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.
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 Lott book was published by the University of Chicago Press (now in its 3rd edition)
- The Malcolm book was published by Harvard University Press
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.