Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Vassallo, Scruggs Debate: Would Americans Be Safer if More Adults Carried Guns?

Steve Vassallo: More responsible adults need to carry guns and should be encouraged to do so. Profiling and vetting should be enhanced to keep guns out of the hands of those individuals considered a risk to society or even a potential risk!

Steve Vassallo
Steve Vassallo

A great answer to this is Americans would be less safe if fewer of us carried guns. Automobiles by far kill more Americans each and every year (starting in 1950) than guns do. Should we restrict vehicle sales? I don’t think so. The second amendment clearly gives us citizens the right to bear arms. For 225 years this right still exists and thank God it does. Here’s a brief reflection down the memory lane of world history that did not.

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, some 20 million dissidents unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated. Other countries with similar histories: Turkey in 1911 established gun control, 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated from 1915 to 1917; Germany witnessed 13 million deaths after establishing gun control; China 20 million deaths; Guatemala 100,000 Mayan Indians; Uganda 300,000 deaths and the list goes on and on. Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century due to the result of gun control amounted to 56 million!

During WWII, one of the primary reasons the Japanese decided not to invade the United States because they knew we were armed! Switzerland issues a gun to every household. And the government provides training. Switzerland has the LOWEST gun-related crime rate of any civilized country in the world.

A close friend of mine about 15 years ago came close to getting killed when four thugs came after him at a remote rest stop along an interstate in Mississippi. With no one else around and no one to call out for help, the only thing that saved him was a .357 magnum. In this case a gun saved his life by not even firing it. He carries a firearm to this day everywhere he goes. An unknown author once wrote: “I don’t carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to keep from being killed.”

It is my personal belief that guns are a necessary and important component to ensure that a democracy remains a democracy. With the recent militant radicalized Muslim reign of terror, even our left wing media refers to these murderers pursuing “soft targets.” If they stopped to consider what they were truly defining as a “soft target”, they would quickly change the rhetoric after realizing they were describing places absent of guns.

Dickie Scruggs: If you carry a gun for self-defense, you are more likely to be the one who gets shot.

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs
Richard “Dickie” Scruggs

Carrying a gun does not make you safer. Instead, it makes you four times more likely to be shot. In a recent peer-reviewed population study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the authors report that “individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession”. This conclusion is supported overwhelmingly in the scientific literature.

Unfortunately, a rational debate about guns is elusive. Guns are third only to gay-marriage and abortion in topics upon which people report that they are “not willing to listen to the other side”. Notwithstanding, the statistical issues are pretty well settled—packing a gun is dangerous to your health.

Interestingly, the first time that I was forced to consider these odds was when I was a young fighter pilot in the Navy. I was surprised to learn that the guys in my squadron with the most combat experience did not carry the pistol (38 caliber) we were issued for our survival vests. Their reasoning was that it was too little firepower to protect them from the infantry assault weapons likely to be carried by their pursuers, and that being caught with a gun made it more likely that they would be shot or beaten upon capture. Their advice: “Don’t”!

The issue for us pilots was not whether we could carry a gun—after all, a gun was issued to us. The question was whether it improved our survival odds. Similarly, the law now says that we have a constitutional right to bear arms. And yet, as the studies show, the exercise of that right only reduces our odds of surviving an armed assault.

This leads to Steve’s argument that wide-spread gun ownership has kept America safe from foreign invaders–even from our own government. Without the slightest historical support, Steve postulates that our personal guns deterred a Japanese invasion in World War ll. “Bull” Halsey and Douglas MacArthur must be rolling over in their graves at such nonsense. It is absurd to think that the hunting weapons and handguns possessed by American civilians were a deterrent to the massive firepower of the Japanese in the early days of that war (or any modern military today—especially our own).

To be sure, there are many legitimate reasons to own a gun. (I hunted with a gun and would again if I could.) My counter to Steve’s point, however, is that self-defense and the defense of America are not among them.

Dickie Scruggs is one of Oxford’s best-known former attorneys who now expresses his passion for adult education through the GED in a unique state-wide program he has developed, aptly called “Second Chance.” Scruggs is a well known Democrat and anchors the position of the Left in Point/No-Point. He can be reached at

Steve Vassallo of Oxford is a frequent contributor to covering a wide range of subjects. An arch conservative, the popular columnist holds the political position of the Right in Point/No-Point. He can be reached at