So You Hate Guns and Think They’re Bad? That’s OK. In America you have the right to think whatever you want.
But please do think. Think about whether the “facts” you hear from professional anti-gun organizations are really true. And think about whether their proposals for controlling or banning guns will actually do any good.
Here are some of the claims you hear from professional anti-gun groups like Handgun Control, Inc., and here is the real truth behind each claim.
The claim: Guns kill almost 5,000 children per year.
The facts: The great majority of “children” included in this number are 17- to 19-year-olds involved in gang warfare. In fact, in 1997, only 48 U.S. children under age 10 died from gun accidents.
It is a tragedy when any child is killed or hurt, especially when the accident might have been preventable. Shouldn’t we start by reducing the most dangerous threats that children face every day? According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, far more children die every year from motor vehicle crashes, drowning, suffocation, fires, and other accidents. This makes us wonder, What is the real agenda of the anti-gun groups — saving children’s lives, or making a political statement?
The claim: Mandatory trigger locks and similar devices would prevent accidental gun injuries.
The facts: Accidental gun deaths have declined every year since at least 1974, without the need for mandatory regulation, and even though the number of guns and the number of homes with guns in them have increased. This is because the vast majority of gun owners have proven themselves to be careful, concerned, and responsible.
Whatever they’re doing — trigger locks, gun safes, training and education — it’s working. But the safety device that’s prudent for a household with children could be a dangerous impediment for an elderly or disabled person living alone. Responsible gun owners have nothing against safety devices — they just don’t want to incur a greater danger by making the gun inaccessible when it’s needed!
The claim: Guns are too easy to acquire. We need more laws that make it harder to buy guns.
The facts: There are literally thousands of federal and state laws that restrict the purchase and sale of firearms. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony is strictly forbidden by law from owning a gun. Federal law prohibits minors (under age 18) from even possessing a handgun, except for hunting or target shooting. Gun dealers who sell to criminals or minors can be prosecuted. All gun dealers must conduct a background check before selling a gun to anyone. (This applies at gun shows, too; there is no “gun show loophole.”) Individual owners who sell or trade their own guns are not subject to the dealer laws. But if the gun is later used in a crime, the seller risks being prosecuted as an accessory to the crime. These laws are already on the books. They only need to be enforced.
The claim: Guns should be registered so that police will be able to trace guns used in crimes.
The facts: Criminals already use unlawful means to get their guns, and they certainly won’t register the guns they intend to use in crimes. Registering guns will only serve to create a public database of law-abiding citizens who own guns. And if they’re not violating any law, why is it necessary to violate their privacy?
The claim: Guns are dangerous products that should be banned.
The facts: According to a 1994 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, an agency of the U.S. Justice Department, Americans use guns defensively, to protect themselves from crime, between 1.5 million and 3.0 million times per year. These results are consistent with other scholarly studies, which have estimated 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year. This means that approximately every 12 seconds, a crime is prevented, or a victim avoids death or injury, because he or she was able to use (or, in the great majority of cases, just show) a gun.
We’ve considered the facts, and we don’t hate guns. We do hate crime. More gun laws won’t stop or prevent crime. Criminals are, by definition, law-breakers. They will ignore and violate gun laws the same as they do other laws. Treating law-abiding citizens as if they were criminals won’t slow down criminals at all; in fact, it will give criminals a big advantage if they can count on their victims to be unarmed.
America is a free country, so you can think whatever you want about guns. Nobody in America is forced to own a gun, or let their children play with kids whose families own guns. You should not be forced to compromise your best judgment about how to protect yourself and your family.
And neither should other law-abiding citizens who don’t happen to hate guns.
TABLE 1: Causes and Numbers of Accidental Deaths of Children Under Age 10 (1997)
1. Motor vehicle — 1,783
2. Traffic — 1,626
3. Drowning — 750
4. Suffocation — 577
5. Residential fires — 570
6. Struck by or on something — 89
7. Falls — 87
8. Cycling — 78
9. Poisoning — 58
10. Firearms — 48