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Virtue and Vice- adding up both sides in the use of firearms

January 30, 2023

Facts are important, but knowledge is even better. Thousands of people die each year from adverse reactions to prescription drugs. Perspective tells us that modern medicine also saves millions of lives each year. It is a piece of the puzzle to know that we have over 30 thousand fatal car crashes each year. We need to see the whole picture to understand we’d be at greater risk if we were riding horses or walking to work every day. Likewise, we see criminals and crazy people use firearms to hurt others. What we are not shown is when honest citizens use a firearm in self-defense and to stop mass murder. I want to look at the whole picture rather than the twisted images we are shown by the mainstream media. Of course shock and outrage sell advertising, but we need to know if guns are used to save lives.

Violent crime is real and we are at risk. Before you could believe how much we defend ourselves with a gun, then you’d first have to see how much violent crime happens every day. We saw criminals commit about 1.2 million violent crimes in 2019, and as many as 4.5 million in 2020. That is over 12-thousand violent crimes a day. Violent crime includes aggravated assault, robbery, rape, non-negligent manslaughter, and murder. Recent data shows that criminals used a firearm in a violent crime over a third of a million times each year.

Taking all the guns away from criminals wouldn’t stop violent crime. Only 8 percent of violent crimes involve the criminal using a firearm. That means if we disarmed both the criminals and the honest citizens, then most violent crime would go on as before but now the victims would be disarmed. We aren’t told how few criminals use a gun by the FBI or by the news media. Instead, we believe what we see from Hollywood where every bad guy has a machine gun.

Many honest citizens own firearms. About 4-in-10 of us live in a home where someone owns a firearm. If you don’t have a firearm in your home, then your neighbor probably does. That is true even in anti-gun states like California, New York, and New Jersey.

Self-defense is common too. We defend ourselves with a firearm about 4,600 times a day. That is a conservative number and some researchers have put the average closer to 6,800 times a day. That is good news, but the better news is that we don’t have to press the trigger very often. Usually we shout that we have a gun and the burglar runs away. We only press the trigger in one-out-of-five defensive uses of a gun. The number of criminals who were killed by gun owners is almost exactly the same number of criminals who were shot and killed by the police. That is less than a thousand a year. Gun owners save a lot of lives and show a great deal of restraint. I wonder why we don’t hear these self-defense stories every day since armed citizens are so virtuous.

The news distorts our picture of the world. We read about armed criminals robbing a convenience store. The news shows us when a crazy person commits mass murder to get their face and their manifesto on the news. In contrast, we have to dig to find a story where guns save lives. In fact, armed defense is several times more common than the criminal use of a firearm. Given how often they happen, the media over-reports on the criminal use of a firearm and vastly under-report on armed defense. The distortion isn’t a few percent, but over a thousand fold. No wonder we don’t have a clear picture of gun use in the United States.

You might think that gun-control laws would stop some violent criminals from using a gun. That is because you and I follow society’s rules. We work and plan so that we don’t hurt other people. Criminals hurt people every day. They plan to hurt other people and they want to do it easily and reliably. Criminals commit rape and murder and they don’t care if a law says they can’t have a gun in their car as they drive away from the scene of the crime. We already have over 23-thousand firearms regulations on the books. We would already live in utopia if it only took ink-on-paper to stop crime. Sadly, some of those laws do more harm than good.

We have not found a way to disarm criminals without also disarming honest citizens. Looking at the data, it appears that making more disarmed victims actually makes it easier for violent criminals to commit crimes. For each violent criminal who uses a gun in the commission of a violent crime, there are about a dozen violent criminals who did not. If we disarmed all the violent criminals who use a gun, then the other criminals would still go about their criminal business. We wouldn’t reduce crime much at all. What gun control has done is to leave many honest citizens disarmed. Armed defense is so frequent that disarming more of the good guys means more victims are injured.

What is true of common street-crime is even more applicable when we look at mass-murder and celebrity-murder. Many of our gun-control laws have made mass-murder easier for the murderer. We know that most mass-murderers are not afraid to die, but they are afraid of failing. Creating “gun-free zones” means that mass murderers have areas where they know their intended victims are disarmed and easy to kill. It turns out that thin plastic “No Guns” signs protect the property owner but they don’t protect the customers. “No-guns allowed” signs stop lawsuits but they do not stop bullets. Mass murderers look for so-called “gun-free” zones 98-percent of the time. That is far too often to be a coincidence.

If we should fine gun manufacturers because a crazy criminal used a gun, then we should fine politicians who created the “gun free” zones where criminals hunt us.

Fortunately, we know what stops mass-murderers. About one-out-of-dozen adults are legally armed in public today. These honest citizens stopped more than half of the mass-murders where the victims were allowed to go armed. Honest gun owners stopped violence in public just as they stopped violence in their homes.

We are not all the same. We may watch the same “fake-believe” dramas on television, but we live in different circumstances. Violent crime rose sharply in the last few years. We saw public violence on TV but most of us did not see that violence in our neighborhoods. That is because violence is concentrated rather than being spread out. Most counties in the US will not have a single murder of any kind this year. More than half of our murders happen in only 2 percent of our most violent counties. Even within those violent counties, violence is concentrated into a few violent zip-codes. That means a one-size-fits-all solution won’t work.

First, do no harm. Gun-control laws clearly didn’t disarm the violent criminals in Los Angeles, in Chicago, or in Baltimore. We see evidence of that every night on the news. When we think about it, we wouldn’t expect gun-control laws to help cities where crime is already low. What those gun-control laws have done is made it harder for honest citizens to defend themselves. That costs lives rather than saves them because armed defense is so common,

There is a lot to know but we already know a lot. Now you know that there are two sides to this argument. Guns are used both in crime and in armed-defense. We know the size of each. Armed defense is common and happens much more often than armed criminal violence.

We know what doesn’t work. We’ve had gun-control for decades and those laws have not reduced violent crime or reduced celebrity-murder. It is an insane fantasy to expect a different result when we do the same thing over and over and it fails time after time.

It is easy for politicians to pass more gun-control laws and to issue more press releases. That is what politicians do. We need more if we want to reduce violent crime. Now that you know the facts, I trust your judgment more than I trust our politicians.


I gave you 1400 words for free. Please share them with a friend and leave a comment. RM


Injuries from drugs-

Lives saved by modern medical practice-

Car accidents-

Violent crime in 2019-

Violent crime in 2020-

82 thousand firearms used in robbery-

186 thousand firearms used in assault-

13927 Murders in 2019-

Punish gun manufacturors-

Punish firearms distributors-

Criminal use of firearms-

Guns in the home-

Mass murder in gun-free zones-

Armed citizens stop mass murder-

The FBI can’t count armed defense-

Crime is local-

The growth of celebrity-murder-

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