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Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Excerpts from a Letter to David Glass, CEO, Wal*Mart Stores

December 23, 1993

Dear Mr. Glass:

I have heard that as of February 1, 1994, Wal*Mart will no longer be selling handguns in its stores. I can understand, in the light of the recent shooting at a Wal*Mart in Oklahoma, why Wal*Mart might wish to climb onto the political bandwagon favoring reducing the number of firearms for sale to the civilian population. However, I think you need to be made aware of why this decision by Wal*Mart will impact negatively both on public policy and Wal*Mart’s stature as a leading retailer.

Over the course of my research for the last few years, I have learned that most of what passes for news and information in the mass media is distorted to give the impression that the availability of privately held firearms makes the United States a more violent and dangerous society than it would be if firearms were more restricted. This is a popular belief among many persons in the media, and they promote it to politicians and other opinion leaders, even though the best available research proves quite the contrary.

Since the number of times that a firearm is used criminally in the United States in a year is, at most, 800,000 times, the use of firearms by American gun-owners to prevent or stop a crime is three times as high as the number of times criminals use firearms to commit a crime.

As I said, this isn’t widely reported on by the news media, whose personnel have their own prejudices on the subject for obvious reasons. A TV news slogan is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Crimes committed with firearms fit that election criterion. Civilian firearms defenses, the great majority of which are accomplished without anyone at all being shot, do not, and are therefore not reported on.

The Kleck survey, and other data collected by other prominent criminologists, clearly document the important role of privately-owned firearms in protecting lives and property from criminals and the criminally insane.

American firearms owners find themselves currently in a political and media battle to protect their right to own and carry firearms for defense against criminals. Anti-firearms politicians are daily introducing new legislation to restrict entire classes of firearms which are useful for defensive purposes; to tax ammunition; to transfer the choice of whether or not one can own or carry a firearm from the civilian population to political authorities. All of this is counter to the American tradition of relying on the people themselves as a force against crime, and adopting the European and Asian tradition of relegating the legal use of arms only to government officials. It is this sort of thinking that disarmed Europe’s Jews and made them vulnerable to the Nazis sending them to death camps. American gun owners do not wish to see the same vulnerability to tyranny happen here.

It is vitally important that retailers of the prominence of Wal*Mart not abandon America’s 70 million responsible firearms owners at a time when their rights are under attack by headline-seeking demagogues. If Wal*Mart discontinues the sale of handguns in its stores, it is implying that the American people cannot be trusted to buy guns and use them responsibly. This is a political message that is already being capitalized on by the opponents of civilian firearms ownership.

I strongly recommend that it is in Wal*Mart’s interest to reexamine its decision, and decide whether it wishes to offend 70 million firearms-owning Americans by implying that they are not responsible individuals who are a bulwark in the defense against crime and tyranny, but are instead irresponsible children who need to be disarmed for their own good by a wise and paternalistic government.

J. Neil Schulman


Interview with Gary Kleck
A Massacre We Didn’t Hear About
Gunfight at the 4n20 Pie Shop
The Mark of Kane is On Firearms Reporting

And, here is David Glass’s reply:

David Glass Letter


Next in Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns is When Doctors Call For Gun Seizures, It’s Grand Malpractice

Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns is
Copyright © 1994, 1999 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

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