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Statistis Showing That Firearms Save Lives and Protect Property Are Largely Ignored

Statistically speaking, there is a significant amount of evidence showing that guns save and protect more people than they harm. Facts, however, are not always appreciated or reported in the national press. Unfortunately  we live in a society where any tragedy will keep a large percentage of the populace glued to the news 24/7 lusting for the latest tidbit of information, while news of bravery and heroism are all but ignored by the media. If a mass shooting is prevented, it may get a blurb on a local TV station or a mention on a morning talk show, but it will be largely passed over  – especially if the violence is prevented with the use of a firearm. The everyday hero goes unsung and real, common sense solutions are laughed at or treated with disdain by many and passed over in favor of actions that victimize  all of society.

Much of the national media and the American public are willing to overlook statistics that say the crime rate in the This women prevented a school shooting in TNU.K. has tripled since banning guns and now has the highest crime rate in Europe, but Switzerland, with the highest gun ownership rate, has the lowest crime rate. It is statistically factual that violence is more frequently perpetrated without the use of a firearm than with one. These weapons include blunt objects, hands, feet, knives, and even cars. So far there have been no moves to ban any of these deadly weapons.

Many in the media and public are  also willing to overlook the fact that  statistically crime rates decrease as gun ownership increases and that the areas with the most restrictive gun control laws also have the highest crime rates. Apparently there are some real flaws in the philosophy that gun regulation makes society safer, but often when individuals become entrenched in a philosophy, they have a difficult time taking a step back and giving it objective and critical thought.

Although statistics can often be skewed to serve the purpose of the person using them, good statistics taken from objective research can be very helpful. Below are listed some statistics that show a view of gun ownership and gun control that are at odds with much of current popular opinion being promoted in the media.


Statistics Show Gun Owners Use Guns to Prevent Crime

  • A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone “almost certainly would have been killed” if they “had not used a gun for protection.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”
  •  Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.
  • Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative CriminologyU.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.
  • *A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.


A Survey of Male Felons in State Prisons Found That Gun Ownership Deters Criminals

  • 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”
  • 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”
  • 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”


Handgun Ban Correlated with Increased Murder Rate In Washington D.C.

  • During the years in which the D.C. handgun ban and trigger lock law was in effect, the Washington, D.C. murder rate averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law, while the U.S. murder rate averaged 11% lower.


Gun Control Laws Correlated with Increased Homicide Rate In Great Britain

  • In 1997, Britain passed a law requiring civilians to surrender almost all privately owned handguns to the police. More than 162,000 handguns and 1.5 million pounds of ammunition were “compulsorily surrendered” by February 1998. Using “records of firearms held on firearms certificates,” police accounted for all but fewer than eight of all legally owned handguns in England, Scotland, and Wales.
  • The homicide rate in England and Wales has averaged 52% higher since the outset of the 1968 gun control law and 15% higher since the outset of the 1997 handgun ban.*

*These statistics are not current. The current crime rate is much higher than this statistic shows, in part due to the rioting in the UK in 2011.


Handgun Ban Correlated with Higher Number of Murders Committed with Handguns in Chicago

  • In 1982, the city of Chicago instituted a ban on handguns. This ban barred civilians from possessing handguns except for those registered with the city government prior to enactment of the law. The law also specified that such handguns had to be re-registered every two years or owners would forfeit their right to possess them. In 1994, the law was amended to require annual re-registration.
  • In June 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that Chicago’s ban is unconstitutional.
  • Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the Chicago murder rate has averaged 17% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 25% lower.
  • Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the percentage of Chicago murders committed with handguns has averaged about 40% higher than it was before the law took effect.


Although it is easy to feel that we are taking good action when we follow emotional arguments, often there are unseen and undesirable repercussions for such actions. Just as, in the past, congress couldn’t foresee the unintended and undesirable outcome of funding Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, they frequently fail to predict many undesirable outcomes of the myopic policies they promote. How do they really know that they would be making the country safer by passing laws that sound nice in theory but have no real substance? Is there a possibility that such policy might actually make us less safe?

Shouldn’t we have some significant evidence to show a realistic potential for benefit (or at least lack of harm) before we go ripping through the constitution and stripping law abiding citizens of their rights? Or is real thought no longer appreciated when emotions run high? The fact that sound bites and blurbs are repeated constantly in the national media for months on end doesn’t make them true. Critical and objective thought is needed to guide our country in the best possible direction for the future without unintended, and completely preventable, consequences.



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