As the number of coronavirus cases continues to go up, gun sales are rising too. That seems to trouble officials in New York’s Nassau County. In March, Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder admitted some residents “are concerned that they need to protect themselves.”
However, Ryder insisted that “the Nassau County Police Department will protect you.” He didn’t explain why police didn’t protect any of the 16 people who were murdered in his county last year.
Ryder went on to promise that “burglars won’t break into the house knowing the people are home.” This would come as news to at least one Nassau County couple: in January, the pair were both repeatedly stabbed by a home invader.
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He also didn’t mention Nassau County’s problem with gangs like MS-13. In neighboring Suffolk County, MS-13 members brutally murdered two teenage girls who were on their way home from school, with police saying the bodies were “unrecognizable.”
Given that county law enforcement has failed to protect people under normal circumstances, you may be wondering how they could guarantee everyone’s safety in a crisis. The simple answer?
Officers are rarely close by when a predator strikes. They weren’t when convicted sex offender Christopher Ray Foster broke into a woman’s home. Thankfully, her pistol was.
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There were no cops around when two men armed with a knife tried to enter the home of a single mom in Oklahoma; she had to rely on a shotgun instead.
Cases like these demonstrate how having a gun can make the difference between being a survivor and a statistic. And that's even more true when order breaks down.
In 1992, Los Angeles was hit with deadly riots, and the Korean-American community was specifically targeted. With no help from the police, store owners picked up semi-automatic rifles to defend their lives and property. Without the ability to put down a high volume of fire, it’s likely that many would have lost their lives.
Even criminals themselves agree that armed victims are a deterrent. A survey of convicts funded by the Department of Justice, 81 percent of participants agreed that “a smart criminal always tries to find out if his potential victim is armed.” Another 74 percent concurred with the statement, “One reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is they fear being shot.”
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While it's true that some studies claim having a gun increases your likelihood of getting shot, they often make no distinction between armed criminals and legal gun owners.
There's also the fear that keeping a gun in the house will lead to a child's death. Yet CDC data shows that from 2013 to 2017, an average of 42 children under ten died in firearm accidents annually. By contrast, 624 drowned in 2017 alone, and yet there is little worry over owning hot tubs, pools, or plastic buckets. What's more, those things don't have the life-saving potential a gun does.
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During a press conference, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran complained, "Guns are not going to fight the virus." She's right: they're going to fight the criminals she can't control.
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