Our former Federal Way Municipal Court Judge wrote a letter to the editor about a column I wrote dealing with the subject of guns and domestic violence victims in which he cited certain statistical studies. See Domestic Violence, Guns & Federal Way’s Mayoral Campaigns.
One study, published in 1993 in the New England Journal of Medicine, claims that “having a gun in the home makes it three times more likely that you or someone you care about will be murdered by a family member or intimate partner.”
The authors of the Journal of Medicine article indicate that prior arrests and alcohol and drug use are more critical factors than gun ownership. They admit that ownership of firearms may have occurred after the threat of harm to victims was already anticipated.
Additionally, only three urban counties (including King County) were included in the study.
Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s study on sexuality in America found that an extremely high percentage of American housewives experienced extra-marital sex. A footnote in the study defines a housewife as a female that lives with an intimate partner for a certain amount of time. Kinsey surveyed many prostitutes to obtain the statistics that launched the sexual revolution!
Likewise, the Journal of Medicine study is based only on homes that experienced a homicide but not all homes. For many homes, especially outside big urban areas, gun ownership is an aspect of a normal life- without violence, drugs and other at-risk behaviors. Thus, it is not surprising that statistics show that certain households with guns are at risk!
Imagine your sister has left her violently abusive husband and a restraining order prevents the husband from contacting her or the kids because he has promised to kill his whole family and then kill himself. Such scenarios are recited every day in local family law courts. Am I advocating for vigilante justice if I suggest to your sister that she consider obtaining a Concealed Pistol License? How am I sending an irresponsible message if I also advise a woman threatened with violence to get trained in the law and proper use of a weapon? Lawyers need to advise clients regarding all their legal options including lawful self-defense!
The distinction between self-defense and vigilante justice is not always clear to the average citizen but lawyers should understand such distinctions fairly clearly. To evaluate studies, however, we often have to follow the money. The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation is the monster in the closet when it comes to studies intended for use in gun rights cases- like DC V HELLER.
The tax-exempt Joyce Foundation provided millions for organizations that filed amicus briefs in the HELLER case, including the anti-gun Violence Policy Center which received $1.65 million from Joyce between 2003 through 2006. Joyce sent millions to Harvard University School of Public Health and made grants to Arthur Kellerman and Garen Wintemute, both of whom participated in anti-gun studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
During the same years, the Council Against Handgun Violence received $1.1 million from Joyce, Iowans for Prevention of Gun Violence received $250,000 from Joyce, the Ohio Coalition against Gun Violence received $350,000 and Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, $1.6 million. The Freedom States Alliance received $650,000. These groups are just some of the groups funded by the Joyce Foundation that signed friend of the court briefs opposing the individual right to keep and bear arms. In fact, the Joyce Foundation virtually paid for lawyers and bought whole issues of distinguished law reviews in order to ensure that anti-gun legal research pushed aside any contrary points of view.
All the statistics in the world grow pale, however, if you are ever confronted with violence. Look at the issues through a clear lens and let’s leave the vigilantes where they belong- in the Hollywood movies.