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Is the Gun Dangerous, or is it the Criminal?

January 28, 2022

The world is fascinatingly complex yet important truths are often simple. We shouldn’t take that too far since most simple answers are wrong or incomplete. That tension helps make life so interesting as we try to understand the world around us. For example, here is a simple description of a complex problem. We saw violent crime increase in the last few years. Should we try to keep violent criminals away from guns, or should we try to keep violent criminals away from us? Is the tool dangerous or is the person dangerous? Let’s look at both ideas and see if there are any simple answers to be found.

When we look for simple solutions we see that criminals use guns to commit violence. That sounds like the case is closed but there is more evidence to uncover. If we keep looking then we find that innocent victims also use firearms to stop violence. That means the answers are not black and white but shades of gray.

When we look at all firearms we see that a vanishingly small fraction of the guns owned by civilians were used in violent crime each year (1 in 1400). Now we look deeper and find out that honest citizens used a firearm for self-defense over 1.6 million times a year. That is more people than live in New Hampshire or Hawaii. Each year, more people use a firearm for self-defense than the population of Wyoming and Vermont combined. Armed defense is common.

Proportions matter when we’re looking at shades of gray. We use a firearm for self-defense six times more often than a firearm is used in violent crime (5.98). Good guys with guns save lives. That is both simple and true.

Is safety that simple?

Despite the facts that guns overwhelmingly stop crime, New York State passed a law to let the public sue gun manufacturers because criminals used a “dangerous” gun that the manufacturers released into the public. That obviously misses the target of reducing crime. Either those New York lawmakers got the facts wrong or they didn’t care about honest citizens who defend themselves. Politics is obviously complex.

When we look at how criminals behaved, we see that most violent crimes (85%) didn’t involve a firearm at all. Said another way, if we would magically disarm everyone, that wouldn’t hamper the vast majority of violent criminals. Instead, disarming the innocent victims makes it easier for the criminals and would lead to more violence.

Young men commit most violent crimes. Young men are stronger than old men, and far stronger and faster than most women. Disarming women and the elderly makes them much more vulnerable to violent criminals.

Few of us want that. Disarming the good guys hurts honest citizens who want to protect their family. That isn’t an abstract theory, but common practice as we use a gun for self defense over a million times a year.

Let’s step away from the soundbites. Look at human nature instead and think of the people you know. Some of the people you know are completely trustworthy while others are not. Some resist any temptation while others can’t be trusted with a penny. We are not all the same.

When it comes to violence, some of us are a danger to others and most of us are not. It is the person who is a danger to others rather than the tools they use. Again, that is both simple and true.

Violent criminals are not like us. Most of us will never commit a violent crime, yet we know that a few people will victimize others. Most murders are committed by a few hit men in drug gangs. 64 percent of felons who served time for a violent crime were re-arrested. 41 percent of violent criminals were later re-convicted of subsequent crimes. 34 percent of them were re-incarcerated. Some people practice a life of violent crime.

Shades of gray matter, and a violent criminal is 500 times more likely to re-offend than a firearm is likely to be used in a violent crime. In contrast, firearms manufacturers built a product that we overwhelmingly use to save lives in armed defense. If we’re looking for people who increase the risks for all of us, then let’s sue New York politicians, judges, and prosecutors who put dangerous recidivist-criminals back on our streets. Now that will save lives


I gave you 600 words for free. Share them with a friend, and please give me a rating and a comment in return. RM


New York law to sue gun manufacturers- “

Recidivism of violent criminals- “

US State population- “

UCR-FBI violent crime with firearms and without- “

Frequency of armed defense- “

12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2022 9:40 am

    Reblogged this on Howie's Blog.


  2. January 29, 2022 7:23 pm

    Babylon Bee does it better than I did.


  3. Geoff permalink
    February 22, 2022 10:54 pm

    EVERYTHING is dangerous if it is misused. Knives, forks, pencils, pens, axes, hatchets, baseball bats, clubs, stick and stones.
    All are inanimate objects until wielded by a person with intend to commit bodily harm to another or worse.
    Guns are no more dangerous than the rest. It’s how it’s used.

    Liked by 1 person


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