In the wake of multiple high profile violent events, the pressure is on to enforce tighter gun control. In the wake of such grief, that the call would go out for excessive policies was almost inevitable. Many have seized on this as an excuse to caricature those that are anti-gun as being people out of touch with reality. As you’ll see here, the demand is valid to an extent.
A statistic you see flaunted on social networking sites like Reddit is that when Australia had a mass shooting in 1996 in Port Arthur, guns were banned, and there hasn’t been a mass shooting since. But while that’s good for headlines and very dramatic, more significant is how it has affected Australian gun crime over all. That dropped 59% in the following decade.
An oft-cited idea by American gun regulation opponents is that allowing the government to have all the guns allows for tyranny, since to quote the second amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” Thus there have been 512 groups organized on that principle in the U.S. The most successful groups have not needed to fire any rounds to aid civilian interests. For example, the civilian border watch group the Minutemen in 2006 prevented a reported one hundred illegal immigrant crossings a day, despite not being permitted to use their firearms.
It is also widely argued that potential mass shooters could potentially be stopped by a bystander. This likelihood is heavily overwhelmed by the possibility of a hitting a bystander, another gun person such as a police officer shooting the citizen attempting to stop the crime in the confusion, and similar concerns. For example, during the Jan 8, 2011 Tucson, AZ mass shooting, Joe Zamudio almost shot a person that had already disarmed the shooter. In almost all instances where a citizen stopped a shooter, the means used were through physical combat, the individual was either had done military or police service, and almost never needed to shoot. Additional examples listed below:
Do Armed Civilians Stop Mass Shooters? Actually, No.
Gun carrying man ends stabbing spree at Salt Lake grocery store
Appalachian School of Law shooting
The appeal of buying a gun to stop a burglar or worse is more than understandable. There is especially cause to be concerned that the police will be less effective as a deterrent when you consider that of the ten cities with the highest violent crime rates, five cut the budgets of their law enforcement in 2012. But the unfortunate fact is that at the end of the day, a gun is twenty-two times more likely to discharge a bullet into a member of the household than into an intruder.
This is a point continued from #7 that bears emphasis. Let’s not kid ourselves: in the back of our minds, we’re all still thinking about what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012. But as reported by the Huffington Post, in 2010 alone, 129 minors were killed by accidental gunshots. JUST accidental, never mind all the impulsive shootings and how they are a common means of committing suicide. They are not a statistically effective means of protecting your family.
It’s true that accidental shootings from hunting are very limited thanks to hunter safety training. It’s less than ninety Americans killed by hunting annually. Hunting is still extremely dangerous in that in dry weather, it has caused numerous forest fires. It’s just inevitable that a large number of ion sparks will be produced by firing the gun. In 2012 thousands of people in Colorado alone had to temporarily evacuate their homes due to forest fires caused by recreational shooting.
Even if you don’t own a gun, if your neighbor does, your safety is lessened. News reports provide multiple stories where an individual shot a gun and the bullet struck someone in another building. If you’re defending an apartment, consider how you’re potentially endangering someone in the other room.
No matter how tough you think you are, many people do not have the force of will to kill another person, even in self-defense. Even trained soldiers will have trouble with that. So a person suddenly put into a life or death situation might have trouble just having the will to shoot an assailant, to say nothing of just being physically capable in an extremely stressful environment. So it’s very likely the person attempting to defend themselves will end up like this man.
Some people believe they can defend themselves without endangering bystanders with the sound and flash of blanks. While using blanks certainly limits the danger, it is not as safe as it sounds. Numerous people have been killed by close range blank fire. This ongoing misconception (reinforced by movies such as Crash) is going to endanger many dealing with someone believing they have a safe device.
The author would like to conclude this by bringing us back to the point that excessive anti-gun policies will likely not be good for the country. We’ll take the example of Great Britain’s 1998 ban to illustrate the point. The massive gun ban cost the country £500 million, and consider that their population and gun count were much lower than that in the U.S. and was done without a constitution that promised them the right to bear arms. In the decade following the decision, the nation’s gun crime doubled. It has not lowered their assault crime rates either, which have instead increased significantly, although correlation is not causation. It also seems clear that if guns overall are banned, many perpetrators would otherwise be intimidated by a gun that would not need to be fired would be more inclined to assume they are safe from a citizen that would otherwise stop them. So don’t be too quick to call for a nationwide gun ban even if your heart is really set on that for personal or ideological reasons.