We can all agree that we want to see fewer mass killings and less gun violence. The question is whether stricter gun-control laws will improve the situation or make it worse. Because of the politicized nature of gun policy, it’s essential to get past the rhetoric and sift through the facts to answer that question. How much do you know about gun control? Can you identify which of the following is the lie?
A. New gun control legislation will reduce crime.
B. More guns in more public places leads to less gun violence.
C. There are far more defensive gun uses than murders in a given year.
Let’s take these statements one at a time:
A. FALSE. In short, gun control legislation does not focus on the root causes of human behavior, including violence, crime, and untreated mental illness. At the heart of gun control initiatives is the hope that criminals will obey the law, but, in fact, they rarely do.
Congress, as well as state legislatures, would have us think that just one more gun-control law will magically reduce crime. But they have been saying that for decades, with no evidence of improvement. Then they offer the same legislation again.
Instead of reducing crime, new gun control legislation would:
- Not change criminal behavior. It only creates a false sense of security.
- Make law-abiding citizens less safe, especially victims of domestic violence.
- Turn law-abiding citizens into instant felons for ordinary, safe behavior.
- Be cost prohibitive for the poorest families to protect themselves.
B. TRUTH. A full 94% of mass shootings take place in gun-free zones. Someone intent on mass murder isn’t going to be deterred by a sign prohibiting guns. But he may prefer such a place because he is less likely to face a responsibly-armed citizen. Overall, states and cities with the least restrictive laws on gun ownership are safer than those with the most restrictive laws.
Some people believe that ordinary citizens shouldn’t have to be the ones to defend their families and that it is the job of the police. But law enforcement response times might be 2-15 minutes (in urban areas, and longer in rural areas). If an armed assailant broke into your home with the intent to rape or kill, even two minutes is too long.
C. TRUTH. We don’t often see a headline about someone saving her life, or the life of her family, with a firearm, but it happens more often than we know. Murders get all the headlines, but would it surprise you to know that there are far more defensive uses of guns than murders in a given year? And many of these defensive uses of firearms happen without a shot being fired. That should be all over the news every night.
Concealed carriers are the most law-abiding segment of the population, even more, law-abiding than law enforcement itself.
Crime is on the rise, and people are looking at how to reverse the trend. While lawmakers try to restrict gun rights as a prospective solution, they ignore the actual causes of the crime spikes.
To be clear, carrying a firearm is a very serious choice, and it’s a choice many people won’t make. But that’s ok. Everyone’s life circumstances are unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all of us. But the government—at any level—should not determine that choice. The individual is the only one who can decide the best way to keep him or herself safe.