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Gun Control Statistics in America

Firearms Legal

disassembled handgun

In mid-June perhaps the largest mass shooting in the United States occurred in Orlando Florida. Before we even knew the total number of victims or what had happened, media outlets were shamelessly climbing over dead bodies to use this as an opportunity to promote their political ideology of gun control.

The media downplayed the fact that the shooting happened in a gun-free zone (where law abiding citizens are not allowed to carry a gun for protection). They also failed to mention that Omar Mateen didn’t just lay down his weapon and stop killing people because he was persuaded through liberal conversation. Rather, the bad guy with a gun was stopped by a good guy...with a gun.

They promoted only one message: “Because Omar Mateen used a firearm illegally those who use it legally should have their rights restricted.”

But is this logical? Would restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens stop a terrorist from hurting others? Do bad guys only get their guns by going through all the right legal processes?

Gun control is a sticky issue and the opinions about it are a dime a dozen. I’ve tried to only use sources that are academic in nature or are even from an opposing viewpoint. Therefore, I’ve included footnotes for each point. I hope you find this info as interesting as I do.

Here are the facts:
  1. In the United States for every one firearm-related homicide there are 80 cases where a firearm is used in self-defense. This means that one is 80x more likely to use a firearm in a lawful way to preserve innocent life than they are to use it in an unlawful way to take innocent life. A similar study done under the Clinton administration - a more liberal administration - concluded that there are almost 50 cases of self-defense gun use for every one gun-related homicide.
  2. Each year there are more than 200,000 cases of sexual assault that are prevented by women carrying firearms.
  3. The United States has the highest per capita gun ownership in the world. If more guns caused more murders, and that was the primary issue, then we should have the highest per capita murder rate in the world. However, the United States ranks 121st in per capita murders when compared with the rest of the world. This means that there are 120 other with less guns and more violence than the U.S.
  4. In one year, how many children (aged 14 and under) across the entire country accidentally discharge a firearm? Answer: Only about 69. This isn’t how many were hurt by the discharge (which is less), just how many accidentally fired a gun. To put this in perspective there are twice as many children who die from bicycles each year than who die from firearms.
  5. Gun control statistically does not work: “In 2004 the U.S. Academy of Sciences released its evaluation from a review of 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research. It failed to identify any gun control that had reduced violent crime, suicide, or gun accidents. The same conclusion was reached in 2003 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s review of then-existent studies.”
  6. The United Kingdom (U.K.), where firearms ownership is severely restricted, has four times the amount of violent crime as the U.S.
  7. Each year there are about 323 homicides committed with rifles in the U.S. In comparison, about 496 people are killed with hammers or clubs. This means that blunt objects account for 60% more deaths than so called, “assault rifles.”
  8. Gun-free zones are perhaps the most notorious killers. According to John Lott, a Chief Economist with the U.S. Sentencing Commission, “With just one exception, every public mass shooting in the USA since at least 1950 has taken place where citizens are banned from carrying guns. Despite strict gun regulations, Europe has had three of the worst six school shootings.” He also writes, “Killers go where victims can't defend themselves. In the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, out of seven theaters showing the Batman movie premiere within 20 minutes of the suspect's apartment, only one banned permitted concealed handguns. The suspect didn't go to the closest nor the largest, but to the one that banned self-defense.”

As you can see, the idea that “more guns equal more murders” is pretty far off the mark. The concept of “gun control” is often used as a smokescreen to distract people from deeper issues - both society and human nature are broken. But by blaming an inanimate metal object we are distracted from dealing with the real issues.

1.Kleck, Gary and Mark Gertz, “Armed Resistance to Crime,” in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University, Vol 86, Fall 1995. 2.Ibid. 3.Global Study on Homicide, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013. 4.Center for Disease Control - Annual Report, 2013. 5.Kates, Don and Gary Mauser, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide,” in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Harvard University, Vol. 30, Spring 2007. 6.Edwards, Richard, “UK is Violent Crime Capital of Europe,” in The Telegraph, 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/5712573/UK-is-violent-crime-capital-of-Europe.html 7.Federal Bureau of Investigation - Annual Report, 2011. 8.Lott, John, “Guns in Schools can Save Lives,” in USA Today, 2012. http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/12/25/gun-free-zone-john-lott/1791085/ 9.Ibid.
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