How to Make an Informed and Resposible Decision about Gun Control
Alright. Let’s say you’re sitting on the fence. Or perhaps you’ve made up your mind but you’re fairly open-minded about these things and you’re willing to change your opinion if confronted by a good argument supported by data. What should your first port of call be to make an informed decision?
First, let’s look at some relevant data. This data comes from the FBI and the Cato Institute.
Let’s break this down.
- 99.9% of all guns in America are not used in violent crime.
This translates to 1 gun in 1,000 being used in violent crime.
- 99.8% of all guns in America are not used in crime at all.
Okay, this is still pretty damn low. 1 in 500. So, punishing 499 firearm owners for the misdeeds of 1 seems pretty punitive. Some might even call it unfair or unjust.
Punishing responsible gun ownership because of the misdeeds of some irresponsible people would be like banning dog ownership because some dog owners are lazy or evil, and their dogs then go out and harm or kill innocent people. Sure, it happens. It happens a lot. But there are also responsible, caring, good dog owners, who train their dogs and take care of their needs, and those dogs grow up to be mentally healthy and don’t hurt anyone.
This would be about as fair as giving the whole class detention because one of the kids didn’t give in any homework.
- Guns are used 4 times as frequently in self-defense as they are used in committing a crime, and 98% of the time the gun isn’t fired.
This is pretty huge. It’s not surprising really – there are more good people than bad people. And when it’s legal, more good people carry guns than bad people do. If anything, this shouldn’t be particularly surprising. It’s also interesting that the mere threat of being shot is enough of a deterrent than only 1 out of 50 attackers needs to be shot to stop them. 49 out of 50 relent after seeing the gun. Criminals aren’t that stupid, you know.
So if gun control were to be implemented, there would be something like four victims created by gun control for every one saved. Sounds like a pretty crappy trade-off. If you care about helping people, it seems like arming them and teaching them how to defend themselves is a better way than banning the one thing that can put them on an equal footing with criminals. “But wouldn’t criminals not have access to guns either?” Unfortunately they still would, because:
- Only 4% of guns used in crime were obtained legally.
We know that even in a prison, drugs can still be obtained illegally. So, there is no point at which a totalitarian police State can fully enforce a law prohibiting something people want. Even if we were to literally make society into a prison, the war on drugs still wouldn’t be won, and criminals might still obtain firearms. Never mind that nobody wants to live in a prison.
In fact, given that only 4%, or 1 in 25 guns used in crimes are obtained legally, the reduction in crime caused by getting rid of legal avenues of obtaining firearms would be minimal.
But if we take into account the aforementioned self-defense numbers, the picture is much worse. Since law-abiding citizens will, by definition as law-abiding, only obtain guns legally, and since criminals break the law when obtaining guns 96% of the time anyway, then the effects of gun control become clear: Criminals would still overwhelmingly have guns, while citizens, following the law, would now be disarmed.
What a great way to create victims and tilt the playing field in favor of the criminals.
So, if gun control is so clearly and easily a demonstrably terrible idea, why is it pushed so much by politicians?
Well, quite simply because the goals of gun control are not to reduce the rate at which crimes are committed, but rather to disarm the population so that they cannot resist their own government. You can read a more passionate post of mine about gun control here.