Gun Control Doesn’t Work and I Can Statistically Prove It

June 18, 2017

Gun Control Doesn’t Work and I Can Statistically Prove It M&R Glasgow / Flickr

The supposed point of gun control is supposed to keep people safe. If it puts them in more danger, it doesn’t work. And I can prove that it doesn’t — using one simple statistic.

That statistic? Guns are used to defend law-abiding Americans over 760,000 times a year. This fact alone invalidates the entire anti-gun position of the liberal left.

The Liberal Case Against Guns

The liberal position against guns is (surprisingly enough) simple. Guns are seen as inherently dangerous and therefore; therefore, any policies that seek to reduce the ownership of firearms is beneficial, irrespective of who actually owns the guns or of how the guns are ultimately being used.

For instance, in response to the horrific Islamic terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, liberals claimed that the “real issue” in America was private gun ownership, not Islamic terrorism. They have a number of talking points to support this narrative.

Anti-gun enthusiasts claim that guns are used to commit thousands of crimes, including over 172,000 burglaries and over 20,000 homicides. They claim that hundreds of mass shootings are committed every year with these guns.

Their solution? Restrict and even ban gun ownership. The logic goes that if guns cause crime, then getting rid of guns will reduce crime at a proportionate rate.

Furthermore, they are extremely suspicious of Americans using guns to defend themselves. To the left, the ‘good guy with a gun’ is a total myth.

Harvard professor David Hemenway insists that if there really were so many instances of defensive gun use, America would see thousands more justifiable homicides or hospitalizations of would-be thieves and murderers. The left even goes so far as to claim that Americans over report the defensive use of their guns (an implied accusation that everyday citizens are being dishonest).

For all of these reasons, they conclude, there is no actual need to defend yourself or your family with a gun. Now pass this gun control bill.

The Conservative Facts

So what’s the problem with the liberal narrative on guns? It avoids the mountains of unassailable research that demonstrates a clear safety benefit to private gun ownership.

Americans defending themselves with their guns isn’t a myth. It’s a clear and undeniable fact.

The lack of justifiable homicides and criminal hospitalization is quite understandable. Once Americans brandish their guns, most criminals quickly vacate the premises. 98% of defensive gun uses consist of simple brandishing alone. This bolsters the case for private gun ownership. Guns not only decrease crimes committed against Americans but even the need for additional violence in general.

Dr. Gary Kleck, a pioneer in the research of defensive gun use, points out that Dr. Hemenway is not trained in survey research. Despite this critical failure, gun control advocates continue to tout his credibility.

Additionally, Dr. Kleck points out that surveys of crime show a consistent trend of underreporting. If anything, Americans are likely to underestimate how often they use a gun to defend themselves.

Attempts to nitpick and discredit the evidence aren’t enough to disprove the basic fact that Americans are more likely to defend themselves with a gun than to be victimized by one. Dr. Kleck reminds us:

It has now been confirmed by at least 16 surveys, including the 1993 National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS) of Kleck and Gertz (1995), 12 other national surveys, and 3 state-wide surveys, that defensive use of firearms by crime victims is common in the United States, probably substantially more common than criminal uses of guns by offenders. The estimates of the annual number of defensive uses of guns in the United States range from 760,000 to 3.6 million.

If the left wants to bring down gun crime (a laudable goal, no doubt), then targeting legal gun ownership will only result in more gun crime — not less. In fact, only 18% of gun crimes are committed by the legal owners of the firearm in question.

Real Solutions

There is no single method to prevent criminal use of illegally purchased firearms; the only real solutions to preventing violence all include enabling citizens to carry guns for their self-defense, not taking them away! Instead of proposing reasonable reforms, the preferred policies of the left would leave more Americans victimized, not less.

The simple fact of the matter is that over half a million Americans legally use weapons to defend themselves on a yearly basis.

Despite the best efforts of gun control advocates, this reality cannot be talked around or explained away. Letting the left dictate the narrative on gun ownership will only continue to cripple our pursuit of a safer society.

Joe Laughon

Joseph Laughon is a conservative essayist and an editor for the Conservative Institute. He studied political theory at Concordia University and is a Fellow at the League of Faithful Masks, a Christian institute dedicated to civic virtue.