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 10 examples of defensive gun use from April 2022.
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 the most recent report on the subject by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in March. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database.
Here are a couple of the examples:
- March 4, Longview, Texas: A woman armed with a rifle shot and wounded a man who forced his way inside her home, police said. The woman had told the man—who neighbors say had a history of criminally trespassing in area homes—to get off her porch. But he refused and tried to smash in her sliding glass door with his fist, according to police, who arrested the wounded man. The county sheriff praised the woman’s actions as “an excellent example of the importance of our Second Amendment.”
- March 22, Orlando, Florida: A female veteran working as an Uber driver arrived at a customer’s pick-up location and saw him physically assaulting his girlfriend, police said. The driver decided to give them a ride despite the man’s violent actions because she didn’t want to leave the girlfriend alone with her assailant. When the couple got into the car, the man passed out drunk in the back seat while the Uber driver spoke with the girlfriend. When the man woke up and assaulted both his girlfriend and the driver, police said, the driver stopped the car and demanded that he get out. The driver shot and wounded the man after he shoved his girlfriend to the ground and advanced on the driver in a threatening manner.
It’s especially important for people living in blue cities or blue states to arm themselves, because the police forces in these areas have had their budgets slashed by Democrats. “Defund the police” sounds so good, but it just gets a lot of peaceful, law-abiding people killed.
And here is one from March 2022:
Feb. 9, Portland: A homeowner had started his car remotely from inside his house when he realized that someone was trying to break into the car, police said. Wielding a firearm, the homeowner confronted the would-be thief and held him at gunpoint while his wife called police.
Like Amy said, the use of guns defensively happens many, many times in America. But in cities that have strict gun laws, like Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and BUFFALO, criminals can run wild. No one in blue states can stop them except the police, and the police have been defunded and defanged by the secular left.
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.
5 thoughts on “Why do law-abiding Americans insist on owning guns?”
We own guns because we know history. Countries that confiscate guns never turn out well.
Citizens with guns are a great deterrent. Criminals are evil, but not completely stupid. They want to minimize risks and maximize rewards. Knowing that their victims may have guns changes their behavior.
Never trust people who want to ban guns.
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Strangely enough, I own guns because I find shooting challenging and enjoyable. The fact that I have one more tool available to protect myself if necessary is simply a bonus.
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Strangely enough, I think armed citizens are actively opposing government encroachment at this very moment, and doing a reasonably good job of it.
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Yes. I think the fact that we are so heavily armed keeps the government from being even more out of control.