If you listen to some on the left these days, anyone who opposes gun control has “blood on their hands.” NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch was even called a “murderer” for supporting gun rights on CNN. In the minds of many, the Second Amendment is the only thing keeping our country from stopping gun violence once and for all.
But actually, new restrictions on gun ownership could make us less safe. When you look at the facts, it’s clear that defensive gun use far outweighs gun crime — so depriving law-abiding citizens of their firearms would only leave us more vulnerable to violence.
One credible report from a criminologist at Florida State University estimated that there are at least 2 million instances of defensive gun uses per year in the United States. But that figure is from 1993, and may be an overestimate if applied to today. Other liberal-leaning estimates put defensive gun use much lower, but there are credible reasons to doubt the validity of those figures. Still, according to the Institute of Medicine, “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million.”
That’s in contrast to around 300,000 violent crimes involving guns every year. Many of these figures are hard to quantify, but one thing is clear: More guns are used every year to keep people safe than are used to hurt someone. So how could restricting the gun access of law-abiding citizens make us any safer?
Annual legal defensive gun use vastly, vastly outnumbers criminal usage. This is a reality that the anti-gun lobby won’t discuss. #2A
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 11, 2017
Many liberals want to raise the age to buy a gun to 21 or impose a complete ban on semi-automatic weapons, and over a third even support repealing the Second Amendment altogether. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this kind of gun control would severely curtail defensive gun use.
Yet the left also insists that the need for defensive gun use would be alleviated, because gun control could all-but-eliminate gun crime — but the facts don’t support the idealistic notion that criminals and murderers can somehow be stopped by new laws.
Even the fact-checker at the liberal Washington Post admitted that no proposed gun legislation could have prevented any of the recent mass shootings. If you factor out suicides, there’s no strong state-to-state correlation between gun laws and everyday gun violence either. But what about other countries with strict gun laws, like Britain and Australia? Don’t those laws work overseas?
Not according to the statistician Leah Libresco, who wrote in the Post that “neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans.” In both Australia and Britain, her research showed that tough gun laws didn’t have a significant effect on deaths or gun crime.
Gun policy is the issue I've had to revise my position on the most and the one I feel that I was actively mislead on.
— Leah Libresco (@LeahLibresco) October 2, 2017
Even if tighter gun laws haven’t always made the difference, it is true that some other countries have lower rates of gun homicide and fewer mass shootings — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any safer. After all, gun homicide is just one type of violence, and if crimes are committed in other ways, that isn’t a better outcome.
America isn’t a crime-ridden society because we have guns, if anything, the opposite is true. Crime rates are higher in Britain, and we have about the same level of crime as Canada, even though both countries have much stricter gun laws. According to Gallup, the British are more likely than Americans to say that they “live near an area where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.” I’d be afraid too, if I couldn’t defend myself.
Still, the left would argue that even if some degree of violence is inevitable, we need the police to protect us, not guns. It’s easy to fall into this line of thinking when you live in a wealthy New England suburb, where crime rates are low, or a city where the police are only minutes away. But what about the millions of Americans who live hours away from the nearest police station? Or the many who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods?
Police work is incredibly challenging, and recent events have shown that law enforcement can’t be expected to stop or prevent every crime. The Second Amendment was written because our founding founders realized that people need the ability to protect themselves. So if the left infringes upon our right to bear arms in a naive effort to stop gun violence, they’ll actually be making Americans less safe.