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 February 2023.
Almost every major study 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. In 2021, the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the issue concluded that roughly 1.6 million defensive gun uses occur in the United States every year.
For this reason, The Daily Signal publishes a monthly article highlighting some of the previous month’s many news stories on defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read other accounts here from past years.)
The 11 incidents below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in January.
Here are a couple of the examples:
- Jan. 9, Ellijay, Georgia: Police said an armed robber who tried to hide his face under a pair of women’s panties entered a combined gas station and convenience store and pointed a handgun at the clerk. What he didn’t know is that all three customers inside the store were legally armed. Working together, they disarmed the robber and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
- Jan. 14, Utica, New York: When a disgruntled customer at an Applebee’s restaurant slashed an employee across the face with a steak knife, police said, an armed diner with a concealed carry permit intervened, ordering the man to drop the knife. He then held the assailant at gunpoint until police arrived.
- Jan. 27, Haines City, Florida: A concealed carry permit holder returned home with his girlfriend to find two intruders in his kitchen. The homeowner drew his gun and fired five rounds at one intruder, striking him four times, before fleeing with his girlfriend and calling police. Responding officers found the wounded intruder—a convicted felon—near the home and were trying to identify and locate the second intruder. In response to the shooting, Haines City Police Chief Greg Goreck reminded reporters that most people in the county are armed, saying: “One should expect that if you are brazen enough to enter into someone’s residence and it is not yours, with intent to commit an unlawful act, there may be repercussions.”
The second article talks about defensive gun uses by students:
Feb. 14, Seattle: A couple and their two children were getting out of a family vehicle when two armed robbers threatened them, police said. The father also was armed, however, and exchanged gunfire with the robbers until they fled. In an effort to protect his wife and children, the father moved away from the vehicle to create distance between them and the crossfire. He was shot three times in the lower body, but his actions prevented his wife and children from being hurt.
Feb. 22, Eddy County, North Dakota: A farmer spotted a wanted murder suspect walking near his property and held him at gunpoint until police arrived, single-handedly ending a two-day, multiagency manhunt.
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.
It’s very important to ask secular leftists who want to ban law-abiding people from owning firearms “what do you expect people to do when criminals want to hurt them?” The answer I get from my atheist Democrat friend is that he expects them to call the police, and wait for them to arrive. There is a real suspicion among secular leftists of law-abiding people defend themselves – especially men. A man defending his family? Why, that’s “sexist”. Better to call the police and wait for them to arrive.
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.
3 thoughts on “Why do law-abiding Americans insist on owning guns?”
Reminds me of how angry I was at the “40 or 50 feral hogs” meme, which basically a bunch of cityslickers mocking country folks for the cityslickers’ ignorance.
I can add my own account here as well (used to have it elsewhere but it’s been eaten by the interwebs). But a bull escaped from his farm and attacked a neighbor who lived about a half-mile up the road. (Note for the ignorant: how does a bull attack work? The bull knocks you to the ground and then basically begins body slamming you with its 1000 lbs of bulk until you have no more bones.) That neighbor was only saved because others who lived nearby heard the commotion and were able to come running with their own guns. Even then it took like 4 different escalating firearms before they were able to finally bring a rifle with enough firepower to bring the bull down and save the neighbor’s life.
And by that I mean the man still had to be airlifted to a nearby major city to be cared for and even then had various health troubles for the rest of his life like kidney failure (which was only up to last year, RIP, Ed).
Now obviously I don’t believe any gun control proponents intended to kill my neighbor, but if they won’t even listen or hear of these complicating examples of firearms saving someone’s life, you start to get that impression.
LikeLiked by 2 people
A friend of mine who owns land had to shoot a dog who had gotten into his land and was attacking his goats. Several goats were killed before he shot the dog.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Gun control kills. Use American Indians as an example. Use the Jews of nazi-controlled lands as an example. Mexico is a good example as well. Mexico had a stable government but was bigoted against American Indians. Indians stopped a lot of murders by using guns. Post 1910 Revolution, the people were in control but socialists took over and took the guns. Today, American Indian children are the cheapest slaves on the pedophile market. No gun and evil rules.