FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Guns Don’t Make Us Safer – Here’s the Proof

Once again, Americans are trying to wrap our heads around another mass shooting. On June 28, a man gunned down five people at the office of The Capital Gazette, a small Maryland newspaper.

My conservative friends and family are passionate about gun rights, convinced that guns make us safer. Personally, I’ve never liked firearms, because I was a victim of gun violence as a child.

The day my mother and I were shot, nobody died. We didn’t make the homicide statistics. I recovered, but my mother was permanently paralyzed from the neck down. My childhood was forever changed. Our story is far too common, and I don’t want other families to suffer like we did.

But I can understand why a person could feel secure owning a gun.

Not wanting to dismiss conservative ideas out of hand, or be ruled by my emotions, I decided to research the issue. The data convinced me that guns don’t make us safer. They make our world less safe.

Here’s what I learned.

Our country is safer with fewer guns and more restrictions.

In the U.S., it might be normal to have school shootings all the time, and over 90 people killed with gunsevery day, but that’s not normal in other countries. Our gun homicide rate, per capita, is sky high compared to other developed countries, and higher than a host of developing countries.

With just 4.4 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has almost half of the world’s civilian-owned guns. You’re 21 times more likely to be killed with a gun in the U.S. than in strictly regulated Australia.

More guns create more crime.

Economist John Lott’s theory of “more guns, less crime” has been widely refuted.

States with concealed carry laws aren’t safer places to live, research shows. There are also fewer gun-related deaths in states with stricter gun laws.

Gun control does work.

Between 1994 and 2014, the Brady Bill background checks stopped 1 million felons, 291,000 domestic abusers, and 118,000 fugitives from buying a gun — an average of 343 per day. But when Missouri’s permit-to-purchase handgun law was repealed in 2007, the state’s murders increased sharply.

So why is Chicago so dangerous, when it has such strict gun laws? Look to bordering states, like Indiana, where weak laws allow guns to travel across state lines.

Owning a gun actually puts you in more danger.

Studies show a link between you owning a gun and someone that you know getting shot.

While the risk of a home invader killing you is 0.0000002 per capita, having a gun in your home doubles your risk for homicide and triples it for suicide. What about conceal carry? A study on assault victims showed gun-armed victims were 4.46 times more likely to get shot.

Guns make it easier to kill people.

We hear a lot that “guns don’t kill people, People kill people.” But guns make that killing much easier!

U.S. crime rates are fairly average compared to other developed nations. What’s different is that firearms are more prevalent here and used more often, which leads to more deaths.

Surprisingly, mental health isn’t a deciding factor in gun-related homicides. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t advocate for better mental healthcare or restrict firearm sales to people with certain mental illnesses. It means we also have to focus on guns, directly.

All over the world, there’s a clear pattern: more guns mean more homicide.

Guns aren’t good for us.

They make us more violent. In 2015, 3,641 Americans were killed by guns as a result of an argument, brawl, or a romantic triangle.

We can do better. Look at every other developed nation. We don’t have to live like this, and we shouldn’t take it lying down.

More articles by:

Norah Vawter is a freelance writer living in Northern Virginia.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
Jess Franklin
Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What the Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
David Yearsley
Watching Star Wars in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail