which is well below the world average of 6.2 per 100,000. There's no disputing that the US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Putting these two facts together is part of showing that having guns isn't the problem as gun rights haters can't show a correlation between access to guns (or the lack thereof) and murder rates.

If the level of development of a country and rate of gun ownership aren't determining factors what should we look at? The social dynamics that drive murder rates. As Kates and Mauser wrote in “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?”:

...the determinants of murder and suicide are basic social,
economic, and cultural factors, not the prevalence of some
form of deadly mechanism. In this connection, recall that the
American jurisdictions which have the highest violent crime
rates are precisely those with the most stringent gun controls.
Let's finally put to rest the idea that forcibly disarming people will make them safer. We need to stop wasting time and implement liberty so that the social dynamics that lead to a harmonious society can take hold here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Islands, Churches, and Guns

Myself on a beach on Little Exuma, the Bahamas
This article is prompted by two things that happened recently. The first was a happy event, my vacation to the the Bahamas. The other the horrible shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. At first glance these two things may not seem related but the connection between them will soon be made clear.

As usual, a mass shooting like the one in Charleston brings out the gun rights haters who want to cynically use the blood of the victims to grease the skids for their gun control schemes. One hears and reads claim after nonsensical claim that if only we had less gun rights and fewer guns in the United States the victims would still be alive. Reality tells us something very different.

Unfortunately, while in the Bahamas I discovered that all is not well in paradise. During our visit a shooting happened at a school in Nassau. This sparked discussion in the local media that revealed that the Bahamas are on pace for a record number of murders this year after a substantial increase last year. How is this relevant to the US and gun control here? Because in the Bahamas they have strict gun control and way fewer guns per capita than we have here. Yet they die from gun shots at a much higher rate than Americans.

The lesson to be learned is clear and not the one gun rights haters would have us learn. Dreams of legislating away murder by outlawing guns is a dangerous fantasy. It will only lead to more violence as it doesn't address the causes of the problem. Until we start dealing with the social dynamics that drive crime the killing will continue both here and in the Bahamas.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

This Is What Gun Control Looks Like: Shaneen Allen's New Jersey Ordeal (video)

It's great that Shaneen Allen is free and was able to share her story with us at a Citizens for Liberty meeting. I just couldn't post this video without commenting on her call for national reciprocity for state issued carry permits. She's in favor of them, I'm not. Here's why. National reciprocity is just more federal domination of the states. We have too much of that already.

The problem is states implementing gun control not a lack of federal laws on the subject. National reciprocity entrenches and legitimizes this state level tyranny while at the same time expanding federal power. Despite appearances it's step backwards for liberty. The answer is to repeal state laws about licensing and regulating guns. At the same time we need to end federal involvement with guns by abolishing agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It's by this kind of limiting of government power that we protect our freedom.

Shaneen Allen's website:

Please read this article for commentary on national reciprocity:

The Concealed Carry Lie



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Braving Gun Rights Haters' Nails: Lower Merion Township, PA Family Open Carry Rally (video)

Braving nails placed in the street by our car tires by gun rights haters (one wonders if there is no low they won't stoop to) we protested the fact that Lower Merion, PA won't repeal their local gun ordnance despite the fact that it's in violation of the state's preemption law.

Pictures of guns at the rally that killed no one:

Pictures of signs and other expressions of support:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gun Rights Haters: Victims or Aggressors?

Now these perpetual “victims” want to learn about “Powerfully Peaceful Action in the Face of Armed and Aggressive Opposition”. Why do they say they need to do this? Because, according to them, “Almost every group in the gun sense movement has – at some time in the last several years – been confronted by armed and/or aggressive counter demonstrators at one of our public actions.” Though as you can see at the link above no examples of any aggressive behavior towards them are given. Of course, we often counter-demonstrate their events armed but that's not aggression as the zero body count and zero hospitalization rate among attendees show. If being around guns frightens them there is a name for that, hoplophobia. Perhaps a psychiatrist would be more helpful to them than a workshop. 

I wish I knew what aggressiveness they've been facing. Last June we went out of our way not to interfere with their gun rights hating march from Chester to Media, two towns near Philadelphia, PA. Here is video proof that they weren't even verbally insulted.

Facing aggressors from our side isn't what's going on out there. No, they realize that they can't keep abusing us and keep the facade of goodness and victimhood intact. For example, they sure were abusive of me when I tried to flier their rally once:

Gun rights haters in Rhode Island were even worse to liberty activist Dan Bidondi:

Even disrupting a peaceful gun rights rally is held up by gun rights haters as a proper way to behave:

Then there is the vile practice of “swatting” open carriers. This is when gun rights haters call 911 and lie about open carriers' behavior so the police will stop, arrest, or even kill them.

Who really are the aggressors here? Certainly not gun rights advocates. We want only to peacefully have our rights respected. It is the other side, the gun rights haters, that want to send armed thugs with badges to infringe on our rights. Let's be very clear on this point, it is the gun rights haters who are the aggressors. They, in the form of their agents in the government, are coming after us not the other way around.

My impression is that they're stung by years of defeat in the legislatures and courts. Not to mention years of being proved wrong by the dropping crime rates that have occurred in recent decades despite the fact that there are more privately held guns than ever in the US. Just as they think that sounding more knowledgeable about guns will make them more credible and effective activists (see here for a write up of their meeting on firearms) they now think that hiding their hate will help their cause. It won't. More than a marketing problem what they have is a reality problem. They've been proved wrong and all the sweet talk in the world won't change that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Joshua Prince Mops the Floor With CeaseFirePA (video)

Attorney Joshua Prince makes a complete fool of CeaseFirePA's gun rights hating Shira Goodman. They're debating Pennsylvania's Act 192 which allows people to proactively sue municipalities which enact gun control laws in violation of the state's preemption statute. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gun Rights Haters Try To Learn About Guns

The cover of the handout containing the presentation's PowerPoint slides
You read the title correctly, Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy (Delco United) held their “Firearms 101 Presentation” Monday night (02/02/2015) in Springfield, PA. They figure if they gain a little book knowledge about guns they'll have more credibility. OK, stop laughing, you have an article to read.

A page from the handout questioning
the nonexistent gun show loophole
As you can see by following the link above, the presenter, 

Larry Glick, is well credentialed being a former law enforcement officer and a former National Rifle Association member. Unfortunately, my request to video his presentation was denied. Let me start with one of the most most important things that he said, “there is no gun show loophole”. He went to great lengths to explain that the idea that there are many gun sales going on at gun shows with no background checks performed is false. Glick very directly told the Delco United people not to pursue that angle. Let's let that sink in for a moment. At a meeting of one of the major gun rights hating groups in the Philadelphia area the speaker debunked one of the biggest lies that gun rights haters put out.

The evening started out interestingly enough. When I first got there Terry Rumsey and Robin Lasersohn, Co-Chairs of Delco United, recognized me as the leader of the Open Carry Counter-Rally For Gun Rights that stole the thunder from their march and rally for universal background checks in Media, PA last June. They took me aside and expressed their concern that I might try to disrupt their meeting. “We don't want people being afraid of being mocked when they ask questions”, is how I recall Robin Lasersohn putting it. After agreeing to behave, which was my intention all along, I was allowed to stay.

The presenter, Glick, hit on the de rigueur propaganda notes. “It's for the children”, he said at one point. Tellingly, Glick said that he knows that crime rates, including murder rates, are falling as are rates of gun accidents. He must also know that this is happening as the number of guns in the US is higher than ever and rising. It doesn't matter, he still thinks we need more gun control. “If we can only save one life it's worth it”, he said dramatically. Hey, who needs facts and logic when you can tug at the heartstrings? I've written several articles covering the dynamics that drive the murder rate and it's not the availability of guns that matters. They can be read here, here, here, here, and here.

Glick also went into denial and said that nobody wants to confiscate guns. He may be sincere but is very misguided. Conversations with gun rights haters often reveal that ending civilian gun ownership is their goal. I don't recall him saying much about gun bans, but he sure was talking about the kinds of so called “assault weapons” that we don't need. Let's keep in mind that when certain kinds of guns are actually banned (as opposed to the phony 1994 – 2004 “assault weapon” “ban”) they're going to be confiscated. It makes little difference if all guns are banned/confiscated at once or if it happens in gradual stages. We end up in the same place.

Let's, for a moment, assume that few or no guns will actually be banned/confiscated. Onerous regulations, severe licensing requirements, high fees, insurance mandates, and draconian penalties for minor gun infractions can end up making owning and bearing arms financially prohibitive and legally dangerous. This is a way of de facto banning/confiscating guns without making the guns themselves illegal.

Because of my good behavior, I said not one word during the whole presentation, Terry and Robin were a bit nicer after the meeting. During our conversations I asked if they'd be interested in a debate. They said no but they would be interested in a moderated discussion. That sounds like a fine idea. Stay tuned for updates.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Professor's Reply to "Gun Rights Versus Anecdotes"

Below is the response to my article "Gun Rights Versus Anecdotes" from the retired professor whose mail prompted me to write said article. I'm publishing it unedited, in its entirety at his request.

The International Libertarian

In the January 5, 2015 number of the International Libertarian, Darren Wolfe published what was essentially a response to me. I had mailed him a package of 49 pieces, mostly news articles from the Philadelphia Inquirer or The New York Times.

Having given a talk in a library about the brutality of tackle football about a year ago, I was in the audience when Darren followed me with a talk championing unrestricted, unregulated gun rights. I was the first member of the audience to offer objections to his position. I remember taking prompts from my notes of about 6 criticisms I wanted to offer. He was patient enough to hear half of them before he interrupted me and asked for other questions. I oppose his position and last winter decided to collect material for and against it, especially newspaper clippings. I had vague plans to write a paper, a paper suitable to be read at a conference of social philosophers, using that newspaper material and other scholarly sources. Before I retired from teaching philosophy in 2011, I had taught a philosophy of criminal justice course many times, and have or have easy access to all the scholarly material on gun rights that l might need to write my own piece about it.

My resolve to write that paper faded. On October 21st, 2014, I had open heart surgery, a triple bypass. By November I was recuperating slowly at home, and in the beginning of my recuperation, I had very little energy. It was in this state of physical weakness that I decided to use my news clippings in a way other than to write a philosophical paper. As I looked each over, I decided to use them to try to shake Darren’s confidence in his position. I chose articles in which some private citizen with a gun did something seriously harmful to an innocent victim. The sort of story I mailed Darren was like these: one small child shooting and killing another; someone shooting a neighbor’s dog as the neighbor watched; the 9 year old girl losing control of the Uzi she was firing and killing her instructor; the 2 year old killing his mother in a Walmart after finding the pistol in mom’s pocketbook; people shot to death simply because they lived in dangerous neighborhoods; suicides that only occurred because a gun was at hand, a gun that often was not the victim’s. I tried to choose the frequently occurring cases in which guns in the hands or houses of those who are not law enforcers do the harm, and cases in which the victims would not have avoided death by having their own guns at hand. Law enforcers often do good by using guns to stop occurring crimes of cruelty or oppression but, I well know that law enforcers, too, can become cruel oppressors with guns.

I mailed these clippings to Darren to challenge his claims that good results come from the freedom of all to have and carry guns. In the cases that I had sent him, I believe that there was not any gun-generated good, only pitiable or despicable harm. I sent them to him as one citizen to another and my only comment to him, in a handwritten note accompanying the articles, was that I, having had recent surgery, was sending him these articles to challenge him. I could have used them and other writings to do philosophy myself in creating my own argument from this material, and writing it out and sending it to him. But I did not. I was not contacting him as a philosophy teacher doing philosophy for students, colleagues, or the public, but as a citizen engaging another citizen on a personal level. He made it on a public level after asking my permission to do so.

I am offended that Darren, in “Gun Rights Versus Anecdotes,” judges me as a philosopher, and as a poor philosopher. He seems to believe that a better philosopher would have sent him “articles from [a] scholarly source.” Looking at my packet of materials, he remarks “One would expect better from [a] university professor.” But I am only a retired professor, and one who was without much energy after heart surgery, and one who then decided not to act like a philosopher, but only as a citizen. Had I been acting as a professional philosopher, I would have drawn my own conclusions from the materials, and stated them in writing for Darren. I would have supported my conclusions with references to court decisions, significant works of literature, scholarly books, and professional journals in which ethicists, social scientists, and political philosophers publish. But I was not acting as a philosopher and he should have realized this and treated me more fairly or kindly in responding in public to my personal and non-professional outreach to him.

Had I been acting in a professional and not a personal way, not only would I have written out the conclusions that I wanted him to reach from the materials, but I would have made copies of everything that I was mailing him. I was trusting him to treat me fairly, so I made no copies. Now, and in the future, I will copy and keep everything that I send him. Also, I have material that I could have copied and sent him, but that was work that I, as a convalescent, was trying to avoid.

Darren Wolfe’s piece argues that “more guns don’t mean more murder.” But my news clippings were often about shootings by guns that were killings but were not murders—accidents, suicides, guns fired from the hands of children, immature adults firing them.

In refuting the position that I would have argued for had I been writing like a philosopher or professor, Darren succeeds in not writing like one either. He claims that it is a “fact that guns in private hands prevent 2.5 million crimes each year.” This is certainly not a fact like “N number of crimes were committed last year according to FBI records.” Darren’s “fact” is a conclusion of a syllogism, and conclusions need premises and proof of the premises. But Darren does not tell us what the premises are from which this conclusion is alleged to follow. Nor does he tell the reader what the proofs are for each of these premises. My suspicion is that one of his premises is a highly speculative statement about how one knows that a crime has been prevented.

I would suggest that Darren’s non-aggression principle needs restatement. He says it is this: “It is immoral to initiate the use of force or the threat of force against peaceful people.” Force and aggression are not the same thing. A dentist uses force to pull a bad tooth in an innocent patient. The police officer’s pistol represents the threat of force to the demonstrators as she or he watches the angry demonstrators march by, and the threat of force represented by that pistol is often that which keeps the demonstrators innocent and “peaceful people.” And the implied threat of force against the demonstrators who are innocent people is, paradoxically, used by police protecting the demonstrators rights to petition for redress of their grievances.

Darren seems to use force as almost a dirty word. When he says “Freedom from force, liberty, is the only reasonable way forward” I take him to be defining liberty as freedom from force. But Darren quotes Frederick Bastiat in praise of U.S. law: “There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property.” But laws must be enforced (en-force-d) to protect liberty and property. Courts enforce the enjoyment of rights, including gun rights, when they are wrongfully challenged, by ordering the police to use force. Unenforced law, unless it is backed by strong and usually ancient custom, is ineffective. Freedom needs force. A better definition of freedom or liberty is the ability to act without external impediment.

My news clippings were chosen to cause in Darren, in his words, “emotional reactions to horrible events.” I hoped that they would arouse a compassion in him so that he would see that far fewer guns in citizens’ hands in American society would mean far fewer horrible, newsworthy events. But Darren resists my push towards compassion by saying that “we, gun rights advocates, realize that reason is what must guide us not compassion.” The title of his response to me, “Gun Rights Versus Anecdotes” and his subtitle, “Which side wins depends on whether one can reason or simply react emotionally.” For Darren, “Unthinking, emotional reactions to horrible events will only make things worse.”

He here celebrates reason as good, and compassion and emotion as bad, and claims to be the champion of reason in this matter. However, my gift to him of the 40-some compassion-eliciting news clippings was precisely intended to invite him to reason about them. I was hoping that he would see that if he reasoned by induction, he would agree with me. Induction occurs when one reasons from particular to general upon examining many particulars. If in this particular case the presence of a gun in the hand of a private citizen or her relative led to this compassion-causing, horrible event, and also in a second case, and then also in a third, and a fourth, and a fifth and so on to a fortieth case, then a generalization follows. That generalization is that guns in the possession of private citizens are very dangerous to the innocent because they so often lead to the horrible events of injury and death. Since all decent men and women want to effectively prevent the injury and death of the innocent, one likely way is to pass and enforce laws keeping guns from the possession of private citizens.

Darren did not see that the emotion of compassion raised by the 40-some cases I sent him led through this reasoning to this conclusion. This seems to be why he belittled my abilities as a philosophy teacher in sending him only these articles: “One would expect better from [a] university professor” were his words. This remark seems to me to be an example of the logical fallacy of the abusive type of Argumentum ad Hominem. This fallacy ordinarily consists in attacking the abilities of one’s opponent rather than the opponent’s argument. In Darren’s way of committing this fallacy, he belittled my abilities to argue like a professor even though I made no arguments, but did challenge him to reason by induction. Still he believes that I should have done “better” than challenging him to see what generalization followed by induction from the anecdotes I asked him to examine. Since I left constructing the argument to him, and as a convalescent did not construct it myself, I was not obliged to do better. He was.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Using Gun Rights Haters Own Research Against Them

Easy to do with Robert Muggah, among many things the coauthor of “We Need Better Data for a Serious Gun Control Debate”, an article in which he advocates gun control despite the fact that he claims there isn't enough good data on the subject to even have a debate about it. A tad bias, wouldn't you agree? Could that be why gun rights advocates don't want such people doing research on crime and violence? But I digress, on October 8, 2014 he gave a talk at TEDGlobal 2014: South! in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil titled “How To Protect Fast-Growing Cities From Failing”:

In his talk he says a number of things that make clear that guns aren't the drivers of a high murder rate. Most importantly, he directly contradicts that major gun rights haters' argument when Dr. Muggah says that, “...when it comes to cities, the conversation is dominated by the North, that is, North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan, where violence is actually at historic lows.”. He then drives home the point with:

What's more, we're seeing a dramatic reduction in homicide. Manuel Eisner and others have shown that for centuries, we've seen this incredible drop in murder, especially in the West. Most Northern cities today are 100 times safer than they were just 100 years ago.

These two facts -- the decline in armed conflict and the decline in murder -- are amongst the most extraordinary, if unheralded, accomplishments of human history, and we should be really excited, right?
That drop in murder rates includes the United States with all its guns. The slide from his presentation below clearly shows the US to be in the same low murder rate category as western Europe. So much for the lie that the US is a very dangerous place!

Dr. Muggah goes on to talk about social and demographic factors that that drive violence, all the while making the gun rights advocates' case for us. Not once does he say that the availability of guns is the cause of the violence. He ends his talk with this:

There is nothing inevitable about lethal violence, and we can make our cities safer. Folks, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to drop homicidal violence in half within our lifetime. So I have just one question: What are we waiting for?
Yes, gun rights haters, what are you waiting for to stop worshiping the false god of gun control and start facing the real causes of the violence problem?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Gun Rights Versus Anecdotes

Which side wins depends on whether one can reason or simply react emotionally.

Letters and an ad from gun rights hating groups

For a while back in the Winter, a retired philosophy professor (who wants to remain anonymous) and I exchanged a few emails and, from him, snail mail, discussing gun rights. After not hearing from him for several months he very unexpectedly mailed me a large envelope containing forty-nine newspaper clippings with many reports of shootings and a few anti-gun rights op-eds (and, strangely, a pro-gun op-ed by John Lott). He also included a fund raising letter from the Brady Campaign, another one from the Children's Defense Fund Action Counsel, a magazine ad from the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, and a hand written note. Especially surprising for their absence were any articles from scholarly source. Are there no scholarly articles in favor of gun control? He sent almost all anecdotes from mass media sources leaning heavily towards the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. One would expect better from university professor.

Some of the anecdotes are easily debunked as challenging gun rights. For example the New York Times' article, “In Youth’s Death, Some See a Montana Law Gone Wrong”. A tragic and unnecessary death for which the shooter has been convicted of murder, but what does it say about guns in Montana? Not much. The article states that “...Montana...has one of the country’s highest rates of gun ownership...”. Yet its murder rate is only 2.2 per 100,000, less than half of the national average. If anything Montana proves gun rights haters wrong, more guns don't mean more murder.

Another easily debunked article is the Wall Street Journal's “Mass Shootings on the Rise, FBI Says”. The idea that mass shootings are on the rise was debunked previous to the publication of the FBI report here. The FBI's report is directly debunked in John Lott's “The FBI’s bogus report on mass shootings”.

The professor also sent an editorial from the New York Times titled “The Court: Ignoring the Reality of Guns”. This editorial attempts to justify banning hand guns but fails. First, it gets wrong the practical matter of thinking that the availability of guns is the problem. Second, it fails to present constitutional grounds justifying a ban on hand guns. In the end it is really advocating ignoring the Constitution. So much for the rule of law. 

I could go on debunking but I feel I've made my point. The gun rights haters' case is all smoke and mirrors. It also ignores the fact that guns in private hands prevent 2.5 million crimes each year.

Part of the hand written note mentioned above reads as follows:

I have selected newspaper articles to send you. I think almost all of them challenge your position.

I take your position to be that the more guns there are in the hands of private citizens , and the less government regulates or restricts them, the better off we all are.
These articles are full of horror stories stories about the harms guns do in the hands of private citizens.
True that “... the less government regulates or restricts them [guns], the better off we all are.” As to what the right number of guns in society is I'll leave that to the market. I'm surprised that the professor sees my view as so shallow since he saw my presentation “There Is No Case for Gun Control”. I've written much on my blog on the subject of gun rights, let me quote from it in rebuttal: with any issue, we have to start with basic principles and moral implications. That means talking about the one moral imperative that guides us in all human relationships, the non-aggression principle [NAP]...It is immoral to initiate the use of force or the threat of force against peaceful people. In other words, a person has to be actually engaging in aggression or credibly threatening to do so before it is morally justifiable to use force in retaliation. What does that have to do with guns? The mere possession of an inanimate object such a gun aggresses against no one. There is no moral justification for taking guns away from people who adhere to the non-aggression principle since this involves initiating the use of force to separate them from their weapons.
From “Progressivism’s Violent World
It is violation of the NAP that leads to society becoming more unstable and unsafe. The more society is ruled by force the worse the results. As Frederick Bastiat, wrote in his book “The Law” in 1850:
Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person's liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation.
This is the source of the problem, violation of the NAP and the social dynamics that unleashes, not the availability of guns. This is reinforced by modern research such as that of Randolph Roth, a professor at Ohio State University and the author of “American Homicide”. In a presentation at the National Institute for Justice titled “Why Is The United States The Most Homicidal Nation In The Affluent World?” Prof. Roth sums up the drivers of the murder rate on slide 4: 

Again showing that it's not the availability of guns that drives the murder rate. Deal with the social dynamics that are the real problem and, when it comes to crime, guns become irrelevant. That begs the question, why do so many advocate gun control as a solution when guns obviously aren't the cause of the problem? Because it's their beloved big government that has caused the problem. To again quote from “Progressivism’s Violent World”:

Progressivism has failed to achieve its lofty ideals. Instead it has created our present situation of crime and murder, war and empire. It is this failure that the advocates of gun control want to cover up. Instead of facing reality they want to blame guns for the problems the implementation of their ideas has created. Before anyone gets too smug, let me emphasize that both political parties have adopted the progressive ideology. Today’s so-called liberals and conservatives advocate different degrees and different aspects of it, but advocate it they do...It’s past time for both sides to realize that the killing will only end, society will only heal by turning it away from being ruled by force and toward voluntary interaction between its members. Liberty is the answer. Implementing it means change at the institutional level, disarming the government and keeping the people not only armed but also organized to defend themselves.
Compassion is what motivates us to feel outrage about senseless murders. Gun rights advocates share that feeling with gun rights haters. The difference is that we, gun rights advocates, realize that reason is what must guide us not compassion. Unthinking, emotional reactions to horrible events will only make things worse. Let's stop trying to add the force of more gun control to the force that's already damaging our society. Freedom from force, liberty, is the only reasonable way forward.
                    Some suggested reading to gain insight into why we need guns in civilian hands. Not pictured but also recommended is "Guns and Violence: The English Experience".