Facts vs feelings in the debate on gun control vs self-defense

I found a splendid at the Daily Signal article that ought to be read by everyone who has an opinion about the conflict between gun confiscation vs self-defense.

Here are the 8 points made in the article, then I’ll comment on my favorite one:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.

  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.

  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.

  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.

  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

Whenever we discuss gun violence, it’s very important to exclude suicides using a gun from the overall rate of gun deaths. Once you do that, you will find that the rate of violent crime has been declining as more and more law-abiding Americans have gone through the process to purchase a firearm for self-defense.

Let’s talk about the gun homicide rate and how the steady increase in firearm ownership has affected that.

Here is a graph:

Gun ownership up, gun violence down
Gun ownership up, gun violence down

The question I want to address is this: why would someone want to own a gun in the first place?

Here are the points from the list of eight points that are relevant to that question:

Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  • Switzerland and Israel have much higher gun ownership rates than the United States but experience far fewer homicides and have much lower violent crime rates than many European nations with strict gun control laws.
  • Higher rates of concealed carry permit holders are even more strongly associated with reduction in violent crime than are “right-to-carry” states. The probable reason for this is that “right-to-carry” studies often include “open carry” states, which have not been shown to correlate with more people actually carrying or even owning firearms. Rates of concealed carry permit holders are better indicators of the number of people who actually possess and carry firearms within a given population.

There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  • Homicide and firearm homicide rates in Great Britain spiked in the years immediately following the imposition of severe gun control measures, despite the fact that most developed countries continued to experience a downward trend in these rates. This is also pointed out by noted criminologist John Lott in his book “The War on Guns.”
  • Similarly, Ireland’s homicide rates spiked in the years immediately following the country’s 1972 gun confiscation legislation.
  • Australia’s National Firearms Act appears to have had little effect on suicide and homicide rates, which were falling before the law was enacted and continued to decline at a statistically unremarkable rate compared to worldwide trends.
  • According to research compiled by John Lott and highlighted in his book “The War on Guns,” Australia’s armed and unarmed robbery rates both increased markedly in the five years immediately following the National Firearms Act, despite the general downward trend experienced by other developed countries.
  • Great Britain has some of the strictest gun control laws in the developed world, but the violent crime rate for homicide, rape, burglary, and aggravated assault is much higher than that in the U.S. Further, approximately 60 percent of burglaries in Great Britain occur while residents are home, compared to just 13 percent in the U.S., and British burglars admit to targeting occupied residences because they are more likely to find wallets and purses.
  • It is difficult to compare homicide and firearm-related murder rates across international borders because countries use different methods to determine which deaths “count” for purposes of violent crime. For example, since 1967, Great Britain has excluded from its homicide counts any case that does not result in a conviction, that was the result of dangerous driving, or in which the person was determined to have acted in self-defense. All of these factors are counted as “homicides” in the United States.

Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  • In 2013, President Barack Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess existing research on gun violence. The report, compiled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, found (among other things) that firearms are used defensively hundreds of thousands of times every year.
  • According to the CDC, “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.” Recent CDC reports acknowledge that studies directly assessing the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found “consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
  • Semi-automatic rifles (such as the AR-15) are commonly used as self-defense weapons in the homes of law-abiding citizens because they are easier to control than handguns, are more versatile than handguns, and offer the advantage of up to 30 rounds of protection. Even Vox has published stories defending the use of the AR-15.
  • AR-15s have been used to save lives on many occasions [list omitted by WK]

Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

  • Noted criminologist John Lott found that, as a group, concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law-abiding people in the United States. The rate at which they commit crimes generally and firearm crimes specifically is between one-sixth and one-tenth of that recorded for police officers, who are themselves committing crimes at a fraction of the rate of the general population.
  • Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates dropped 16 percent and violent crime rates dropped 18 percent, even though the percentage of adults with concealed carry permits rose by 190 percent.
  • Regression estimates show a significant association between increased permit ownership and a drop in murder and violent crime rates. Each percentage point increase in rates of permit-holding is associated with a roughly 2.5 percent drop in the murder rate.
  • Concealed carry permit holders are often “the good guy with a gun,” even though they rarely receive the attention of the national media. Concealed carry permit holders were credited with saving multiple lives [list omitted by WK]

So, I think that those points provide a very necessary balance for the “ban guns” crowd. Gun ownership is a vital part of a free citizen’s right to self-defense. People who want to discuss gun confiscation vs self-defense need to be aware of the way guns are really used by law-abiding people to protect themselves and their families.

15 thoughts on “Facts vs feelings in the debate on gun control vs self-defense”

  1. I am a gun owner (legal!) but most of my friends, family and acquaintances are rabidly anti gun. It is completely emotional and visceral with no reason or logic involved. A sample response is “Let’s just get rid of all of the guns”. For real. The thought that gangs and criminals would still have guns doesn’t register, because if we got rid of all the guns the guns would just be gone. And this is from and adult, reasonably intelligent woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just got into a discussion with family members and it really infuriates me that they claim to be “pro-arms” whilst listing leftist talking points.
    I live in a deep blue state and most of my feed is filled with pictures at the marches, emotional appeals and nasty comments that really put on display their Trump Derangement Syndrome. I really didn’t like Obama and what he did, but never would I throw out some of the comments even remotely close to what half these people say. I tend not to use facebook for my outlet, but comments like “nobody needs an automatic or semi-automatic weapon” just set me off.
    And then there was the one person who said this just made her think of how the women marching for voting rights were treated… *facepalm*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What about accidental shootings? That would be my main concern about guns, not crime or suicides. Do you have data on the number of accidental shootings that happen in the United States?


      1. WK – I have an open mind about gun possession even though I’m from Britain.
        I’m puzzled by some of the stats. I’ve heard of young children gaining access to their parents’ guns and accidents happening. I doubt that all the accidents get reported as it would show negligence by the parents who would naturally do all they can to suppress reports.
        I’m also dubious about the good guy or gals with concealed weapons in busy streets. How do they protect themselves without endangering the public? Do they have to pass a proficiency test like the Police that checks their judgement as well as their ability to fire their weapons in a controlled manner and with a high degree of accuracy?
        WK and readers – please don’t shoot the questioner (every pun intended) and try to answer my questions dispassionately.


    1. This is why I provided the resources above. From one of those citations (published on ASND, not just buried in one of the references cited thereon); “Civilians use guns to stop lethal violence more than 100,000 times per year, while there are less than 600 fatal firearm accidents per year.“ http://www.koco.com/article/healdton-schools-use-bulletproof-storm-shelters-to-keep-students-safe/18916416 From another listed citation: ‘A car is more likely to kill you — or anyone else in the U.S. — than a gun. But 99.4% of car deaths are accidental. 98.5% of gun deaths are intentional. And 64% of gun fatalities are suicides. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/02/12/which-is-more-likely-to-kill-car-or-gun.html Yer welcum again.


  4. There can be regulations made on how guns should be stored. Etc thst allow for legal ownership.

    Also how about rather than taking away legal guns. Make penalties more strict for the illegal owners of guns.

    Liked by 2 people

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