Violent Crime Gun Violence Criminal

Why do Americans own so many guns?

I’m not originally from the United States, and when I go back home to visit, one of the questions that I get asked a lot is “why do Americans own so many guns?” So in this post, I wanted to look at some stories from the United States about crime and gun violence and see why so many Americans own guns.

My favorite writer on these issues is Amy Swearer, who writes for the Daily Signal. I find that her articles are useful for explaining to people who don’t own guns, or want to ban guns, why it might be a good idea to own a gun, and to know how to use it.

The first article to see is a review of 14 examples of defensive gun use from December 2021.

She writes:

As 2022 begins, cities across the nation are experiencing unprecedented spikes in serious, violent crimes. Meanwhile, many public officials continue to push overly lenient and nonsensical prosecution policies that further endanger the public and embolden criminals.

Americans are becoming increasingly aware of just how important the right to keep and bear arms can be, especially when the government cannot be counted upon to protect them from violent threats.

Almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She has 14 examples in the article, and here are a few of them:

Dec. 12, Fairfax, Virginia: Police said a burglar armed with a knife entered a home through an unlocked door and refused to leave after residents confronted him. When the burglar lunged toward one resident with the knife, the resident—armed with a gun—fired a warning shot into the floor. The resident then held the burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.

Dec. 15, Lakeland, Florida: A homeowner shot an intruder who used a flowerpot to smash through a glass door. Police arrested the intruder, who had an extensive criminal history including 14 felony convictions. The homeowner “did exactly what he had a right to do,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press release. “I commend him for protecting himself and defending his home.”

Dec. 18, Cairo, Georgia: An elderly woman, awakened by noise in the middle of the night, confronted several armed intruders who had broken in. At least one intruder opened fire and wounded the woman, but she shot back with her own gun, prompting the intruders to flee. Police later arrested seven suspects in the home invasion, including five under age 16.

Dec. 22, Abbottstown, Pennsylvania: A disturbed man wearing nothing but a shirt broke into an elderly couple’s home and violently assaulted them, police said. The woman’s husband was able to grab a handgun from the bedroom and fatally shot the attacker as he beat her. The husband and wife suffered serious injuries, but were expected to recover.

Like Amy says, if you live in a blue state, or even in a blue city in a red state, then you can’t count on law enforcement to protect you. They are too busy being politically correct, or trampling unarmed peaceful protesters with horses. You have to be able to defend yourself, and your loved ones.

And here are some more from January 2022:

Just one month into 2022, it became clear that the new year hasn’t brought relief from the unprecedented spikes in violent crime in many cities since the summer of 2020.

Take Philadelphia, for example. With 140 carjackings reported through the first five weeks of 2022, the city is well on pace to surpass last year’s total of 757 carjackings.

Portland, Oregon, meanwhile, experienced more homicides and shootings in January 2022 than in January 2021—doubly concerning, since 2021 was by far the most violent year in Portland’s history.

And here are a few of the stories:

Jan. 13, Philadelphia: After a good Samaritan intervened to help a woman who was being harassed on a commuter train, police said, the harasser followed him off the train and attacked him with a knife. However, the good Samaritan had a concealed carry permit and happened to be armed that day. He shot and wounded his assailant.

Jan. 27, Fort Worth, Texas: An armed carjacker opened fire on a driver, wounding him. But the driver was able to draw his own gun and shoot back, potentially saving his life and sending the carjacker fleeing. The  car was recovered a short time later after the carjacker, wounded and in serious condition, stopped to ask for help.

The  one about the Good Samaritan was interesting. One of the reasons why armed men are inclined to help women is because they know that if anything happens, they have a weapon to fight back with. So many young, unmarried women voters want to disarm law-abiding men. But do they realize that if they do that, then only the criminals will have weapons? Do these progressive women think that unarmed men are going to stand up for them against threats?

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

The book by economist John Lott, linked above, compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, which shows that the 1997 UK gun ban caused violent crime rates to MORE THAN DOUBLE in the four years following the ban. But both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

One of the common mistakes I see anti-gun advocates making is to use the metric of all “gun-related deaths”. First of all, this completely ignores the effects of hand gun ownership on violent crime, as we’ve seen. Take away the guns from law-abiding people and violent crime skyrockets. But using the “gun-related deaths” number is especially wrong, because it includes suicides committed with guns. This is the majority (about two thirds) of gun related deaths, even in a country like America that has a massive inner-city gun violence problem caused by the epidemic of single motherhood by choice. If you take out the gun-related SUICIDES, then the actual number of gun homicides has decreased as gun ownership has grown.

For a couple of useful graphs related to this point, check out this post over at the American Enterprise Institute.

8 thoughts on “Why do Americans own so many guns?”

  1. Widespread gun ownership is a great deterrent. Bad guys know the basics of risks and rewards, so they avoid situations where people may be armed. And the media ignores all the times when good guys with guns saved lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “An armed society is a polite society.”

    We don’t have as many guns here in Canada – but that often depends on where you live. I’m on a farm, and virtually all the farms in the area have at least a couple of guns. Some of my neighbours have their own little arsenals. They are a necessary tool, and even the rules are different in the country. I took my firearms safety course and am now waiting for my PAL to be processed, after which I can buy any non-restricted gun I want – and if I wanted to, I could get a restricted license to get things like handguns. While guns normally are required to be locked in safes, etc., I could literally have a gun at every door, so long as the ammunition is stored in another room. While this is typically for animals of the 4 legged variety, the nearest police station is almost half an hour away, in another municipality, and it could take much longer than that for a squad car to arrive, if we ever needed to call 911.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The question is simple: When threatened, do you want to have the ability to defend yourself using the most powerful force possible or do you want to hope that you can contact someone with that same force and that they can get to you in time to keep you safe? Whether the government, criminals or wild beasts, it is ALWAYS preferable to have the ability to defend yourself NOW than to hope someone else can reach you in time. I like to say that the job of the police is to clean up the mess, not to defend citizens. Why? Because most of the time they aren’t available to defend anyone, they simply arrive on the scene after the crime has been committed. Even in situations where a crime is in progress the police rarely “defend citizens” but instead “neutralize the threat”, which, by proxy, keeps nearby citizens safe. The fact that so many people would prefer to be rendered completely vulnerable to people who don’t obey gun laws or care about their safety (criminals) is beyond me, and I attribute it to the feminization of the West. The concept of getting into a life or death fight is just too overwhelming for the female mind because they are not programmed to be warriors. They have, in turn, passed that overwhelming fear on to generations of young men who have grown up without fathers or been raised by the public school system. A man should have no more fear of picking up and learning to use a gun than they would a hammer. The level of respect is different, but the objects are the same: Tools, made for a purpose.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “The concept of getting into a life or death fight is just too overwhelming for the female mind because they are not programmed to be warriors. ”

      That is one statement that I partially disagree with. This is not a “female” trait. This is a taught, cultural trait. Just from the history of my own ethnic background, while women certainly played traditional female roles, those roles were often every bit as life and death as the traditional male roles, and there is no shortage of women who picked up the weapons of their fallen husbands to fight on, themselves. Or just plain fought alongside the men, if necessary. The need to protect children and have enough surviving women to bear the next generation has a lot to do with women not being on the front lines as much, but the “mama bear” trope is very real. For better or worse, women are vicious and deadly.

      My background is also very rural, and “male” and “female” roles both required a lot of bada$$ery. Attitudes are very different when filling those roles meant the difference between surviving or starving. Whether you’re out in the field, the garden, hunting, etc. to make sure there’s enough food on the table and put away for the winter, everyone had to pull their weight, regardless of gender. I suspect the idea of women’s “feminine” roles as being somehow “weaker” then men’s has more to do with the urban/rural divide, or even the rich/poor divide, than the male/female divide. In our modern world, I think decades of magazines, newspapers, TV and now social media has done a lot to push that narrative of what “femininity” is.

      Historically, we read more about how the wealthy and powerful lived, not the common folks, and gender roles and lifestyles were VERY different. You even had different health recommendations for wealthy women (who were considered fragile and delicate) v. common women (who were considered much hardier).

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I understand history has more than a few instances of women in combat, and many fought fiercely, and many women would fight fiercely….for their children. Overwhelmingly, however, history has show that MEN train for battle overwhelmingly more than often than women do, both by necessity, men being the larger and stronger of the two sexes, and by choice.

        Understand that when I say “women” I do not mean 100% of every woman that has walked the planet, but the pool of “warrior women” in real life is a miniscule drop in the bucket given the population of women. Rural living necessitates that women learn at least the basics of self defense and survival (in the past, at least) because the prospect of a husband getting sick, injured or killed could easily mean death for the whole family of SOMEONE didn’t know how to do what needs to be done to put food on the table and stave off creatures, but that was a long time ago and now women can just order groceries and have them delivered to the front door. Aside from that, knowing how to use a weapon against an enemy does not a warrior make. I can fire a gun with relative accuracy, but I am not a warrior like my son, who is in the military, and who is dedicated to learning to survive and kill in combat.

        Most men want to be warriors because its in their nature. Women can be taught to be warriors, but it is overwhelmingly against theirs.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Yup. That’s why I said that I only partially disagreed with your statement.

          I think the same things that have taught modern women to be pretty useless is also making many men to be more so, too. Both now have to go out of their way to maintain skills that used to be basic to just about everyone.

          The obvious physical differences and women’s need to stay close to home and children made gender roles pretty much a given, but I am not entirely sure that “warrior” skills is in men’s nature any more than “maternal” skills are in women. Many maternal skills were almost lost in Western culture and had to be re-taught to women, as the extended family went by the wayside, and “science” took over the rearing of children, often with great harm (thinking especially in regards to the early infant formulas and bottle feeding).

          Liked by 2 people

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